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Virginia Politics Blog: July 11, 2010 - July 17, 2010

Democrats hold wide cash leads in all four competitive Va. House races

Virginia's four potentially vulnerable Democratic members of Congress all have commanding financial leads over their opponents, giving them a key strategic advantage as they battle anti-incumbent headwinds between now and November.

By Ben Pershing  | July 16, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Glenn Nye, Keith Fimian, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher, Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell, Tom Perriello  
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Not yet a candidate, George Allen raises money like one

He may not be formally running for office at the moment, but former Sen. George Allen (R) posted impressive fundraising totals for the reporting period ending June 30. According to records filed with the Federal Election Commission, Allen's political action committee Good Government for America collected $314,595 from April 1 to June 30. After spending $86,458 during the period, the committee ended the period with $252,074 in the bank.

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 16, 2010; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  George F. Allen, James Webb, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell's former relative speaks out for gay rights

Robyn Deane, dressed in a red raincoat, jeans and heels, glanced at her handwritten notes before peering at the crowd gathered outside Virginia's Capitol to promote the rights of gay and transgender state workers. For years, Deane, a man who is in the process of becoming of woman, had considered revealing her lengthy but largely unknown connection to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). She had told no one that this would finally be the moment she went public. "I am father to three of the present governor's nephews and nieces," she announced to the more than 100 people trying to shield themselves from the rain. "I'm also uncle to five of his children, so that puts me kind of close. He is my former brother-in-law. . . . He witnessed the impact that all of this coming out can have on one's life. He had a front-row-center seat." Deane's declaration...

By Anita Kumar  | July 16, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Environmental group blasts state for luring controversial company to Va.

State officials gave $250,000 to lure a paper company to Virginia that an environmental group says in a new report destroys rainforests, causes species extinction and threatens efforts to deal with climate change.

By Anita Kumar  | July 16, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell posts big fundraising numbers, as electeds file mid-year finance reports

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) raised almost three-quarters of a million dollars for his political action committee Opportunity Virginia from April through June, an impressive total given that it's an off-year for state elections. His committee reported raising $721,000 in the reporting period from 534 donors, and ended June with $778,000 in the bank. Given that about 400 of those donors gave $100 or less, McDonnell has clearly been taking in some pretty hefty gifts from big-dollar donors. "I think the numbers reflect the broad support the governor has across the state," said committee director Phil Cox. "We exceeded our goal for this period. And we did it at a time when the governor spent almost no time personally raising money." Every candidate with a state committee had a finance report due today, covering the period ending June 30. Initial data have been posted by the Virginia Public Access Project, a...

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 15, 2010; 6:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bill Bolling, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McDonnell heads to Aspen for GOP governors meeting

We told you that Gov. Bob McDonnell was headed to Europe this weekend. But before he does, he will spend a couple days in Aspen.

By Anita Kumar  | July 15, 2010; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell prepares to leave for European trade trip

Gov. Bob McDonnell's upcoming trade mission to Britain, the Netherlands and Germany will cost Virginia taxpayers just shy of $90,000, his office said today.

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 15, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Fairfax official: Northrop negotiations 'intense'

Fairfax officials celebrated Thursday the decision by defense contractor Northrop Grumman to relocate its headquarters to the Northern Virginia locality, with one supervisor calling the months-long bidding war "intense but well worth it."

By Derek Kravitz  | July 15, 2010; 2:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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Boucher enjoys huge cash lead over Griffith

Rep. Rick Boucher (D) has a nearly 7-to-1 cash advantage over state House MInority Leader Morgan Griffith (R), giving the incumbent a valuable edge in the 9th district contest.

By Ben Pershing  | July 15, 2010; 2:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher  
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Va. congressman heads forum on gun show loophole

Videos of undercover gun buys, prepared statements from law enforcement officers, and wrenching testimony from victims of 1999 Columbine shootings and the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre played out at a Capitol Hill forum Wednesday on the closing the so-called gun show loophole. It was standing room only in the Rayburn building for the meeting on the "Closing the Gun Show Loophole Act of 2009." But it was also as much about symbolism as lawmaking, because the gathering was a forum, and not a full-blown hearing. Gun-rights groups, such as the NRA, did not bother to show up. Even backers conceded that the Democratic leadership's decision not to hold a hearing on the bill was a sign of the unlikelihood of the bill's passage in an election year. Still, Paul Helmke, president and chief executive of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, said he welcomed it....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | July 15, 2010; 9:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle, Virginia Tech massacre  
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Va., eight other states legally side with Arizona on immigration

Virginia is formally siding with Arizona against the federal government on immigration, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today.

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 14, 2010; 5:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Connolly has $1.3M in the bank for rematch with Fimian

Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly has close to $1.3 million in the bank for his rematch with Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R), after the freshman Democrat reported raising $385,000 in the second quarter of the year.

By Ben Pershing  | July 14, 2010; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian  
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Gov. McDonnell to Gov. Perry: We'll be back on top next year

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) took the news that Virginia had slipped to the second-best state for business in stride. He called Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) Wednesday to congratulate him on his state's new honor.

By Anita Kumar  | July 14, 2010; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Davis to keynote Warner conference in Fairfax

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D) is touting a special guest speaker at a government contracting conference he's hosting Wednesday in Fairfax County. Keynote remarks will be delivered by former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis. Yes, Republican Tom Davis. Davis is a reasonable guy to talk at such a shindig. During his seven terms in Congress, he served as chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee and chairman of the subcommittee on technology and procurement policy. But in this day and age, it's kind of unusual to see bipartisan participation in, well, just about anything. It wasn't too long ago that Davis contemplated running against Warner for the seat in 2008. Warner's office reports that more than 700 people have signed up to attend the conference -- in hopes of snagging more government contracts, one presumes. Representatives from 13 civilian and military government agencies will be on hand as well....

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 14, 2010; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Mark Warner, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. ends the year with unexpected $220 million surplus

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will announce Wednesday morning that Virginia ended the fiscal year last month with a surplus of about $220 million, exceeding initial expectations by $80 million, his spokesman Tucker Martin said.

By Anita Kumar  | July 14, 2010; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Rep. Joe Wilson is coming to Virginia to raise money. No lie!

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson will spend next Monday evening at a Virginia fundraiser for his re-election campaign. Yes, that Joe Wilson. The same one who made international headlines when he interrupted a speech by President Obama to a joint session of Congress by shouting "You lie!" Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) may have condemned the South Carolina congressman's outburst, but plenty of other Virginia Republicans are only too happy to help him raise money in his race against Democrat Rob Miller. Wilson helped Virginia Republicans soon after the September 2009 incident by sending out a fundraising appeal on behalf of House Speaker Bill Howell's political action committee. Republicans here are looking to return the favor. The reception is being hosted by a slew of conservative Northern Virginia politicians and activists, including Dels. Bob Marshall, Scott Lingamfelter and Jackson Miller, former Del. Dick Black and Scott Martin, who is running for state...

By Anita Kumar  | July 14, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Election 2010, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Cuccinelli uses court filing to dispute Mann climate research

The University of Virginia holds documents relevant to an ongoing fraud investigation--which is the only standard that should govern whether the university must respond to a subpoena for those documents, lawyers for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli argued in a 41-page brief filed in Albemarle County Circuit Court Tuesday. Cuccinelli (R) contends that academic freedom does not shield the university from turning over documents in a fraud probe conducted by his office. But he also seizes the opportunity to dispute climate change research. The filing is the latest legal salvo in Cuccinelli's fight with U-Va. over whether it will turn over documents related to the work of a former professor, climate scientist Michael Mann. Cuccinelli has said he is investigating whether Mann committed fraud while seeking five public grants while employed at the university. He issued a civil subpoena to the university for documents and emails. Lawyers for U-Va. have asked...

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 13, 2010; 4:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: McDonnell denies lifting state ban on bottled water at the behest of the industry

Update, 4:20 p.m.: McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson denied the allegations by Corporate Accountability International. The governor's "decision to reverse a ban on bottled water gives agencies the flexibility to meet their needs in this tough budget cycle in the most practical and cost-effective manner possible,'' Johnson said. "It also eliminates a mandate that targets an important job-creating Virginia industry and the tax revenue to the commonwealth that the industry provides." Johnson said the same executive order that eliminated the ban also directed that state agencies recycle, and provide containers so that their employees can recycle. "We trust and expect that state agencies and employees will be responsible stewards of the environment by, among other things, recycling the plastic water bottles they may use," she said. Original post: Gov. Bob McDonnell's decision to reverse his predecessor's ban on the state's purchase of individual-sized bottled water is coming under fire from those...

By Anita Kumar  | July 13, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Timothy M. Kaine  
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New coalition forms to push for liquor privatization

Grocery stores and other retail outlets that favor privatizing the sale of alcohol in Virginia have quietly formed a coalition to make a major legislative and public push for the idea once Gov. Bob McDonnell brings forward his plan to sell state-run stores.

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 13, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Va. ends year with budget surplus, McDonnell confirms

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) confirmed in a radio interview Tuesday morning that the state concluded the fiscal year with a budget surplus. He told WNIS listeners in Norfolk on his monthly radio appearance that his administration would announce budget numbers tomorrow, echoing comments made last week to fellow governors during the annual meeting of the National Governors Association. His administration has been predicting since June that year-end numbers would show that the state had returned to profitability for the year. Still, the official numbers will be comforting for officials that have spent the last year making deep cuts in the state budget to close shortfalls. "We've been able to turn it around in short order," McDonnell said during the radio program. "The good news is we've started to see a ray of sunshine. We've started to turn things around." The General Assembly agreed that state surplus money for the...

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 13, 2010; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Va. officials welcome Northrop Grumman to Falls Church

Virginia officials in Richmond and Washington cheered Northrop Grumman's announcement Monday that it had selected a 333,000-square-foot building in Falls Church for its global headquarters. "This is great news for Falls Church, Fairfax County, all of Northern Virginia and our entire Commonwealth,'' Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said in a statement. "Northrop Grumman's move to Virginia will mean 300 new, high-paying jobs for our citizens and it will have a positive impact across our economy." The defense giant ended a competition among Virginia, Maryland and the District in April when it picked Northern Virginia for its headquarters. But it took months more to choose between Fairfax and Arlington counties. "At their new location, Northrop Grumman will be able to draw on northern Virginia's talented workforce while at the same time enjoy close proximity to their primary customer: the federal government and the Department of Defense,'' said U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)....

By Anita Kumar  | July 12, 2010; 6:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Gerald E. Connolly, James P. Moran Jr., Robert F. McDonnell  
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What can Brown do for Wittman? Raise money.

Rep. Rob Wittman (R) will be getting a little help from a celebrity friend later this month, as Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) plans to travel south to headline a fundraiser for the Virginia lawmaker in Newport News.

By Ben Pershing  | July 12, 2010; 4:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Rob Wittman  
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Perriello reports more than $2 million raised for the cycle

The fundraising numbers for some Virginia congressional candidates are starting to trickle in. And one early winner is already apparent -- Rep. Tom Perriello.

By Ben Pershing  | July 12, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Embattled housing nonprofit: 'We will continue'

One of Washington's biggest affordable housing nonprofit groups is assuring its supporters, donors and volunteers that it is here to stay, despite its unsteady finances and debarment in Fairfax County.

By Derek Kravitz  | July 12, 2010; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County  
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Legislature's oversight panel to review process for director appointment

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the legislature's leading oversight panel for state government, has appointed Glen Tittermary as its new staff director.

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 12, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McDonnell asks higher education commission to help create 100,000 new college degrees

Gov. Bob McDonnell told members of his new higher education commission this morning that he wants to start creating 100,000 college degrees next year as he looks to make good on a campaign pledge from last fall.

By Anita Kumar  | July 12, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Robert F. McDonnell  
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