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Virginia Politics Blog: June 6, 2010 - June 12, 2010

Cuccinelli to attend D.C. gay pride festival -- sort of

The Virginia Partisans will ask parade attendees to "kiss" a life-size cut out of the controversial attorney general in an event they are affectionately calling "Smooches for Cooch."

By Anita Kumar  | June 11, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Ken Cuccinelli  
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McDonnell names Diana Cantor head of Virginia Retirement System board

Gov. Bob McDonnell named Diana Cantor, the former head of the state's college savings plan, chairwoman of board of trustees of the Virginia Retirement System.

By Anita Kumar  | June 11, 2010; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Eric Cantor, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Va. actor to attend signing of film tax credit legislation

First Sissy Spacek, now Tim Reid? Okay, she's the Oscar-award winning star of "Carrie." But Reid appeared on "WKRP in Cincinnati" and "Sister, Sister." More recently, he has been directing a documentary called "Keepers of the Flame" about the Virginia State Capitol and the state's Democratic history, and will appear Monday with Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) as the governor signs two bills offering tax credits to Virginia movie-makers. Spacek came to Richmond to pitch the same idea with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and lawmakers during the legislative session. Reid, who founded New Millenium Studios in Petersburg, will join McDonnell for the event at Richmond's historic St. John's Church (where Patrick Henry delivered his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech. The church will also host a screening of the documentary....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 11, 2010; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell to replace Newman as head of Virginia National Guard

A spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is confirming that he will Friday morning appoint Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright as acting head of the Virginia National Guard, replacing Adjutant Gen. Robert B. Newman Jr., who had held the Guard's top job since 2006. The change was first reported by the Virginian-Pilot. In an announcement expected shortly, McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin indicated McDonnell will praise Newman as a dedicated public servant and not offer a reason for the switch. But Newman's reappointment has been in question since the Pilot reported last month that he had served on the board of a company run by a subordinate. Newman said the arrangement had been vetted by staff to Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who had named him to the post. Wright has been serving as the chief of staff of the Virginia Air National Guard. He first entered the Air Force in 1981....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 11, 2010; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. officials head to China on trade mission

Gov. Bob McDonnell's secretary of commerce and trade, Jim Cheng, is leading a five-person delegation on a trade mission to China. The group, on a trip organized by the Southern Governors' Association, meets with Chinese counterparts today and Friday. Cheng will also visit officials in Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan next month; Assistant Secretary of Commerce Peter Su will be in the region until June 22. In total, 39 representatives from nine states and territories representing the South are on the trip. Virginia's delegation includes Jeremy Stratton, director of Danville's economic development office; Keith Segerson, managing director of the Mason Enterprise Center at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University; and Richmond Dell, executive director at the Advanced Vehicle Research Center in Danville. The state will pay for Cheng and Su. Cheng's trip will cost $7,500 to $8,000, said Stacey Johnson, McDonnell's spokeswoman. She did not...

By Anita Kumar  | June 10, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Political implications to Episcopal Church court ruling

There's big news from the Virginia Supreme Court today, which Post religion writer Michelle Boorstein reports has sided with the Episcopal Church in its long-running dispute over church property with conservative breakaway congregations. It's a fascinating case that had the court parsing a 19th century law to determine whether the congregations had a fundamental division. The court's opinion potentially impacts millions of dollars in church property and could play a role in the national schism within the Episcopal Church over the consecration of gay bishops and the performing of same-sex marriages. (The justices remanded the case back to Fairfax Circuit Court.) The case and its surrounding issues is also one that has some long tentacles into the Virginia political world. As Attorney General, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in 2008 joined the case on the side of the breakaway congregations, defending the Virginia statute on church splits when the Church argued...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 10, 2010; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Still mum on endorsement, McKelvey starts PAC

Jim McKelvey took the next step of his electoral career Thursday, launching a political action committee less than 48 hours after he came in second in the 5th congressional district Republican primary.

By Ben Pershing  | June 10, 2010; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Jim McKelvey, Robert Hurt  
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Environmentalists plan offshore oil drilling protest on Virginia beaches

President Obama may have put an end to Virginia's immediate offshore drilling plans, but that hasn't stopped environmentalists from protesting any future possibility.

By Anita Kumar  | June 10, 2010; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, James Webb, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Conservative group targets Perriello for health vote

A conservative group is launching a new campaign against Rep. Tom Perriello, hitting the freshman Democrat for his vote in favor of health-care reform.

By Ben Pershing  | June 10, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Tom Perriello  
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Democrats quick to criticize McDonnell for raising money for Vermont candidate

This week, several of Vermont's Democratic candidates for governor were quick to criticize after McDonnell hosted a fundraiser for the state's lieutent governor, Brian Dubie, the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

By Anita Kumar  | June 10, 2010; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Boehner, Cantor, ACLJ among those joining Cuccinelli's health care fight

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and 26 other Congressional Republicans have signed an amicus brief filed by the American Center for Law and Justice supporting Virginia's legal case against the federal health care law. Filed in court Tuesday, lawyers for the ACLJ offer further legal arguments supporting Virginia's contention that Congress overstepped the bounds of its constitutional authority when it passed a law requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or face a fine. The group attempts to pick apart the federal government's claim that the individual mandate should be allowed under Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said the individual mandate "is just completely contrary to the constitutional framework."...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 9, 2010; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Eric Cantor, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. legislative leaders approve $5 million in savings this year

The divided General Assembly approved $3.3 million in savings for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30. Those savings are on top of $1.1 million and $560,000 that the House and Senate, respectively, returned to the general fund.

By Anita Kumar  | June 9, 2010; 3:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, State Senate  
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Will 5th district Republicans unite behind Robert Hurt?

Updated 4:11 p.m. With the dust still clearing from a bruising primary contest, Republicans in the 5th congressional district have begun the process of uniting to take on freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in the fall. But that task may be complicated by the uncertain plans of two candidates -- one independent and one GOP also-ran. State Sen. Robert Hurt secured the Republican nomination to face Perriello Tuesday, earning 48 percent of the vote against six opponents in the district that stretches from Charlottesville to the North Carolina border. Hurt won despite a fusillade of attacks on his record and ideological bona fides, as several of his challengers ganged up to allege that his 2004 vote for then-Gov. Mark Warner's (D) budget made him unfit for the Republican nod. As in Virginia's 2nd district and some other contests around the country this cycle, conservative activists and "tea party" groups were...

By Ben Pershing  | June 9, 2010; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Jim McKelvey, Robert Hurt  
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Va.'s Cantor fights for jet engine opposed by the Pentagon

Peter Galuszka, who blogs at Bacon's Rebellion, takes note of the fight by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), normally a critic of government spending, to keep some $485 million in a $567 billion defense appropriation bill to help provide the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with an alternative engine that the Pentagon doesn't want. The House voted to keep the money in the budget, and the matter is now up to the Senate. According to Galuszka, Lockheed-Martin, maker of the fighter that will replace the F-15, F-18 and F-16, has selected Pratt & Whitney (P&W) to make the engine to power the new aircraft. P&W, however, doesn't have big operations in Virginia, but Rolls-Royce North America does, and it wants to make an alternative engine for the F-35 with partner General Electric. The full story is on the Post's Local Blog Network....

By Peter Galuszka  | June 9, 2010; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Eric Cantor  
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Delegate wants government reform panel to study Fairfax ticket issue

A few days ago, Post reporter Tom Jackman filed a story about how Fairfax police have so far written 17,600 fewer traffic tickets this year than last, a drop that's being attributed to several factors but largely to a new and -- police say, cumbersome -- computerized ticket system. Part of the issue, police say, is that their patrol cars are not equipped with bar code scanners and printers that would speed the ticket-writing process. Should Gov. Bob McDonnell's government reform commission take up the issue? That's a proposal from Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax). On his blog, Surovell wrote earlier this week about a bill he sponsored that would have added a new $3 fee on tickets issued in Fairfax to help pay for the costs of the equipment. As Jackman related, that bill died during the General Assembly session. According to Surovell, the proposal died on a party-line vote...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 9, 2010; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Fimian wins in Fairfax race to face Connolly

Keith Fimian has won the GOP nomination for the U.S. House seat in Virginia's 11th district, setting up a rematch of the 2008 race between him and freshman Rep. Gerald Connolly (D).

By Ben Pershing  | June 8, 2010; 8:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010  
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UPDATE: McDonnell, Cuccinelli take part in last-minute primary pushes

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) have made last-minute pitches for their preferred candidates in today's Republican congressional primaries. McDonnell sent an e-mail to supporters in the 2nd district yesterday to remind them that he has endorsed his longtime friend Scott Rigell in the Virginia Beach primary. "I've known Scott personally for decades, and know that in Congress he will be a strong partner as we work together to cut out-of-control federal spending, create jobs, keep our military strong and bring accountability to Washington. Scott has solid business sense -- something we desperately need right now in our nation's leadership," McDonnell wrote in the e-mail, which was paid for by his political action committee Opportunity Virginia. The winner will face Democratic Rep. Glenn Nye in the fall. Meanwhile, Cuccinelli did an automated call to homes in Virginia's 11th district Monday evening, touting his endorsement of Keith...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 8, 2010; 4:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Glenn Nye, Keith Fimian, Ken Cuccinelli, Pat Herrity, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Scott Rigell, Tom Perriello  
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Calls for Congress to extend enhanced Medicaid money mount

Various groups are urging Congress to get into gear and pass an extension to enhanced Medicaid match rates, as the clock ticks toward the June 30 end of the fiscal year. In March, the Virginia General Assembly passed a budget that included deep cuts to health and human resources, but lawmakers assured the public the budget holes would be plugged once Congress approved the additional Medicaid dollars, known as the enhanced FMAP. But now months have gone by, and though leaders of both parties have expressed support for the increased Medicaid funding, it hasn't been approved. Without the additional dollars, thousands of low-income children and pregnant women will not be able to enroll in the the state's FAMIS health insurance program. And reimbursement rates for hospitals, nursing homes and other medical providers will be cut by 3 percent in the first year of the two-year budget and 4 percent in...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 8, 2010; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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UPDATED: Va., Md. sign off-shore wind energy agreement

Virginia is one of 10 Atlantic states that today signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Interior to form a consortium to promote the development of wind energy off the Atlantic coastline, in an agreement that brings together governors who have both supported and opposed the Obama administration's decision to halt future oil drilling.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 8, 2010; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  | Tags:  Environment, Oil and Gas, wind energy  
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On primary day, a weary Herrity shows up to work

Hand it to Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity -- he's showing up. Nursing what he called a "bad cold" and running on a few hours of sleep, Herrity (R-Springfield) was at the Fairfax County Government Center for Tuesday's regularly-scheduled board meeting on arguably the biggest day of his political career thus far -- a Republican primary race against Oakton businessman Keith Fimian in Virginia's 11th congressional district. Herrity submitted two board matters -- legislative items prepared by supervisors and their staffs -- but was noticeably green and hoarse. "Bad cold -- shook a few too many hands and had a few too hours of sleep," he wrote in an e-mail from the dais. It is expected to be a long day for the Republican supervisor (and not because of what is expected to be a tight race against Fimian). Herrity will vote with his 17-year-old son Sean (who will be...

By Derek Kravitz  | June 8, 2010; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Keith Fimian, Pat Herrity  
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ABC stores plan should be hashed out in public, Dems say

A proposal for privatizing state-run liquor stores, the signature initiative of Gov. Bob McDonnell's new government reform commission, will be drawn up not by the commission but by a separate workgroup meeting behind closed doors--to the concern of at least one member of the commission. In opening remarks to the 31-member commission Friday, McDonnell Deputy Policy Director Michael Reynold indicated that the workgroup would pull together the administration's proposal for how to go about selling the state's 350 ABC stores and would present it to the commission sometime soon. Presumably the commission would then review those plans before making a recommendation to the governor. Many Democrats have been skeptical of McDonnell's proposal to sell the stores to get cash for transportation improvements. McDonnell has said he believes the sale of the stores could bring in $500 million. But Democrats have said they believe that figure is inflated--and does not account...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 8, 2010; 9:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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What to watch for, Virginia primaries edition

From the North Carolina border to the suburbs of Washington, Virginians are voting today. Republican ones, anyway. As our colleagues at The Fix would say, here's what to watch for in the commonwealth: 1) The Basics. Of Virginia's 11 congressional districts, six have already picked their Republican nominees. The other five will be determined by today's primaries. (Democrats have picked all their nominees already.) Here's a list of how each district chooses their nominees. Here are all the candidates running in today's five Republican primaries. Self-plugs: Here's today's Washington Post setup story, focused on the 11th district, plus a graphic laying out all the races. Here's Sunday's story, focused on the Hampton Roads-based 2nd district, and here's an archive of this blog's coverage of congressional races this cycle. 2) Margins in the 2nd and 5th. There are two particularly crowded primaries on the ballot today -- the race to face...

By Ben Pershing  | June 8, 2010; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010  
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Cuccinelli tells reporters Virginia's "sovereign interest" violated by health care law

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) defended his suit against the federal health care law in a call with reporters this evening, a call designed to accompany today's filing in the case. Over the course of the call, he walked through the legal arguments of his brief, arguing Virginia has standing to sue and that the constitution's commerce clause does not give the Congress the ability to mandate that individuals buy health insurance. "A lot of people who think we're going to lose the case essentially boil down their expectation to, 'well, the federal government always wins these things.' And that's not necessarily true," Cuccinelli said, citing two major cases over the last 15 years in which the Supreme Court has set limits on the power of Congress under the Commerce clause....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 7, 2010; 7:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Saslaw: Democratic offense against Malek a 'mistake'

The division among Virginia Democrats about the best way to deal with Fred Malek, the chairman of the Gov. Bob McDonnell's new government reform commission, seems to have deepened. Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said today that that he was displeased that members of his own party, including Democratic Party of Virginia leadership in Richmond, are continuing to press complaints about Malek, calling it a "mistake" for the party. "I'm not interested in turning a political nickel on an anti-Semitic charge that in my opinion, and in many others in the Jewish community, is not valid," said Saslaw, who is one of a number of prominent Jews who have supported Malek. "It seems to me, as a party, we've got bigger things to do than this." As an aide to President Richard Nixon, Malek compiled a list of Jews working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has apologized...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 7, 2010; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Cuccinelli tells federal judge Virginia has standing, merit on its side in heatlh-care suit

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told a federal judge Monday that he should deny a request by the Obama administration to dismiss Cuccinelli's suit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care law. In a 41-page memorandum filed with the Eastern District of Virginia, attorneys for the Virginia attorney general argue that federal lawyers acting on behalf of Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius were off base when they argued that Virginia has no standing to sue over the law, and that Congress had the right to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance under its constitutional right to regulate interstate trade. At turns, the brief delves deeply into intricate legal arguments and then offers plain-spoken and harsh critiques of the political process that led to Congress' adoption of the health-care law. Of the health-care law, Virginia's lawyers write, "Cobbled together in secret, [it] was passed by the Senate, largely or...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 7, 2010; 5:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Cuccinelli PAC to host webcast on health-care suit

More than 1,000 people have signed up to listen in to a webcast hosted next week by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) to talk about his lawsuit against the federal health-care law, Cuccinelli political director Noah Wall said today. Wall said the event, modeled on a 2003 summit Cuccinelli held as a state senator to talk about ways to fund transportation improvements without tax increases, was likely to be the first of a series of Cuccinelli-hosted outings designed to let the controversial attorney general explain his positions in his own words. The hour-long June 16 event, which begins at 8 p.m., will feature live, streaming video of Cuccinelli answering questions e-mailed from participating viewers about the suit, in which he argued that the new law is unconstitutional. "He's always been the kind of person who wants to talk directly to the people who elected him, not just to his supporters...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 7, 2010; 1:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. Democratic Party presses concerns about Malek

The Democratic Party of Virginia Monday organized a call with reporters to, in the words of executive director David Mills, was "make the party's position clear, the Democratic position clear" on Fred Malek, chairman of Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) government reform commission. Del. David Englin (D-Alexandria) and Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) told reporters they believe that Malek, a national Republican donor and activist heading McDonnell's panel to simplify government, has not adequately apologized for his actions as an aide to President Richard Nixon in 1971. Yes, he's repeatedly apologized for compiling a list of employees of the Bureau of Labor Statistics whom he believed were Jewish, at Nixon's request. But documents released in recent years show Malek was also involved with demoting and transferring some of those employees, something Malek specifically denied in a 1988 interview. "I think if he was willing to admit the full extent of what he...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | June 7, 2010; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McDonnell raising money for GOP candidates in Vermont, Maryland

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will spend the day raising money for Republican candidates for governor in Maryland and Vermont.

By Anita Kumar  | June 7, 2010; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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