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Virginia Politics Blog: October 24, 2010 - October 30, 2010

Obama rallies thousands for freshman Perriello

President Obama made his first campaign stop this fall on behalf of an individual House member Friday night, a direct appeal to young voters and African Americans to cast their ballots for freshman Rep. Tom Perriello. Speaking before a crowd of about 10,000, some huddled in blankets against the crisp night, Obama portrayed Perriello as a congressman who had made courageous decisions in Washington even when he knew they would not be popular in his Republican-leaning district. "I'm not here because Tom votes with me on every issue. Sometimes he disagrees with me,'' Obama said. "He didn't go to Washington to do what was easy or do what was popular. He went to do what was right." The boisterous gathering on the historic Downtown Mall in Charlottesville responded to the president by waving blue Perriello signs and occasionally chanting, "Go, Tom, go." Read the full story here. See Obama's full...

By Anita Kumar  | October 29, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, Election 2010, Tom Perriello  
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Va. State Board of Elections: Computer problems won't affect voters

The Virginia State Board of Elections is trying to assure voters that recent computer issues that have caused computers to run slowly for local registrars will not affect Tuesday's vote. The program that's been troubled is the state's voter database. Called VERIS, state officials said in a release Friday that the issues have been resolved. Even if VERIS were to run slowly on Tuesday, they said, the problem should not affect the voting process because it is an isolated database, not connected with either the electronic e-poll books used at polling places to check-in voters or to electronic voting machines....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 29, 2010; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Rosalind Helderman  
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Hurt: Obama's visit for Perriello is 'payback'

Hours before President Obama travels to Virginia, State Sen. Robert Hurt called his visit on behalf of his opponent, Rep. Tom Perriello, a "Hail Mary pass in the hopes of energizing his base." "It's clearly payback for being a loyal foot soldier for the Pelosi-Obama agenda, and I think the White House, the president, recognizes that his favorite congressman is in trouble and he's coming down to lend a hand in an effort to energize a base that heretofore has not been energized,'' Hurt said in a conference call with reporters. Hurt has accused Perriello of being someone in lockstep with Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by voting for their signature issues -- health-care reform, emissions limits and government bailouts that cost the 5th Congressional District 11,000 jobs. But Perriello has portrayed himself as an independent voice who bucked his party on bailout money for Wall Street, gun control...

By Anita Kumar  | October 29, 2010; 1:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, Election 2010, Eric Cantor, Robert F. McDonnell, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Perriello remains the underdog, despite attention from Obama, media

For all the profiles written about Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), and all the talk among supporters that more Democrats should have followed his example -- he remains a decided underdog heading into Tuesday's balloting against state Sen. Robert Hurt (R)

By Ben Pershing  | October 29, 2010; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Kaine on Wilder: No one's ever accused him of being too nice

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday night, Bret Baier asked Kaine about recent articles that suggested that he might be too nice to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 29, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Rosalind Helderman, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kaine, Warner, Webb help Va. congressional candidates in final push

President Obama is not the only one who will lend Virginia's Democratic congressmen a hand in the final push before Tuesday's election. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former governor, will spend the day in Virginia helping two candidates. He will hold a noon rally in Fairfax County with Rep. Gerry Connolly, who faces Republican Keith Fimian in the 11th District. At 5 p.m., he will appear in Hampton with Rep. Glenn Nye, who is being challenged by Republican Scott Rigell in a tight race in the 2nd District. Kaine and Nye will be joined by Rep. Bobby Scott (D), who is expected to easily win reelection next week. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner will spend the weekend with Rep. Rick Boucher, Nye and Rep. Tom Perriello -- three Democrats fighting to hold onto seats in the face of increasingly tough Republican challengers. On Saturday, Warner will appear...

By Anita Kumar  | October 28, 2010; 4:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, Election 2010, Glenn Nye, Mark Warner, Rick Boucher, Tom Perriello  
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Updated: Va. officials react to death of former congressman Pickett

The tributes continue to pour in Thursday for former Virginia congressman Owen Pickett, 80, who died Wednesday. "He set an excellent example as an elected official who consistently worked in a bipartisan way, both in the state legislature and in Congress, to do what was best for the Commonwealth and our nation," Sen. Mark Warner (D) said in a statement. "Virginia has lost one of its most respected leaders,'' Sen. Jim Webb (D) said in a statement. "Owen Pickett tirelessly served Virginia and the nation right up to the end of his life." Pickett (D), a lawyer, represented the 2nd Congressional District in Hampton Roads from 1987 to 2001. Before that, he served in the House of Delegates from 1972 to 1986. In August, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) tapped Pickett and former Rep. Tom Davis (R) to lead a new statewide military commission. "Even in his final months, knowing that...

By Anita Kumar  | October 28, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Glenn Nye, James Webb, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Bloomberg-backed group, Va. Tech victim's brother hit Fimian in new ad

The debates over gun control and the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre are making a late entry into the heated contest between Rep. Gerald Connolly (D) and Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R) in Virginia's 11th district.

By Ben Pershing  | October 28, 2010; 10:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian, Virginia Tech massacre  
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Perriello gets airtime on Colbert, Daily Show

It was a big night for U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello on Comedy Central Wednesday. The first-time Virginia Democratic congressman appeared via satellite on the Colbert Report to discuss his campaign against challenger state Sen. Robert Hurt (R-Pittsylvania). Colbert brought him on as an example of a Democrat running in a conservative district who hasn't distanced himself from President Obama or his agenda. Perriello has been arguing his votes in favor of the federal health care bill and an energy bill that would regulate greenhouse gases were good for his district, despite their unpopularity in some quarters. Among the highlights: Colbert asked Perriello about the importance of getting out the youth vote, particularly at the University of Virginia. The 36-year old congressman said he hopes young people will go to the polls. Then Colbert asked if Perriello favors legalizing medical marijuana. "From what I remember of U-Va., there were a lot...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 28, 2010; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Virginia's top Republicans on statewide get-out-the-vote tour

Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will fly around the state Sunday and Monday as part of a last-minute push to get out the vote Tuesday for Republicans in tight races. On Sunday, the three will rally with Keith Fimian, challenging Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) in the 11th District; state Sen. Robert Hurt, running against U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in the 5th District and House of Delegates Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, who is challenging Rep. Rick Boucher (D) in the 9th District. Monday, they will appear with Scott Rigell, who is running against Rep. Glenn Nye in the 2nd District. McDonnell, Bolling and Cuccinelli will be joined by Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, and on two stops by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who faces no serious opposition. This week, McDonnell, Bolling and Cuccinelli also have been holding a series of...

By Anita Kumar  | October 28, 2010; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Election 2010, Keith Fimian, Ken Cuccinelli, Morgan Griffith, Robert F. McDonnell, Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell  
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Handwritten Gates note offers slim hope on JFCOM

In his only letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell about the possible closure of the Joint Forces Command, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates indicated that some elements of the military installation employing more than 6,000 in Hampton Roads could be salvaged. "I believe some elements of JFCOM will need to be preserved,'' Gates wrote in a handwritten note to McDonnell. "How and where will be part of our analysis and deliberations." The letter, dated Oct. 1, was released by McDonnell's office late Wednesday. McDonnell has been asking for a meeting with Gates for weeks but has yet to be granted one. Late Wednesday, both McDonnell (R) and Sen. Mark Warner (D) sent letters to Gates challenging the Defense Department's analysis that led to Gates recommendation to close the facility and asked for meetings to make their case for JFCOM to stay open. "Since you still have not released any information...

By Anita Kumar  | October 27, 2010; 6:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell  
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State officials say voter database computer slowness has been resolved

State officials are telling local registrars that computer issues that have caused delays in inputting voter data in recent days have now been resolved. Local registrars have been reporting problems with the computer program, which is run by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, for several days now. Judy Brown, general registrar of Loudoun County, said the problem has been most pronounced in the morning, when local offices typically run daily reports. The problem cropped up when local officials attempted to enter data from voters who had applied for absentee ballots. At its worst, Brown said the computer was operated so slowly her staff was being timed-out of the system as many as three times for every voter whose information they tried to enter. But VITA officials distributed an e-mail to voting offices around the state Wednesday indicating the problems with the software, called VERIS, have now been resolved. "VITA engineers,...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 27, 2010; 4:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2010, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Duncan, McDonnell speak at Richmond education summit

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell welcomed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Richmond Wednesday morning to speak at the Governor's Education Summit. The Innovate to Educate summit, was held at the Virginia Fine Arts Museum for an invitation-only crowd of about 300 lawmakers, superintendents, teachers, college and university officials. McDonnell and Duncan have spoken regularly about their shared vision of education, including charter schools. (Photo Courtesy of Michaele White, governor's photographer)...

By Anita Kumar  | October 27, 2010; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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First Va. tea party political action committee registers

It's been a key question as the movement has gained steam over the last year. Some Virginians who affiliate with tea party groups have said success at the polls is a necessity if the group is to become an established force in state politics. Others have said they'd prefer to see the movement focus on issues and stay out of campaigns.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 27, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010, Rosalind Helderman  
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Democrats shell out $1 million to boost Connolly

Are national Democrats worried about Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.)?

By Ben Pershing  | October 27, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian  
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Updated: McDonnell simply enjoys Iowa and New Hampshire in the fall, really

Gov. Bob McDonnell flies to Iowa to campaign Wednesday. Thursday, he heads to New Hampshire. Yes, Virginia's governor just happens to be campaigning in the two early presidential battleground states. Don't think we hadn't noticed. McDonnell is joining Govs. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana in Iowa Wednesday to get out the vote before next week's election. He and Barbour will fly to New Hampshire Thursday. He and governors will travel to Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania this week. McDonnell spokesman J. Tucker Martin said the governor's schedule only allowed him to travel Wednesday and Thursday -- which takes him to Iowa and New Hampshire. Is McDonnell considering running for president? "He always wanted to see Iowa and New Hampshire in the fall,'' Martin quipped. Updated, 2 p.m. Looks like McDonnell will have to wait to see Iowa for the first time. His plane was unable to land...

By Anita Kumar  | October 27, 2010; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Pr. William GOP supervisors back Cuccinelli abortion regulation opinion

Prince William County's Republican supervisors have officially endorsed the Virginia attorney general's legal opinion that the state can impose stricter regulations on first-trimester abortions. During their Tuesday board meeting, the six Republican supervisors approved a resolution that requests that Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R ) directs the Virginia Board of Health and the Virginia Board of Medicine create, publish and enforce regulations for first-trimester abortion facilities and providers. John D. Jenkins and Frank J. Principi, the two Democrats on the board, abstained from voting on the resolution. "I don't think it is appropriate for the board to act on a state and federal matter," Principi said. "And Prince William doesn't even have a [first-trimester] abortion clinic in the county." The board's resolution comes almost a month after Manassas City Council took a similar stance supporting Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's August legal opinion that the state can take action to regulate...

By Jennifer Buske  | October 26, 2010; 5:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Jennifer Buske, Ken Cuccinelli, Prince William  
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McDonnell backs full disclosure for campaign contributors

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday that he supports full disclosure for campaign donors, a position that seemingly puts him at odds with some close allies currently running groups raising millions in undisclosed donations at the national level. McDonnell's former campaign chairman Ed Gillespie this year helped Republican Karl Rove found American Crossroads and the affiliated group Crossroads GPS, a political action committee that's spending millions on issues ads that could help Republican candidates. Fred Malek, a McDonnell ally currently chairing the gubernatorial Government Reform Commission in Virginia, founded a group called the Action Network, which is likewise spending millions on issues ads that could help Republicans but also does not have to disclose its donors. Democrats have made a major push in the final days before Tuesday's election to argue that corporate interests are using such organizations to buy the election. On Tuesday, McDonnell said he prefers the system...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 26, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Obama to campaign for Perriello in tight reelection race for Congress

President Obama will campaign for Rep. Tom Perriello on Friday, holding an event in Charlottesville in the final stretch before the midterm elections, administration officials said Tuesday. Perriello, a freshman Democrat with a reputation as a progressive, is a favorite of the Obama White House. This will be the first time Obama has held a rally for a solo House member, and Democratic officials hope it will boost Perriello's effort to turn out the first-time voters who backed him when Obama was at the top of the ticket in 2008. Perriello is locked in a tight battle with Republican State Sen. Robert Hurt. "For the better part of two years, Congressman Perriello has repeatedly sold out his constituents to support Barack Obama's job-killing agenda,'' said Andy Seré, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee. "For Virginians who are struggling just to get by, Obama's appearance will only serve as...

By Anita Kumar  | October 26, 2010; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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McDonnell orders review of Virginia textbook adoption process

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Tuesday that he has ordered a full review of the state's textbook adoption process, in the wake of the discovery that a three-teacher state panel approved a history book for fourth-graders that includes a claim that thousands of African-Americans fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Professional historians have said the claim--which the author of "Our Virginia: Past and Present" has said she found using Internet resources largely written by the Sons of Confederate Veterans--is not accurate. In his first public comments on the textbook situation, McDonnell said on WTOP's Ask the Governor radio program that he was "very disappointed" to learn of the situation. He called the claim an "error" that is "outside the historical mainstream."...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 26, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Conservative group runs ads against Boucher in the 'fightin' 9th'

Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax group that supports limited government and free trade, is spending $110,000 on an TV and radio buy against U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D) in the final push before the Nov. 2 election. The ads, which will air through Sunday, accuse Boucher of "turning his back on Virginians by supporting the Pelosi-Obama agenda that's killing jobs" by playing a key role passing the cap-and-trade bill that will likely increase utility rates, raise taxes on businesses and leave people out of work. "While Virginia businesses struggle to compete, the Boucher-Pelosi-Obama agenda is working against them,'' the ad says. "Call Rick Boucher and tell him his policies are killing Virginia jobs." The bill passed the House, but not the Senate. The ads will run on network and cable channels....

By Anita Kumar  | October 26, 2010; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher  
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Webb to put hold on Pentagon appointments until JFCOM data arrives

Sen. Jim Webb (D) has alerted the Department of Defense that he will put a hold on all civilian and flag officer nominations until he gets more information about the decision-making process to Secretary Robert Gates' recommendation that the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk be shuttered. The move elevates Webb's demand for information from the Obama administration and comes just a week before the midterm elections. The decision by the Obama administration's defense secretary to close JFCOM as a cost-saving measure has been a major campaign issue in a race between Democrat Rep. Glenn Nye and Republican Scott Rigell. Members of Virginia's congressional delegation of both parties have said they were blindsided when Gates announced the recommendation, part of a plan to trim the Pentagon's budget in coming years. They have subpoened the Defense Department, insisting that the Pentagon has been stonewalling their request for more information about how the...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 25, 2010; 5:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Glenn Nye, James Webb, Rosalind Helderman, Scott Rigell  
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Virginia's top Republicans to help congressional candidates

Virginia's statewide elected officials are making a final push in the days before next week's Congressional vote on behalf of Republican candidates across the state. On Sunday and Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will fly around the state, rallying support. More details on the tour when they're released. Between now and then, McDonnell will hold a fundraiser with Keith Fimian, challenging U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) in the 11th District. On Tuesday, McDonnell heads to Gretna, Va., to raise dollars on behalf of state Sen. Robert Hurt (R), who is challenging U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in what is considered Virginia's most competitive race. Cuccinelli will be holding a series of fundraisers and rallies with candidates, as well. On Wednesday, he and former governor and senator George Allen headline a fundraiser for Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R), challenging...

By Roz Helderman  | October 25, 2010; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Bill Bolling, Election 2010, George F. Allen, Gerald E. Connolly, Glenn Nye, Keith Fimian, Ken Cuccinelli, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher, Rob Wittman, Robert F. McDonnell, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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On the trail: Snapshots of how party strategies are playing out in Virginia

Will African-American voters come to the polls in the numbers Democrats need on Nov. 2? How about young people? Can Republicans convince voters all Democrats--even longtime incumbents--are mere allies for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? How is the tea party movement's anti-government anger playing in the suburbs of the Federal City? Over the last few weeks, we traveled around Virginia looking at these questions--key to the outcome of Congressional races nationally--through the prism of the Commonwealth's most competitive races. You can take a look at the results here. Looking at the black vote in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District. Talking to young people in the 5th Congressional District. Testing the power of incumbency in the 9th District. Evaluating the tea party's sway in the suburbs in the 11th District....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | October 25, 2010; 10:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  !Elections, 2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Glenn Nye, Keith Fimian, Morgan Griffith, Rick Boucher, Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell, Tom Perriello  
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Moran pursues state party chairmanship but obstacles remain

Former gubernatorial candidate and Alexandria delegate Brian Moran has been calling members of the Democratic State Central Committee to drum up support for his bid to be the next party chairman, but it may not be a sure thing. Last week, Del. Joe Morrissey sent a letter to fellow Democratic legislators criticizing a selection process that he says allowed Sen. Mark Warner and former Gov. Tim Kaine to handpick Moran for the job. Now, there are rumblings that some activists would rather have U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello fill the chairman's post if he loses his tough re-election bid next week against state Sen. Robert Hurt. There's also a possibility that state Sen. Don McEachin maybe interested. He said as much in a statement after Richard Cranwell announced he was stepping down after leading the party for five years. Morrissey also said he has heard from two others who are interested...

By Anita Kumar  | October 25, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Mark Warner, Timothy M. Kaine, Tom Perriello  
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