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Virginia Politics Blog: August 22, 2010 - August 28, 2010

Marshall urges McDonnell to reject stumlus funds

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) wrote a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday urging him to not apply for any funds from the $26 billion jobs bill President Obama signed this month.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 27, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Griffith to get fundraising boost from McDonnell

The congressional campaign of state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith will get a political and financial boost from Virginia's top Republican next week, as Gov. Robert McDonnell heads to the 9th district.

By Ben Pershing  |  August 27, 2010; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Morgan Griffith , Rick Boucher , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Transportation group backs McDonnell's ABC privatization plan

The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, a business-supported group that lobbies for transportation funding, is backing Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to privatize the state's liquor system.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 27, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Liquor privatization , Robert F. McDonnell , Transportation  
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Virginia computer problems continue to affect DMV

Derek Kravitz reports on the Dr. Gridlock blog that all of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices are still unable to issue new or replacement driver's licenses, a day after a computer outage caused the state's largest digital malfunction since 2007. The computer troubles were caused by hardware issues at the state's data center late Wednesday, when 228 servers went offline. Workers tried to repair the malfunctioning servers overnight, bringing 60 percent of those attached to the state's storage system back online. But the state's 74 DMV locations are still facing problems, with customers unable to obtain new, replacement or duplicate driver's licenses, said Melanie Stokes, a Virginia DMV spokeswoman. "Managers are standing outside, telling folks that they're sorry but we can't process driver's license requests," said Stokes, who estimated that about 40 percent of DMV's customers, about 6,500 people daily, seek licenses in person. August is traditionally a busy...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 27, 2010; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz  
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Connolly featured in 20/20 report on albinism

Rep. Gerald Connolly will be on Friday's edition of ABC News' "20/20" as part of a story on the mistreatment by some East African nations of people with albinism.

By Ben Pershing  |  August 27, 2010; 12:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ben Pershing , Gerald E. Connolly  
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Rigell signs tea party 'pledge' in 2nd district

Auto dealer Scott Rigell signed a "pledge" authored by local tea party groups Thursday, a move the Republican candidate hopes will boost his campaign to oust Rep. Glenn Nye (D) in Virginia's 2nd congressional district.

By Ben Pershing  |  August 27, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Glenn Nye , Scott Rigell  
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DOD, Virginia officials to meet about defense cuts

The U.S. Department of Defense has scheduled a Sept. 8 meeting with Virginia's congressional delegation and Gov. Bob McDonnell's office to talk about Defense Secretary Robert Gates's decision to shutter the Joint Forces Command, a military installation employing more than 6,000 in Hampton Roads. The meeting will include officials from the offices of Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, Reps. Glenn Nye, Bobby Scott, Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman, as well as McDonnell's office, according to Webb's office. The initial briefing will allow DOD to clarify its proposal and respond to the many concerns and requests for information that Virginia officials have posed, said Jessica Smith, Webb's spokeswoman. The Senate Committee on Armed Services and a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold hearings on Gates's decision to close the Joint Forces Command and to cut the Pentagon's military contracting budget by 10 percent a...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 27, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Glenn Nye , James Webb , Mark Warner , Rob Wittman , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Bolling takes a victory lap on Martinsville NASCAR race

Did Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling save NASCAR? Well, maybe just a little. Virginia was in jeopardy of losing the Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. State officials say that would have led to the loss of $75 million in revenue each year, 1,000 jobs and millions in state and local taxes. But Bolling (R), along with state and local officials, announced Thursday that International Speedway Corp. is committing to two NASCAR Sprint Cup races annually at Martinsville Speedway for at least the next five years. "This is an important announcement," Bolling said. "Because the truth is that we came very close to losing one of our Sprint Cup races at Martinsville earlier this year, and losing that race would have had a significant adverse impact on the economy of Martinsville and Southern Virginia." As part of the agreement, the Tobacco Commission awarded Martinsville Speedway a grant of $1.5 million, which...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 26, 2010; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling  
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McDonnell's military commission to review Va. defense cuts

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Thursday afternoon that he has asked his newly formed statewide military commission to focus its initial work on Defense Secretary Robert Gates's decision to shutter the Joint Forces Command, a military installation employing more than 6,000 in Hampton Roads, and slash the Pentagon's budget for military contractors over the next three years.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 26, 2010; 5:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Perriello beat Boehner to the punch on call for Geithner firing

Two days after Boehner called on President Obama to get rid of Geithner and White House adviser Larry Summers, Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello (D) is getting some attention for making a similar call at a recent town hall meeting in Ruckersville.

By Ben Pershing  |  August 26, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Robert Hurt , Tom Perriello  
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Conservative group targets Webb in cap-and-trade radio ads

Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax group that supports limited government and free trade, began airing radio ads in Virginia on Thursday urging Sen. Jim Webb (D) to oppose the cap-and-trade energy bill.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 26, 2010; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Campaign Ads , James Webb  
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Va. experiences statewide computer problems

A computer snag is causing problems today at 24 state agencies, including the departments of motor vehicles, transportation, taxation, social services, emergency management and alcoholic beverage control, as well as at the Virginia Employment Commission.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 26, 2010; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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McDonnell defends state budget, surplus

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said Thursday morning that he is pleased with the state's $403.2 million surplus, even though he has to spend most of the money on previously committed programs.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 26, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Senator McEachin for governor in 2013?

State Sen. Don McEachin (D) is considering running for statewide office in 2013. To anyone paying attention to Virginia politics these days, that news may not be exactly surprising. But they may be surprised to hear which of the state's three top jobs McEachin is considering. McEachin is eyeing a run for governor and and we hear he has already spoken to a handful of Democrats about the possibility of running. McEachin has launched a statewide political action committee, a Facebook page and blog . He's also attending Democratic events across the state -- far outside his Richmond- area Senate district. On Saturday, he will attend picnics in Charlottesville and Arlington. McEachin said in an interview that he's focused on helping out in the 2010 elections and preparing for the 2011 legislative session. He said he plans to run for re-election in 2011. "I have no idea right now what...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 26, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate , Steve Shannon , Terry McAuliffe  
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McDonnell's latest moment in the national spotlight

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) found himself getting quite a bit of national attention Tuesday.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 25, 2010; 5:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Watchdog group blasts Cuccinelli on holiday displays opinion

Americans United for Separation of Church and State said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's decision to allow local governments to display religious symbols is "misguided" and may lead to lawsuits. "This opinion reads more like an op-ed than a legal advisory,'' said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the group's executive director. "Cuccinelli is encouraging local governments to wade into a deeply controversial arena of the law without adequate guidance....It is a green light to religious right activists to cajole local officials into erecting sectarian displays on public property. Unless local officials are extremely careful, this is likely to lead to lawsuits." Cuccinelli's opinion was a response to a request from Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who asked whether Loudoun County, under the U.S. and Virginia constitutions and state law law, must prohibit holiday displays on public property. Read the opinion here....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 25, 2010; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Ken Cuccinelli  
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UPDATED: Pr. William postpones budgeting stimulus funds

Prince William supervisors voted Tuesday not to budget, at this time, stimulus funds geared toward creating education jobs -- funds the state has yet to receive and budget itself -- because of concerns that one-time funding for an ongoing cost would cause the schools even more budget woes in the future.

By Jennifer Buske  |  August 25, 2010; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Jennifer Buske , Prince William  
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Warner campaigns for Nye, Perriello

Sen. Mark Warner is spending some time this week campaigning for freshmen Reps. Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello, fellow Democrats who face tough re-elections in November. Warner, who is touring parts of the state while Congress is on recess, will attend a rally for Nye Wednesday afternoon at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach. He will also headline a fundraiser Wednesday night at the Virginia Beach home of Paul Hirschbiel, president of Eden Capital, a private investment company. Saturday, Warner will spend some time with Perriello in the Charlottesville area, though the events have yet to be scheduled. The two also will attend the Albemarle Democrats' picnic late Saturday afternoon. (Also attending are Sens. Creigh Deeds and Don McEachin). The 2008 turnout for Warner, who received more votes than any politician in state history, and Barack Obama helped both Nye and Perriello beat their Republican incumbent opponents....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 25, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2010 , Glenn Nye , Mark Warner , Tom Perriello  
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McDonnell will unveil ABC proposal Sept. 8, vote postponed until October

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will unveil his plan to privatize the state's liquor system Sept. 8 when a subcommittee of his government reform committee meets.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 25, 2010; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Liquor privatization , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Senate will hold hearings on defense cuts in Va.

The Senate Committee on Armed Services has agreed to U.S. Sen. Jim Webb's request to hold a hearing on Defense Secretary Robert Gates's decision to shutter the Joint Forces Command, a military installation employing more than 6,000 in Hampton Roads.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 24, 2010; 6:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Webb , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATED: Cuccinelli: Holiday displays, religious or otherwise, are allowed on public property

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) writes in a new opinion that local governments do not have to ban holiday displays that include religious symbols, including Jesus Christ. Cuccinelli's opinion was a response to a request from Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who asked whether Loudoun County, under the U.S. and Virginia constitutions and state law law, must prohibit holiday displays on public property. "It is my opinion that a local governmental entity is never categorically compelled to prohibit holiday displays, including those incorporating recognizably religious symbols, because governments enjoy considerable discretion in accommodating the religious expression of their citizens and employees and in their own recognition of traditional seasonal holidays,'' Cuccinelli wrote. "It is further my opinion that displays depicting the birth of Jesus Christ are permissible provided the government ensures appropriate content and context." Read the opinion....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 24, 2010; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Ken Cuccinelli  
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Where does the money from Virginia's liquor sales really go?

Opponents -- and supporters -- of privatizing the state's liquor stores frequently mention that $65 million of the nearly $250 million in taxes and profit collected each year from alcohol sales is spent on alcohol treatment and prevention. Del. Bob Brink, an Arlington Democrat who serves on Gov. Bob McDonnell's government reform commission, which is studying privatization, has repeatedly cited the statistic. He wrote about it recently in an op-ed in The Washington Post. Even McDonnell, who is leaning toward auctioning off an undetermined number of licenses to the highest bidder, mentioned the money is used for substance abuse on a recent radio show. But Michael Maul, associate director of the state's Department of Planning and Budget, says that the perception, while common, isn't true. The $250 million from liquor sales is sent to the state's general fund, which is then spent on education, public safety and other core services....

By Anita Kumar  |  August 24, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Liquor privatization , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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McDonnell boasts of budget surplus on FOX News

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) continued spreading the word about Virginia's budget surplus this morning in a brief appearance on FOX and Friends. "It's just good solid fiscal management,'' McDonnell said. "It was bipartisan cooperation...Families are hurting. Businesses are hurting. We've got to stimulate the economy for economic development and job creation and get entrepreneurs doing what they do best and we've got to cut spending." McDonnell always credits both Republicans leaders in the House and Democratic leaders in the Senate for the $403.2 million budget surplus, but he never voluntarily mentions the federal stimulus package. Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com...

By Anita Kumar  |  August 24, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell raises money in time for next year's elections

Is Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) already gearing up for next year's legislative races?

By Anita Kumar  |  August 23, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Retailers want legislative study on ABC privatization before special session

Virginia's retailers are asking Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to let the General Assembly's investigative arm review his proposal to privatize the state's liquor stores before calling a special session on the issue.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 23, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Liquor privatization , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Updated: Cuccinelli: State can regulate abortion clinics

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has issued a legal opinion allowing greater restrictions on abortion clinics, drawing swift criticism from providers who say it could cause some of the facilities to close.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 23, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (192)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Ken Cuccinelli  
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