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Virginia Politics Blog: November 28, 2010 - December 4, 2010

Virginia Democrats elect Moran party chairman

Virginia Democrats elected former gubernatorial candidate and Alexandria delegate Brian Moran as their new chairman Saturday as they look to turn their party around after two years of losses. The party's governing board -- the Democratic State Central Committee -- selected Moran over former Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Peter Rousselot. Moran replaces Richard Cranwell, who resigned after leading the party for five years. Moran, younger brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, was recommended for the job by U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Some activists had preferred Rousselot, accusing Virginia's top Democrats of trying to dictate who should chair the state party. Moran, executive vice president for government relations at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, served as House of Delegates caucus chairman for seven years. He lost to state Sen. Creigh Deeds...

By Anita Kumar  | December 4, 2010; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran  
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Cuccinelli praises EPA for polluting homebuilder settlement

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issues rare praise for the EPA for reaching a settlement with national homebuilder Beazer Homes USA Inc., accused of clean water act violations in 21 states, including Virginia.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 3, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Arlington county manager enlists the public in crafting budget

Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is asking for residents' help in coming up with the fiscal 2012 budget. "It is really just to get their ideas," she said. "You never know what gem you will get from the community." She held a working session with the public Thursday night to hear concerns and get ideas on how to shape the budget, which already faces a $25 million to $35 million shortfall. The Arlington County Board has directed the county manager to provide a fiscal 2012 budget with no more than a 1.14 percent spending increase over the current budget of $955.9 million. The ideas from the community ranged from restoring cuts or sparing additional ones to parks, libraries and human services; increasing regional cooperation for services such as health care and transportation; and re-examining the revenue-sharing agreement with the school system. Donnellan will be featured on a panel on Dec....

By Christy Goodman  | December 3, 2010; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Arlington County, Budget, Christy Goodman  
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'Tito the Builder' may run against Stewart for chairman

Tito Muñoz -- better known as 'Tito the Builder' -- is considering challenging Prince William Board Chairman Corey Stewart in a Republican primary next year. "I'm thinking of running,'' Muñoz said in an interview. "I'm not ruling it out." You may remember Muñoz from his brief appearance onstage with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign. He later volunteered for Bob McDonnell during his 2009 campaign for governor and was appointed to the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development. More recently, he has become a conservative Latino voice on the radio. Muñoz said he's considering running because he thinks Stewart doesn't want the chairman job anymore because he's been talking about running for U.S. Senate in 2012. "It's clear he doesn't want his job,'' he said. 'If he doesn't want the job, there's always people who can do a better job."...

By Anita Kumar  | December 3, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Corey Stewart, Prince William  
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Loudoun official's comments linking pat-downs, 'homosexual agenda' go viral

Loudoun Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) found himself at the center of a flurry of media attention this week after he authored a widely distributed e-mail claiming that the Transportation Safety Administration's pat down safety procedures at airports are part of a "homosexual agenda." Delgaudio told The Post that he believes the resulting backlash (reports appeared on 9NEWS.com, DCist, WTOP.com and The Loudoun Times Mirror, among other sites and blogs) is really about the fact that he has two jobs -- one as the president of a deeply conservative organization that pays him a $150,000 salary, and one as an elected county official that pays $40,000. He said he is being "condemned" for his dual roles. In the e-mail -- written for Public Advocate of the United States, a conservative nonprofit organization based in Sterling -- Delgaudio criticized TSA's nondiscrimination hiring policy: "It's the federal employee's version of the Gay Bill...

By Caitlin Gibson  | December 3, 2010; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Caitlin Gibson, Loudoun County  
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Bill would raise medical malpractice awards in Va.

Trial lawyers and doctors may have worked out a compromise that would raise awards in medical malpractice lawsuits $50,000 each year. Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax) said he and Sen. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond), both attorneys, helped the two feuding sides negotiate a deal by telling them that if they didn't work out a compromise, legislators would do it for them. Albo has introduced a bill that will increase awards from $2 million to $2.05 million July 1, 2012 and then $50,000 each year until July 1, 2031. In the 1970s, the General Assembly capped awards in medical malpractice lawsuits at $750,000. The cap was gradually increased and capped at $2 million in 2008....

By Anita Kumar  | December 3, 2010; 11:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race, Anita Kumar, Creigh Deeds, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Va. tea party leader Radtke weighing U.S. Senate run

Jamie Radtke, chairwoman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation and lead organizer of Virginia's first tea party convention, said in an interview she is considering running for U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2012. Radtke said she had considered running for state senate in 2011 but after the successful tea party convention ,which drew an estimated 2,800 people to Richmond and brought her considerable attention this fall, she began thinking about the U.S. Senate instead. Radtke said she has been speaking to business leaders, tea party activists and social conservatives to seek advice. "I've been very encouraged by the response and look to make a decision pretty quickly,'' she said. At least four other Republicans are interested in running against Democrat Sen. Jim Webb -- if he seeks reelection: former senator and governor George Allen; Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors; Del. Bob...

By Anita Kumar  | December 3, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bob Marshall, Corey Stewart, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, U.S. Senate  
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Will McDonnell promise not to run for president in 2012? Read the full interview

The Post's Jennifer Rubin chats with Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for her blog written from a conservative perspective aptly titled Right Turn. Here's an excerpt: "He was less willing to talk about 2012. I asked him if he would make a Shermanesque -- or Christie-esque -- promise not to run for president. He didn't bite. He merely said that he has 'many new initiatives' he wants to see through and that 'there are any number of good candidates, including some former and current' governors, he would look forward to supporting. Yes, he sure left some wiggle room there." Check out the full interview here....

By Anita Kumar  | December 2, 2010; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Five governors and a reporter

Five Virginia governors gathered together Thursday, and it couldn't have been in their favorite place -- a roomful of journalists. What brought them together? A celebration for the dean of the capital press corps. Reporter Tyler Whitley was honored for 50 years at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Richmond News Leader at a champagne reception attended by Gov. Bob McDonnell and former governors Jim Gilmore, Doug Wilder, Gerry Baliles and Linwood Hilton. "If it's true that reporters write the first draft of history, then Tyler has written a lot of history,'' Baliles said. When Whitley began as an obituary writer for the now-defunct afternoon News Leader the Beatles were just getting off the ground, JFK was president and the governor of Virginia? I'm sure you all remember -- a man named James Lindsay Almond. Whitley has covered nine governors, 14 national political conventions and four redistrictings. He's been to 10 countries...

By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 2, 2010; 5:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, James Gilmore III, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. Democrats split on tax vote

Rep. Gerald Connolly (Va.) voted with the vast majority of his fellow Democrats Thursday to approve a bill that would extend middle-class tax cuts, hours after the Northern Virginia lawmaker opposed his party on a procedural vote.

By Ben Pershing  | December 2, 2010; 4:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Gerald E. Connolly, Glenn Nye, James P. Moran Jr., Rick Boucher, Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Tom Perriello  
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UPDATED: Rutherford Institute: Cuccinelli opinion could turn schools into 'authoritarian police states'

The Libertarian legal group the Rutherford Institute is slamming Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) for issuing a Nov. 24 legal opinion advising school officials that they have the right to seize and search student cell phones or laptops whenever they suspect students have broken school rules or the law.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 2, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell, Spielberg talk about filming Lincoln movie in Va.

Gov. Bob McDonnell called superstar film director Steven Spielberg on Monday to help try to convince him to bring his new movie on Abraham Lincoln to Virginia. "I had a chat with Steven Spielberg the other day,'' McDonnell said on his monthly radio show on WRVA Thursday. "He's filming the Lincoln movie. Virginia is right near the top of his list. We're certainly trying to get him to come. That would be about a $50 million project in the Richmond area." The two men spoke for about 20 minutes -- mostly about their shared interested in World War II, sources in McDonnell's administration tell us. McDonnell's late father fought in the war and Spielberg has filmed several movies about the war. State officials have offered Spielberg tax credits to film the movie. The General Assembly passed a bill this year allowing a tax credit of up to 20 percent for...

By Anita Kumar  | December 2, 2010; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Marshall files first bill related to U-Va. clash with Cuccinelli

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) files first bill inspired by the now hotley contested events surrounding the tenure of climate researcher Michael Mann at the University of Virginia.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 2, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Arlington delegation to county: Tax a 'tough sale'

Virginia Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington) told the county board Wednesday afternoon that "anything with the word 'tax' in it is a tough sell." Whipple, one of several members of the Arlington delegation to the General Assembly at a meeting with the Arlington County Board, was speaking to the board's request to renew an existing 1/4-cent tax that is added to the hotel tax, otherwise known as the Transit Occupancy Tax. The renewal of the1/4-cent levy is the first of two legislative requests coming from Arlington for the 2011 General Assembly session. The county also provided policy guidance for their delegation. The 1/4-cent tax generated more than $1 million in fiscal 2010 for the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service and must be renewed every three years. Arlington's Transit Occupancy Tax generated nearly $21 million for the general fund in the same year....

By Christy Goodman  | December 1, 2010; 7:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Arlington County, Christy Goodman, General Assembly 2011  
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McDonnell's reform commission recommends 133 proposals

Gov. Bob McDonnell's reform commission sent its final report to him Wednesday, recommending 133 proposals to shave money from the state budget while making government more user-friendly and efficient. Proposals include: privatizing the state's liquor stores; encouraging the use of high-deductible health insurance plans; telecommuting; allowing employees to work 10-hour days four times a week; and encouraging Q-status, which provides an option for state employees to receive health benefits and retirement if they work a minimum of 32 hours a week. The full report can be found here. The commission did not release estimated financial savings for the recommendations. McDonnell's staff previously released estimated savings for his proposal to privatize the state's liquor system, but has since abandoned that plan and will revise it. His staff also previously announced that the state could save $3.19 million by moving 25 agencies to four-day work weeks and closing hundreds of state-owned buildings....

By Anita Kumar  | December 1, 2010; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell  
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UPDATED: Democrat Warner opposes Obama's Va. coastal drilling ban

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said Wednesday that he agrees with Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in opposing President Obama's decision to restrict oil and gas drilling off the coast of Virginia for the next seven years.

By Anita Kumar  | December 1, 2010; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Updated: Obama administration restricts drilling off Virginia's coast

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday that the Obama administration will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March, according to The Post's Juliet Eilperin. In March -- less than a month before the BP oil spill -- Obama and Salazar said they would open up the eastern gulf and parts of the Atlantic, including off the coast of Virginia, to offshore oil and gas exploration. On both of those new areas, the administration said it would start scoping to see if oil and gas drilling would be suitable. Read more about today's announcement on the Post Carbon blog here. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has made drilling off Virginia's coast one of his administration's top priorities, is expected to...

By Anita Kumar  | December 1, 2010; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Saslaw on Pittsylvania race: 'Upsets can happen'

Is there peace in the valley between the Democrat's Senate majority leader and the party's candidate for the state senate from Pittsylvania county? You'll recall that Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) declared in early November that the Democrats wouldn't field a candidate for the senate seat vacated by Republican Sen. Robert Hurt's election to Congress because the party didn't want to waste money running in an area so dominated by Republicans. And then Pittsylvania Board of Supervisors Chairman Hank Davis Jr. responded au contraire--he'd been planning on running for the job as a Democrat for a while. Well, Saslaw tells us he and Davis had a nice chat by phone on Tuesday. "He's a hell of a nice guy," Saslaw said of the Chatham attorney. "He's very sincere. And he's been in public office a long, long time. His opponent's never been in public office." But, Saslaw added, "I'm not sure...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 1, 2010; 11:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, Robert Hurt, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Federal judge dismisses Liberty University suit against health-care law

A federal judge in Virginia ruled Tuesday that the new health care overhaul law is constitutional, dismissing a lawsuit filed by Liberty University in Lynchburg that had challenged the statute.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 30, 2010; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Barack Obama, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Howell, other officials launch campaign to repeal federal laws

House Speaker Bill Howell joined with leaders of other states Tuesday to kick off a national push to support a constitutional amendment allowing two-thirds of the states to collectively repeal a federal law or regulation. Thirty-eight states would need to support a call for an amendment convention. So far, 10 states, including Virginia, are supportive, said Marianne Moran, executive director of the Repeal Amendment. "The federal government has long ago usurped the power reserved to the states and the people via our Constitution,'' Howell said in a statement. "However, our founders anticipated a time in our nation where the federal government's power would become out of balance -- and in their wisdom provided a way out via Article V. The Repeal Amendment restores the balance of power between the states and federal government." Other Virginians who support the proposal, but who did not attend Tuesday's news conference, include Gov. Bob...

By Anita Kumar  | November 30, 2010; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell, William Howell  
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Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives Virginia clean-up plan mixed reviews

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has issued its analysis of a plan submitted by Virginia to the Environmental Protection Agency Monday outlining bay cleanup strategies and the environmental group's verdict is decidedly mixed.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 30, 2010; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell defends Allen against Stewarts's 'mediocre' remark

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) was quick to defend his longtime friend George Allen against a biting remark by Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, who called Allen a "mediocre" senator. "I think a lot of George Allen,'' McDonnell said on his monthly radio show Tuesday on WTOP. "I served with him in the legislature when he was governor. He was the most dynamic governor of the modern age. I think he was an exceptional governor. He was a very good senator." Allen, Stewart and fellow Republicans, Del. Bob Marshall (Prince William) and Bert Mizusawa, who ran against Rep.-elect Scott Rigell in the primary for the Hampton Roads area seat, are considering running for U.S. Sen. Jim Webb's seat in 2012. Webb (D) has yet to announce whether he's running for reelection....

By Anita Kumar  | November 30, 2010; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Corey Stewart, Election 2012, George F. Allen, Robert F. McDonnell, U.S. Senate  
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Cuccinelli team headed to Supreme Court Wednesday

Top lawyers for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will be making oral arguments before the United State Supreme Court on Wednesday in a complicated procedural case that will determine when state agencies can access the federal court system.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 30, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell says tobacco commission needs improvements

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Monday that the tobacco commission has made some necessary changes following a $4 million theft, but more may be necessary to protect millions of dollars earmarked for the most economically depressed areas of the state. "They made some of them already since this has occurred over the last five years,'' he said in his first public comments about the theft. "I think overall the commission is well run. But still there's room for improvement." McDonnell's office is reviewing what changes -- including legislative ones -- might be necessary. "Our staffs have been in contact on that to look at ways we can improve trust and accountability,'' he said. John W. Forbes, 54, secretary of finance under Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R), was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week for defrauding the commission of $4 million. He received a $5 million grant for...

By Anita Kumar  | November 29, 2010; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Corey Stewart: George Allen had 'mediocre' senate record

In a television interview Monday, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart said former U.S. Sen. George Allen had a "mediocre" record in the senate and said should Allen seek to reclaim his seat he will find that his "base has moved on."

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 29, 2010; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Corey Stewart, George F. Allen, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Herring introduces legislation to outlaw 'Spice'

Legislation that would outlaw the use and sale of synthetic marijuana, a drug commonly referred to as K2 or "Spice," has been filed for the 2011 Virginia General Assembly session by state Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun), according to a statement Monday by Herring's office. The proposed bill would create penalties for possession, sale, or distribution of the drug, establishing guidelines that are largely in accord with the provisions for marijuana use and possession, the statement said. K2, produced in China and Korea, is made with a combination of herbs and spices that are sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, according to police. K2, which has been sold since 2006 for about $30 to $40 per three-gram bag, can be purchased legally in Virginia and is currently sold as an incense product at local convenience stores, authorities said. The effects of K2 are...

By Caitlin Gibson  | November 29, 2010; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Caitlin Gibson, General Assembly, General Assembly 2011, Loudoun County  
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Lingamfelter says he asked Cuccinelli for immigration law analysis to avoid 'legislation by bumpersticker'

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli writes that large sections of Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart's "Rule of Law" immigration proposal to be duplicative of state law and unnecessary.

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Jennifer Buske  | November 29, 2010; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Corey Stewart, Immigration, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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