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Virginia Politics Blog: September 19, 2010 - September 25, 2010

Albo joins White House crashers on 'Real Housewives'

Spotted on "The Real Housewives of D.C.": The Virginia General Assembly's own Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax). Albo appeared in a scene with infamous White House party crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi, discussing a Virginia law that defines what rules local governments can set for events held at wineries. (At least, that's what Albo tells us--we swear, we don't watch the show.) Albo's name popped up in coverage of the Salahis' White House incident--he's known the couple for a long time and socializes with them on occasion. He said the scene was filmed about nine months ago, before their party crash. "They called and said they wanted to film something with us discussing the legislation," Albo said. "All this stuff, really, its a 'reality' in quotes." Still, he said the meeting resembled any other he might have held with the Salahis, who at the time were working with the Virginia Wineries...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 24, 2010; 5:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell names (another) group to examine cost cutting measures

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has tapped Bill Leighty, chief of staff to former governors Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, to head a new task force to look for more ways for the state to save money.

By Anita Kumar  | September 24, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Watching Teresa Lewis die

Veteran Washington Post staff writer Maria Glod was a media witness to the execution of Teresa Lewis on Thursday night. Lewis was the first woman executed by Virginia in nearly 100 years. Here is her account of the event: Three weeks ago I met convicted murderer Teresa Lewis in prison. Her husband and stepson died because of her, and she wept. She told me was scared that her daughter hated her, and that she longed to see her baby grandson grow up. We were separated by glass and her wrists were cuffed, but she tucked her fingers through the narrow slot in the window and reached out to grasp my hand. On Thursday night, I watched her die. I volunteered to be a media witness to Lewis's execution because I believe that, if our society chooses to execute murderers, we must face that choice and the details of how we...

By Anita Kumar  | September 24, 2010; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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With apology for misstep, McDonnell promises no Confederate History Month next year

Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) announced Friday morning that he will declare April 2011 "Civil War in Virginia" month, rather than "Confederate History Month," as he offered a humble apology for a proclamation this year that omitted reference to slavery's role in the war.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 24, 2010; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Public health impact of ABC privatization likely mixed, report author says

The lead author of a VCU report that reviewed the scientific research into the affects of liquor privatization on public health said Thursday that he sees some encouraging aspects of Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to sell the state's liquor monopoly--but also some areas for concern. J. Randy Koch, the executive director of VCU's Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, said he was pleased to see McDonnell propose that the state hire 22 new law enforcement agents to enforce drinking laws during the transition to a private system. And he said he was encouraged by a column in the Richmond Times Dispatch arguing that liquor prices would rise after privatization--though members of McDonnell's administration have said they believes prices will remain about the same. Higher prices would discourage drinking, he said. But Koch said he has concerns about McDonnell's proposal to almost triple the number of stores licensed to sell liquor,...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 23, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell requests federal dollars for Medicaid

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has formally requested that Virginia receive its share of federal Medicaid dollars contained in a bill approved by the Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama on Aug. 11. In a letter (pdf) sent Wednesday to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, McDonnell requested that the funds be made available to Virginia. The request means Virginia will collect more than $260 million in additional federal dollars for Medicaid, money the General Assembly agreed in April would be used to prevent deep cuts in reimbursements to health-care providers that serve Medicaid patients....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 23, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia asks McDonnell not to further regulate abortion clinics

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) not to instruct the state Board of Health to further regulate clinics that perform abortions despite a legal opinion last month by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that concludes he can do just that. In a letter to McDonnell dated Tuesday, the group's executive director, Tarina Keene, writes that NARAL is prepared to take legal action if necessary. "We ask you to consider the long-term ramifications of this sort of targeted regulation,'' she writes. "Forcing physician's offices to comply with hospital licensure and regulation could lead to closure of these offices, resulting in making healthcare harder to obtain, the loss of safe, high-quality, and affordable health care for Virginia residents, and hundreds of job cuts." On Aug. 20, Cuccinelli concluded that the Board of Health could require that clinics that perform abortions meet hospital-type standards, a move abortion rights advocates say...

By Anita Kumar  | September 22, 2010; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Va. wineries back liquor privatization proposal

The Virginia Wineries Association on Wednesday endorsed Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) proposal to privatize the state's liquor industry. The group is the latest industry, retail and transportation group to back McDonnell's bid to sell the state's wholesale and retail spirits operation. In a statement, the wineries say that privatization would be good for Virginia wine because studies show that more wine is sold in stores where liquor is also sold. Currently, wine and liquor are generally sold separately in Virginia. Distilled spirits are sold at state-owned ABC stores, while wine and beer are sold at private retailers, including grocery and convenience stores. The one exception has been wine produced at Virginia vineyards, which get some shelf space at Virginia ABC stores. For that reason, many observers have assumed that Virginia wineries might have concerns about privatization, because it means Virginia wine would no longer get priority billing at liquor stores....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 22, 2010; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell continues to headline fundraisers for Republicans across the nation

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell continued to solidfy his reputation as a much sought after fundraiser this week with a series of events to raise money for fellow Republicans across the country. On Monday, while in Ohio attending a Republican Governors Association policy summit, he headlined a fundraiser for GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich at a golf club in Batavia. The event raised more than $100,000. On Tuesday, he headlined a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who is running for Senate in Missouri, at a hotel in Springfield, Mo. The event also raised more than $100,000. Today, McDonnell will appear at an event for Jim Keet, the GOP candidate for governor in Arkansas at the Capitol Hill Club in the District. In the months leading to the midterm elections, McDonnell has raised money for New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez, Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania attorney general who is running for...

By Anita Kumar  | September 22, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Senator asks state auditors to doublecheck McDonnell's ABC plan

A leading Democrat in the state senate has formally asked the legislature's audit arm to review the figures in Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to privatize the state-run liquor system. In a letter sent Tuesday, Sen. R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania) requested that the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission perform an analysis of the impact on the Commonwealth of McDonnell's proposal, including the plans revenue projections for upfront cash from the sale of retail and wholesale licenses, its predictions of ongoing revenues from a new taxing structure for a private system and the plan's suggested use of money from the sale of the system for transportation. Several skeptical lawmakers have suggested that instead of adopting McDonnell's plan outright, the General Assembly should ask JLARC to study privatization more thoroughly. Houck's request seems aimed at a quicker turnaround--a double-check on the assumptions and projections made as part of the governor's complex proposal...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 22, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Cuccinelli pushes higher filing fees at state Republican conventions

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is encouraging the state GOP's governing board to adopt dramatically higher filing fees for statewide candidates seeking the party's nomination at political conventions. Cuccinelli's political director Noah Wall attended a meeting of the Virginia Republican State Central Committee Saturday to encourage the proposal, calling for gubernatorial candidates to pay up to $50,000 for a spot at the party's nominating convention. He suggested up to $25,000 for lieutenant governor and attorney general candidates, as well as fees for delegates attending the convention. In an interview, Cuccinelli said higher fees would help defray convention costs for the party, ensuring conventions are a financially viable option for the party. He said the state party was forced into the red by the 2009 shindig where he, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) were nominated for office. But some Republican activists worry that raising filing fees...

By Anita Kumar  | September 22, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Heated opposition to Chesapeake Bay ordinance in Loudoun

In response to waves of outspoken opposition from residents at a public input session, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors delayed its decision on a water quality measure that would make Loudoun the first jurisdiction in Virginia to voluntarily adopt the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, including strict water protection rules. The board's decision followed a forum Monday evening at which more than 100 Loudoun residents signed up to address the supervisors before a standing-room-only crowd. The vast majority of speakers -- including farmers, business owners, local government leaders, developers and homeowners -- spoke out strongly against adoption of the ordinance. At the session, Purcellville Mayor Robert Lazaro Jr. read from a letter submitted to the board on behalf of the towns of Hamilton, Purcellville and Round Hill. "The ordinance will have a negative impact on the already weakened economy, especially the county's rural economy," he said. "It's...

By Caitlin Gibson  | September 21, 2010; 5:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Loudoun County  
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Cuccinelli political operation building statewide network

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's political operation has tapped volunteer coordinators in 100 of Virginia's 134 counties and cities and plans to have a coordinator in every jurisdiction in the state by the end of the year, his political director said today. The coordinators attend monthly meetings of local Republican committees and reach out to other conservative groups in their areas to provide updates on Cuccinelli's work, said political director Noah Wall. "Ken cares a great deal about making sure the grass roots are informed about what he's doing," Wall said. "These people serve the essential role of making sure people are in the loop." The effort to build a statewide network of supporters -- separate from the Republican establishment or Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) political committee -- represents an aggressive political effort by an attorney general who has not yet been in office a year. It is bound to...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 21, 2010; 5:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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2nd Democratic poll shows tight race for Perriello

Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-Va.) campaign released a poll Tuesday showing their man within the margin of error against state Sen. Robert Hurt (R), the second survey of the 5th district this month to show a competitive race.

By Ben Pershing  | September 21, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Fraternal Order of Police endorses McDonnell liquor privatization

The Virginia Fraternal Order of Police announced Tuesday that the organization supports Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to privatize state-run liquor stores. The endorsement is a key vote of support from the law enforcement community, which had earlier expressed some concerns about the possible impact of privatization. A spokeswoman from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police had said that the group would probably remain neutral on the issue but had been meeting with McDonnell's staff to express a series of concerns about raising the number of spirits outlets. The FOP called the proposal "a rational approach of alternative funding" that "will provide much-needed funds to help solve the state's transportation problems." "These transportation problems include making the state safer through better roads, safer bridges and improved traffic control, all resulting in less accidents and better living for all of the citizens of the our state. We recognize that a good...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 21, 2010; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Griffith's new ad: 'Obama loves Boucher'

Republican candidates across the country are trying to tie Democratic incumbents to President Obama and his agenda, but few are likely to be as blunt and explicit about it as state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R).

By Ben Pershing  | September 21, 2010; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher  
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McAuliffe announces $1 billion electric car investment

Former -- and perhaps future -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is in Midtown Manhattan this week hawking cars. On Tuesday, McAuliffe will announce to world leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative a commitment to invest $1 billion to build electric vehicles in economically depressed areas of the United States to spur the economy and create green jobs. He spent Monday, the first day of the 2010 annual meeting, showing off his electric car on Seventh Avenue. He was joined by his good friend and former president, Bill Clinton. "It doesn't get any bigger than this,'' he said in an interview from New York. "We're just trying to raise awareness."...

By Anita Kumar  | September 21, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Terry McAuliffe  
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McDonnell, Bolling, Cuccinelli to address first Va. tea party convention

All three of Virginia's statewide elected officials -- Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, all Republicans -- will speak at Virginia's first annual Tea Party Convention next month. McDonnell and Bolling will participate on a panel about reforming state government, while Cuccinelli and former governor George Allen will speak about federalism. About 3,000 to 5,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Richmond Convention Center Oct. 8-9. Other confirmed speakers include radio host Lou Dobbs, conservative commentator Dick Morris and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. Federation of Tea Party Patriots Chairman Jamie Radtke previously told The Post that the event will include seminars on history, current public policy and grass-roots activism, and a presidential straw poll. The convention, which will take place less than a month before the midterm elections, will include congressional town halls for each Virginia district....

By Anita Kumar  | September 21, 2010; 1:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Falwell announces support for ABC privatization

Jerry Falwell Jr., the president and chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, has endorsed Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize state-run liquor stores. In a statement, Falwell -- who took over the Christian university after the death of his father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, in 2007 -- said he believes that government shouldn't be in the business of selling liquor. "I support Governor Bob McDonnell's proposal to privatize Virginia's ABC stores primarily because I believe that our founders intended a much more limited role for government than what we have today," he said. "In my view, Virginia's private sector, its families, churches and businesses will be better served and protected by eliminating government-sanctioned monopolies." Falwell's support could help the governor counter opposition to privatization he's encountered from some social conservatives, who have said they think increasing the number of liquor-selling outlets around the state to 1,000, as McDonnell has proposed,...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 21, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell again declines to stop woman's execution

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) declined Tuesday morning to reconsider the clemency petition for a 41-year-old woman set to be executed Thursday, despite a last-minute plea by her attorneys Monday.

By Anita Kumar  | September 21, 2010; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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California group says Virginia ABC effort driven by alcohol industry

California-based Marin Institute, which describes itself as a watchdog of the alcohol industry, is out with a new report urging states that control the sale of liquor not to dismantle their spirits regulations. The group's report highlights efforts to privatize state-run liquor monopolies in Virginia and Washington state and asserts efforts to deregulate are being pushed by the alcohol industry, in an effort to boost profits. The Marin Institute cites a series of studies that show liquor consumption rose in states and other countries after privatization of portions of their industry. They also point to studies that show other alcohol related harms, like youth and binge drinking, rose with privatization. As we've indicated before, there is conflicting scientific research in this area--other studies show that private state and states that control the sale of alcohol have similar numbers of alcohol-related problems. The Institute calls on politicians to "stop using alcohol...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 21, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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About the Bloggers -- Christy Goodman

Christy Goodman covers the City of Alexandria and Arlington County. Christy is a native of Southern Maryland and has a degree in journalism from New York University. She started her career as a reporter for a series of community newspapers covering Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens in New York City. She returned to D.C. to work for The Washington Examiner and joined The Washington Post staff in 2006. She also has covered local news in Southern Maryland, Prince William County and Manassas for The Post. Past articles | E-mail Christy....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | September 20, 2010; 7:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  About the Blog, Christy Goodman  
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Advocacy groups call on DMV to rescind policy limiting use of work permit cards

The Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union are calling on the state to rescind its new policy to no longer allow federal work permit cards to prove someone's legal status when obtaining driver's licenses or identification cards. The change was implemented Sept. 7 after a fatal crash involving a Benedictine nun and a Bolivian man, accused of drunk driving, who immigrated here illegally. More 70 groups, including more law firms, unions, trade associations, faith based organizations, immigrant services and advocacy organizations, sent a letter to Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Richard Holcomb Friday. "This precipitous decision was made overnight without notice to or comment from the public, and apparently was based on a concern about the issuance of a single EAD I-766 to a single individual," said Jorge Figueredo, director of racial justice and immigrant rights for the American Civil Liberties Union....

By Anita Kumar  | September 20, 2010; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Transportation  
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Senate hearing set on JFCOM closure

The Senate Armed Services Committee announced Monday that it will convene a hearing Sept. 28 on the Pentagon's plans to streamline its budget, including a proposal to shutter the Joint Forces Command headquarters in Norfolk.

By Ben Pershing  | September 20, 2010; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, James Webb  
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D.C. region restaurant association 'buzzing' over ABC privatization

The chairman of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington -- who is also a top executive at the well-known Clyde's Restaurant Group -- says his members have a lot of confusion and some concerns about Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to privatize state-run liquor stores. Unlike the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, which represents most restaurants around the state, RAMW was not included in a working group that advised staff for McDonnell (R) about privatization in the months before the governor unveiled his proposal Sept. 8, said Clyde's Corporate Operations Manager Claude Andersen, who chairs the association. Among the group's members across the Washington region are 100 Northern Virginia restaurants, including the prominent 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, the Great American Restaurants, and 16 Chili's Bars and Grills in Northern Virginia....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 20, 2010; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Gore coming to Reston to raise cash for Moran

Looks like it's Presidential Also-Ran Week in Virginia's 8th congressional district.

By Ben Pershing  | September 20, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, James P. Moran Jr.  
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Condemned woman asks McDonnell to reconsider her death sentence

Lawyers for a 41-year-old woman set to be executed this week asked Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Monday to reconsider his decision Friday not to intervene in her case.

By Anita Kumar  | September 20, 2010; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell scores some support at Values Voter Summit

One percent of the 2,000 social conservatives attending the Values Voter Summit this weekend in the District want Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to be their president in 2012. Four percent want him to be vice president. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) took the top spot in the presidential straw poll over last year's favorite, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. "The results of the presidential straw poll reflect the outcome of recent elections,'' Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins said in a statement. "Those who are truly conservative, fiscally and socially, are enthusiastically supported by voters." McDonnell and the presidential hopefuls, including former Gov. Mitt Romney, gathered at the Omni Shoreham Hotel for the fifth annual event, sponsored by the Family Research Council and others organizations this weekend. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli did not attend, but Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of...

By Anita Kumar  | September 20, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Corey Stewart, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell  
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