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Virginia Politics Blog: July 18, 2010 - July 24, 2010

Webb calls for end to most affirmative action programs, criticizes 'myth' of white dominance

Just as race issues have returned to the forefront of political debate, Virginia Sen. James Webb (D) on Friday reiterated his opposition to some affirmative action programs and suggested that white Americans are being "marginalized" by current government policies.

By Ben Pershing  | July 23, 2010; 4:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (279)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, James Webb  | Tags:  Webb calls for end to most affirmative action programs, affirmative action, james webb, jim webb  
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McDonnell appoints 'Tito the Builder' to Virginia housing board

Gov. Bob McDonnell has appointed Tito Munoz -- better known as 'Tito the Builder' -- to the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development. You remember Tito the Builder. He appeared onstage with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign and more recently has become a conservative Latino voice on the radio. McDonnell (R) also continued to announce appointments of supporters and donors to the board of visitors of Old Dominion and Radford universities. They include his high school girlfriend, Dee Gilmore, now chief of staff to Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.). Read the full list of today's appointments to the Board of Visitors as well the commission that doles out settlement money from a lawsuit against the nation's largest tobacco companies....

By Anita Kumar  | July 23, 2010; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Democrats plan ad blitz for Connolly, Perriello, Nye

National Democrats are prepared to spend as much as $1.7 million to help three vulnerable House Democrats in Virginia hold on to their seats, a fresh indication that the state has become one of the most competitive congressional battlegrounds in the country.

By Ben Pershing  | July 23, 2010; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Glenn Nye, Tom Perriello  
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McDonnell headlines fundraiser for Texas Gov. Perry in Virginia

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will headline a pair of fundraisers for fellow Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas next month in Richmond and Virginia Beach.

By Anita Kumar  | July 23, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATED--VCU: New poll shows mixed results for McDonnell, Cuccinelli

Virginia Commonwealth University's Center for Public Policy is out with the first independent poll about Virginian's opinions of Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli since the two took office in January, and the polling team says the results are mixed. VCU's Commonwealth poll shows that 48 percent of those polled said McDonnell is doing an "excellent or good" job as governor while 52 percent rate his performance to be "fair or poor." Cuccinelli received similar numbers--47 percent rated him "excellent or good" while 53 percent said he's doing a "fair or poor" job. It's worth noting that 40 percent of those polled said McDonnell is doing a "fair" job--only 12 percent say his performance is "poor." Meanwhile, 34 percent of those polled say Cuccinelli is doing a "fair" job while 19 percent say his performance is "poor."...

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 22, 2010; 5:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  George F. Allen, Ken Cuccinelli, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Poll gives Rep. Boucher 13-point lead over Griffith

Rep. Rick Boucher (D) has a 13-point lead over state House Minority Leader Morgan Griffith (R) in the 9th congressional district, according to a new independent survey of their race.

By Ben Pershing  | July 22, 2010; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher  
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McDonnell tries to lure companies to Virginia while in Europe

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that he has met with companies while in Europe this week that could potentially bring 30 to 300 new jobs to the state with a total capital investment of $30 million to $150 million. McDonnell (R) said in a conference call with reporters from Germany that he also is meeting with companies that already do business in Virginia, including Rolls Royce, B.I. Chemicals and Siemens in the hopes they may expand their presence in the state. "We really want to build upon those relationships because they've already shown by the volume of trade that they do with Virginia that there are numerous opportunities ahead,'' he said. McDonnell's eight-day trip this week to Britain, the Netherlands and Germany will cost Virginia taxpayers almost $90,000. In his first international trade mission since taking office, McDonnell was joined by Secretary of Commerce Jim Cheng, Secretary of Agriculture...

By Anita Kumar  | July 22, 2010; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Warner's palate to be featured on Top Chef

Virginia viewers of Bravo's Top Chef DC may have noticed a familiar face Wednesday night in the promos for next week's episode--U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D). Warner took part in a five-hour filming for the episode on April 24, participating as a guest judge and dining alongside television commentators Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Center for American Progress president John Podesta and Palm Restaurant Vice President Bruce Bozzi Jr. The episode will air next Wednesday. You can check Warner out in the clip below, getting teased by Scarborough over his politician's desire to be nice to everyone. (Top Chef judges must sharpen the knives, so to speak.) What gives Warner the qualifications to judge a cooking competition? Warner spokesman Kevin Hall notes that the former governor is a part owner of the Majestic, a restaurant in Alexandria. He's also been holding an annual Thanksgiving charity benefit at the Palm restaurant...

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 22, 2010; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Mark Warner, Rosalind Helderman  
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Warner calls McDonnell's figures on ABC privatization 'wildly optimistic'

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner called Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's $300 million to $800 million estimate for privatizing the state's 332 liquor stores "wildly optimistic." "I think some of the numbers that I've heard bandied around are wildly optimistic and would provide unrealistic expectations, particularly for folks who are hoping this might help deal with our transportation woes,'' Warner said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. Warner, a former Democratic governor who considered privatizing the liquor stores, said he still supports the concept but does not know if the numbers will work. McDonnell's staff publicly unveiled the four possible ways they could sell off the stores on Monday. Some Democratic legislators are concerned that the proposals will cost the state the $220 million in taxes and profits ABC stores contribute annually to the general fund. "I also think that any plan has to include how we are going to...

By Anita Kumar  | July 22, 2010; 11:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Embattled nonprofit finds new property manager

The Washington affordable housing nonprofit facing financial ruin in the wake of fraud allegations involving a former executive director has found a new property management firm to oversee its 430 residential units in Northern Virginia.

By Derek Kravitz  | July 22, 2010; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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The Prince and the Governor

Where's the Queen? Check out the photo of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York, reviewing the Band of the Irish Guards at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London Tuesday. McDonnell is on a week-long trip to Britain, the Netherlands and Germany, the first trade mission of his administration. Photo Courtesy of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership...

By Anita Kumar  | July 21, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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A 'cute' controversy in the 1st district

Is Krystal Ball "cute"? And if she is, can the campaign of Rep. Rob Wittman (R) point it out?

By Ben Pershing  | July 21, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Rob Wittman  
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Groups sue over banned legal handbook at Virginia prisons

Two civil rights groups have sued the Virginia Department of Corrections for banning a handbook from state prisons that explains the court system, methods for legal research and constitutional rights. The Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild filed suit Wednesday morning in the Western District of Virginia, claiming that the state violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. "Virginia prisons are banning a document that explains to prisoners how they can exercise their constitutional rights to protect themselves from physical abuse, poor conditions and other mistreatment,'' center attorney Rachel Meeropol said. "If it is dangerous to educate people about the Constitution, there are a lot of law schools who are going to be in trouble." The groups began offering the Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook in 2003 and now provides several thousand copies each year to inmates looking to learn about their legal options, including how...

By Anita Kumar  | July 21, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Accustomed to generals, country club signs up for Cuccinelli speech

First Gen. David Petraeus, now Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli (R) has been invited to deliver a speech Wednesday at the 106-year old Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington. The club's lecture series traditionally draws pretty distinguished folks. For instance, Petraeus was the invited guest last month, although he canceled at the last minute because his speech happened to fall on the same day that President Obama fired Gen. Stanley McChystal and gave Petraeus command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The club typically invites bold names in government and industry. Another past speaker at the club was White House national security adviser James Jones. Cuccinelli's invite is a sign that the attention-grabing attorney general is continuing to expand his base beyond his traditional grassroots activist supports. Interested in attending? The speech is closed to the public. Very much closed to the public, in fact. So much so that...

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 21, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Metro's Silver Line possibly delayed?

The construction of the first part of Metrorail's Silver Line into Northern Virginia has been unofficially delayed by three months but officials say their schedule is not falling off the tracks -- yet. December 2013 has been the target date for when passengers would be able to ride Metro an additional 11.5 miles into Fairfax County, to Tysons Corner and the eastern edge of Reston....

By Derek Kravitz  | July 20, 2010; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County  
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Poll shows Rep. Perriello trailing by 23 points

A new survey of Virginia's 5th district race paints a tough reelection picture for freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D).

By Ben Pershing  | July 20, 2010; 5:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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U.Va.: Cuccinelli brief an 'editorial screed' that proves he's targeting academic

The war of words between Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the University of Virginia over Cuccinelli's attempt to subpoena the work of a former university professor heated up Tuesday as the university filed a brief in court deeming a Cuccinelli memo in the case an "editorial screed," a "lengthy harangue" that amounts to proof that Cuccinelli is targeting the professor for his scientific conclusions.

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 20, 2010; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  | Tags:  climate change, global warming, hockey stick, ken cuccinnelli, michael mann, university of virginia  
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Boucher hits the airwaves with two positive ads

Rep. Rick Boucher (D) has begun airing the first two television ads of his reelection campaign, emphasizing a positive message in his contest against state House Minority Leader Morgan Griffith (R).

By Ben Pershing  | July 20, 2010; 2:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher  
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McDonnell takes ABC privatization discussion public

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) moved one small step closer to privatizing the state's 332 liquor stores today when his staff publicly unveiled the four possible ways they could sell off the stores.

By Anita Kumar  | July 20, 2010; 1:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Fairfax: No money for traffic calming projects

Fairfax County's traffic calming program, designed to ease congestion in residential subdivisions in Washington's still-growing suburbs, will soon be broke and dozens of projects will likely be suspended, officials said Tuesday.

By Derek Kravitz  | July 20, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  | Tags:  Fairfax County, Virginia Department of Transportation, transportation  
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Ceasefire called in Loudoun's 'War on Christmas' debate

The "War on Christmas" has been postponed to September. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted this morning to delay discussion about the use of courthouse grounds for holiday displays until their first fall business meeting on Sept. 8. The decision was made following the receipt of a letter from Chief Judge Thomas D. Horne of the Loudoun County Circuit Court. "I would wish for some additional time for all of our judges to be given the opportunity to consider, should they wish to do so, the impact of the use of the grounds on the operation of their Courts," Horne wrote. Most of the supervisors agreed that it would be fair to give the judges a chance to voice their thoughts. "I think it would be foolish on our part to act on this before we have heard from them," said Supervisor James Burton (I-Blue Ridge). Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio...

By Caitlin Gibson  | July 20, 2010; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Loudoun County  
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Defense relocation still needs $406 million

Virginia officials say they still need roughly $406 million to build all of the ramps, access routes and road improvements to handle the flood of new defense workers moving to sites along Interstate 95 in the next year.

By Derek Kravitz  | July 20, 2010; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, James P. Moran Jr.  | Tags:  BRAC, Congress, Fairfax County, Jim Moran, transportation  
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Party on! Former congresswoman Drake finds new sponsor for annual shindig

For 14 years, Thelma Drake hosted her annual "Party on the Pier" in Norfolk as she looked to raise money for herself or other candidates. But now that Drake, a former GOP legislator and congresswoman from Hampton Roads, works for Gov. Bob McDonnell, will the party stop? No. Drake, director of Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transit, plans to continue to host her annual party next month on the Ocean View Fishing Pier, usually attended by hundreds of people. But Drake says that doesn't mean she plans to run for elected office again -- or that she's fundraising again. Instead, she has asked the Tusk and Trunk Club -- a Hampton Roads-based Republican club of which she is conveniently the new president -- to pay for the party. All money raised will be donated to local and state Republican candidates. Drake said Republican Scott Rigell, who is running against...

By Anita Kumar  | July 20, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Loudoun 'War on Christmas' issue makes for strange allies

Apparently, Christmas can make for odd bedfellows. In recent days, the ACLU of Virginia and deeply conservative Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R) have found themselves on the same side of a War on Christmas debate raging in Loudoun County. That happens as often as ... well, as Christmas landing in July. The issue: Whether the Loudoun Board of Supervisors should retain a public forum space on the county's courthouse grounds in Leesburg, the traditional site for religious displays such as trees, nativity scenes and menorahs around Christmas and Hanukkah....

By Rosalind Helderman  | July 19, 2010; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Loudoun County, Rosalind Helderman  
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Rigell drops another $500K into Virginia 2nd district campaign

Four days after the latest Federal Election Commission reports showed Scott Rigell (R) badly trailing Rep. Glenn Nye (D) in the fundraising department, the Republican challenger has decided to make up some of the difference out of his own pocket. Rigell, a successful auto dealer in the Hampton Roads area, has put $500,000 into his campaign in recent days, according to his campaign manager, Jason Miyares. That brings the total amount Rigell has loaned to his campaign this cycle to more than $1.4 million. As of June 30, Rigell had just $227,000 in the bank while Nye had $1.3 million. Rigell had to fight off several opponents in the June 8 GOP primary before he could turn his attention to Nye, forcing him to burn a good chunk of cash. But Rigell's personal wealth means he can still be competitive with the incumbent Democrat, and is part of the reason...

By Ben Pershing  | July 19, 2010; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Glenn Nye, Scott Rigell  
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National Republicans flock to Virginia again

Several national Republicans are heading to Virginia, which this year is host to a handful of the country's top congressional races. U.S. Sen. John Thune will headline a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Virginia next week. The South Dakota Republican will appear at the Hilton McLean at Tyson's Corner July 28. Tickets are $75, $125 per couple, with sponsorships starting at $1,000. U.S. Rep. Mike Pence will be the keynote speaker at the conservative Family Foundation's 25th anniversary celebration gala in October in Richmond. Pence describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order." Meanwhile, Republican consultant Dick Morris is on tour today with Americans for Prosperity in the fifth congressional district where they are campaigning against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello. Morris will be speaking about Congress, the Obama administration and the climate of politics nationwide....

By Anita Kumar  | July 19, 2010; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Anita Kumar, Election 2010  
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Debate over N.Va. business corridors heats up

Since the Fairfax Board of Supervisors approved an ambitious 20-year makeover of Tysons Corner last month, Northern Virginia officials have been debating the future of the region's other business corridors, namely Route 1. State Del. Scott A. Surovell and Sen. Linda Todd "Toddy" Puller, both Democrats, penned a letter to the editor in the Post that criticized the Democratically-controlled Board of Supervisors for allowing Route 1 "to languish."

By Derek Kravitz  | July 18, 2010; 11:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz, Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  | Tags:  Board of Supervisors, Business, Fairfax County, Tysons Corner, development, transportation  
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