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Virginia Politics Blog: December 27, 2009 - January 2, 2010

Winners & Losers of 2009

Here at the Virginia Politics blog, we thought we would take one last look at 2009 before officially welcoming in the new year. And what a year it was in Virginia politics. We had a nationally watched race for the state's top job, a sitting governor who became a national figure and a divided legislature that struggled with a multibillion budget shortfall. Virginia became the first state in the nation to reject federal stimulus money for the unemployed and the last one to ask for federal stimulus money for transportation. Democrats started the year out on top and ended the year in disarray. Republicans are on the cusp of a resurgence they could not have imagined 12 months ago. We know Bob McDonnell had a tremendous year, and Creigh Deeds not so much. Ditto for their campaign managers, Phil Cox and Joe Abbey. Who else had a great or lousy...

By Anita Kumar  |  January 1, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , 2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Election 2010 , General Assembly 2010 , George F. Allen , House of Delegates , Jody Wagner , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate , Terry McAuliffe , Timothy M. Kaine , Tom Perriello , Winners and Losers  
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Kaine on life after the governor's mansion

Outgoing governor Tim Kaine (D) spent some time reflecting with us this week on what his life will be like after what he calls the "best job" he ever had comes to a close in just two weeks. In an interview at the governor's mansion, Kaine said he has started the difficult task of packing up and archiving his belongings as he prepares for his move back to semi-private life. Kaine will leave office on Jan. 16 when incoming governor Bob McDonnell (R) is sworn into office. Kaine, who serves part-time as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will take on full-time duties after he leaves office. He will spend a day teaching at the University of Richmond (Monday), a day working at DNC headquarters in Washington (Tuesday) and four days traveling for the DNC for campaign, fundraiser or media events.(Wednesday through Saturday)....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 31, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kaine's December 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, spent nine days out of the state in his last full month in office, including seven weekdays. Kaine visited five other states and took four trips to Washington, where he sometimes works out of DNC headquarters. Kaine's office released his travels for December 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 Seattle (Thurs. Dec. 10-Fri. Dec. 11), Denver (Fri. Dec. 11.-Sat. Dec. 12), Miami (Sat. Dec. 12), Chicago (Tues. Dec. 15-Wed. Dec.16) and Atlanta (Wed. Dec. 16). He...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 31, 2009; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell administration: Help wanted

While most of the attention these past few weeks has been focused on Bob McDonnell's Cabinet secretary selections, the incoming governor still needs to fill a slew of other soon-to-be-vacant jobs. McDonnell eventually will fill about 250 positions that include deputy and assistant Cabinet secretaries, agency heads, senior leadership in the governor's office, the first lady's office and other administrative slots. These "at will" positions are mostly political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the governor and are not part of the state's classified work force. As of this week, McDonnell's office has received 3,401 applicants for those 250 positions, according to the transition office. The number is higher than it has been in recent years because McDonnell is the first Republican governor elected in 12 years. McDonnell will be sworn in Jan. 16. He has five Cabinet secretaries left to name (health, education, technology, natural resources and commonwealth...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 31, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Kaine talks payday loans

Outgoing governor Tim Kaine (D) penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today about how states can best balance financial reform with needed loan opportunities. "For state governments, the core challenge in addressing this issue has been finding a balance between capping the interest rate permitted on payday loans without driving the option out of the market altogether,'' Kaine wrote. Read the full op-ed here. In 2008, the state agreed to the nation's most stringent reforms of the payday loan industry. Soon after, Virginia began offering state employees small, high-rate loans over a six-month period as part of a pilot program. Kaine will talk about his op-ed on FOX Business News at 4:10 p.m. and on Bloomberg at 10:45 a.m. tomorrow....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 30, 2009; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Updated: State GOP switches leaders

Two months after a hugely successful election, we hear the Republican Party of Virginia is changing leadership. As incoming governor Bob McDonnell looks to put his own stamp on the party, executive director Allison Coccia is leaving. Dave Rexrode, deputy campaign manager for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, will take her place. Rexrode is currently serving as the governor-elect's director of community outreach. He will head up the street to party headquarters Friday, and be introduced to the State Central Committee via conference call Sunday and to the staff Monday. Update: We reached party chairman Pat Mullins late this afternoon. He tells us that Phil Cox, McDonnell's former campaign manager and transition director recommended Rexrode. Mullins said that was enough of an endorsement for him. He offered him the job. Rexrode, 31, has worked for John McCain and George Bush's presidential campaigns, Congressman Bob Goodlatte and various House and Senate...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 30, 2009; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Pre-filed picks: Legislation to watch

An occasional blog feature on intriguing legislative proposals already pre-filed by members of the General Assembly for consideration when the legislature convenes Jan. 13. Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) said repeatedly during the campaign that he supported repealing the law that limits Virginians' handgun purchases to one weapon a month. As a delegate, McDonnell had voted for the measure, and his shift was thought to help secure him the endorsement of the NRA. Now he gets a chance to show how strongly he supports repeal. Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) has filed a bill that would repeal the law, which was adopted during Gov. Doug Wilder's tenure and has always been among the Democrat's top priorities. Will McDonnell push for the bill's adoption? Lingamfelter's bill is only one of several proposals dealing with guns that have made their way into the legislative hopper. Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) has filed a bill...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 30, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Fairfax sheriff opposes Kaine's prison budget proposal

Here's another person that isn't all that fond of at least one aspect of Gov. Tim Kaine's recently introduced budget proposal. Fairfax County Sheriff Stan G. Barry said the outgoing Democratic governor's plan to rent 1,000 prison beds to other states to raise money is unfair to local sheriffs who are left stuck housing hundreds of state inmates in already crowded local jails waiting to be moved. "I'm very concerned,'' he said. "We already have an additional burden." The Department of Corrections, the largest agency in the state, with more than 10,000 employees, expects to make up for $20 million in budget cuts by taking in 1,000 inmates from Pennsylvania sometime before February. Barry said he understands that the state needs the money, but he called Kaine's plan a "shell game'' because the state is simply shifting the burden to local governments. As of last week, he said, the Fairfax...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 29, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell asks U.S. for permission to drill off shore

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) recently sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to allow for the exploration of oil and gas off Virginia's coast. In the letter dated Dec. 23, McDonnell urged him to avoid any further delay in the lease, now scheduled for 2011. "It is time to develop our offshore energy resources to create new jobs and provide necessary new revenue for schools, roads, public safety and alternative energy research and development in Virginia,'' he wrote. "I respectfully request that you direct the U.S. Minerals Management Service to expedite its preparatory work in support of the lease sale in 2011. The leasing process should not be further delayed." McDonnell's letter comes months after outgoing Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) sent his own letter to Salazar earlier this year asking for a delay in drilling off the Virginia coast. The 25-year-old federal moratorium on energy...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 29, 2009; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Gilmore to lead conservative group

Former governor Jim Gilmore (R) announced in a fundraising letter this week that he has been elected president and chief executive officer of the conservative Free Congress Foundation in Washington. You may recognize Free Congress Foundation as the group founded by Paul Weyrich, the conservative activist who helped revive a once struggling Republican Party. Weyrich died in 2008 and the group has been searching for a leader. A 2008 Post article about Weyrich's death said the Free Congress Foundation "virtually invented the use of grass-roots direct-mail fundraising campaigns for conservative politicians and social causes." "There's no doubt that we need to aggressively respond to the liberal agenda currently dominating the political debate in our country. The Free Congress Foundation will do that,'' Gilmore wrote in his letter. "But it's not enough to focus solely on what we are against. It's not enough to say that government-run health care, cap-and-trade policies...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 29, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Gilmore III  
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Updated: McDonnell recommends new budget process

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell said today that he will try to revamp the state's budget process so that the governor who proposes a budget is able to follow it through. This year, for example, outgoing Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine introduced his two-year budget Dec. 18 with just 18 days left in his term as he is required to do. His budget will be altered by McDonnell, who submits changes just days after taking office. "Regardless of who is governor, or the political parties they represent, such an arrangement does not serve the public's best interest nor does it create a fiscally prudent planning process,'' McDonnell said in a statement. "It needs to be reformed."...

By Anita Kumar  |  December 28, 2009; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Brink, Colgan: Patrons of Kaine's lost causes

Bob Brink, the affable Democratic delegate from Arlington, was in Rhode Island with family on a pre-Christmas vacation a couple weeks ago when his cell phone rang. Gov. Tim Kaine was on the line. The outgoing Democratic governor wanted to know if Brink would sponor a bill to raise the income tax for him in the upcoming legislative session. Brink's response? Yes. Brink believes -- as Kaine does -- that scrapping the hated car tax and replacing it with an income tax is the right thing to do at the time of multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls. But, Brink said, he is pretty sure he knows the bill's fate. "I have a long history of patroning St. Jude bills -- bills of lost causes,'' Brink said....

By Anita Kumar  |  December 28, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  
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What you read: Top 10 blog posts of the year

It's been a busy year in Virginia politics and on this blog in particular. What topics got our readers most interested? Here, we present the top 10 best read Virginia Politics blog items of 2009, measured in page views. 1.) Palin: McDonnell Personally Asked for Help 2.) Nader Accuses McAuliffe of Suppressing Votes 3.) Cuccinelli Calls Obama's Nobel 'A Joke' 4.) Barry (Obama) From D.C. Asks the Governor on WTOP 5.) McDonnell Appears on FOX News Sunday...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 28, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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