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Virginia Politics Blog: January 10, 2010 - January 16, 2010

Virginia Tea Party leaders want Virgil Goode to run again

Tea Party activists in Virginia's 5th Congressional District have asked former congressman Virgil Goode to consider jumping into the race to block Republican Robert Hurt's nomination. Goode, who lost the seat in 2008 by fewer than 1,000 votes to Democrat Tom Perriello, was unavailable for comment this evening. But Tea Party activists said they met for several hours today to figure out how to block Hurt, a state senator backed by national Republicans but not viewed as sufficiently conservative by others -- and drafting Goode was a major piece of the discussion. Mark Lloyd, who leads the Lynchburg Tea Party organization, said he has spoken to Goode about getting into the Republican primary, a scenario that Lloyd described as "one option" to ensure the nomination of a sufficiently conservative candidate. The first option, however, will be to try to persuade the six other Republicans vying against Hurt for the nomination...

By Amy Gardner  | January 16, 2010; 8:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Images of the Virginia Inauguration

Here are some pictures of today's Inauguration of Gov. Bob McDonnell from the Post's Tracy Woodward. More photos will be posted in this galllery....

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 16, 2010; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell  
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Fairfax-based Haiti rescuers help save 14, experience 'minor dehydration'

A second Fairfax County rescue unit arrived in Haiti early Friday and has been involved in the rescue of at least 14 people, officials said. Virginia Task Force 1, Fairfax County's Urban Search and Rescue Team, arrived at 3 a.m. Friday at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The rescue unit consists of 42 people and a search dog, said Fairfax County Assistant Fire Chief David. L. Rohr. So far, those rescue workers have rescued eight victims at United Nations headquarters, Hotel Montana in PĂ©tionville and the University of Port-au-Prince (photo), Rohr said. The team has assisted in six additional rescues with foreign search-and-rescue teams. Rohr said some team members have experienced "some minor dehydration issues," but otherwise have high spirits. During operations, the Fairfax teams have been accompanied by locals; "This helps when explaining our operations to citizens or victims in the area we are working," Rohr said. A 72-person...

By Derek Kravitz  | January 16, 2010; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County  
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McDonnell signs first two executive orders: jobs, government reform

As his first act in office, Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed two executive orders. The first designates Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to serve as Virginia's Chief Job Creation Officer and creates a Job Creation Commission, a council that will include Bolling, the state's commerce secretary and 50 citizens representing a cross section of Virginia industry. The second order creates a "Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring," composed of 20 citizens who will write a report by July 16 suggesting ways to streamline government and make it more efficient. The order notes that three members of the Virginia House of Delegates and two members of the Virginia Senate will be invited to serve as commission members as well. The orders represent a departure from the previous governor. Democrat Timothy M. Kaine's first executive order banned discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation, from the state workforce. "It's entirely appropriate...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 16, 2010; 3:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Live blog: The Inauguration of Robert F. McDonnell

Welcome, Virginians. Today we will be live blogging the fesitivities surrounding the Inauguration of the commonwealth's 71ist governor, Robert Francis McDonnell. At a recent news conference, McDonnell promised reporters the weather would be 75 and sunny for the event. It's not quite that warm, but it is a lovely mild winter day. Please stay with us for the next 90 minutes for all the latest from Richmond. 11:31 a.m.: We just ran into chairman of the Republican National Committee, as he strolled into the Capitol building, designed by Thomas Jefferson, for today's events. Of McDonnell's win, Michael Steele said: "I think it speaks to how principled candidates who are running grassroots campaigns can connect with people and lay out the argument for their policies and the differences between the directions they would like to lead the state and country and the direction Democrats would like to go in. I think...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 16, 2010; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Robertson a guest at McDonnell Inauguration breakfast

For those wondering if controversial Rev. Pat Robertson would be in attendence at today's Inauguration of Gov. Bob McDonnell, we've got an answer: Yes, indeed. Here he is at the first event of the day, a prayer breakfast held this morning at the Richmond Marriott, being greeted by Dr. Steve Long of Richmond. However, according to McDonnell's aides, Robertson has not been given the honor of an invitation to sit behind McDonnell on the portico of the Capitol during the swearing-in. Despite McDonnell's long time friendship with the Virginia Beach televanglist, this marks a departure from the Inauguration of Virginia's last Republican governor, when Robertson was seated not far behind incoming Gov. Jim Gilmore. He also attended the inauguration of Gov. George Allen in 1994. McDonnell has known Robertson for more than 20 years, since the incoming governor attended the law school founded by the minister. Robertson has, of course,...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 16, 2010; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Timothy M. Kaine  
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UPDATED: Prominent Virginians descend on Richmond for McDonnell inauguration

Republican Bob McDonnell will take the oath of office around noon today in front of a crowd of thousands outside the historic state Capitol. All of Virginia's living governors except for one are expected to attended -- Tim Kaine (2006-2010), Jim Gilmore (1998-2002), George Allen (1994-1998), Doug Wilder (1990-1994), Gerald Baliles (1986-1990), Chuck Robb (1982-1986) and Linwood Holton (1970- 1974). Only Mark Warner (2002-2006), now a U.S. senator, will be absent, due to a "family medical issue,'' spokesman Kevin Hall said. Warner called McDonnell Wednesday to wish him well, Hall said. Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, former U.S. Sen. John Warner and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley also will be on hand. Kaine and O'Malley worked together frequently so it's a bit of a surprise that the Democratic governor to the north would travel to Richmond to attend a Republican inauguration when O'Malleyhelped raise money for McDonnell's Democratic opponent, state Sen....

By Anita Kumar  | January 16, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Creigh Deeds, George F. Allen, James Webb, Ken Cuccinelli, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell, Timothy M. Kaine  
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The Virginia inaugural dilemma: gloves or no gloves?

A fun tidbit to watch for at today's Inaugural festivities: Will the inaugurees be wearing the traditional gloves with their traditional grey morning suits? Attorney-gen.-elect Ken Cuccinelli told us recently that he, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling had made a pact to ditch the gloves. But when we asked the gov-elect's office about the departure from the norm, we were told, no no, McDonnell would be wearing the gloves, as normal. So we went back to Cuccinelli at his recent appearance to announce that he would be donating Inaugural funds to Richmond charity Daily Planet, and asked him about his gloves plan again. He was emphatic: "I'm not wearing any white gloves. It will not happen." (The gloves were apparently blue in 2005, but you get the idea.)...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 16, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Poll: What should McDonnell's top priority be?

By Washington Post Editors  | January 16, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags:  Bob McDonnell, Virginia  
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Kaine moves out of governor's mansion, McDonnell prepares to move in

Outgoing Gov. Tim Kaine quietly moved out of the Executive Mansion Jan. 7 to allow state workers to spend a week sprucing up the place for Virginia's new first family. Today, workers were busy moving the McDonnells' items into the mansion in time for their arrival tomorrow following Bob McDonnell's inauguration. A moving truck was parked in the driveway while furniture and boxes were hauled inside. The Kaines -- including First Lady Anne Holton and their three children -- moved back to their family home in Richmond's Ginter Park neighborhood. But Kaine returned to the mansion for one more night on Wednesday after giving his final speech to a joint session of the General Assembly at the nearby state Capitol. He invited legislators to a reception to the mansion afterward and stayed overnight. Kaine and Holton shared a tearful goodbye with staffers at an office party at the Patrick Henry...

By Anita Kumar  | January 15, 2010; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Timothy M. Kaine  
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UPDATED: Several McDonnell cabinet nominees serve on their own boards

Last week, Virginia's incoming governor, McDonnell announced that he will allow all his Cabinet secretaries to serve on corporate boards, as a way to defend his new secretary of commerce and trade, Robert Sledd, who has been under fire for sitting for sitting on three corporate boards. So today -- the day most of McDonnell's Cabinet secretaries were required to file their statement of economic interest forms with the state -- we thought we would take a look at whether any of them besides Sledd actually serve on boards. Three of them -- Jim Duffy (technology), Doug Domenech (natural resources) and Janet Polarek (commonwealth) -- serve on boards of their own consulting firms, though presumably they will be resigning from them when they officially take office next week....

By Anita Kumar  | January 15, 2010; 6:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATED: Kaine will not issue blanket restoration of felon voting rights

On his last day in office, Gov. Tim Kaine will not issue an order for blanket restoration of voting rights for Virginia felons. Virginia is one of only two states that require action by the governor to restore the rights of felons after they have completed their sentences. The ACLU and others had been urging Kaine to issue an executive order on his way out the door restoring the ability to vote to all those who lost it through a felony conviction but had fully repaid their debt to society. In a letter sent to the ACLU's executive director today, Kaine reiterated his longstanding opinion on the issue: He supports changing Virginia law to prevent a felony conviction from resulting in premanent disenfranchisement and he backs restoring rights to as many people as possible. But he believes the constitution bars him from issuing a blanket restoration of rights and, instead,...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 15, 2010; 5:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell names Hazel health secretary

Talk about waiting for the last minute. Just hours before his inauguration, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) named respected orthopedic surgeon Bill Hazel as his secretary of health and human resources. Hazel was the last Cabinet secretary to be named, and the only one to not get his own news conference. McDonnell postponed making his announcement several times. "Dr. Bill Hazel is not only a successful physician, but also a successful businessman,'' McDonnell said in a statement. "With skyrocketing health care costs and a growing number of people in need in today's tough economy, this is the type of leader and innovator we need in Richmond; someone who not only understands the medical side of the job, but also how to best provide much needed services to the people of Virginia." Hazel serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association and is the former president for both the...

By Anita Kumar  | January 15, 2010; 4:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Governor-elect McDonnell sides with Patrick Henry on question of liberty

RICHMOND, March 1775 -- Robert F. McDonnell, the soon-to-be 71st governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, threw in his lot with traitors to the English crown yesterday, just moments after fellow Virginian patriot Patrick Henry delivered a rousing speech that concluded: "I know not what others may do. But as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Republican governor-elect McDonnell voted for Henry's fiery resolution to put the colony of Virginia into a state of military readiness. McDonnell, 55, just hours from taking the oath of office, also donned a tricorner hat, hefted a walking stick and struck an elegant colonial pose with his best foot forward--much to the delight of the American Revolution reenactors and perhaps to the greater delight of photographers and news crews eager for color on the eve of his inauguration. It was a light-hearted moment on Friday afternoon following a stirring reenactment of...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 15, 2010; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Bill Bolling, Fredrick Kunkle, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Cantor gives Hurt a boost in Virginia 5th congressional district primary

House Minority Whip Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) has donated $7,000 to the congressional campaign of State Sen. Robert Hurt through his leadership PAC and campaign committee, unleashing a storm of protest from conservative activists in Virginia's 5th District. Hurt is competing with six others for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, the Democrat from Albemarle County who defeated Virgil Goode in 2008 by fewer than 1,000 votes. But before Republicans can unite to take on Perriello, they're spending some time fighting amongst themselves about who is the truest conservative. Hurt has name recognition and the backing of national Republicans, but he is viewed with suspicion by at least four active TEA Party organizations active in the 5th District....

By Amy Gardner  | January 15, 2010; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Amy Gardner, Debates, Election 2010, Eric Cantor, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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McDonnell inauguration: Live coverage tomorrow

UPDATE: We will have live streaming video of the events, courtesy of our friends at News Channel 8. Original Post: On Saturday shortly after noon, Robert F. McDonnell will be sworn in as the next governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Come back to washingtonpost.com for live blogging from the event, an updated photo gallery and more. For a closer look at Virginia inaugurations through the years, see this timeline....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 15, 2010; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Election 2009, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Democrats reshuffle committees in Virginia Senate

Democrats in the Virginia Senate will be exercising their newly enlarged majority through committee assignments that will be announced soon. According to a Democratic source, the Steering Committee, a group of senators responsible for committee assignments, will not be replacing former Republican Sen. Ken Stolle on the powerful Finance Committee. Stolle resigned his seat after he was elected sheriff of Virginia Beach in November and was succeeded by Sen. Jeff McWaters, elected Tuesday in a special election. Instead, the chamber's most important committee, will be allowed to drop from 16 members to 15. That means GOP representation on the committee will decrease from 7 of 16 members to 6 of 15. There will be two new Democrats on the Courts of Justice Committee. Stolle is being replaced there by a Democrat. So is former Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, who resigned after he was elected state attorney general in November. Democratic Sen....

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 15, 2010; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Creigh Deeds, General Assembly 2010, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McDonnell will name health secretary today

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell told us yesterday that he will name his final Cabinet pick this morning -- this one for secretary for health and human resources. For weeks, all of Richmond has been fixated on the same half dozen names, but most speculation has been focused on Northern Virginia orthopedic surgeon Bill Hazel; Paul Conway, former deputy secretary of health and human resources under George Allen and chief of staff for the director of Office of Personnel and Managament in the Bush White House, and Jack Lanier, who taught epidemiology and community health at VCU and was chairman of the Virginia State Board of Health. But in recent days, sources have told us that Lanier no longer is a candidate because of concerns about his wife's lobbying on the health care industry. McDonnell will be inaugurated Saturday. All but two Cabinet secretaries -- secretary of the commonwealth and assistant to...

By Anita Kumar  | January 15, 2010; 8:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Despite disagreement on Haiti, Robertson remains invited to McDonnell inaugural

A spokesman for Virginia Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell says McDonnell disagrees with remarks by his longtime friend Pat Robertson about the recent Haiti earthquake, but Robertson remains invited to McDonnell's Saturday Inauguration. "The Governor-elect disagrees with the comments that were made," said spokesman Tucker Martin. "The scope of the natural disaster and the suffering of the people of Haiti is heartbreaking. His church, St. Michaels in Glen Allen, has a sister church, St. Jean-Baptiste parish in Dos-Palais, Haiti, and parishioners regularly minister there. The Governor-elect's thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti. He encourages all Virginians to donate to the Red Cross and the other relief organizations coordinating the humanitarian response to this devastating tragedy." On his 700 Club television show Tuesday, Robertson attributed the earthquake to Haiti's "pact with the devil" that allowed the country to overthrow the French but resulted in their being "cursed" ever since. Robertson...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 14, 2010; 4:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Key Virginia senator says Democrats have votes to block Sledd

Senate Democrats now have the votes to block the confirmation of Robert Sledd as Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell's Secretary of Commerce and Trade, if he does not step down from three corporate boards on which he sits, Sen. Janet Howell said this morning. Howell (D-Fairfax) chairs the key Privileges and Elections committee, which will consider Sledd's nomination first. "If he leaves the boards, I expect he will be confirmed," she said. "But if he does not, I know he will not be confirmed. "The governor's people would like Mr. Sledd to be in the cabinet. And we're quite convinced there is a serious conflict of interest, and there will not be the votes to confirm him," she added. In an interview this morning, McDonnell said he is confident the respected business leader will be confirmed and that Virginia needs someone with Sledd's background as its job creator in chief. But he...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 14, 2010; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McCartney: Kaine defends transportation record, work for Obama

Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames. I quoted Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine in my column Thursday about his legacy as he prepares to step down Saturday after four years in office, but I didn't have nearly enough space to include everything he said in an interview Tuesday. He talked then about his record on transportation, his controversial decision to take the job as Democratic National Committee Chairman, and the future of the party in Virginia. Since I hate to see work go unused, here are some highlights from the telephone interview: On transportation: Kaine defended himself against criticism, including from me, that he didn't do enough to win over Republicans to get a deal to raise revenue for roads. "I did plenty of schmoozing and horse trading. I will grant that people probably wanted more courting," he said. He said he wrote a birthday card by hand to every legislator every...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 14, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Creigh Deeds, Election 2009, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Fairfax workers in Haiti rescue man from rubble; feds footing bill

Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames. Fairfax County rescue workers in Haiti using listening devices, cameras, saws and jackhammers pulled a man from the rubble early Thursday, said Dan Schmidt, spokesman for the county's fire and rescue department. Members of the 72-person team, which landed at Port-au-Prince Airport on Wednesday, located and pulled a United Nations security officer from a "massive rubble pile," county officials said in a statement. Schmidt said the man, who was Estonian, "was able to walk out on his own." "That's a real morale booster for the members of the team," Schmidt said. "That's what the mission is: The mission is to save lives. And that's exactly what they were able to do." The federal government -- specifically, the United States Agency for International Development -- is footing the Fairfax team's bill, Schmidt said. Jeremy Lasich, spokesman for the county, said that Fairfax's contribution might not have...

By Washington Post Editors  | January 14, 2010; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fairfax County  
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Legislators prepare to challenge Sledd's confirmation

Five Democrats -- as well as two Republicans -- who serve on the committee that will vote first on incoming governor Robert Sledd's confirmation for commerce and trade sercretary said they have concerns that his service on corporate boards could create conflicts of interest. As we told you earlier, chairwoman Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) said she would vote against Sledd's appointment unless he steps down from the boards of three large, global companies: tobacco giant Universal Corp.; Owens & Minor, a medical supply company; and Pool Corp., a wholesaler of swimming pool and spa equipment. "The public thinks we're all corrupt anyway," she said. "This just feeds that image." Now, Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax), also on the 14-member privileges and elections committee, says he "certainly could not commit to vote for anyone who is serving on private boards while serving as a Cabinet-level appointee." And Sen. John S....

By Anita Kumar  | January 14, 2010; 7:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Kaine's farewell speech

Gov. Tim Kaine said goodbye to legislators tonight in a sometimes emotional, but brief speech at a joint session of the General Assembly. He got a warm and extended applause. First Lady Anne Holton was seated in the upstairs gallery. House Speaker Bill Howell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling were behind him while Attorney General Bill Mims, Kaine's Cabinet and the Supreme Court justices were in the chamber. In valedictory speech, Kaine hailed the most significant accomplishments of his term: a ban on smoking in most bars and restaurants; millions of dollars set aside to clean up the Chesapeake Bay; and more than 400,000 acres of open space placed into preservation, an area the size of Virginia's Eastern Shore. But he also said the state faces major struggles, particularly a gridlocked transportation network and a higher education system suffering from years of state budget cuts. Legally barred from seeking...

By Anita Kumar  | January 13, 2010; 8:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Watch Tim Kaine's last speech as Virginia governor

Outgoing governor and ongoing Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine will give his last state of the Commonwealth speech at 7 p.m. ET. The speech will be streamed on washingtonpost.com; we'll provide the full text of his comments later. Today's paper had a piece by Post reporter Anita Kumar examining Kaine's legacy. We also have a photo gallery from the governor's term and a transcript of his discussion this morning with washingtonpost.com readers. UPDATE: Read the prepared text of Tim Kaine's final speech below the jump....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 13, 2010; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Timothy M. Kaine  
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Marsden's win a blow for Herrity

Timing is everything. And Fairfax County Supervisor Pat S. Herrity seems to have picked the wrong day to announce that he is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly. Herrity was probably thinking how perfect it would be to crow about Republican Steve Hunt's victory over David Marsden in Tuesday's special election to fill Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's old state Senate seat in western Fairfax County. He was probably also thinking that he'd be able to talk about his own contributions to the victory and point to the fine Republican margins in the precincts that overlap his own Springfield district, the 37th Senate District and the 11th Congressional District. Whoops. Not only did Hunt lose, but he lost the vote in the area of the 37th that overlaps with both Springfield and Connolly's 11th Congressional District -- an area where Herrity would need to perform strongly...

By Amy Gardner  | January 13, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly  
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McCartney: How Fairfax Democrats won

Northern Virginia Democrats proved this columnist wrong Tuesday, winning an important special election for a Senate seat in southwestern Fairfax after I predicted in early December that the GOP would retain the seat. Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D) relished teasing me about it in a phone interview Wednesday morning: "You want bearnaise sauce with that crow?" he asked. In my defense, I was careful to hedge my prediction in the Dec. 3 column, saying only that "for now" I bet that Republican former school board member Steve Hunt would defeat Democratic Burke delegate Dave Marsden. At the time, the Republicans were energized about their landslide victories in the November statewide elections, and liberal Democrats were lukewarm about Marsden, a moderate who used to be a Republican. Marsden won narrowly, though, and Saslaw offered some explanations for how the Democrats turned it around. First and foremost, he said, "A good...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 13, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Herrity confirms race against U.S. Rep. Connolly

Fairfax County Supervisor Pat S. Herrity (R-Springfield) said Wednesday he will seek the Republican nomination against first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), as Republicans and Democrats in Northern Virginia begin to ramp up efforts for the contest.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 13, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Derek Kravitz, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly  
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Kaine takes reader questions on transition, shooting lawsuit, more

Earlier today, Tim Kaine, Democratic governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee answered questions from Post readers and discussed his political legacy. Excerpts follow; read the full discussion transcript. Reston, Va.: Governor, thank you for your service! Will a final part of your legacy include restoring the voting rights of felons who have paid their debt to society and seek to regain their full place in the community? Gov. Tim Kaine: I have used the executive clemency powers tor restore voting rights for more than 4,400 Virginians. That is by far the most rights restorations that any Virginia governor has done. Some have asked me to issue a blanket order restoring voting rights for an unknown number of unnamed individuals who have not applied to have their voting rights restored. While I am still wrestling with this request, I have some concerns whether it would be a...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 13, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Timothy M. Kaine  
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Opening day kicks off with appeal for help from above

As Virginia's General Assembly prepared to open its regular session Wednesday, outgoing Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and incoming Gov.-elect Robert F. McDonnell joined with other members of Virginia's political firmament in leading more than 1,000 early risers in prayer at the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast at the Richmond Convention Center. With Lt. Gov. William T. Bolling presiding, members of the Virginia Military Institute Glee Club sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and prayers were offered on behalf of the U.S. armed forces, the judiciary, lawmakers, young people, people in need, and crime victims. NFL Hall of Famer Art Monk, the keynote speaker, received a standing ovation after relating his personal story of religious transformation, and House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell read Bible passages. Several speakers alluded to the difficulties ahead as the state confronts staggering budget deficits and an economy struggling to recuperate from the worst downturn since...

By Anita Kumar  | January 13, 2010; 9:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Bolling, Robert F. McDonnell, Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell, legislators volunteer at foodbank

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) brings his inaugural day festivities to the capital city today -- the same day the General Assembly convenes its 60-day session. This afternoon, McDonnell and a slew of legislators will volunteer at the Central Virginia Food Bank. Scheduled to volunteer with him are members of both parties and both chambers: Sens. Charles Colgan and Tommy Norment, House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong and Dels. Bob Brink, Scott Garrett, Charniele Herring, Chris Peace and his wife, and Del. Rich Anderson's wife, Ruth. A last-minute addition: Sen-elect Dave Marsden and his wife, Julia. McDonnell began traveling the state last week as part of a week-long celebration leading up to his inauguration as the 71st governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia Saturday. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli-elect (R) will also be sworn in. McDonnell's swearing in will be streamed live...

By Anita Kumar  | January 13, 2010; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Reactions to Marsden's stunning victory

Virginia's incoming governor Bob McDonnell (R) congratulated Virginia's newest senator Dave Marsden (D) tonight on his upset against Steve Hunt (R) in Fairfax County. "I look forward to continuing to work with him in the years ahead in his new capacity,'' McDonnell said. "In these tough economic times, Virginians need leaders in Richmond who will work together to create new jobs and more opportunities. While we may not agree on every issue, I know that Dave and I share a commitment to making this a better Virginia for all our citizens." Marsden will be sworn in tomorrow at noon when the General Assembly convenes its 60-day session. His victory leaves Democrats with a solid two-seat advantage in the Senate, 22-18. Earlier, C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said the victory sends "a clear message: Virginians want moderate, bipartisan leadership that keeps our Commonwealth the best state...

By Anita Kumar  | January 12, 2010; 10:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Democrats claim Cuccinelli's seat in Virginia Senate

Defying recent voting trends that saw several Northern Virginia Republicans win big in November, Del. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax) won a special election Tuesday night to represent a broad swath of southwestern Fairfax County in the Virginia Senate. He beat Republican Stephen M. "Steve" Hunt, a former Fairfax County School Board member. The results were to be certified late Tuesday night by the Fairfax County Electoral Board and Marsden is expected to be sworn in with the Senate's 39 other legislators at noon Wednesday. The seat was vacated when Republican Ken Cuccinelli was elected Attorney General in November. Read the full article. -- Derek Kravitz...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 12, 2010; 9:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Election 2010, Fairfax County, General Assembly 2010, Ken Cuccinelli, State Senate  
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McDonnell will not submit a substitute budget

Virginia's incoming governor Bob McDonnell (R) has decided not to submit a revised two-year budget to the General Assembly -- as is the normal practice even when the same party remains in power. Instead, McDonnell will submit a series of budget amendments as well as inform lawmakers of his priorities, his office said today. He may do that as early as next week. McDonnell has already said he disagreed with outgoing Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine's budget proposal to replace the long-hated car tax with an income tax increase. But McDonnell has also said he does not have enough time to re-write the entire budget. "The Governor-elect will work with the House and Senate money committee leadership to ensure that his priority initiatives like job creation and economic development are included in the budget amendment process," spokeswoman Taylor Thornley said. Kaine introduced his two-year budget Dec. 18 with just 18 days...

By Anita Kumar  | January 12, 2010; 5:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Cuccinelli defends AG office hiring

Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli this morning responded directly to criticisms from advocate advocate Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, who was Virginia's first female chief deputy attorney general, complaining that Cuccinelli has appointed fewer women to management positions than any other AG in recent memory. (Cuccinelli's office will be the first since 1982 that does not have a woman serving as a deputy attorney general.) "Claire's ability to run her mouth helped get us votes," Cuccinelli said of Gastanaga, who was long been a political opponent of Cuccinelli. For instance, Gastanaga ran the unsuccessful campaign that urged voters to reject the amendment to Virginia's constitution banning gay marriage. "She scared the bejeesus out of enough people about what would happen if Steve Shannon were elected attorney general." Shannon was Cuccinelli's Democratic opponent. Cuccinelli went on to note that he's had women in top leadership positions on his campaigns and that he found many...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 12, 2010; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Got questions for Kaine? Ask him online tomorrow.

Tim Kaine, Democratic governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Comnmittee, will be online Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. ET to discuss his political legacy as he moves out from the state capital of Richmond and Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) moves in, plus his plans for the Democrats in the midterm elections. Submit your questions and comments ahead of the discussion and tune in tomorrow for Kaine's answers....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 12, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Cuccinelli will pursue mental health reforms

Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli announced today that he will pursue a series of changes to Virginia's mental health system when the legislature convenes tomorrow. They include allowing law students to represent families seeking to have loved ones committed for mental health treatment, giving doctors flexibility to seek court-ordered out-patient as well as in-patient treatment, and better integration of local jails with mental health resources. Cuccinelli's announcement came as he also announced that he is raising $100,000 through his inaugural political action committee to donate to the Daily Planet, a Richmond-based facility that offers medical and other services to the city's homeless population. A Daily Planet official said the charity served 6,000 people last year but its patient load has doubled this year. The non-profit hopes to more than double Cuccinelli's donation by seeking matching grants. Cuccinelli, like Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell, said he is hoping to celebrate his Inauguration with toned...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 12, 2010; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Checklist for the 37th state Senate voter

Here's some final notes about Tuesday's 37th state Senate race between Stephen M. "Steve" Hunt, a Republican former Fairfax County School Board member, and Del. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax): Both candidates have raised at least $650,000 in this race, which could help tilt the balance of power in the Virginia Senate. Most of those donations have been in-kind contributions from the respective candidate's political party, including paid staffers, advertisements and office space. Hunt's major endorsements: -- Fairfax Coalition of Police -- Fairfax Deputy Sheriff's Coalition -- National Rifle Association Hunt will vote at 6 a.m. Tuesday at Living Savior Lutheran Church in Fairfax Station. Throughout the day, you might catch him at precincts in Springfield before Hunt heads to his Election Night party at Glory Days Grill in Centreville. Marsden's major endorsements: -- League of Conservation Voters -- Sierra Club -- Fairfax Local Firefighters and Paramedics No. 2068 -- Fairfax...

By Derek Kravitz  | January 12, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  State Senate  
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McDonnell names ed secretary, other appointments

As we told you he would, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) named Gerard Robinson, a nationally known advocate for school choice and charter schools, as his education secretary this morning. McDonnell also announced a slew of other appointments at a morning news conference at the state Capitol, including naming former state Sen. Jeannemarie Davis (and wife of former congressman Tom Davis) as the director of governor's office in Washington that coordinates with the federal government and former congresswoman Thelma Drake as director of the Virginia department of rail and public transportation. Other appointments include: J. Jasen Eige: Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Governor John Buckovich: Deputy Secretary of Public Safety James S. Cheng: Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Charles James: Deputy Secretary of Administration Maureen Matsen: Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources David Paylor: Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Read the full press release here....

By Anita Kumar  | January 12, 2010; 11:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Griffith considers challenging Boucher

Republican H. Morgan Griffith, majority leader in the House of Delegates, said tonight that he is considering challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher in southwest Virginia's 9th District. Griffith said he's a long way from a decision, and he would not step in if a "stronger candidate" emerges. But, he said: "It's very tempting. Someone needs to run against Rick Boucher." Griffith proceeded to rattle off grievances with Boucher's voting record, particularly in the past year, when Boucher voted in favor of imposing stricter emissions limits that are unpopular in the coalfields of far southwest Virginia. Griffith swore he hasn't given a congressional bid much thought yet, but boy, he sure sounded like a candidate. "I cannot believe Boucher's lost touch with his district to such an extent that he would vote for cap and trade," Griffith said. "Do you really represent Norton anymore? Do you really represent Bluefield? Do...

By Amy Gardner  | January 11, 2010; 7:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Rick Boucher  
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UPDATED: Key committee chairwoman will vote against McDonnell nominee

Democratic Sen. Janet Howell (Fairfax), who chairs the Senate committee that considers gubernatorial appointments, said this evening that she will vote against the confirmation of Robert Sledd, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell's pick for commerce secretary, unless Sledd steps down from three corporate boards on which he serves. McDonnell has said he has no problem with Sledd's service on the boards of a tobacco company, a medical supplies distributor and a pool equipment company, and does not believe Sledd would face conflicts of interest due to the dual role. Sledd, a respected businessman who successfully grew his own company, has also said he gives his salary from the boards to charity. But Howell said she believes the unusual arrangement would in fact create a conflict, or at least the perception of a conflict, in the eyes of the public. "The public thinks we're all corrupt anyway," she said. "This just feeds that...

By Rosalind Helderman  | January 11, 2010; 6:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell to announce Robinson education secretary

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell is expected to name a nationally known educator and advocate for school choice and charter schools his education secretary tomorrow, sources tell us. Gerard Robinson is president of the Washington-based Black Alliance for Education Options, which works to increase access to charter and private education for black families. Robinson did not return a call for comment this afternoon. McDonnell pledged to expand charter schools in Virginia during his campaign against Democrat Creigh Deeds, and he expects to make education one of his priorities during his first session. McDonnell has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. tomorrow at the state Capitol to announce Robinson and other appointments. He is not expected to announce his final secretary -- health and human resources....

By Anita Kumar  | January 11, 2010; 5:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Bryant latest to join McGuire Woods

McGuire Woods is ramping up. First, the giant lobbying and law firm hired former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore and Christopher Nolen, former chief counsel to the attorney general. Now, word has come down that Preston Bryant, secretary of natural resources to Gov. Tim Kaine and a former Republican legislator, will join the firm after he leaves the governor's office Saturday. Bryant will work primarily in the area of economic development, sources tell us. Kilgore started work today as a senior adviser, working with state attorneys general, governors and other officials outside Virginia. Nolen is a senior vice president for state government relations, assisting clients with Virginia lobbying efforts and regulatory issues. The giant firm has close ties to Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell. Nolen replaces Eric Finkbeiner, who will become a senior adviser for policy to McDonnell....

By Anita Kumar  | January 11, 2010; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Legislators rush to raise money

Legislators are scrambling to raise as much money as possible in the next couple days before the start of Wednesday's legislative session. Virginia law prohibits them from fundraising during their 60-day legislative session, but they make up for it in the days before they convene. Virginia's ban applies to the governor and other statewide elected officials as well as legislators. At least seven events are slated for today, including two hosted by House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R) and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D). Hundreds are expected to attend House Speaker Bill Howell's annual "night before session reception" at the post Jefferson Hotel tomorrow night. The Senate Democratic Caucus will hold a breakfast reception at the SunTrust building downtown, where tickets cost $500 to $12,000. Del. Tim Hugo (R) and Sen. Steve Martin (R) also have fundraisers scheduled for tomorrow. Del. Adam Ebbin (D) sent out a fundraising letter...

By Anita Kumar  | January 11, 2010; 11:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, State Senate  
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1,100 votes so far in 37th Senate race

The single best indicator of who will win the 37th state Senate race in southwestern Fairfax County on Tuesday will likely be voter turnout. While both parties are hoping for a strong showing among their faithful, comparatively high turnouts in Fairfax's last two special elections, in February and March of last year, made for close finishes. The 37th, which includes Chantilly and Centreville and parts of Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Burke and Springfield, has historically leaned Republican. And Gov.-elect Robert F. McDonnell (R) won the district in November over state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath). Both parties are supplying Del. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax) and Stephen M. "Steve" Hunt, a Republican former Fairfax County School Board member, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, paid staffers and ads. But on Tuesday, it will simply depend on who shows up. As of the end of Saturday, the Fairfax County Registrar's office...

By Derek Kravitz  | January 10, 2010; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  State Senate  
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