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Virginia Politics Blog: November 29, 2009 - December 5, 2009

'Dirty Deeds' reappears

A Democrat played a starring role at this weekend's GOP Advance in Williamsburg. The Republican Party of Virginia, which organized the annual retreat, prominently featured a video at today's luncheon attended by 600 activists poking fun of state Sen. Creigh Deeds, the Democrats' unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate. Isn't the election over? Republican Bob McDonnell defeated Deeds by a whopping 18 points more than one month ago....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 5, 2009; 7:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2008 , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McWaters wins GOP nomination in Va Beach

Businessman Jeff McWaters easily won the Republican nomination In Virginia Beach's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat today. "I am so humbled at the fantastic turnout Virginia Beach delivered today,'' McWaters said in a statement. "Despite the horrible weather conditions, Virginia Beach voters have once again taken pride and participated in the significant constitutional right we as Americans have the right to vote." In the GOP-leaning district where the Democrats have yet to field a candidate, today's success may be tantamount to winning the Jan. 12 special election to replace retiring Sen. Ken Stolle, who was elected Virginia Beach sheriff. Democrats have until Dec. 11 to nominate a candidate. McWaters received 63 percent of the vote. Rosemary Wilson, who serves on the Virginia Beach City Council, received 37 percent. Today's five-hour firehouse primary attracted 7,594 voters despite a steady rain....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 5, 2009; 6:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , State Senate  
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GOP Advance, day 2

Hundreds of Republican activists braved the rainy, cold weather to spend Saturday in Williamsburg on the second and final day of the 25th annual GOP Advance. The event -- sort of a pep rally for the party's faithful -- included training sessions about social media, female votes and fundraising and raised $180,000 for the state party. The Republican ticket -- Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell, Bolling and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli -- spoke at a luncheon of chicken Caesar salad and cheesecake. McDonnell, visibly relaxed and seven pounds heavier since the election, individually thanked many of his supporters and volunteers. "The Republican resurgence has begun in the Commonwealth of Virginia," he said. McDonnell talked about how Republicans won the election -- by offering solutions to everyday problems -- but his loudest applause came when he promised to uphold the conservative issues he rarely talked about on the trail. "I was a pro-life...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 5, 2009; 6:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Eric Cantor , George F. Allen , James Gilmore III , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Deeds thanks Dems, exhorts party to keep fighting

State Sen. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee for governor defeated by more than 17 points last month, made a surprise visit to the quarterly meeting of the Democratic State Central Committee this morning in Staunton, just over the mountain from Deeds' Bath County home. Looking rested and wearing an open collar shirt under his blazer, Deeds was greeted warmly by his fellow Democrats and spent long moments huddled with longtime senate pals Mary Margaret Whipple and Dick Saslaw. The crowd of more than 100 gave Deeds a standing ovation when Gov. Tim Kaine recognized Deeds as "one of the finest people I know in public life." Still, quietly, a few activists said they blame Deeds for the breadth of the party's losses in November, believing his hesitancy to embrace the agenda of Democrats at the national level left the party unenthusiastic about his effort. Deeds addressed the group in a...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 5, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine , Tom Perriello  
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Va Dems weigh endorsing public option

It's snowing already this morning in Staunton, where state Democrats are gathering for their quarterly central committee meeting, the first since gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds was defeated by almost 18 points by Republican Bob McDonnell Nov. 3. So is it the winter of the donkeys' discontent? Sort of. There is acknowledgment all the way around that the election results did not turn out the way party members had hoped, but also a fair amount of brave face discussions that suggest the party's fortunes are better than they might first appear. After all, both U.S. senators and a majority of the congressional delegation are all Democrats. Assuming the snow doesn't keep them away, Gov. Tim Kaine, Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb are all scheduled to speak this morning. And word is that former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has said he will pay a visit as well. Still, there is a...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 5, 2009; 8:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , James Webb , Mark Warner , Rosalind Helderman  
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Republicans start the party

The GOP Advance kicked off tonight with plenty of congratulations, laughter and, of course, drinks. Republican activists and elected leaders gathered tonight at the Williamsburg Marriott for their first gathering since their huge victories in last month's election. Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell was in New York on Republican National Committee business and will not arrive until tomorrow, but Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli were on hand to greet jubilant Republicans. Spotted in the crowd: House Speaker Bill Howell, U.S. Reps. Eric Cantor, Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman, Attorney General Bill Mims, former lieutenant governor John Hager and McDonnell's eldest daughter, Jeanine. McDonnell's future chief of staff, Martin Kent, and secretary of public safety Marla Decker were also on hand as was former attorney general candidate David Foster and scores of legislators. "It's been five years since Republicans had such a good feeling,'' former governor and senator George...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 4, 2009; 11:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Eric Cantor , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Salahi and Her Majesty

Oh, those Salahis. What have they done now to warrant the the top Republican in the Virginia Senate to call for Tareq Salahi to be removed from the Virginia Tourism Board? It turns out it's way more than just crashing last week's White House state dinner. Sen. Tommy Norment said he first met the couple when they showed up to help organize the 2007 celebration in honor of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. He doesn't know who invited them -- or if they were invited. He said Salahi guaranteed he could convince Queen Elizabeth II to come to Virginia for the celebration. (He didn't, but the organizers were able to do that on their own). Later, he said Salahi, who launched America's Polo Cup in 2007, said he would get his polo team to play the Queen's polo team and that he would bring in princes to...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 4, 2009; 4:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Kaine on Tech: "The questions will never go away"

Gov. Tim Kaine said today at a news conference that he was convinced that the Virginia Tech report on the 2007 mass shootings needed to be changed to correct the record but that many facts of the crime will never be understood. "The questions will never go away about this day,'' he said. "The person who committed this horrible crime is gone. A whole series of questions about it -- primarily why -- will never be answered. When you wrestle with something like these revisions, you know that there will never be answers to all the questions and any new development will raise questions." Kaine released a revised report today that acknowledged for the first time what relatives of victims have been saying for more than a year -- that school officials not only failed to notify the university community about two shootings for more than 80 minutes, but also...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 4, 2009; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Tech massacre  
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GOP prepares to celebrate, Dems to commiserate

This is a big weekend in Virginia politics. Republican activists and elected leaders will gather in Williamsburg for their annual retreat, known as the Advance. They'll be setting out their their party's agenda now that they've returned to the governor's mansion. And they're likely to party pretty hard in celebration of their huge November electoral wins. Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell will be on hand to be feted by his supporters, as will Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney Gen.-elect Ken Cuccinelli. The mood's likely to be fair more somber--possibly downright depressing--over at the other end of the state, where Virginia's Democratic Central Committee will gather for its first quarterly meeting since the election in Staunton. Democratic office-holders Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, Sen. Jim Webb and Sen. Mark Warner are all scheduled to address the committee, presumably to discuss the way forward and to buck up the troops. Check back this weekend...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 4, 2009; 1:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Election 2009 , James Webb , Ken Cuccinelli , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kaine on 'Morning Joe'

Virginia Governor/Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning to talk national politics and spar with former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. But what he got was several questions about ... who else? ... those infamous White House party crashers and Virginia residents, Tareq and Michaele Salahi. Host Joe Scarborough even joked that after Kaine leaves the governor's mansion in January, he could write a book entitled "The Salahis I Know." Kaine's response? "I have a few things higher on my to-do list than that." But when asked, Kaine did talk about his relationship with the Salahis. "I've known Tareq and Michaele for about five years,'' he said. "They have a family winery in Northern Virginia. Tareq had served on the state's wine board under both Gov. Gilmore and Gov. Warner, and when his term on the wine board finished, he and the tourism board...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 4, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Jeanine McDonnell Back on the Trail

Her father's campaign may be over, but Jeanine McDonnell, the well-spoken daughter of Governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell, seems to have enjoyed the campaign trail so much that she's not taking a break. This week, Republican Scott Rigell, who hopes to challenge Democrat Glenn Nye in Virginia Beach's Second Congressional District, released a video endorsement from the eldest of the governor-elect's five children. The younger McDonnell, a veteran of the Iraq war, is credited with giving her father a crucial boost at a time when his 20-year-old college thesis threatened his support among women and working mothers. More than once, the candidate described his daughter as "the ultimate working woman" to refute accusations that he did not support women entering the workplace. And Jeanine McDonnell, now employed at federal contractor Science Applications International Corp., wowed crowds and political pundits with her poise and energy. Those qualities could boost Rigell's fortunes too,...

By Amy Gardner  |  December 4, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Amy Gardner , Election 2010  
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Updated: GOP leader calls for Salahi's resignation

Sen. Tommy Norment, the Republican leader in the state Senate, is asking Gov. Tim Kaine (D) to remove White House party crasher Tareq Salahi from the Virginia Tourism Board. "Mr. Salahi's recent outrageous behavior and personal promotion in regards to trespassing in the White House is not the face we need for Virginia tourism,'' Norment wrote in a letter to Kaine this week. "I would appreciate you taking swift action to avoid any further negative situations." Kaine said this week that he asked Secretary of the Commonwealth Kate Hanley to look into whether Salahi should remain on the board. Kaine appointed him to the board in 2006 as his previous term on the Virginia Winery Board was concluding. Meanwhile, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services yesterday began a formal investigation into the America's Polo Cup, the business entity run by Michaele and Tareq Salahi that the couple says...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 4, 2009; 8:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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UPDATED: McDonnell spent twice as much as Deeds in final days

In the final days of Virginia's gubernatorial campaign, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell spent more than twice as much as Democrat Creigh Deeds, according to reports each campaign filed to the state board of elections today. In just a little bit, we're expecting some analysis of the numbers from the Virginia Public Access Project, which will show a direct comparison of spending in this year's campaign versus past years. Based on early reports we've received from each campaign, we can say that McDonnell raised $2.52 million in the period between Oct. 22 and Nov. 26 from 3,754 donors. It's fair to assume the vast majority of that money came in before the Nov. 3 election. McDonnell spent $3.75 million over that period. That compares to about $909,000 raised by Deeds and $1.76 million spent....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 3, 2009; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell's ties to party crashers

We know that Bob McDonnell has met the infamous White House party crashers several times and we know that they have given money to his campaign. So how well does Virginia's incoming governor know the Salahis? "I've been friendly with them,'' McDonnell said at a news conference today at the Capitol. "I've seen them on a couple occasions over the last three or four years, but that's really the extent of the relationship. I didn't know anything about their recent entry into the White House and I'm reading things about them that I did not know before." McDonnell's wife, Maureen, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, has attended cheerleader reunion events with Michaele. (Michaele Salahi claimed she was also a cheerleading alum, but a spokeswoman for the cheerleaders has said no record exists of her participation with the group.) The Salahis' family business, Oasis Winery, gave McDonnell's 2006 inaugural committee for...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 3, 2009; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell announces first round of appointments

As expected, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell announced today that deputy attorney general Martin Kent will be his chief of staff and that Secretary of Finance Ric Brown will continue to serve in his current job for an undertermined period of time while the state continues to wrestle with a multi-billion dollar shortfall. Other appointments McDonnell announced today: Marla Decker, assistant attorney general, will serve as secretary of public safety, lobbyist Eric Finkbeiner will be senior advisor for policy (which will be made into a Cabinet-level position) and longtime spokesman Tucker Martin will be director of communications. Kent and Decker were senior members of McDonnell's attorney general's office staff. McDonnell's picks were widely met with praise. Observers said his appointments were smart, but not particularly flashy or surprising. He announced this first round of appointments at a wide-ranging news conference, where he praised Gov. Tim Kaine for his cooperation and spoke of...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 3, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell will keep Brown as finance secretary

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell will announce that Ric Brown, who has been serving as secretary of finance under Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, will remain in the job after he takes office Jan. 16, a source close to the transition says. The announcement will come at McDonnell's news conference this morning and will provide continuity during a difficult budgeting year. Brown has served both Democrats and Republicans and is widely respected by legislators and policy experts. McDonnell also will name Chief Deputy Attorney General Martin Kent as his chief of staff. Chief deputy attorney general Marla Decker will become public safety secretary. No surprises here, but McDonnell also will formally elevate Eric Finkbeiner, who has been serving as policy director of the transition, to hold that same role in his administration. And Tucker Martin, McDonnell's longtime spokesman, will be named communications director....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 3, 2009; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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McWaters's momentum in Va Beach senate race

In Virginia Beach's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat, all the buzz in recent days has been about Jeff McWaters. The businessman vying for the Republican nomination in Saturday's firehouse primary received the backing of his hometown newspaper, the Virginian Pilot and the National Rifle Association. And now, Lt. Bill Bolling, has endorsed McWaters over fellow Republican Rosemary Wilson, who serves on the Virginia Beach City Council. The recently re-elected lieutenant governor has put his name on mailers, recorded a robo call for McWaters and cut a radio ad for him. In the GOP-leaning district where the Democrats have yet to field a candidate, Saturday's primary may be tantamount to winning the Jan. 12 special election to replace retiring Sen. Ken Stolle, who was elected Virginia Beach sheriff....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 3, 2009; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2008 , Election 2008/President , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , State Senate  
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Herrity: In or Out in the 11th District?

Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity said tonight he's "leaning against" running for Congress in Northern Virginia's 11th Congressional District because he thinks he can do more for residents if he tries instead in 2011 for chairman of the county board. Herrity said he will make a final decision in the next week, leaving open the possibility that fellow Republican Keith Fimian will go unchallenged for his party's nomination to face freshman Democrat Gerry Connolly next fall. Fimian, the owner of the nation's largest home-inspection business, lost badly to Connolly in 2008 but is prepared to spend his own money -- a fact that national Republicans say is attractive because it allows them to direct party resources elsewhere. But Fimian has not yet demonstrated an ability to lock up either Republican or business support locally. After Herrity first said he was considering a run for Congress, Fimian announced the support of...

By Amy Gardner  |  December 2, 2009; 5:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Election 2010  
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Kent likely to get chief of staff nod Thursday

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell has scheduled a news conference for Thursday to announce the first round of appointments to his administration. With former campaign manager and transition director Phil Cox on his way to McDonnell's new political action committee--the first release under Cox's name arrived from the "Opportunity Virginia" PAC this morning--it's a pretty good bet a permanent chief of staff for McDonnell will be among the first appointments. With Cox out, all speculation in Richmond has now turned to Martin Kent, who worked at the attorney general's office for McDonnell and has been most recently serving as chief deputy to Attorney General Bill Mims. Another good possibility to be joining McDonnell at the microphones, if not Thursday then one day very soon, is a Marla Decker as secretary for public safety. Decker served as deputy attorney general for public safety under McDonnell. It's worth noting that when Jim Gilmore became...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 2, 2009; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Va farmers oppose bay cleanup changes

Virginia's farmers came out today against a federal proposal to clean up the Chesapeake Bay that they said has the potential to put some farmers out of business. Officials with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, which has nearly 175,000 members, said the proposals would lead to new requirements without much-needed financial assistance. "Virginia farmers are commited to bay restoration efforts. We've been doing our part for decades,'' said Wayne Pryor, the group's president. "Now we feel that we are being unfairly blamed for the majority of the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay." Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Congress are proposing changes to the bay cleanup plan including new stormwater runoff standards....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 2, 2009; 3:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2010  
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New legislators attend orientation

It's a little like the first day of school. But without the lockers. The newly elected members of the House of Delegates spending today on Capitol Square learning how to be...well, legislators. They are being trained in issues, such as payroll, the state budget, bill drafting and ethics. And they will hear from the Democratic and Republican caucus chairmen, Ken Plum and Sam Nixon. The 100-member House is welcoming 20 new members in Jan. 13, though not quite all of them made it to Richmond today. They will return in early January for a "mock" session. Republicans picked up six House seats in last month's election and will be at a 12-seat advantage in the chamber if a contested Virginia Beach seat switches to the GOP as expected....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 2, 2009; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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McDonnell to meet with Senate leaders

We haven't heard much from Republican Bob McDonnell since he defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds nearly one month ago. McDonnell has held a single press conference, named his transition staff and appeared at only a handful of public events. But the governor-elect continues to meet with many movers and shakers behind closed doors as he gets ready to name his new team and be sworn in Jan. 16. This morning, he'll meet with the Senate's leaders -- Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Mary Margaret Whipple and Charles Colgan, chairman of the powerful Finance Committee -- in Richmond....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 2, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Connolly phone-hall sign-up going on now

A programming note: Any 11th Congressional District residents interested in participating in a telephone town hall with Rep. Gerry Connolly this evening have just a few more hours to sign up. The call-in conference with Connolly is formally about issues of concern to seniors, but any district resident who has signed up can take part, says Connolly's office. The sign-up period lasts until noon Wednesday for the evening event, which will take place from 7 to 8 p.m....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 2, 2009; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Gerald E. Connolly  
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Kaine's November travel

View Kaine's Travel Adventures in a larger map. KEY: Blue markers are DNC trips, red markers are official state trips, and purple markers included a mix of both or are unclear at this time. Gov. Tim Kaine, who serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, scaled back his out-of-state travel last month, spending a third of the days in November out of Virginia, including six weekdays. Kaine spent all or part of 10 days outside the state, taking trips to five other states and five trips to Washington, where he sometimes works out of DNC headquarters. Kaine's office released his travels for November in keeping with his pledge to do so at the end of each month, which was made following pressure by the media and others to disclose his whereabouts. His out-of-state travel included trips to Baltimore (Thurs. Nov. 5), Memphis (Wed. Nov. 11-Thurs. Nov. 12), Little Rock...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 2, 2009; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Republicans nominate Hunt in 37th senate district

Steve Hunt, a former Fairfax county school board member, easily won a three-way party canvass Tuesday evening to become the Republican nominee to be the next Virginia state senator from the 37th district in southwestern Fairfax County. Hunt will run against Democratic Del. David W. Marsden (Fairfax) in the Jan. 12 special election. The winner will fill the seat to be vacated by Kenneth Cuccinelli II (R), who was elected to be state attorney general in last month's Republican landslide. In the canvass, Hunt defeated Marianne Horinko, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, and Will Nance, executive director of Greenspring retirement community. Hunt received 955 votes, while Horinko got 479 and Nance 469....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 1, 2009; 11:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Election 2010 , General Assembly 2010 , Ken Cuccinelli , State Senate  
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Salahi's membership on Va. Tourism Board to be examined

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who appointed now famous White House party crasher Tareq Salahi to the Virginia Tourism Board in 2006, said today that he has asked Secretary of the Commonwealth Kate Hanley to reach out to the Salahis. Hanley is in charge of the appointment process and would be responsible for helping to determine if Salahi should lose his spot on the tourism board. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell confirms he too knows the Salahis and that his wife Maureen, a former Washington Redskin cheerleader, has attended cheerleader reunion events with Michaele. (Michaele Salahi claimed she was also a cheerleading alum, but a spokeswoman for the cheerleaders has said no record exists of her participation with the group.) Kaine told reporters today that he appointed Tareq Salahi to the board as his previous term on the Virginia Winery Board was concluding. "The guy is a promoter,...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 1, 2009; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Timothy M. Kaine  
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New coalition has AG's support for mental health reforms

A new coalition of advocates for children in Virginia has launched a campaign urging reform of mental health treatment for kids in the Commonwealth. The group cites research showing 1 in 5 of Virginia's children have mental health needs but only 1 in 5 gets the treatment he or she needs. The coalition, which has partnered with 16 different state organizations from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to the Virginia Poverty Law Center, is calling for reform of a fragmented system that results in care of varying quality across localities. They note that at the state level, responsibility for public children's mental health is divided among three cabinet secretaries and four agencies....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 1, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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John Warren Cooke, from the Post archives

As former House Speaker John Warren Cooke is laid to rest today in Gloucester, we were inspired to go back and read a few stories from the Washington Post archives about Cooke. There are only a few--the online archives contain stories published between 1977 and the present, a time frame that means most of Cooke's 38-year service, which concluded in 1980, is not available. In perhaps a testament to Cooke's modest and reserved ways, here's how the Post marked his impending retirement after four decades in office and 12 years as head of the House of Delegates. Note what fact doesn't come up: Cooke's famous father, who served on the staff of Gen. Robert E. Lee....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 1, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Kaine formally calls special elections

No surprises here, but Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has formally set the dates of the two special elections for state senate for Jan. 12. His aides had been saying that Tuesday would be Election Day for a while, but according to a release that just arrived from his office, he's now made the formal call. Voters in Fairfax's 37th district will choose a senator to replace attorney gen.-elect Ken Cuccinelli. In Virginia Beach's 8th district, voters will choose a senator to replace the city's new sheriff Ken Stolle. "The citizens of these districts deserve to have their interests represented in the upcoming session of the General Assembly," Kaine said in a state. "Holding these special elections on January 12 will give interested candidates time to introduce themselves to the people they hope to represent and give voters an opportunity to make an informed decision on their next senator." The General...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 30, 2009; 6:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2010 , General Assembly 2010 , Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Marshall to propose 'healthcare freedom' constitutional amendment

With health care the hot topic in Washington, it should be no surprise there is likely to be an equally vigorous debate on the issue in Richmond when the General Assembly meets in January. It should also come as no surprise that Del. Bob Marshall, one of the body's most creative conservative minds, has some thoughts about how Virginia's General Assembly could best go about resisting President Obama's health insurance initiatives. Marshall believes Obama's real goal is a socialist single-payer system. He believes it is unconstitutional for the government to mandate, at risk of penalty, that all individuals have insurance or that companies provide insurance for employees, as contemplated in bills being considered by the U.S. House and Senate. He notes contract law has long provided that contracts cannot be signed under duress. "If that's not duress, then I don't know what is," he said of the mandates. His solution:...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 30, 2009; 3:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Barack Obama , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Smoking ban goes into effect in hours

The big Virginia news today is the institution of the restaurant smoking ban Tuesday. Read more here....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 30, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Sandhya Somashekhar  
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A day of changes for a changing state

How about this for a moment symbolic of the changing face of modern Virginia: Tomorrow, a Commonwealth founded 400 years ago on tobacco farming, will ban smoking in bars and restaurants. On that same day, in the historic Virginia tobacco farming community of Gloucester, the last son of a Confederate veteran to serve in the General Assembly will be laid to rest. John Warren Cooke, whose father was on the personal staff to Gen. Robert E. Lee, served in the House of Delegates from 1942 to 1980, including time as Speaker of the House from 1968 to 1980....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 30, 2009; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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