Archive: Brian J. Moran

Posted at 3:42 PM ET, 10/14/2009

Excerpts: Post Reporter, Fundraising Expert Take Your Questions

Washington Post staff writer Amy Gardner and David Poole, executive director of Campaign Finance for the Virginia Public Access Project, were online today to discuss the Virginia governor's race between Creigh Deeds (D) and Bob McDonnell (R) and the candidates' campaign financing. Excerpts follow. Read the full transcript here.

Charlottesville, Va.: Has the recession played much of a role in fundraising this year for Deeds and McDonnell? What about in the down-ticket races?

David Poole: Yes, the recession seems to be a factor. We know this anecdotally from talking to political fundraisers. People who are worth $25 million don't feel rich because, well, last year they were worth $50. We've seen this in the numbers, too. Here is a chart showing the trends in spending for the last few gubernatorial cycles.

You can see things have been on a fast-growth pace. You can ignore this year, because the numbers are preliminary. But through August 31, the amount raised by McDonnell-Deeds was less than raised four years ago at this point by Kilgore-Kaine.

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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 10/ 6/2009

First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009

Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.

Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell will appear at a candidate's forum sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce this morning. (We will be live blogging so be sure to check back around 8:30 a.m. for a full report).

Deeds will spend the rest of the day meeting residents at Leisure World, a private senior community in Leesburg, talking up higher education plans at Shenandoah University in Winchester and holding a rally at James Madison University in Harrisonburg. McDonnell will attend a veterans event in Arlington with his daughter, Jeanine, who served in Iraq.

Tonight, Deeds and McDonnell will participate in interviews as part of a previously taped hour-long TV special. Tune in to ABC 7/WJLA-TV or Politico's Web site at 7 p.m. to watch.

We're just four weeks from Election Day! And the allegations and accusations are flying.

Yesterday's mini-scandal was over Sheila Johnson's mocking of Deeds's speaking style. The billionaire co-founder of Black Entertainment Television quickly apologized but not before making national headlines.

Later in the day, Democrats seized on a canceled event between Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO and current Republican candidate for California governor, and McDonnell but his campaign said it was a miscommunication.

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Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009

Moran Advises Deeds: Give People a Reason to Vote for You

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran says Democrat Creigh Deeds is very much in a position to win his campaign for governor, but says he counseled his party's nominee last night that he needs to push back against consultant advice to run negative ads, and run positive spots instead.

Moran said Deeds is being supported by an anti-McDonnell vote but now must give voters a reason to vote for him instead of against the other guy.

"We had a conversation last night," Moran said. "I said: 'All your consultants are going to tell you to go negative, just like they told my brother. And spend all your money on negative because positive ads don't move anything.' ... I said: 'You've got to go with your instinct. You're a genuine guy. People relate to you.' "

"That's how Creigh won the primary and I think that's how he'll win the general, by showing that he's very decent guy," Moran continued. "People know about the thesis -- the people who care about the thesis, they're in Northern Virginia and they read The Post and they know. But there's got to be more. He's got to give people a reason to vote for Creigh."

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Posted at 7:11 AM ET, 10/ 5/2009

First Click -- Virginia

Monday, Oct. 5, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.

One month and counting until Virginia voters go to the polls. Have you registered to vote yet? Today's the deadline!

This may be a critical week in the campaign, as pretty much everyone who is going to vote is starting to pay real attention to the governor's race, even these highly sought late-deciders.

Is the national Democratic party doubling-down on Sen. Creigh Deeds in attempt to close the gap with Republican Bob McDonnell? The DNC will give him $1 million more to spend on his effort. But meanwhile national Democrats begin to say quietly they think they may have better chance in New Jersey than Virginia. Those doing the talking, very diplomatically include Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, head of the Democratic Governors Association.

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Posted at 5:34 PM ET, 10/ 4/2009

Warner to Campaign for Deeds Again

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D), who recent polls have suggested may not be just Virginia's most popular sitting politician but perhaps it's more popular in decades, is stepping up his efforts on behalf of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds as Election Day approaches.

Already, Warner is featured in a television ad airing around the state. Monday, he campaigns with Deeds in Northern Virginia. Warner will greet the lunch crowd with Deeds at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington.

Also there to lend a hand will be the Moran brothers, U.S. Rep. Jim, as well as former delegate and contender for the gubernatorial nomination Brian, and state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple.

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Posted at 4:41 PM ET, 09/30/2009

Virginia Notebook: Wilder Again Plays His Hand Alone

It's one of the most popular parlor games in Virginia politics: guessing who, if anyone, will get former Democratic governor L. Douglas Wilder's endorsement.

This year, the game came to a swift end when Wilder announced last week that he would sit out the Virginia governor's race.

The decision itself wasn't shocking (he had done the same in prior years), but it was surprising this year considering he had been courted by President Obama and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, his party's national chairman.

Wilder said in a lengthy statement that he could not endorse Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in his race over Republican Robert F. McDonnell because Deeds supports a tax increase to pay for road and transit improvements ("This is not the time in our Commonwealth to talk about any kind of tax increase") and boasts a pro-gun record ("I do not see how endorsing a proposal to have more handguns brought into our cities and suburban areas qualifies as any type of urban renewal plan").

Wilder, an outspoken and sometimes combative politician who has a place in history books as the nation's first elected black governor, doesn't mind breaking with his party. He relishes the sport of keeping everyone guessing about what he's going to do -- and his pattern, if there is one, is to wait until the end and try to figure out who is going to win.

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Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 09/23/2009

Moran to Hit the Trail for Deeds

On the day after the June Democratic primary, gubernatorial nominee also-rans Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran both promised to do whatever they could to get victor Creigh Deeds elected in November. McAuliffe's activities have been clear in recent weeks -- he's been sending his supporters a series of e-mails and personally donated $25,000 to Deeds. And Moran? After a summer spent resting and recovering in Maine, expect to see him on the trail starting Friday, when he will appear on Deeds's behalf.

Moran will serve as Deeds's surrogate at the 8th Congressional District's Kennedy/King Dinner, as the Deeds campaign begins to lean on Moran to help boost turnout in the Democratic strongholds of Arlington and Alexandria.

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Posted at 9:20 AM ET, 09/10/2009

GOP Group Launches Attack Ads

Another day, another new ad.

The Republican Governors Association started airing new negative TV and radio ads across the state (except for Northern Virginia) today against Democrat Creigh Deeds.

The ads focus on Deeds's vote last year to raise the gas tax (to pay for roads and transit) and says that he would support other tax increases "even in a bad economy."



"We already know that Creigh Deeds wants to pump up spending in Richmond," RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "So it's no surprise that he wants to pump up the taxes too, even if it means further deflating the economy."

The RGA ads come a day after Deeds started his own attack ad against Republican Bob McDonnell on social issues. We did ask the Deeds campaign for a reaction to the RGA ads but have yet to hear back

See below for the longer radio version:

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Posted at 6:04 PM ET, 06/12/2009

Moran, McAuliffe Supporters Glad At Least Its Deeds

An observation from this afternoon's event at the Silver Diner in Arlington featuring new Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and attended by quite a number of people who had been supporting Deeds' opponents in the primary battle.

Supporters of both Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe said they were finding it easier to get on board for Deeds than they imagined they would have had their man lost to the other guy.

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Posted at 7:46 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Four Primary Lessons

After a day for digestion, we asked Mark J. Rozell, who has a good sense of Virginia, his takeaways so far from the Deeds blowout. Rozell is a professor of public policy at George Mason University, a certified pundit and a quote machine.

Here are four:

1. Virginia primary voters are pragmatic
"That goes against type quite frankly. Most of the political science literature will tell you that primary voters tend to be more ideological than pragmatic. But we've seen in some recent election cycles that Democratic voters in Virginia have gone for more middle-of-the-road candidates, and perhaps taken lessons from Mark Warner, Jim Webb and Tim Kaine. They understand that having a candidate who runs more to the middle is prescription for success in this state."

2. Republican conventioneers celebrated too soon
"The last place anyone in Virginia would pop a champagne cork last night was the Bob McDonnell headquarters. I think they realize the Democrats picked their toughest opponent."

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Posted at 6:58 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Looking For Nuggets

It was just 24 hours ago that the results of Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial primary began flooding in. The result came faster and was more definitive than nearly anyone expected.

It feels like it's been a lot longer than a day. Already President Obama has dipped his toes in with a call, and Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds have been racing through appearances and interviews like election day was just 145 days away. Wait. Election day is just 145 days away.

Still, how about a deep breath. Some of the experts were way off in the run-up to Tuesday. In early May, two years after Brian Moran launched his bid for governor, his pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Inc. had Terry McAuliffe at 31 percent, Moran at 29 percent and Deeds at 18 percent. Tuesday's results had Deeds with about twice the support of either of his rivals.

So what nuggets can be found in Tuesday's rush of actual returns?

Here's one: The more conservative candidate trounced his more liberal opponents in left-leaning Arlington: Deeds, 47 percent; Moran 37 percent, McAuliffe 16 percent. But Deeds also hit 47 percent in Loudoun, which continues to have deeper conservative roots than some of Washington's closer-in suburbs. There Moran was at 23 percent and McAuliffe was at 30.

Take a look at the State Board of Elections results by county here. And go deeper by clicking on "Votes by Precinct" in each jurisdiction. Drop us a line in the comments about what you find.

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Posted at 5:27 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Late Hits

Commentators sometimes talk about Creigh Deeds' soft-edged demeanor or even his drawl in a way that suggests doubt about whether he has the mettle to take down a more polished politician such as Bob McDonnell. But as Deeds today continued settling into his role as his party's overwhelming choice, not just the guy in the middle, it's worth looking back at a key moment in the last formal debate between Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran.

At the end of the Washington Post-sponsored debate at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Deeds ended up with the final closing statement. With his opponents unable to respond from the stage, Deeds lit into them both in a way that was closer to ruthless than soft-edged. Republican leaders had taken some enjoyment in seeing the Democrats run each other -- and their campaign accounts -- down. Today, Democrats said the tough race helped turn Deeds into a tougher candidate. That might just be convenient spin. Or it might just be true.

Don't remember Deeds' late hits in that Annandale debate? Here's a reminder. Hit play then scroll over to about the 54:30 minute mark.

VIDEO | Democratic Gov. Candidates Square Off

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Posted at 3:22 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Getting Back Together After 'A Little Distance'

Beyond the cheering crowds and symbolism of today's unity rally in Richmond with Creigh Deeds and his rivals was a more sensitive and discrete task: Finding a way for Deeds to absorb and benefit from key staffers who have worked for months trying to defeat him.

Talks are in early stages. But an effort is underway to shift key personnel and other resources to Deeds and joint efforts to elect Democrats in November.

"All the sudden you have a lot of really talented, hard-working people...who are now ready to get behind the nominee. It's just kind of a matter of figuring out how it can happened," said Delacey Skinner, communications director for Terry McAuliffe's campaign.

Old colleagues who worked together four years ago on the coordinated campaign to elect Tim Kaine as governor and Creigh Deeds as attorney general are back talking again, Skinner said.

Staffers gathered in Richmond today were "reconnecting with people maybe we've had a little distance from," Skinner said.

McAuliffe had about 40 paid field organizers and about 6,000 people who signed up as volunteers. "We want to make sure we're helping anywhere we can," Skinner said.

Her own plans aren't yet clear, Skinner added. But she's busy "making sure that my staff has what they need to transition to whatever they want to do next."

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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Deeds' Own Precinct Reports Margins Not Seen Since USSR

The results are in: Creigh Deeds did pretty well in his home precinct.

The numbers in Deeds' Bath County voting spot (the Millboro precinct) looked like this, my colleague Freddy Kunkle reports:

Deeds: 198 (97 percent)
Terry McAuliffe: 6 (3 percent)
Brian Moran: 0

Things were not quite so definitive for his rivals.

Moran was strong at his Alexandria precinct, Temple Beth El Synagogue:

Deeds: 140 (25 percent)
McAuliffe: 68 (12 percent)
Moran: 358 (63 percent)

But McAuliffe had it tougher in Fairfax. Spring Hill:

Deeds: 168 (55 percent)
McAuliffe: 84 (28 percent)
Moran: 52 (17 percent)

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Posted at 1:20 PM ET, 06/ 9/2009

More from Arlington Polls ...

At George Mason University's Arlington campus this morning, John and Kate Forbush ignored a light drizzle so they could cast their votes for Brian Moran. The young professionals live in Ballston and are both very interested in politics. They said they sent e-mail to friends reminding them to vote.

But their experience echoed a theme of the day for Democrats: November's electricity has fizzled.

"You can tell a huge difference," John Forbush said. "You can tell the energy from the presidential election was just sucked out of all our friends. ... Maybe because it's a primary, maybe because the candidates aren't well-known, people aren't really talking about the Democratic primary."

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Posted at 1:08 PM ET, 06/ 9/2009

A Moran Voter in Montclair

For now, Fred Lambe is for Brian Moran.

Lambe, who lives in Montclair in Prince Williams County, said he voted for Moran today but might change his mind come November. He said he wants a governor who will best address transportation and the state budget deficit.

"I look foward to the debates," he said. "Depending how each addresses the deficit and how it will impact me tax-wise, that's when I could leave my party line."

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Posted at 11:34 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Brian Moran, Knute Rockne, And Remembering The Titans

Candidates get punchy in a campaign's final hours.

Late Sunday night -- two years after Brian Moran launched his campaign in earnest, more than a year after he began spending his Sundays in Baptist churches meeting voters, and 12 hours after making his final appeal in the pews of north Richmond -- he stood before volunteers in an Arlington strip mall and set about rallying his team.

"There are differences between the candidates. I've been lumped in with these three white guys for too long. We might look the same, but there are differences," Moran said, his voice breaking and then recovering for a few flashes from his stump speech.

moran6.7.09.jpg

He looked out at the rapt volunteers staring back at him. It was after 8:30 p.m. "You all should be on the phones, but I'm talking to you," he said. And then he went on.

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Posted at 9:30 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Family Time for McDonnell

So where was Bob McDonnell today while his three Democrats rivals campaigned hard in the last full day before tomorrow's primary?

Spending some quality time with his family.

The Republican nominee's in-laws, Frank and Gerry Gardner, introduced him to the residents at the vast Greenspring Retirement Community, where they live.

Greenspring, home to 2,000 residents, is a frequent stop for statewide candidates looking to meet some Virginians who are regular voters.

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Posted at 5:09 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Moran Travels Home to Alexandria

Brian Moran of Alexandria chose to spend the final day before the election in his hometown, rallying about 250 supporters over the lunch hour in front of Alexandria City Hall in Old Town.

Glistening under a blazing sun, Moran stuck with the left-leaning message he has trumpeted for much of the campaign: promises to expand access to medical and dental care, push a transportation plan through the legislature, block off-shore drilling and repeal a constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriage.

"All along 've been talking to voters about just how important this election is," Moran boomed to the crowd, flanked by more than a dozen local elected officials who support him. "We made history electing Barack Obama in the fall, but we need a partner for President Obama in the governor's office, and I intend to be that governor."

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Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Deeds Sweeps Through the South

Sen. R. Creigh Deeds wrapped up a 16-stop, three-day blitz. He made five stops today in Danville, Martinsville, Bristol and Roanoke and will host a 9 p.m. rally in Charlottesville.

Along the way he collected an endorsement from the head of Martinsville's Democratic Committee. State Sen. Donald McEachin, a member of the legislative black caucus, also announced he is supporting Deeds.

Meanwhile, the campaign was working to drive voters to the polls.

Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey said six offices and some 200 volunteers across the state were making calls and sending people into neighborhoods to knock on doors.

The campaign also was targeting potential voters with robocalls and nearly matching McAuliffe dollar-for-dollar on television ads. Abbey said the campaign was spending about $950,000 compared with McAuliffe's $1 million.

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Posted at 4:58 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

McAuliffe Rallies Supports

Democratic gubernatorial Terry McAuliffe appeared in front of 100 enthusiastic supporters wearing bright blue "McAuliffe for governor" stickers at a coffee shop near Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. McAuliffe signs snaked around the coffee shop and up and around the adjacent streets.

He bounded up the makeshift stage, wearing a suit jacket on one of the hotter days this summer, after he was introduced as the next governor of commonwealth of Virginia.

"Tomorrow's the big day!'' McAuliffe said to a crowd waving blue McAuliffe for governor signs. "This has been what you are working on for months!"

McAuliffe, who was losing his voice, rattled off his campaign's get-out-the vote-effort: Six thousand volunteers are projected to make 1 million phone calls and knocked on 8,500 doors in the state.

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Posted at 4:51 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Jim Moran: "I'm Concerned"

With some last-minute polls suggesting that Brian Moran might be neck-and-neck or even lagging behind Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds on Moran's home turf in Northern Virginia, his big brother, Rep. Jim Moran, acknowledged being "concerned."

"Of course, I am," Jim Moran said while leaving a Fairfax County forum with local officals and other members of the Virginia congressional delegation on housing.

"I think the (Washington) Post endorsement is helping Creigh a great deal in Northern Virginia, which is where he had hoped to win it," Jim Moran said. "We figured if we could get two thirds of the vote in Northern Virginia and we get a good turnout, a good GOTV effort, we can win this, because Brian does have good support in Hampton Roads and in the Richmond area."

"But the Post endorsement has made a difference, and of course Terry has the resources to make an impressive final push. That's why we're very much concerned," Jim Moran said.

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Posted at 2:38 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Dialing Brian Moran

When Brian Moran gave out his private cell phone during a television interview last week, folks from his opponents' campaigns chortled.

But someone out there was listening. Moran said he got about a dozen hang-ups in the few days following the interview, probably from people "who wanted to know if the number was real."

But then this morning, on the road between an appearance on MSNBC and a pre-Election Day rally in Alexandria, his phone rang again. And he picked it up.

It was a woman whose grandchildren had been taken from her daughter's home by child welfare officials, and who wanted help getting the children back to her home.

"She said we ignore grandparents' rights in Virginia," Moran said. "I told her to send me the information and I will look into it."

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Posted at 2:27 PM ET, 06/ 8/2009

'There's A Reason I'm Not In Politics'

The disconnect between the political class and avid voters on the one hand, and many average Virginians on the other, became even clearer around the Commonwealth today as the three men running for governor made their final appeals.

Just after noon in front of Alexandria's city hall, a 30-year-old Arlington IT worker named Anil Karthkia happened across a crowd of more then 250 people sweating in blazing sun as Brian Moran prepared for his final hometown rally and speech exhorting supporters to show up at the polls Tuesday.

Karthkia was there to tour Alexandria's Waterfront and missed most of the warm-up acts. He would have heard local legislators telling the crowd that Moran is the best general-election candidate to help Democrats take Virginia's House of Delegates in November.

"I'm very selfish. I'm thinking about who's the best person...to help me get reelected and to get my colleagues reelected, " said Fairfax County Del. Chuck Caputo. Caputo made a case for Moran the governor, but emphasized the case for Moran the campaigner. Flipping the House is the key to progress, Alexandria state Sen. Patsy Ticer added. "We in the Senate can't get a darn thing done until we do," Ticer said.

moran6.8.09alexandria.jpg

Once Moran took the stage to the blaring sounds of "Born to Run," he made his case and Karthkia tried to take it all in.

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Posted at 11:52 AM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Puller Endorses Deeds

One of Northern Virginia's last remaining neutral voices has decided to make an endorsement in the waning hours before polls open tomorrow: State Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-Fairfax), who said late last week that all three campaigns had called in recent days to ask for her support, has decided to endorse fellow Sen. Creigh Deeds.

Puller noted that she and Deeds were elected to the House of Delegates on the same day and have been deskmates in both the House and Senate chambers. She said she believed Deeds' rural roots would help him beat Repulican Bob McDonnell in the fall.

"I also admire Brian Moran, but I think Creigh is the one who now has the momentum," she said. "I think he has a good chance to win the primary--and I think he's our best hope to beat Bob McDonnell in the fall"

She said she believes Deeds' has his priorities straight--pledging to fix transportation in his first year in office.

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Posted at 10:03 AM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Predictions of Low Turnout Continue

Here's more grist for the churning discussions about likely turnout for tomorrow's primary election.

Fairfax County Elections Registrar Rokey W. Suleman II is officially predicting it'll be low in his neck of the woods. Suleman said that as of Saturday night, voters had mailed 1,679 absentee ballots, of which, 759 had been returned to the office. An additional 754 Fairfax residents had voted early in person as of Saturday night, an option available since May 18.

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Posted at 11:52 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

Reasons They Stayed Late

The candidate had just cleared out, but Charley Conrad kept going. It was past 9:30 on a Sunday night in a gutted Hollywood Video store and Conrad was hunting for a few final precinct volunteers with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Fred Flintstone eyeing him from ripped-up walls. A blue bucket sat on the floor to catch drips, and 51 brown paper bags were lined up, filed with Brian Moran signs and cheap cheddar crackers to keep poll workers moving Tuesday.

Conrad heads a gay rights group, the Virginia Partisans, and met Moran when the former state delegate was recruiting candidates in Republican territory in Virginia Beach as Democratic caucus chairman. Moran fought against a constitutional amendment in 2006 banning gay marriage

"Moran was out there on the firing line. He was standing up for us, and nobody really asked him to. He just saw how innately bad this was," Conrad said.

conrad.jpg

Although it passed, Moran's early position helped convince other top state Democrats Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Jim Webb to oppose it. That's why Conrad spent another Sunday night in an Arlington strip mall. "That's the character of the man," he said. "That's the main reason."

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Posted at 7:53 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

'You Don't Hear People Talking About It'

To understand what the words "Democratic stronghold" can mean, stop by Arlington's precinct 30.

President Obama took 87.72 percent of the vote here in November, the best showing in the bluest county in Northern Virginia. It is places like this that the Democrat who wins on Tuesday will count on for support in November.

But what are people thinking about the primary?

For many, the answer on a beautiful Sunday evening as children dash through water fountains at Drew park, is: Not much of anything.

jackson.jpg

"The governor's race, you don't hear a lot of talk about it," said former postal worker Jacqui Jackson, 43. "For the presidency, people were talking everywhere, just making conversation. It's kind of amazing. You don't hear people talking about it."

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Posted at 4:33 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

Deeds Campaigns in Hampton Roads

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds visited two African-American churches in the Tidewater area, meeting and greeting people but not giving formal remarks from a pulpit.

At the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Newport News, Deeds sat with his wife, Pam, as a member of the church gave a foot-stomping bluesy rendition of "Amazing Grace." Overhead was a mural of a white hand clasping a black hand and the words, "Each One, Reach One," What the crowd lacked in size--there were perhaps 100 people--they made up for in spirit.

"We're trying to reach everybody," Deeds in an interview afterwards at another stop in Portsmouth. But Deeds also acknowledged that the potential impact of the black vote in Tuesday's Democratic primary is "huge."

"That's where Terry's entire emphasis is," Deeds said. "So we'll see."

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Posted at 4:28 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

Felons' Rights

It might seem like an odd rallying cry in a state that often takes a hard line on law-and-order matters. But today Democrats hammered at the issue to an enthusiastic response from the party's base.

When Terry McAuliffe this morning called for restoring voting rights for released felons in a stump speech from a church pulpit, parishioners rewarded him with a standing ovation, my colleague Freddy Kunkle reports. It was a big applause line for Brian Moran at a church stop today as well.

Mike Signer, an Arlington lawyer running against Jody Wagner in the lieutenant governor's race, has made the issue one of the pillars of his statewide campaign.

Nearly all states but Virginia allow felons to vote after their debt to society has been paid, Signer said, and not doing so has kept large numbers of African American men from becoming full citizens of the Commonwealth again.

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Posted at 3:58 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

McAuliffe Visits Churches

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was ushered to the front row of the Gethsemane Community Fellowship Baptist Church in Norfolk as its pastor, the Rev. Kirk T. Houston, Jr., belted out a rocking gospel number with backing from the choir.

Then he introduced a young seminarian who was about to collect his degree from nearby Regent University--the university attended by GOP candidate Bob McDonnell.

Called to the pulpit next, McAuliffe gave a hoarse but rousing stump speech, bringing many in the congregation of approximately 300 people to their feet when he promised to work for the automatic restoration of voting rights to convicted felons.

"I want to make it crystal clear - I want to help people," McAuliffe said.

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Posted at 3:13 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

The Home Stretch

They're racing from Baptist churches to a motel, country club, and sports bar. On their last weekend day to rally voters, it's all locomotion and geographic bobbing and weaving for the three Democratic candidates for governor.

Here's some of where they have been and where they're going:

Creigh Deeds attended services at Zion Baptist Church in Hampton before heading to Roger Brown's Restaurant and Sports Bar in Portsmouth. He's scheduled to meet voters at Giuseppe's Pizza in Petersburg this afternoon and a supporter's home in Richmond tonight.

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Posted at 1:25 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

Moran Woos Black Voters

Democratical gubernatorial hopeful Brian Moran began his day at a small Baptist church in the Highland Park neighborhood on the north side of Richmond -- the same place his rival, R. Creigh Deeds, appeared two months ago.

Only about 50 people attended the 8 a.m. service at Fifth Street Baptist Church, where the windows were adorned with stained glass and a yellow banner read "Bringing the Kingdom to the Community."

Evelyn Morris-Harris, chairwoman of the Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia, invited Moran to her church of six years and introduced him to the congregation.

"He's a family orientated man,'' she told them. "And we look for that. We need that. We need someone who understands what family is all about."

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Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009

Where In The World Was Terry McAuliffe?

Porting snazzy technology to the campaign grind can net unexpected results.

Take, for instance, Terry McAuliffe's campaign stop off the coast of Ghana.

All he was trying to do was let everyone know about his town hall with chemical company workers outside Richmond. But he put himself in the hands of UberTwitter, software for mobile blogging from his Blackberry.

"Great townhall meeting with employees at ChemTreat. Got lots of questions about my jobs plan," he Tweeted Thursday, linking to his location and an image of himself in a blue shirt surrounded by eager listeners. But the automatically generated Google map, fed by cell tower information ("No GPS hardware required," says UberTwitter), put his smiling mug in the sea off the Ghanaian capital of Accra.

terry africa.jpg

"Dunno what's up with twitter. First it says I'm in Bethesda, now I'm off the coast of Africa. We've been in VA all day," McAuliffe Tweeted later.

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Posted at 10:34 AM ET, 06/ 7/2009

Ground Games: Who Has the Edge?

Two hundred thousand.

That's the astounding number of phone calls Terry McAuliffe's campaign says volunteers made on his behalf yesterday, as we reach the final hours before polls open for the Democratic primary Tuesday.

For weeks, McAuliffe strategists have insisted they were building a massive get-out-the- vote network they would activate in the final days before the election. Now, they say it's up and running. And, despite tightening in the polls, they have remained confident their ability to reach out and touch potential voters, including those who voted for president last year but don't typically take part in local elections, is far beyond anything Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds can muster.


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Posted at 10:08 AM ET, 06/ 7/2009

Dampening Turnout

After millions of dollars spent, thousands of miles traveled, and much talk of chicken waste, coal-fired power plants, and pre-K, it looks like we may be headed for rain Tuesday.

Our all-season colleagues over at the Capital Weather Gang have ginned up this forecast:

"Showers and thunderstorms are likely both Tuesday and Wednesday (60% chance), especially in the afternoon and evening. High temperatures both days will be in the 80s with lows in the 60s," writes Chief Meteorologist Jason Samenow.

The National Weather Service mirrors that outlook for Roanoke. Norfolk may be better off, with just a 30 percent chance of showers.

But could the diehards courted by the campaigns using sophisticated databases and months of phone calls really be thrown off by a little rain?

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Posted at 11:00 PM ET, 06/ 6/2009

Deeds Fights Back

Here's how we can tell we're in the midst of the final days of a hard-fought race: The attacks are coming fast and furious. It's hard to even keep up.

Each of the three Democrats running for governor -- Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran -- are accusing each other of unfair attacks daily. Forget daily. Try every few hours.

Most of the attacks have been aimed at Deeds, who recent polls show surging ahead of his rivals, and his lengthy record of support for gun rights.

McAuliffe sent out a mailer that poses the question: "Which of the Democratic candidates supports concealed weapons in bars?" And Moran has been hammering Deeds in his own campaign mailer as well as in radio interviews.

Now, Deeds is fighting back.

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Posted at 6:24 PM ET, 06/ 6/2009

What's a Good Democrat To Do?

The offerings - make that demands - on the last weekend day before Tuesday's vote are bountiful.

President Obama would like to request your presence at one of Sunday's meetings to kickoff a push for health care reform. Organizing for America, the volunteer group that stemmed from the president's campaign, is calling for gatherings across the country.

But wait. Three smiling but increasingly frenzied would-be governors could also really use a final boost from energetic phone bankers and door knockers. And show up at the offices of one of the unheralded down-ballot candidates (Your future lieutenant governor wants YOU!) and you might make a friend for life.

Strategists in Virginia are trying to gauge the ratio of fatigue to continued excitement among Democrats after Obama's success in November. Turnout will drive the outcome in Tuesday's primary--and the race against Republican Bob McDonnell in the fall. In liberal power centers in Northern Virginia, competing demands will also be a factor.

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Posted at 9:51 AM ET, 06/ 6/2009

Last Minute Donations Pour In

So this might help explain the number of Creigh Deeds ads those of us who live in the expensive Washington media market have been seeing in the last day or so.

Deeds' campaign has taken in more than $276,000 in new donations since May 27, the cut-off deadline for inclusion in his last big June 1 fundraising report, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

That figure is dwarfed by the more than $500,000 Terry McAuliffe has raised in the same time period -- we've been seeing his ads too -- but we always knew McAuliffe would bring in more money than both his rivals. Deeds success here at the end -- he reported bringing in almost $115,000 of that figure on June 3 and 4 alone -- has buoyed the signs of life his campaign has been showing in its final days.

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Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 06/ 5/2009

McAuliffe Picks Up Congressman's Support

So it looks like, at long last and after weeks of close ties and kind words, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott has essentially endorsed Terry McAuliffe.

We haven't yet heard him use the "e" word, but a McAuliffe mailer that hit yesterday features a photo of the two of them and quotes praising McAuliffe as representing "hope for Virginia." McAuliffe is far too careful a politician to send out a mailer like that without Scott's approval.

Scott's nod could be a key bit of support in his Hampton Roads district, helping to bring out black voters who could be critical to a possible McAuliffe victory. McAuliffe has also received the endorsements of the state's black newspapers.

You can read the mailer here.

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Posted at 10:34 AM ET, 06/ 5/2009

The Repsonse to Schweitzer

As we all now know gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe was endorsed this morning by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who also happens to be chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

So what's been the response from his rivals?

Democrat Creigh Deeds tweeted about it this morning: "well I guess terry has a leg up in the montana precincts."

Brian Moran's campaign manager Andrew Roos said: "The guy who was rumored to be running for governor of New York, and wanted to be governor of Florida is having the governor of Montana tell us why he should be governor of Virginia?''

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Posted at 6:03 PM ET, 06/ 4/2009

Moran Mailer Targets Deeds

We're not sure what to make of the recent polls that seem to show some kind of movement by Creigh Deeds in the governor's race. As our polling director Jon Cohen has explained, we think some of them are unreliable. And we think polling is exceptionally difficult in a three-way primary in which turnout is expected to be low.

But, for what it's worth, we can add this bit of evidence to a growing picture of possible momentum: The other campaigns seems to be a bit anxious of the guy from Bath.

After weeks of taking on Terry McAuliffe in mailings, radio and tv ads, trying to suggest his record as a businessman is not what he has claimed, Brian Moran has a new target in a flier hitting mailboxes today: Deeds.

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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 06/ 4/2009

Updated: Moran Scores an Unusual Endorsement

The folks at OpenCarry.org, a gun rights group, have done something we never would have expected: They endorsed Brian Moran in the Democratic primary for governor.

Moran, a former delegate from Alexandria who has a lengthy record of gun control votes, had no idea he was getting the endorsement -- or even why. As you might imagine, an endorsement from a gun rights group is not exactly what a candidate is looking for in a Democratic primary -- especially one who is trying to appeal to the most liberal voters.

So why did OpenCarry.org pick Moran, especially over state Sen. Creigh Deeds, who is well known for his gun rights votes and his NRA endorsement in 2005?

The group's Mike Stollenwerk says they don't trust Deeds anymore because he has changed his views on gun issues over the last couple years.

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Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 06/ 4/2009

Suffolk University Poll: Most Voters Still Uncertain

UPDATE: Another poll out today, this one from Research 2000 for the liberal blog Daily Kos, also finds the race near even with a large number of undecideds -- Deeds at 30 percent, Moran at 27 and McAuliffe at 26 with 17 percent undecided -- but adds one thing the Suffolk poll does not have: trend.

In late May, the same poll found a vastly different race, with McAuliffe at 36 percent, Moran at 22 and Deeds lagging behind at 13 percent, suggesting the tides are moving in Deeds's direction across the state (he's climbed 16 points in Northern Virginia, 18 points in the rest of the state) as Election Day closes in.

Original Post:

With Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial primary just a few days away, a new poll from Suffolk University confirms one thing we know for sure about this race: there are a lot of undecided voters.

The new poll, conducted using live interviewers, adds to the stack of polling showing a large chunk of the potential electorate has not yet made up their mind on the contest, and those who express an opinion are fairly evenly divided, with no one candidate holding a statistically significant lead. More than one-fifth, 22 percent, of likely Democratic primary voters in the Suffolk poll said they are undecided, and half of those who did express support for a candidate said they are very or somewhat likely to change their minds before Tuesday's vote, meaning a combined 61 percent are uncertain of their vote.

Overall, the three candidates run nearly evenly: state senator Creigh Deeds at 29 percent, former DNC chair and Clinton campaign veteran Terry McAuliffe at 26 percent and former state delegate Brian Moran at 23 percent. But there is more air between the candidates among the 37 percent who said they are unlikely to switch candidates before Tuesday's vote. Deeds holds a slight lead among that group, 44 percent back him, compared with 34 percent who favor McAuliffe and 23 percent who back Moran.

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Posted at 7:54 PM ET, 06/ 3/2009

Live Blog: WJLA/Politico Special

Good evening! We're sitting down to watch tonight's WJLA/Politico news special on the governor's race. We're betting many of our readers are doing the same. So join us as we share thoughts and observations live during the special.

This is not airing live and it's not a debate, so there's unlikely to be a lot of unpredictable going on and there will be no back and forth between the candidates. Still, this is an uninterrupted hour on prime time television. So it's certainly worth a watch.

We'll get going momentarily.

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Posted at 4:25 PM ET, 06/ 3/2009

McAuliffe Consoles, Campaigns at GM Plant

From the annals of smart campaigning... Terry McAuliffe made a stop this afternoon at the GM plant in Fredericksburg that the company announced Monday it is shuttering as part of its bankruptcy filing.

Not a bad move for the candidate who has made job creation the centerpiece of his run for the governor's mansion. McAuliffe took a tour of the plant, which is scheduled to close in 2010, as a guest of local UAW leaders and Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors Chairman Henry "Hap" Connors Jr, whose endorsed his campaign.

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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 06/ 3/2009

Deeds' Momentum?

Is Deeds surging?

Six days before the Democratic primary for governor, that's certainly what state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds wants us to think.

His campaign has been quietly -- and not so quietly -- letting everyone who will listen know he is moving ahead in recent polls and could go down as one of the greatest come-from-behind success stories in recent state history. (Okay, well since Jim Webb, anyway).

"This huge surge for Creigh happened because of you,'' Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey wrote in a letter to supporters this week. "Now that we are in the lead, we can expect our opponents to come out swinging."

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Posted at 3:26 PM ET, 06/ 2/2009

New Ads for McAuliffe, Moran

Another day, another new ad. Actually today, two new ads.

Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran release new TV ads today. McAuliffe's ad uses one of his better lines from the debates (President Kennedy didn't say we're going halfway to the moon - he said we're going all the way!) while Moran takes a swipe at Republican nominee Bob McDonnell.

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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 06/ 2/2009

Updated: More About Money

We told you yesterday that Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe has raised more cash than his rivals, R. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran, heading into the final week of the primary.

Today, we are providing you with some of the interesting tidbits about their donations, according to campaign filings made public last night. Check back often because we will be updating this post as we discover new fun facts.

Both Deeds and Moran received money from Dominion Virginia Power's political action committee. Deeds' $5,000 came the day after he criticized McAuliffe about his pledge to refuse campaign contributions from one of the most influential companies in the state. Moran's $10,000 came after he stated in interviews that he had taken less money his opponents.

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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 06/ 1/2009

Updated: The Money Game

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe raised $1.8 million in the two-month period ending last week. He has nearly $1.3 million cash on hand as he heads into the last week before next Tuesday's primary.


Brian Moran raised $844,000 in the same period and has $700,000 in the bank. Creigh Deeds, raised $676,326 and has $521,135 in the bank. 

Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell raised $3.7-million. He goes into the general election with $4.9 millon cash on hand.

Today is the deadline for candidates to report to the state how much money they raised in the two-month period ending last week. For Democrats, it will give us a good idea of how much money they have to spend on TV ads and-get-out-the-vote efforts as they head into the final week before next Tuesday's primary. For Republicans, it will tell us how much money they have going into the general election.

We will be providing you information as we get them from the candidates, so check back often as the day progresses. See other statewide candidates below:

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Posted at 10:18 AM ET, 06/ 1/2009

Final Countdown Begins

The home stretch, the final spring, the last gasp. Welcome to it folks.

We're now eight days from primary Election Day, with Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran making their final arguments that they deserve the Democratic nomination for governor.

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Posted at 4:44 PM ET, 05/31/2009

Deeds Picks Up More Newspaper Support

Creigh Deeds was endorsed by the newspapers in Martinsville and Bristol today, a week after our colleagues on the editorial board at the Washington Post did the same.

It's not particularly surprising for Deeds to receive backing in the south and southwest parts of the state, where he is expected to do better than his Northern Virginia-based opponents, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran.

But it is fair to note that, so far, Deeds has picked up support from the only three daily newspapers that have endorsed in the Democratic primary. Several major newspapers in the state, including the Richmond Times Dispatch and the Virginian Pilot in Norfolk, will not endorse.

Newspaper endorsements, especially those in Martinsville and Bristol, are not likely to change a lot of votes. But it helps perpetuate Deeds' message that he has seen momentum in the last few weeks and definitely should not be counted out. Besides, in a low turnout primary -- as this one is expected to be -- every little bit counts.

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Posted at 8:00 PM ET, 05/30/2009

GOP Target: Terry

Bob McDonnell never mentioned his Democratic rivals by name in his speech today officially accepting the Republican nomination for governor. He didn't have to.

Enough other prominent Republicans made it clear this weekend at the state GOP convention in Richmond that they think former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe will win the primary next month and compete against McDonnell in the general election.

Here's what U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the House minority and an all around popular guy at the convention, said about McAuliffe:

"He saw Virginia's governship pop up on ebay and he wants to buy it,'' he told more than 10,000 cheering Republicans. "We won't let him do that."

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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/30/2009

The Last Chapter on the McAuliffe Business Plan

With a week and half left before the primary election, Terry McAuliffe has put out the last chapter of his oft-referenced "Business Plan for Virginia." Chapter Six is entitled "Paying for the Business Plan" and was posted to the campaign's website yesterday, without the accompanying news release that came with chapters one through five.

In the chapter, McAuliffe puts price tags on some of the proposal's he's been touting, identifies some areas of possible cost savings for the state, and prioritizes some of his ideas onto an immediate "to do" list and others onto a "let's get to this when the recession ends" list.

You can read it here.

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Posted at 7:36 PM ET, 05/29/2009

An Ad Scorecard, Part II

We told you a bit earlier how much the Democrats are spending on TV ads in the hotly-contested three-way gubernatorial primary.

So where does Bob McDonnell fit in?

McDonnell, who will officially accept the Republican nomination tomorrow, is outspending all of the Democrats -- even though the general election hasn't even started yet. And he is about spend a lot more.

In just over two weeks, McDonenell has aired a whopping $1.2 million worth of spots all over the state, including pricey Northern Virginia, according to sources familiar with the purchase. He will spend another $700,000 In spots -- more than half in Northern Virginia -- in the nine-day period starting Monday following the state GOP convention, sources say.

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Posted at 2:46 PM ET, 05/29/2009

An Ad Scorecard

So how dramatically is Brian Moran now being outspent on television ads by both Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe? As of May 27, Moran had aired a mere $43,000 worth of spots in Norfolk and Richmond. Meanwhile, McAuliffe had spent $900,000, in every Virginia market except the D.C. suburbs and Deeds had spent almost $400,000.

Those figures come from Evan Tracey, who tracks such things for the Campaign Media Analysis Group. Tracey says the gap between McAuliffe and Deeds has been narrowing. He says all of Deeds money has come within the last 30 days; McAuliffe's has spent about $535,000 in that time. And over the last two weeks, McAuliffe has outspent Deeds only $280,000 to $200,000.

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Posted at 2:43 PM ET, 05/28/2009

McAuliffe Wooing Black Voters

Terry McAuliffe scores another small victory with black voters.

McAuliffe was endorsed by the Richmond Free Press, a free newspaper in the capital city that caters to the African American community. "He demonstrated his concern for the black community, showing up at events in our community as he did in other communities-and following up to assure that he means what he says,'' the newspaper writes in a lengthy editorial published today.

Last week, McAuliffe gotthe backing of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, a civil rights group.

In what is expected to be a low turnout primary, African American voters will play a crucial role in the June 9 primary. McAuliffe, Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran have launched aggressive campaigns to woo the state's African American voters through radio ads, endorsements and events.

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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 05/28/2009

Did McAuliffe Break His Pledge?

Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran are accusing rival Terry McAuliffe of breaking the pledge (he loves to repeat) to not go negative in a primary against fellow Democrats.

But his latest campaign mailer, just arriving in mailboxes in Northern Virginia, offers a comparison of the three candidates that seems, well, kind of negative.

The mailer compares the three Democrats and one Republican in the race for governor on four issues -- payday lending, campaign finance, lobby reform and renewable energy standard.

Deeds' campaign said McAuliffe's "deceptive" mailer shows he is running scared because recent polls show Deeds is gaining ground while Moran's camp says it shows McAuliffe can't be trusted.

Click the image below to see the ad.

mcauliffe_ad.jpg

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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/28/2009

Camelot on Display for Moran

There are quite a number of Terry McAuliffe signs along the roadways of tony McLean leading to to Ethel Kennedy's famed Hickory Hill estate, but behind the door of the stately white mansion--complete with Barack Obama sticker on its open glass door--it was all about Brian Moran last night, as we wrote in this morning's Post.

Well, Brian Moran and, of course, always the Kennedys. The home is absolutely full of Kennedy mementos, on every wall, on every graceful table and mantle, which guests at the Moran fundraiser last night soaked in with abandon. Paintings and etchings and drawings of Ethel Kennedy's husband Robert and, of course, his brother President John, all got snapped with camera phones, as guests munched on shrimp skewers and tiny rolls of roast beef.

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Posted at 8:07 AM ET, 05/28/2009

Plotkin Disses McAuliffe

Just what did Terry McAuliffe do to Mark Plotkin?

Plotkin blasted McAuliffe on WTOP radio this morning as part of a scathing commentary in which he urged Virginains to vote for Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds and not -- under any circumstances -- McAuliffe.

He slammed McAuliffe for his lack of ties to Virginia, his interest in fundraising and his "exaggerations." He ended simply with this line:

"The Democratic primary for governor is Tuesday, June 9. Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are qualified to be governor. Terry McAuliffe is not."

Plotkin has been miffed since McAuliffe canceled his appearance on his radio show a couple weeks ago. He was the only one of the three candidates who did not appear.

McAuiffe's spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith's only reaction today was this: "Terry has the record of creating thousands of jobs and turning around struggling businesses. That's the record that Virginias are looking for in their next governor.''

Check out the full transcript below:

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Posted at 4:01 PM ET, 05/27/2009

McDonnell Can't Wait to Talk About Card Check

We told you yesterday how much Bob McDonnell was loving each of his Democratic rivals being forced to share their views on card check.

McDonnell wants to turn card check into the issue this year -- and he sure is doing his best. He talks about it everywhere he goes.

Check out today's effort. A video of Democrats Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran explaining -- sort of -- if they support card check.

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Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 05/27/2009

Ticketmate Byrne Backs Deeds

Suddenly, it seems as like state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds is all about Fairfax. It's a message reinforced by an endorsement today by former congresswoman Leslie Byrne.

After RSVP-ing "no" to yesterday's Virginia FREE luncheon in Tyson's, Deeds made a last minute switch and attended. He was with the Fairfax Democratic Committee last night and will meet with county teachers on Thursday. And today, he's joining Leslie Byrne, who was the first woman elected to Congress from Virginia, representing--yes, that's right--Fairfax.

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Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 05/26/2009

Live Blog: Virginia FREE Luncheon

Good Afternoon. Today we come to you live from the Ritz-Carlton Tyson's Corner, where all four men seeking the governor's mansion in Virginia are about to begin addressing a roomful of business leaders and electeds for the Virginia Free lunch. The room is packed. Folks are now munching on salad. And Clayton Roberts is now reading the lengthy list of influential folks in the audience. We'll get started with a live blog in just a couple minutes, when the speechifying begins and keep with it as long as our technology holds out.

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Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 05/25/2009

How Much Pie Can One Man Eat?

It's a good question for political candidates on Memorial Day weekend two weeks before an election, as they cram in as many barbecues and parades and festivals and fish fries as they can stomach, engaging in classic retail politics before voters go to the polls.

In the case of Brian Moran this weekend, it was a quite literal question. Moran took part in a pie eating contest at the Strawberry Festival in Virginia Beach on Saturday, where he endeavored to eat as much of a strawberry pie (natch) as he could in 90 seconds. He came in third. Of five.

We caught up with Moran today, a full 48 hours later, at the Viva Vienna festival in Fairfax, where he was still sporting a scrape on his nose from the pie tin.

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Posted at 6:00 PM ET, 05/23/2009

Crusade Endorsement Problems, Part II

A few days ago, we told you how angry state Sen. Henry Marsh was about the Richmond Crusade for Voters endorsement of Terry McAuliffe for governor.

Turns out he is not the only one.

Two other influential African Americans, State Sen. Don McEachin and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, both longtime members of the storied civil rights group, join Marsh in accusing the Crusade of allowing non-members to vote at last Tuesday's endorsement meeting.

"It is a tainted endorsement,'' McEachin said.

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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/23/2009

Deeds Bobbles Minimum Wage Question

Okay, so it couldn't be a perfect day for Creigh Deeds.

Yesterday morning, he snagged some momentum with the endorsement of our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post. But not long after, he had a little flub on the Politics Hour with Mark Plotkin on WTOP that's got the bloggers twittering.

In response to a question about the minimum wage, it sure sounded like Deeds didn't know what the the minimum wage currently is in Virginia. Price of milk anyone?

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Posted at 8:02 AM ET, 05/22/2009

Post Ed Board Endorses Deeds

It's got to be a particularly sunny day in Charlottesville at the headquarters of Creigh Deeds. That's because our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post endorsed Deeds this morning for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Just to be clear, the ed board operates entirely separately from those of us on the news side. We provided no input for their decision; we got our first look at the editorial, like everyone else, over our morning coffee. (Or, rather, on our laptops last night just after midnight.)

But this still seems a potentially important development in the race worth examining.

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Posted at 5:46 PM ET, 05/21/2009

McAuliffe Leads in Poll

A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race today shows that Terry McAuliffe leads opponents Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds among likely voters in the Democratic primary.

The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee had 36 percent compared to 22 percent for Moran and 13 percent for Deeds.

McAuliffe showed a huge gain, while Moran and Deeds remained virtually steady, since the last poll was conducted. In early April, the same poll showed that Moran was ahead of the other two among likely voters.

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Posted at 5:19 PM ET, 05/21/2009

Moran, Deeds Question McDonnell on Redistricting

Well, that didn't take long.

Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are already scoffing at Bob McDonnell's endorsement today of some kind of bipartisan commission on legislative redistricting. They both note that McDonnell has a long history of opposition to the idea when it's been advanced by Democrats in the state legislature.

Not that McDonnell said anything else in his conference call with reporters this afternoon. He was noted his past opposition but said he had come to believe the parties should work together to redraw legislative lines.

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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 05/21/2009

Moran vs. Moran

Last week, Democratic candidates for governor, R. Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe, said they oppose inmates from Guantanamo Bay detention facility being housed in Virginia.

But their rival Brian Moran refused to say. Until today.

Today, Moran told reporters on a conference call that he, too, opposes housing inmates in Virginia and as governor, his first priority would be to keep residents safe.

The decision puts him at odds with his brother, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, who last weekend raised some eyebrows that he would be open to inmates being housed in Virginia though he would not prefer it.

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Posted at 2:51 PM ET, 05/21/2009

Veterans Plan by Moran, Open Government by McDonnell

Some interesting policy roll-outs today on both sides of the aisle. In the morning, Brian Moran put out a plan to provide more benefits for Virginia veterans and this afternoon brought together the duo of Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling with a series of good government proposals, including endorsing bipartisan legislative redistricting and a two-term governor.

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Posted at 6:11 PM ET, 05/20/2009

Fact Checker: Dominion Rate Increase

All three Democrats running for governor claimed in yesterday's debate that they oppose Dominion Virginia Power's March proposal to raise electricity rates 6.9 percent to pay for equipment, salaries, plant construction and conservation projects.

That's not exactly true.

Only state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds called on the State Corporation Commission to reject the rate increase. His rivals Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran did not.

Deeds immediately issued a press release after Dominion announced the proposal. "This is the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it's simply not the time to ask Virginia families to pay more for their monthly energy bill,'' he said. "It's time to put the middle class first again. I call on the Virginia State Corporation Commission to reject this rate increase on Virginia's working families."

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Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 05/20/2009

Excerpts: Brian Moran Takes Post Readers' Questions

Governor's race Democratic candidate Brian Moran stopped by washingtonpost.com today to answer some readers' questions and discuss his campaigns and policies. Excerpts are below.

His opponents, Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds, also will be doing washingtonpost.com discussions -- McAuliffe today at 3 p.m. (submit questions) and Deeds on May 29.

Excerpts:

Fairfax County, Va.: I worked all last year on the Obama campaign as a volunteer in northern Virginia. I am still angry that Terry McAuliffe pointedly left Denver before President Obama's acceptance speech. But even before he entered the race, I was torn between you and Creigh Deeds on electability. Creigh seems like a more Jim-Webb-style, middle of the road, centrist candidate who people from other parts of the state can identify with. Why do you feel a northern Virginian with progressive views, such as yourself, can defeat McDonnell? I would love to be convinced you can -- please tell me.

Brian Moran: Thanks for that question. You're not the first person who I've heard that criticism about my opponent from. That's why I thought it was unfortunate he ran misleading radio ads claiming credit for electing President Obama.

To your question, I believe Creigh Deeds is a good man. But I believe he and I have a different philosophy on some issues important to Virginia Democrats. On the question of electability, Creigh ran last time and was unsuccessful. Since than, Bob McDonnell has raised his profile even more.

I've spent the last 8 years traveling across Virginia coordinating campaigns that win in tough Republican-leaning distircts from Loudoun to Lynchburg to Virginia Beach. I know how to win in suburban and rural communities and a I have a strong base here in Northern Virginia. Mark Warner won comming from Alexandria and Northern Virginia was key to Tim Kaine and Jim Webb's victory. Beyond that, I can go toe-to-toe with Bob McDonnell on the issues. Having been a prosecutor for 7 years, I will not let him make Democrats seem "soft" on safety issues and can win the debate on the major policy issues of the day.

It's worth noting that the major public polls on the general election have shown me as the strongest Democratic candidate against McDonnell in November.

I can, and will, beat Bob McDonnell ... like a drum.

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Posted at 8:23 AM ET, 05/20/2009

Moran, McAuliffe Take Readers Questions Today

Democratic governor candidates Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe will be coming online at washingtonpost.com today to take readers questions about the campaign and what they intend to do if sent to Richmond.

Former State Del. Moran will answer questions starting at 11:30 a.m. ET today; submit questions for him here.

Former Democratic National Committee chairman McAuliffe will answer questions starting at 3 p.m. ET today; submit questions for him here.

State Sen. Creigh Deeds will be taking readers questions on May 29.

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Posted at 2:57 AM ET, 05/20/2009

Video: Debate-goers Offer Reactions

 



VIDEO | Virginia Voters React to Dem. Debate

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Posted at 6:49 PM ET, 05/19/2009

Moran Airs Negative Ad

Brian Moran will begin airing his first television ad tonight during a broadcast of today's primary debate between the three Democratic candidates for governor. And no surprise Moran went negative.

Moran's ad hits hard at rival Terry McAuliffe's claims that he would bring a successful businessman background to the governor's mansion. Moran signaled that this would be a central theme for the closing days of the campaign: McAuliffe is not what he says he is. The ad will air in Hampton Roads and Richmond.

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Posted at 2:47 PM ET, 05/19/2009

Moran: Helped Bring Payday Lending in Virginia?

McAuliffe just accused Moran of supporting legislation that allowed payday lending into the state.

It's true, but at the time most lawmakers thought the bill would regulate the industry and prevent it from preying too deeply on the poor.

Moran voted for a bill in 2002 that opened Virginia to payday lending. Lawmakers from both parties thought the bill would license and regulate the industry, but instead payday operators quickly multiplied.

Three years later, Moran did vote to enact some of the nation's most stringent reforms of the payday loan industry, though many opponents did not think it went far enough.

Since 1996, Moran has taken $30,200 in donations from lending or consumer credit companies.

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Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 05/19/2009

Live Blog: From the Washington Post Debate, Part II

Still with us? We're live in Annandale at the Washington Post debate.

2:57 p.m.: And that's it folks. Thanks for joining us.

2:56 p.m.: This debate it's Deeds with a more negative closing. Virginians don't want a governor who stands with Donald Trump and Wall Street (that's Terry) or a governor who stands with lobbyists under federal investigation. (that's moran)

2:53p.m.: Moran thanks the Washington Post. No, Brian, thank you. His closing is about his record--he's got a record of working to help people and that's what he would bring to the governor's mansion. This is a very different closing than his one at the last debate hosted by Virginia bloggers--much more about himself, much less about McAuliffe. (Maybe he's already hit those points in a debate that's focused a lot on McAuliffe.)

2:52 p.m.: Closing statements. McAuliffe says read his business plan. He's a candidate who will shake things up.

2:50 p.m.: McAuliffe says other states do these things. A good line from McAuliffe: You shoot for the moon. John Kennedy didn't say we're taking the rocket halfway to the moon.

2:48 p.m.: Deeds puts on his glasses to question McAuliffe. Can you afford all the promises you've made--you've promised teacher's car loans, student loans, home loans. You've promised to make Virginia the film capital of the country. You've promised Martinsville a new high school gym. And those are just the promises you've made in public. (Ouch.) Can you afford this?

2:45 p.m.: Harshest line of the debate: Moran to McAuliffe--"I don't have time to teach you the legislative process and Virginians don't have time for you to learn." This is about pay day lending and a 2002 bill that Moran voted for to regulate pay day lending that ended up allowing them to flourish. Line draws groans from the crowds.

2:43 p.m. Now each candidate gets to ask each other a question. Moran is questioning McAuliffe's job creating record. 100,000s of jobs? What about global crossing? How can you say you're running a credible campaign on this? McAuliffe says that's a personal attack and he lets his record stand. This has been a running debate on the trail for the last few weeks. Not sure we're coming to a conclusion on it today.

2:41 p.m.: A real substantive difference between our candidates! Deeds reiterates he thinks we can drill for oil, if we can find a way to protect water tourism. He says we can't take anything off the table--noting alternative energy solutions are a way off.

2:39 p.m.: We're talking oil drill--Deeds says he could be for it if Virginia gets royalties--a big process--and if it could be made environmentally sound. Moran says he's opposed. McAuliffe says he supports drilling for natural gas but not oil.

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Posted at 2:34 PM ET, 05/19/2009

Live Blog: The Washington Post Debate

Greetings from the Ernst Community Cultural Center on the lovely Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. Our moderators for this afternoon's shindig are Chris Cillizza and News Channel 8's Bruce DePuyt. On my left, is Anita Kumar, on my right Amy Gardner. Just call us the Angels of Washington Post Virginia coverage. (Hello Charlie -- I do mean you, editor Matt Mosk.)

I'll be live blogging this debate beginning at 2 p.m. Hit refresh frequently starting then to get the latest.

1:58: Okay, we're about to begin. The candidates have taken the stage. We've got Moran on the left, Deeds in the middle (seems to always happen at these debates) and McAuliffe on our far right. Let's get ready to rumble.

2:00 p.m. We're going right to questions. No opening statements at this baby. First question, posed by Chris Cillizza: What would you do differently to get sustained transportation solution?

2:03: Deeds says there's a reason Sens. Whipple, Howell, Saslaw are supporting him. They're all in the senate together? No, that's not it. It's that they know he'll get a sustained transportation solution in 2010.

2:05: McAuliffe frets about the state's ability to get federal matching funds for roads and ptiches high speed rail.

2:06 p.m.: Cilizza is following up with Moran--what would you do differently than Kaine? He's going to his record. Bingo, first hit of a major candidate campaign theme. Moran's gonna want to talk about his long time in the Assembly as much as possible.

2:07: Chris now at McAuliffe -- is it reasonable to think you can change Richmond without experience there. McAuliffe's answer: Yes.

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Posted at 2:24 PM ET, 05/19/2009

Moran: I Led Efforts on Equality Issues

Answering a question about same-sex marriages, candidate Brian Moran said he led efforts in the state House of Delegates to protect the rights of gays and lesbians in Virginia.

While Moran has made it a major plank of his campaign to overturn a state constitutional amendment passed in 2006 banning same-sex marriages in Virginia, he voted yes to a proposal (put forth by Republican Bob McDonnell, the former delegate and attorney general who will face the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial primary) urging the Congress to pass a federal constitutional amendment.

Moran says he voted against that proposal too, and his campaign says the one vote in favor was in the middle of the process and does not reflect his true feelings on the issue.

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Posted at 10:41 AM ET, 05/19/2009

Showdown in Annandale

The stakes couldn't be higher for today's Democratic gubernatorial debate, sponsored by the Washington Post.

The debate, which will be held in front of a live audience of Northern Virginia Community College students and others at the Annandale campus of the school, will offer all three candidates a final chance to distinguish themselves on issues--and an opportunity to speak directly to Northern Virginians.

There may be more Democrats up here than in anywhere else in the state, but because the television market is so expensive, voters hear directly from the candidates far less often than in RoVa. You'll be able to watch the debate live here starting at 2 p.m. It will also air this evening at 8 p.m. on News Channel 8.

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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/19/2009

Steele To Hold Rally With McDonnell

Michael Steele, the controversial chairman of the Republican National Committee, will hold his first rally with Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell Saturday.

Steele, the party's first black chairman drew strong criticism in the weeks following his January election for a series of political gaffes, but that has subsided in recent weeks.

"We are honored to have Chairman Steele joining us on the campaign trail in Bristol on Saturday,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "Together, Bob and the Chairman are going to let voters in Southwest Virginia know about Bob's commitment to growing our economy and creating good jobs all across the Commonwealth."

McDonnell and Steele will campaign together in the Republican friendly city of Bristol in southwest Virginia on the Tennessee border, where both men are expected to be greeted warmly.

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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 05/19/2009

Kenny Alexander Did Not Approve This Ad

Del. Kenneth Cooper Alexander (D-Norfolk), chair of the legislative black caucus, asked Brian Moran to take his name off those radio ads blasting Terry McAuliffe for opposing Barack Obama in the presidential primary campaign, which we wrote about this morning.

The Moran camp confirms they removed Alexander's name from the ads, an original version of which was to air with a tag in Hampton Roads that told voters that Alexander "urges you to vote for Brian Moran for Governor."

Alexander said he still supports Moran for govenor but asked that his name be taken off after he learned that the ad included profanity--it notes that McAuliffe once joked that Obama could "kiss my ass" (a line that came on the Daily Show, it should be noted.) But the delegate said, beyond the profanity, he also didn't want to be associated with the ad's negative tone.

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Posted at 2:26 PM ET, 05/18/2009

McAuliffe Gets Some Obama Star Power

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who has been hammered in recent days about his efforts to defeat Barack Obama in last year's presidential race, found a way to fight back today in a big way.

McAuliffe annnounced an endorsement from former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, one of Obama's earliest supporters and one of his national campaign co-chairmen.

"I was impressed by the time and energy Terry put into traveling across Virginia and the country on Barack Obama's behalf during the general election,'' Daschle said in a statement. "From the day Hillary Clinton ended her historic bid for president, Terry worked tirelessly to unify our party around Barack Obama and get him elected President. His energy and enthusiasm were tremendous assets on the campaign trail and we were grateful to have him on our side.

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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 05/18/2009

The Policy Rollouts Continue

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds used the unveiling of his energy plan this afternoon as an opportunity to take a subtle jab or two at his Democratic rivals for governor, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran.

Deeds didn't actually mention either of them by name, but criticized those who are fixated on using chicken waste to produce energy (McAuliffe) and those who oppose coal plants (Moran).

"No Democrat is better prepared to lead on energy than I am,'' Deeds said.

Deeds plan includes offering grants to companies that weatherize the homes of low-income families, establish biofuel plants in economically stressed areas and offering tax exemptions for solar and wind projects.

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Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 05/18/2009

Kaine Plans a Jam Session

Looking for a chance to see Gov. Tim Kaine play the harmonica?

Kaine will hold a jam session with Boyd Tinsley, a violinist with the Dave Matthews Band, as part of his political action committee's big annual fundraiser Thursday night.

The event at Maymont -- a popular Richmond venue that includes a historical house and a 100-acre park -- will be the last fundraiser for Moving Virginia Forward before the Democratic primary June 9. Tickets are $100.

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Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 05/17/2009

Moran To Go On TV

For those of you wondering (like us) when Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Brian Moran would start airing TV ads, you finally have your answer.

His campaign has bought air time starting this week in Norfolk and Richmond, according to several sources familiar with the purchase. But the buy is substantially smaller than what his rivals have bought in those markets.

Moran has been spending money quickly and had the least money in the bank as of the reporting period. It shows. He is the last to go on the air.

Terry McAuliffe has been on and off TV since January. R. Creigh Deeds has been up for two weeks. Even Republican Robert F. McDonnell, who faces no opposition for his party's nomination, went on air last week across the state and in pricey Northern Virginia.

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Posted at 9:29 AM ET, 05/15/2009

Moran Snags A Kennedy

Another Kennedy is announcing support for Brian Moran's campaign for governor. Already, Ethel Kennedy, Robert F.'s widow, has announced she will host a Moran fundraiser later this month. Now, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy is backing the Massachusetts-born former delegate as well.

In a statement, Kennedy said that Moran is the one candidate in the race that "represents the same values, the same principles, and the same ideals that I have stood and fought for throughout my career in public service."

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Posted at 4:02 PM ET, 05/14/2009

Live Blog: Greensprings Democratic Club--Now Complete

Greetings from Springfield, where all three men running for the Democratic nomination for governor in Virginia are participating in a forum hosted by the Democratic Club of the Greensprings Retirement Community. We're trying something new here today--a live blog of the forum.

2:13 p.m.: The director of the community just welcomed us, noting that there is a precinct located right here at Greensprings, with the highest turnout of any precinct in Virginia. "Every person you meet here is a registered voter, and every person is going to vote," he said.

2:16 p.m.: The head of the club is now explaining the rules for this forum--each candidate will first speak. Then there will be a question and answer period with questions submitted by the audience. The candidates agreed they will not speak about their opponents or their positions--only themselves.

2:20: McAuliffe's up first. He starts by noting he was in Norfolk with former President Clinton this morning. He says he's been asked why he didn't bring Clinton with him today--jokes the president hadn't been invited. Maybe next time.

2:22: Now McAuliffe is onto the economy--he says he doesn't plan to raise taxes in a down economy but wants to grow the budget by creating new jobs. He's providing his history--first job at 14, long history in business, rebuilding the DNC. "I've been very involved in politics, I've been very involved in politics. Now I want to come in and shake things up," he says.

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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 05/14/2009

Moran Sidesteps the Gitmo Issue

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he wrote that he would be open to inmates from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility being housed in Virginia (though he would not prefer it).

So we thought we'd ask his little brother, gubernatial candidate Brian Moran, what he thought? But we didn't really get much of an answer.

"I have tremendous confidence in the leadership of President Obama,'' Moran said in a statement. "I look forward to his recommended plans and will evaluate them once they are released. It's important that we put a premium on protecting the community of Alexandria and preserving our local resources while ensuring everyone's legal rights."

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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 05/13/2009

Wilder...Will He or Won't He?

L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor who is being wooed by all four candidates in the governor's race, sure likes to keep everyone guessing.

Four weeks before the June 9 primary, Wilder still won't say whether he will endorse anyone. He said he may follow the lead of the state's top three Democrats -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and U.S. Sens. James Webb and Mark R. Warner -- and sit out the primary.

"If (Kaine) won't, Webb hasn't, Warner hasn't, why should I? Why?'' Wilder asked In a recent interview at his office at Virginia Commonwealth University. "Why should I endorse anyone?"

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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/13/2009

Deeds Lays Off Staff

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, a Democratic candidate for governor, has laid off about five campaign staffers in order to keep airing TV ads four weeks before the June 9 primary.

Deeds now has 25 staffers across the state and six offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Hampton Roads, Roanoke, Southside and Northern Virginia. Campaign officials refused to disclose how many staffers were fired but a month ago Deeds had 29 employees.

"With so much of the electorate still undecided, we've had to reassess our strategy and shift some of our resources so we can communicate Creigh's message to as many Virginians as possible,'' said Joe Abbey, Deeds campaign manager.

The layoffs are bad news for a campaign that has raised the least amount of money.

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Posted at 4:43 PM ET, 05/11/2009

McAuliffe Fundraiser Revives Union Issue

A fundraising event for Terry McAuliffe in North Carolina last month has thrust into public view a bit political history McAuliffe might not want revived during his run for governor: His one-time role in the reelection of a Teamsters union president.

The 1996 union campaign resulted in a criminal conviction for a Teamsters official over illegal fundraising practices.

McAuliffe, who at the time was a top fundraiser for President Clinton, was never charged in connection with the incident. But Richard Sullivan, then finance director for the Democratic National Committee testified at a five-week federal trial of Teamsters official William W. Hamilton Jr. that McAuliffe had encouraged him to find a Democratic donor to contribute to Teamsters' president Ron Carey's reelection campaign in exchange for Teamsters' contributions to the party. No such donor swap, which would have been illegal, took place.

There is apparently no bad blood between McAuliffe and Sullivan. As first reported by the Washington Examiner, Sullivan held a fundraiser for McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign last month.

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Posted at 3:25 PM ET, 05/ 8/2009

Two Fronts Against McAuliffe

Campaigns for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are pursuing a two-front effort to push back today against Terry McAuliffe, as he airs new radio ads and opens new campaign offices. It's hard to say if public polls out showing McAuliffe ahead are accurate, but both Moran and Deeds are spending considerable time mounting an offense against him.

For Deeds, the subject is new McAuliffe ads airing in urban radio markets that say McAuliffe is the only candidate to call for an end to payday lending in Virginia and blasts the General Assembly for a 2002 law that made the high-interest lending easier in the state.

Both Moran and Deeds were in the legislature at the time, but Deeds' campaign is crying foul, noting that all three candidates have now called to end the unpopular lending.

"It's inaccurate to say he's the only one wants to get payday out of the state," said Deeds spokesman Brooke Borkenhagen.

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Posted at 5:59 PM ET, 05/ 5/2009

Farm Team Asks Moran to Alter Ad

Brian Moran's campaign has been slapped on the wrist by the organizers of the recent Farm Team debate in Williamsburg, for using video from the event in a You Tube campaign spot in violation of the debate's rules.

Campaigns had agreed they would not use video or audio from the event and Susan Platt, a Farm Team founder, emailed Moran today to complain. Jesse Ferguson, a Moran spokesman, said this evening that the video used only a short clip from the event and it will be removed.

"It's not fair for one campaign to break the rules when the other two have abided by them," Platt said in an interview.

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Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 05/ 4/2009

Is McDonnell Looking to Wilder for Support?

Is Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell looking for an endorsement from former Democratic governor L. Douglas Wilder?

McDonnell and Wilder, who have had a good working relationship for years, are having lunch today, according to sources close to McDonnell.

All three Democratic candidates -- R. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran -- have already met with Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor, to seek an endorsement and advice on how to run a successful statewide campaign.

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Posted at 2:24 PM ET, 05/ 1/2009

More on Moran's Gay Marriage Voting Record

Increasingly, former Del. Brian Moran has been trying to portray himself as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate most friendly on gay rights. It's a strategy we explored in depth a few days ago. But at Wednesday night's debate, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds highlighted a bit of Moran's record that doesn't seem to quite fit the strategy.

In 2004, Moran cast a vote in favor of a resolution sponsored by now Republican nominee Bob McDonnell that encouraged the U.S. Congress to adopt an amendment to the federal constitution banning both gay marriages and civil unions. The voting history on the resolution, a companion to a senate resolution sponsored by now attorney general candidate Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, is complex.

Moran had three opportunities to vote on the issue during the 2004 legislative session. Once, the General Assembly's records showed that he did not vote. Next, he voted against the resolution. But on the last vote, on March 10, 2004, he voted for the idea.

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Posted at 3:06 PM ET, 04/30/2009

Campaign Pork

There were lots of interesting moments at last night's blogger-hosted debate near Virginia Tech. Perhaps the question that seemed to surprise the candidates most came from Fire Dog Lake's Jane Hamsher, who asked the men whether they had ever taken money from Virginia's Smithfield Foods.

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Posted at 4:37 PM ET, 04/24/2009

Moran Raises Failed Company

Waiting to see the first time Terry McAuliffe's investment in failed telecommunications giant Global Crossing would pop up on the campaign trail? Last night was your night.

In an otherwise fairly placid debate on education, Brian Moran brought the company up in response to a question about teacher pensions.

Moran never mentioned McAuliffe by name and the reference likely went over the heads of most of the 700 teachers in the audience. But it was clearly a veiled slam at the former DNC head and millionaire entrepreneur.

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Posted at 3:42 PM ET, 04/22/2009

Fact Checker: Democrats at Candidates' Forum

The three Democrats running for governor have been spending more time participating in debates and forums in recent days, giving them ample opporunity to boast about their records and promise dramatic changes for the state.

But occassionally, those off-the-cuff pronouncements can cross from campaign trail bluster into outright embelishment. And at times that was the case last night, when R. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran participated in a candidates' forum in Richmond.

As needed, we'll use this space to step in and attempt to set the record straight. Here's what caught our attention:

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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 04/22/2009

Moran Responds to Clinton Visit

Brian Moran's been touting his long list of endorsements for some time, but no one on his list has quite the star power of a former president of the United States.

Standing next to a Henrico County school board member and a Richmond area delegate at an event to talk about education this afternoon, Moran was asked about the news that President Bill Clinton will be coming to Virginia next week to campaign for longtime friend Terry McAuliffe.

He smiled broadly.

"This race will be won with Virginia voters," he said. Then, he went through his familiar recitation of his long years of service as a prosecutor and delegate in Virginia. "That's what will win this primary," he said.

But McAuliffe said today that Clinton can offer Virginia voters his thoughts as a former governor from another southern state.

"If people are focused on jobs, I don't think anyone has the credibility to talk about job creation better than Bill Clinton," he said.

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Posted at 3:32 PM ET, 04/21/2009

Virginia Partisans Back Moran

Brian Moran (D) continued to work to separate himself from his Democratic rivals for governor today by touting his endorsement by the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club. The nod came today partly in recognition of Moran's stand in Sunday's debate, where he was the only one of the three candidates who pledged to work to rescind Virginia's constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Opponents Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds both said they opposed the amendment but begged off promising the two-year legislative battle plus ballot effort needed to overturn it.

Moran is gambling that Democratic primary voters will reward his willingness to vocally support gay rights, elsewhere a more mainstream party position. He says he opposes gay marriage but believes the constitutional amendment makes even contract agreements between same-sex partners illegal. But the stance will surely follow him if he wins his party nomination, where the position may be more risky.

The group's president acknowledged as much in making the endorsement. "Throughout his career, he's fought alongside us- not just in his voting record, but also in the leadership positions he has taken in support of equality," said President Charley Conrad said. "And even now, during this campaign, he continues to push pro-equality positions, despite any potential political risk. The LGBT community is standing firmly with Brian because he has always stood up for us."

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Posted at 3:45 PM ET, 04/16/2009

Money, Money, Money

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran returned $8,500 in contributions from Citigroup and Virginia Commerce Bank -- companies that received taxpayer-funded bailout money, according to campaign filings made public last night.

Moran returned the money on the same day that rival Terry McAuliffe first pledged not to take corporate contributions from companies receiving bailout money.

The campaign finance reports also show that McAuliffe spent $31,600 on supporter lists and office furniture from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and $10,700 on office equipment from U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner's campaign.

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Posted at 1:47 PM ET, 04/16/2009

Moran Picks Up A Little Labor Support

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran picked up a couple new endorsements, including one with ties to labor.

Barbara Easterling, the first woman ever to serve as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, endorsed Moran, citing recent polling that shows he is the strongest general election candidate against Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell.

"We know Brian will be with us as governor because he always has,'' Easterling said. "In these tough times, working families are facing real tough choices and Brian Moran understands what we're going through. I know he won't stop fighting until he gets us result and that's what we need as governor."

Moran's rival Terry McAuliffe has spent decades in Washington working with national Democratic leaders forging close ties to unions, and has receive many of the biggest labor endorsements.

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Posted at 5:46 PM ET, 04/14/2009

Democratic Candidates Sign Petition

Almost 5,000 Virginians, including all three Democrats running for governor, signed a petition calling for GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell and House Republicans to support an effort to collect $125 million in federal stimulus money for jobless Virginians.

The Democratic Party of Virginia launched the petition Monday. Twenty-four hours later, 4,817 Virginians had signed the petition calling for the General Assembly to return to Richmond and vote to accept the money.

"Bob McDonnell's opposition to urgent assistance for displaced workers is heartless,'' state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds said. "Bob McDonnell and Virginia Republicans are turning their backs on the Virginians who are hurting the most. It's time to put politics aside and get this done."

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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 04/14/2009

Moran Strives to Boost Development

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran announced this morning an "Innovation Agenda" to boost research and development and expand biotechnology, green energy technology and universal broadband.

"Virginia can be a national leader in research and innovation, growing our economy and creating thousands of new high-tech jobs," Moran said. "With a focus on the technology sector, we can attract investment and create jobs and position Virginia as a leader in the innovation economy. Virginia has the potential to become a national and international leader in innovation, but we have to get to work."

Moran's proposal includes incentivizing research and development, establishing a strategic plan for research and development to coordinate the efforts of Virginia's colleges and universities, investing in biotech facilities, creating energy technology parks and building modeling and simulation clusters.

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Posted at 5:47 PM ET, 04/10/2009

Moran Leads in Poll

A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race shows that former delegate Brian Moran leads former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe among likely voters in the Democratic primary, 24 percent to 19 percent. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds had 16 percent.

The poll found that Moran was nearly tied with Republican Robert F. McDonnell in a general election. McAuliffe and Deeds each trailed McDonnell by 7 percent.

"Not only are we leading in the primary, but, more importantly, this poll confirms that Brian is the strongest Democrat to take on Bob McDonnell in November,'' Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos said. "Virginia Democrats know that we need a fighter and we need a winner come November, and this poll is further evidence that we are running a campaign that will accomplish exactly that."

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Posted at 12:01 PM ET, 04/ 8/2009

McAuliffe Raises $4.2 Million: Moran $800,000

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe raised an impressive $4.2 million in his campaign for Virginia governor in the three-month period that ended last month, campaign officials said today.

Rival Brian Moran raised $800,000 in the same period -- more than he raised in the previous six months, but still far less than McAuliffe.

"We expect to be outspent, but we also expect to win,'' Moran Campaign Chairwoman Mame Reiley said. "Virginia Democrats have long confirmed that money in and of itself does not sway them to a candidate. Instead, they want someone who is a proven fighter for their families and a leader who can win in November."

McAuliffe has spent nearly half of the total amount that he has raised and has about $2.5 million cash on hand.

Democrat R. Creigh Deeds did not release his campaign finance reports today.

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Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 04/ 8/2009

More Endorsements for Moran

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran received the support from several more local elected leaders, and is now far outpassing his rivals R. Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe in endorsements.

Moran is hoping his endorsers convince others to support him and get others out to the polls on June 9. It's unclear if the strategy will work on a day when turnout has historically been extremely low in Virginia.

Moran received the endorsement of nearly every elected Democrat in the City of Falls Church.

"Brian is grounded in our commonwealth and connected to our people,'' Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner said. "He knows how to fight and win for Virginia families, and that's why I'm standing behind him to be governor."

Also endorsing: Councilman Lawrence Webb, Councilman Dan Sze, Commissioner of the Revenue Tom Clinton, Sheriff Steve Bittle, Treasurer Cathy Kaye and former Democratic Committee Chair Edna Frady.

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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 04/ 7/2009

Basketball Bipartisanship

Greg Scanlon, research director for the Democratic Party of Virginia, won Republican guberanatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell's "bracket madness" last night when the University of North Carolina won the college championship.

Scanlon came out ahead of 786 other participants, largely because of his selection of Michigan State to advance to the national title game last night.

"This guy knows his basketball,'' McDonnell said. "Democratic Party Chairman Dick Cranwell might want to check how much time he spends researching politics versus how much he spends on ESPN.com....Greg's win proves our campaign brings Republicans and Democrats together."

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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 04/ 7/2009

Moran Wins Straw Poll

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran received the majority of votes at the Lee District Democratic Committee straw poll in Fairfax County this weekend.

Moran won 47 out of the 50 votes. He also won the Mount Vernon Democratic straw poll in Fairfax in February.

"This straw poll continues to show the grassroots momentum building behind Brian," Campaign Chairwoman Mame Reiley said. "He is building this campaign from the bottom up, and this is another demonstration of where local leaders in the Democratic Party stand and that they are working hard to make their support count."

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Posted at 5:40 PM ET, 04/ 6/2009

Deeds Files Petitions

Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds' campaign filed 15,942 signatures with the Virginia State Board of Elections today to get his name on the June 9 primary ballot.

The state requires candidates to submit at least 10,000 signatures, including those of least 400 registered voters in each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts.

"We are excited with our tremendous showing of grassroots support to get on the ballot on June 9th," Deeds said. "This puts us on the way to securing the nomination and beating Bob McDonnell in November."

His Democratic rivals, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran, submitted their petitions March 24 on the first day candidates were eligible to file.

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Posted at 1:52 PM ET, 04/ 6/2009

Deeds Will Not Speak At Shad Planking

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Sen. R. Creigh Deeds will not appear at next week's Shad Planking, a longtime Virginia tradition where politicians come to see and be seen.

Deeds' decision is surprising because appearing at the Shad Planking is considered a must-do for statewide candidates.

"It's highly unusual,'' said Robert W. Bain, chairman of the Wakefield Ruritan Club, which organizes the event.

The three other gubernatorial candidates -- Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran and Republican Robert F. McDonnell -- will attend.

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Posted at 8:17 PM ET, 04/ 3/2009

BGR, Rogers Helped Warner Too

Last week, Democratic gubernatorial Brian Moran blasted his rival Terry McAuliffe for attending a Washington fundraiser hosted by BGR Group, a lobbying firm founded in part by Republican Ed Rogers.

But it turns out BGR and Rogers hosted a fundraiser for another Virginia Democrat.

A fundraiser honoring U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia was held in October 2008 when the former governor was running for Senate. The invitation included Rogers, along with nine other lobbyists with BGR, including former Bush aide Eric Burgeson, Lanny Griffith, who worked in the George H.W. Bush White House and Bob Wood, chief of staff to former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

Moran criticized McAuliffe last week for his relationship with Rogers, who helped carry the Republican message on TV last year with pointed references to President Obama's middle name, Hussein.

So what does Moran say now?

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Posted at 10:14 AM ET, 04/ 2/2009

McAuliffe Unveils Health, Education Plans

This morning, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe rolled out plans to make healthcare more affordable, increase access to higher education and secure retirement savings.

"Our economic struggles have not been evenly distributed around Virginia - some communities, some industries, have been hit much harder than others," McAuliffe said. "But Virginians everywhere can see what is happening, and they wonder how it may affect them. State government cannot solve all of our problems. But it should be an ally to the aspirations and goals of its citizens."

The three Democratic candidates for governor are feverishly campaigning across the state, releasing policy proposals several times a week. Yesterday, McAuliffe and rival Brian Moran unveiled proposals to lure Hollywood film crews to the state and boost the number of businesses owned by women and minorities.

Today, McAuliffe proposed offering unemployed workers low-interest loans to help buy health insurance or allowing them to buy into existing state health insurance programs or other health plans..

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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 04/ 1/2009

Moran's Endorsement List Grows

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran continues to receive endorsements almost daily from elected officials and local Democratic groups across the state.

Moran, a former delegate, and state Sen. Creigh Deeds, to a lesser extent, clearly have the support of many of local Democratic officials in Virginia. Newcomer Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee has announced a limited number of endorsements but says he approaches them in a different way -- trying to solicit support from local activists.

The June 9 election may test how powerful and effective local endorsement is in a Democratic primary.

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Posted at 10:04 AM ET, 04/ 1/2009

Deeds Asks SCC to Reject Rate Hike

Energy has quickly become one of the top issues in the contest for the Democratic nomination for governor. The three candidates took similar approaches to the news yesterday afternoon that Dominion Virginia Power is seeking to raise electricity rates 6.9 percent during the next 14 months.

But only state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds called on the State Corporation Commission to reject the proposed increase.

"This is the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it's simply not the time to ask Virginia families to pay more for their monthly energy bill,'' he said. "It's time to put the middle class first again. I call on the Virginia State Corporation Commission to reject this rate increase on Virginia's working families."

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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 03/28/2009

Moran Endorsed by Ebbin, Young Dems

Del. Adam P. Ebbin, the highest-ranking openly gay elected official in Virginia and the only openly gay member of the General Assembly, endorsed Democrat Brian Moran for governor.

Ebbin cited Moran's long-term commitment to fighting discrimination and his opposition to the Virginia marriage amendment, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and was passed by voters in 2006.

"Brian Moran has always been a leader in the fight against discrimination, even when it wasn't popular," Ebbin said.

Moran, a former delegate, had been endorsed by the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club and received the support of Equality Virginia PAC.

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Posted at 2:59 PM ET, 03/26/2009

Moran Unveils Economic Recovery Plan

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran announced today an economic stimulus and recovery plan that will focus on growing small businesses and creating local jobs by cutting taxes, tying the minimum wage to inflation and appointing a watchdog over federal stimulus money.

Moran made the announcement at a barber shop in Richmond as part of his economic recovery tour that began Friday in Charlottesville and included stops in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.

"People are struggling today, and they need us to take real action to fix our economy," Moran said. "We're going to grow this economy from the bottom up, not the top down. It's time we started investing in Main Street, not just Wall Street, and help our small businesses create jobs."

Moran's plan includes creating a small business job creation tax credit, eliminating the corporate income tax for small businesses, assembling an economic strike force to focus on recruiting businesses to Virginia's hardest hit communities and appointing a watchdog to coordinate the federal dollars flowing into Virginia.

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Posted at 5:08 PM ET, 03/25/2009

Virginia Notebook: The Campaign Managers

If you were running for the Democratic nomination for governor, would you rather your campaign be run by:

a.) someone who has a long track record of winning races for Virginia Democrats in general elections but has never managed a successful hard-fought primary contest?

b.) someone who has never worked in Virginia but who has a record of winning Democratic primaries?

c.) someone who has not managed a statewide campaign but is viewed as a rising star in the Virginia Democratic consulting world?

If you think you know the best answer, you might be able, as well as anyone, to predict the winner of the June 9 Democratic primary.

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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 03/25/2009

Moran Chides McAuliffe on Fundraiser

Democratic gubernatorial Brian Moran criticized his rival Terry McAuliffe for attending a Washington fundraiser last night hosted by the prestigious BGR lobbying firm founded by Republicans Ed Rogers and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, now vice-chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Rogers has worked to defeat Democrats nationwide, including Barack Obama in the presidential race. He attacked Obama in several national TV appearances last year.

"Rogers joined Rush Limbaugh and others in raising racially and religiously charged attacks against then Senator Obama,'' said Andrew Roos, Moran's campaign manager. "It's sad that in the same week Terry McAuliffe aired a radio ad claiming credit for helping to elect Barack Obama, he's holding a fundraiser with someone who did everything he could to defeat him."

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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 03/25/2009

McAuliffe Swamps Rivals in Staff, Offices

Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe turned heads when he announced that he has already hired 98 staffers -- a record amount this early in a statewide campaign in Virginia. That's more than three times as much as his rivals.

Here's a rundown of staff and offices for all four gubernatorial candidates:

Terry McAuliffe (D): 98 staffers, 8 offices
Offices are in McLean, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Loudoun, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville. Two more offices in Hampton and Fredericksburg will open this week.

R. Creigh Deeds (D): 29 staffers, 4 offices
Offices are in Charlottesville, Richmond, Portsmouth and Alexandria. Two more offices will be open in the coming days.

Brian Moran (D): 25 staffers, 3 offices
Offices are in Alexandria, Arlington and Richmond.

Robert F. McDonnell (R): 30 staffers, 1 office
Office is in Richmond.

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Posted at 12:39 PM ET, 03/24/2009

McAuliffe Is First to Submit Petitions, May Get Top Spot

Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic candidate for governor, and Jody W. Wagner, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, were the first candidates today to submit the needed petitions to get on the ballot for the June 9 Democratic primary.

To secure a spot on the ballot, candidates need to submit at least 10,000 signatures, including the signatures of at least 400 registered voters in each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts. If McAuliffe and Wagner's signatures are verified, they will both gain the top spots on the ballot.

McAuliffe said he submitted 17,243 valid signatures. Wagner said she submitted 17,858.

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Posted at 8:31 AM ET, 03/24/2009

Who Will Be First?

Democratic candidates for governor Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe will stop in Richmond today to turn in the signatures needed to be on the primary ballot June 9.

In Virginia, the candidate who turns in his petitions first gets their name on the ballot first.

McAuliffe and Moran both plan to be at the state Board Board of Elections office just before noon -- the first time the signatures will be accepted.

The three Democratic candidates have until April 10 to submit 10,000 signatures (including 400 from each congressional district) to the state.

State sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath will not turn in petitions today. He is expected to do so later in the month, ensuring that he will be last on the ballot.

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Posted at 2:53 PM ET, 03/17/2009

Moran Wins Support in Fairfax

A majority of the Democrats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and county school board announced today they are supporting Brian Moran's bid for governor.

At an event in Fairfax City, Moran was also endorsed by several delegates and the City of Fairfax Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 2702.

"I know Brian and he's a strong fighter for our community. He has worked hard to get results and understands the needs of local government," said Supervisor Penny Gross, who represents the Mason District. "For 20 years Brian's been fighting for our community, now we're going to fight for him."

With more than 1 million residents, Fairfax County will play a crucial role in this year's election. In the 2006 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, just under one out of every fourth vote was cast in Fairfax County.

Moran, who used to represents a small part of Fairfax County in the House of Delegates, hopes to be viewed as the hometown candidate in this year's primary. But Terry McAuliffe, who is also a candidate for the nomination, lives in McLean. And the Democratic state senators who represent Fairfax, including Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, are supporting the third candidate in the race, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath).

In addition to Gross, Supervisors Jeff McKay (Lee) John Foust (Dranesville) and Gerry Hyland (Mount Vernon endorsed Moran today.

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Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 03/16/2009

Moran Unveils "Efficient Virginia" Plan

Former delegate Brian Moran unveiled a three-part plan to promote government innovation and reform, which he said will help Virginia maintain its ranking as the best managed state.

Moran's proposal calls for more efficiency in government, reforms to the budgeting and procurement process and additional steps to promote technology while curbing wasteful spending. For example, Moran wants all state government travel to be booked online.

"I will bring my experience in state government, as a small business owner and my commitment to the taxpayers to make sure we remain the best managed to state in America," Moran said.

To promote innovation, Moran want to create a new task force to identify possible reforms in state government. Moran is also vowing to continue efforts to streamline the procurement process, and he promises "results-orientated budgeting."

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Posted at 10:38 AM ET, 03/11/2009

Moran Loses an Endorsement

Former delegate Flora Crittenden said she did not endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran in the June 9 primary, even though he used her name in a press release earlier this week.

Crittenden, a well-respected Democrat who represented Hampton Roads for a decade before retiring in 2003, said that she "did not authorize the Moran for Governor Campaign to release my name as an endorser of his candidacy."

Crittenden was listed on a press release Monday along with more than a dozen former or current elected leaders in the Hampton Roads region.

"Brian Moran holds Flora Crittenden in the absolute highest regard, and appreciates the support she has given him in the past,'' said Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for Moran. "Our staff thought we had confirmation of her public support, but this appears to be a miscommunication and we apologized to former delegate Crittenden for any inconvenience."

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Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 03/10/2009

McAuliffe's Endorsement List Shortens

Last month, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe unveiled a list of 14 party activists from across the state who endorsed him in the Democratic primary.

But at least one of them never did.

Anita Hartke, chairwoman of Culpeper County Democratic Committee and candidate for Congress last year, said in an interview that she did not endorse McAuliffe over rivals R. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran. Hartke, whose father was a U.S. senator from Indiana, said she will not endorse any candidate in the June 9 primary.

"I believe we have three outstanding leaders with vision and drive running for governor in Virginia,'' she said.

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Posted at 3:08 PM ET, 03/ 9/2009

Democrats Help Moon in Fairfax

Democratic candidates for governor will help School Board member Ilryong Moon (D) in tomorrow's special election to fill a spot on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds will make phone calls at the Moon campaign headquarters in Annandale. Former delegate Brian Moran has sent staff to help Moon's campaign tonight and Moran will be at his headquarters tomorrow morning to make calls. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAulifee helped with canvassing and has made his headquarters available tomorrow.

"We need to elect Ilryong Moon to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday," Deeds said. "The enthusiasm of Ilryong's volunteers is one of the greatest assets of his campaign. I look forward to joining his grassroots team to help get out the vote for Ilryong in the Braddock district."

The race pits Moon against lawyer and community activist John Cook (R) and accountant Carey C. Campbell, an independent. Moon and Cook are vowing to continue the legacy of Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D), who vacated her Braddock District seat when she was elected chairman of the 10-member board last month.

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Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 03/ 9/2009

Hampton Roads Leaders Endorse Moran

Former delegate Brian Moran was endorsed today by several local elected leaders in Hampton Roads.

The leaders cited Moran's proven record of fighting for people, his policy plans and his grassroots campaign.

The list includes Sheriffs Bob McCabe of Norfolk and BJ Roberts of Hampton; Virginia Beach School Board Members Brent McKenzie and Todd Davidson; Commissioners of the Revenue Sharon McDonald of Norfolk and Ross Mugler of Hampton; City Councilman Bryan Collins of Chesapeake; Clerks of Court George Schaefer of Norfolk and Cynthia Morrison of Portsmouth; and several former and current members of the House of Delegates.

"I am proud to have the grassroots support of local leaders from across Hampton Roads," Moran said. "These officials have worked with Mark Warner and Tim Kaine so I'm honored that they see that style of leadership in me. I look forward to working with them to move Virginia forward."

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Posted at 2:35 PM ET, 03/ 6/2009

McAuliffe's Packed Schedule

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe attended a fundraiser last night at the Hollywood home of Haim Saban, a billionaire entertainment magnate and longtime supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

It's part of a packed schedule that is taking the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee across the state and nation.

Unlike his Democratic opponents, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and former delegate Brian Moran, McAuliffe has the national contacts to raise money across the United States.

Check out his schedule this week:

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Posted at 11:07 AM ET, 03/ 6/2009

Moran Gets Support of Williamsburg Mayor

Williamsburg Mayor Jeanne Zeidler announced her support of candidate Brian Moran in the Democratic primary for governor.

Zeidler cited Moran's proven record of working on transportation solutions and his plans to expand health care for every Virginia child.

"Brian Moran has a 20-year record of fighting for the people of Virginia," Zeidler said. "He will work hard for transportation solutions, to invest in education and to expand health care to every Virginia child...Brian's the type of leader who will wake up each and every day fighting for the people of Virginia and make our children his top priority."

Moran is running against state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe in the June 9 primary.

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Posted at 8:05 PM ET, 03/ 4/2009

McDonnell Responds to Democrats' Attack

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell accused the Democratic Party of Virginia of duping more than 50 local leaders into attacking him by providing them with false information about his stance on the stimulus package.

Last week, on a conference call organized by the Democratic party, the leaders called on McDonnell to pledge he would accept the federal stimulus package, but McDonnell had already said he would accept the money if elected governor.

"I am sorry the Democratic Party of Virginia leadership in Richmond gave you erroneous information, and asked you to launch an attack unsupported by the facts,'' McDonnell wrote in a letter to local leaders today. "Certainly every campaign should be characterized by full, open, and vigorous debate over the policy issues of the day. But when a political party ignores widely available public information in order to score political points that is not responsible. I am sure you did not appreciate being put out publicly in support of an assertion that was false."

Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic party, said McDonnell said he opposed to the stimulus package several times in February, claiming it would be bad "long-term for America" and said the best way to create opportunity and jobs is "not stimulus."

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Posted at 5:30 PM ET, 03/ 4/2009

McAuliffe On The Move

While state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and former delegate Brian Moran continue to look for a few headlines in Virginia, their Democratic rival for governor has been traveling across the United States this week.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday that Terry McAuliffe attended a fundraiser at a Chicago restuarant Monday night. Hosts include J.B. Pritzker, whose family founded the Hyatt hotel chain, and attorney Kevin O'Keefe, a longtime friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton who headed Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in Illinois.

Tonight, McAuliffe will be in Phoenix for a happy hour event with the Arizona Democratic Council.

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Posted at 11:21 AM ET, 03/ 3/2009

Moran Set To Begin Radio Ad in Hampton Roads

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran will launch his first radio ad tomorrow, according to sources to familiar with his strategy.

The ad will target African-American voters in Hampton Roads. In the ad, former delegate Mary Christian of Hampton praises Moran for his service.

"As someone who served side-by-side with Brian for more than a decade, I can tell you personally that he's always been there and will always be there for us," said Christian, who in 1985 was elected the first African-American delegate from Hampton since Reconstruction. "Brian Moran grew up working class and he knows what it means to struggle."

Moran's decision to launch a radio campaign comes six weeks after Terry McAuliffe, also a candidate for the nomination, begain airing radio and television ads in Hampton Roads. McAuliffe's ads have also largely been targeted at black voters.

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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 02/28/2009

Kaine and The Men Who Want to Replace Him

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said this week that he told all three Democratic candidates for govenor -- Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former delegate Brian Moran -- that he will make himself available to them if they need campaign advice.

But in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, Kaine, the new DNC chairman, said he plans to stay neutral in the race until after the June 9 primary.

What about Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell?

Kaine said that he and McDonnell had a good working relationship before McDonnell resigned last week as attorney general to campaign full time.

He said McDonnell even called him before President Obama's historic inauguration last month to ask for tickets for him and his family. "I'm just glad he wanted to go,'' Kaine said.

McDonnell, who talks frequently about how well he and Kaine worked together, said he knows things are about to change.

"Our relationship will change a little bit because his main mission in life is to beat me,'' McDonnell quipped.. "That will probably strain out friendship."

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Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 02/27/2009

McDonnell Asks Rivals to Support Drilling

Former Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell called on his three rivals for governor to join him in writing a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to ask for the exploration of Virginia's offshore energy resources.

The decision comes after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) sent a letter to Salazar asking for a delay in developing energy resources off the Virginia coast.

The 25-year-old federal moratorium on energy exploration and development off the coast of Virginia expired last year. The leasing of rights off the coast is scheduled for 2011.

McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, said drilling will create thousands of jobs and produce hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. A delay, he said, would eliminate Virginia's ability to start drilling before other Atlantic states.

"I urge the Democratic candidates for governor to put aside their pandering to special interests and do what's right for Virginia families,'' McDonnell said. "Democrats need to stop saying no to new jobs and revenue for Virginia."

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Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 02/26/2009

McAuliffe Looks To General Election

In a fundraising letter sent yesterday, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe ignored his Democratic opponents and instead went after Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell.

"It seems like every time we get a chance to put aside partisanship and get things done, Bob McDonnell chooses ideology over what's best for the Commonwealth,'' McAuliffe said. "Maybe that's why I heard Republicans are going to throw the kitchen sink into Virginia to help his campaign. Sure enough, Bob's planning to bring in people like Sean Hannity, John McCain and Sarah Palin in order to fuel it."

McDonnell's spokesman Tucker Martin countered McAuliffe's accusations. "Bob McDonnell has a record of building bipartisan coalitions to help Virginia,'' he said. "Chairman McAuliffe is a career partisan who has a record of professional fundraising to help the national Democratic Party. This defines empty rhetoric."

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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 02/25/2009

Moran Woos Southwest Virginia

Former delegate Brian Moran and his wife, Karyn, are on separate campaign swings this week through Southwest Virginia as he tries to reinforce an image that he can compete in every part of the state.

Moran, who lives in Alexandria, plans stops in more than a half-dozen cities and counties between now and Friday. At his first stop today in Pulaski County, Moran was endorsed by Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Fleenor and Sheriff Jim Davis.

"Brian has fought alongside us for over a decade; he's no stranger to Pulaski Democrats," Fleenor said. "He fought alongside Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and is ready to fight for the hard-working men and women of this region in the Governor's office."

At an event tomorrow in Smyth County, Moran will be joined by his wife. On Monday, Karyn Moran kicked off her own six-day tour of Southwest Virginia.

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Posted at 2:40 PM ET, 02/23/2009

Moran, Wagner Prevail in Fairfax Straw Poll

Former delegate Brian Moran, a candidate for governor, and Jody Wagner, a candidate for lieutenant governor, came out on top at this weekend's Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee straw poll in Fairfax County.

According to party leaders, Moran won the straw poll with 83 votes. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) came in second with 43 votes. Terry McAuliffe, also a Democratic candidate for governor, received 33 votes.

Deeds and Moran spoke at the event. McAuliffe was invited to speak, but he did not attend.

In the lieutenant governor's race, Wagner beat her nearest opponent by 18 votes. Wagner received 62 votes compared to Jon Bowerbank's 44 votes. Pat Edmonson, a Virginia Beach school board member, came in third with 18 votes. Attorney Michael Signer received 15 votes. Richmond-based political strategist Rich Savage got 10 votes.

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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 02/20/2009

McDonnell's Last Day

Robert F. McDonnell (R) officially steps down today as the state's 44th attorney general to campaign full time for governor.

Employees will throw a party for McDonnell this afternoon. Three of them will move with him to the campaign office -- J. Tucker Martin, communications director, as well as his scheduler and deputy scheduler.

In a statement released by McDonnell's office, a slew of prominent state and national leaders praised him for his work over the last three years. The varied group includes Bill Leighty, former chief of staff to Democratic Govs. Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., City of Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring (who just endorsed Democratic candidate Brian Moran for governor) and Chuck Curran, chief counsel for AOL.

"It has been a distinct pleasure to have served at a time that Bob McDonnell was Attorney General,'' Leighty said. "As a career state employee, I have worked with a number of Attorneys General. General McDonnell distinguished himself in his treatment of the professionals at the Attorney General's Office and with his attention to the improvement of management efficiencies in the operation of the office."

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Posted at 2:02 PM ET, 02/19/2009

Moran Picks Up Support in Prince William

Many of Prince William County's Democratic leaders today endorsed Brian Moran's bid for governor.

Although Republicans still dominate local government in Prince William County, Moran picked up support from county supervisors John Jenkins and Frank Principi, Del. Paul Nichols, former delegate David Brickley, Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta and former county attorney Sharon Pandak. Pete Frisbie, the chairman of the county Democratic committee, and party activist and former supervisor Hilda Barg also endorsed Moran.

In a series of speeches inside a fire station in Dale City, the party leaders said Moran was the best candidate for governor because he is "grounded" in Virginia and has a record of public service. They also stressed they believe Moran is the Democrat who can win Prince William County, a key general election battleground, in the fall.

"Twenty years ago, he was out there fighting as a Democrat when it was really hard to fight as a Democrat," Pandak said.

When he took the microphone, Moran talked about his plans to create more jobs and invest in health care.

"I believe this race is a test for our party and what the Democratic Party of Virginia stands for," Moran said.

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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 02/19/2009

McAuliffe Receives Support

Former Democratic National Committee ChairmanTerry McAuliffe announced today that his campaign for governor has received endorsements from Democratic leaders from across the state.

In supporting him, the leaders cited McAuliffe's vision for turning Virginia's economy around and their belief that McAuliffe is best qualified to carry on the tradition of leadership set by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and former Gov. Mark R. Warner.

"We Democrats have made such incredible gains over the past seven years, specifically because we have stayed focused on delivering results for Virginians," said Jim Turpin, vice chairman of finance for the Virginia Democratic Party. "Terry is the candidate in this race who is best qualified to get Virginia's economy back on track, and that's the result voters are looking for."

McAuliffe is running against state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath and former delegate Brian Moran of Alexandria. Both men have been running for governor for more than a year, and have already announced dozens of Democratic endorsements.

A list of McAuliffe's endorsements from today is below:

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Posted at 6:28 PM ET, 02/13/2009

A Night of Laughs At VCCA Dinner

Style Weekly, Richmond's alternative newspaper, has put together a video of the speeches given by the four candidates for governor at the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association dinner.

At the event, which was held Wednesday, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the soon to be GOP nominee for governor, and the three Democratic candidates all roasted each other, the press and themselves.

Style Weekly offers up snippets of some of the jokes, including the harsh joke that McAuliffe landed on Joe Trippi, who is one of Moran's senior advisors.

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Posted at 2:07 PM ET, 02/11/2009

Petersburg Officials Endorse Moran

Most of the elected officials who represent Petersburg, a majority black city south of Richmond, announced today they are supporting Brian Moran's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Moran was endorsed by: Petersburg Mayor Annie M. Mickens, Vice Mayor Horace Webb, Sheriff Vanessa Crawford, state Del. Rosalyn Dance and three city council members.

"We face tough challenges in the next few years and we need someone with a proven record of fighting for people as our next Governor," Mickens said.

Although it has only 32,000 residents, Petersburg is an important component of the Democratic base in Virginia. Last year, President Obama won 89 percent of the vote in Petersburg, where African Americans account for 80 percent of the population.

On Tuesday, Moran was also endorsed by a prominent African-American official in Richmond, Commonwealth Attorney Michael N. Herring.

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Posted at 3:12 PM ET, 02/ 9/2009

Congressmen Respond to Moran's JJ Speech

Two Virginia Democratic congressmen indicated today they were uncomfortable with Brian Moran's attacks on Terry McAuliffe at the state party's Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner

Although he never mentioned McAuliffe by name, Moran took multiple swipes at McAuliffe.

When asked if Moran's criticisms of McAuliffe during the dinner were appropriate, U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va) replied: "Primaries can be hard fought and rough-in-tumble affairs and my own experience is trying to stay positive is the better course in the long run."

Connolly, who is neutral in the primary, declined further comment.

U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott noted there was a smattering of boos when Moran stated during his speech, "We need a fighter, not a fundraiser."

"Did you hear the public reaction?" Scott asked. "McAuliffe, and to a certain extent, Deeds were positive, had a positive agenda and Moran when he gave his criticisms he got booed. Have you been to many JJ Dinners? Do you ever remember any speaker getting booed?" Scott added he hopes all three Democratic candidates will rally behind the eventual nominee.

But U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.), said his brother, Brian, had "the right message."

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Posted at 4:21 PM ET, 02/ 8/2009

Moran Finds his Rhythm at JJ (But So Does McAuliffe)

At the Jefferson Jackson Day dinner last night, former delegate Brian Moran tried to pivot the race for the Democratic nomination for governor back on his terms, delivering a solid address that positioned himself as the politically mature, safe candidate in the race.

In a speech that took a surprising number of swipes as his rival for the nomination, Terry McAuliffe, Moran argued the stakes are too high for Democrats to risk the party's future with the new kid on the block.

"This campaign will be about who can win in November," Moran said. "It took us a generation to build this party. ... This was no overnight success -- the real leaders of our party served and fought for people first. "

A few hours later, McAuliffe was trying to send a signal that he, not Moran, will be the one defining the terms of who prevails in the primary. At a sweaty nightclub in downtown Richmond, there was McAuliffe with both hands above his head dancing to Hip Hop music.

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Posted at 2:04 PM ET, 02/ 4/2009

Virginia Notebook: Democratic Dinner Holds Answers

The Virginia Democratic Party will have its annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner Saturday at the Richmond Convention Center. Former president Bill Clinton will headline the fundraiser.

A who's who of elected officials and party leaders and activists will attend.

But the focus will be on the three Democratic candidates for governor: Terry McAuliffe, Brian J. Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath).

Here are 15 questions that the dinner should help to answer. Check back next week for the answers.

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Posted at 7:43 PM ET, 01/30/2009

Moran Keeps His Lense on Deeds

Former delegate Brian Moran may have resigned from the General Assembly, but he's still keeping close tabs on one of his rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath).

At yesterday's Senate Transportation Committee meeting, a Moran campaign volunteer had a video camera fixed on Deeds for nearly two hours as he and other senators considered legislation.

At least one Democrat complained about the tracker, saying it's inappropriate for Moran to be badgering a fellow Democrat while he's trying to do official business.

But Peter Jackson, a Deeds spokesman, brushed off the incident, calling it part of "the modern campaign." Jesse Ferguson, a Moran spokesman, also claims that Deeds had previously filmed Moran during last year's legislative session.

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Posted at 2:35 PM ET, 01/29/2009

Moran Continues to Go Green

Former delegate Brian Moran, a Democratic candidate for governor, released an ambitious plan to create tens of thousands of new jobs by positioning Virginia as a leader in efforts to protect the environment.

At an event in Norfolk, which was followed by a conference call with reporters, Moran called for a major expansion of wind and solar power. As governor, Moran said he would also push to require that 25 percent of the state's energy comes from renewable sources by 2025 and offer extensive incentives to companies and individuals who invest in green buildings and high-mileage vehicles. He also proposed the creation of The Center for Green Technology to "jumpstart" university research and help launch energy technology parks.

"It certainly will be the most progressive, innovative job creating plan you will see in this campaign," said Moran, who later added, "The connection between energy and our economy has never been so profound."

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Posted at 1:38 PM ET, 01/29/2009

With Moran Absent, Deeds Vows to Help Alicia

Last year, former delegate Brian Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) both took leading roles in pushing for Alicia's Law, which provides funding for two Internet Crimes Against Children law enforcement task forces.

The law is named after Alicia Kozakiewicz, who at age 13 was abducted and assaulted in a Herndon basement by a man she met online. Last year, Moran joined Kozakiewicz at a press conference in Richmond to push for the law.

But because Moran left the House to focus on his bid for governor, Deeds had the spotlight to himself at another event with Kozakiewicz today at the State House. Kozakiewicz and her mother, both of whom live in Pittsburgh, were back in Richmond because there is no funding for Alicia's Law in next year's budget proposal. Deeds, who was joined by Del. Phillip Hamilton (R-Newport News), vows he will find $1.5 million to continue the program, which was also praised by law enforcement officials.

"This is a drop in the bucket," said Deeds, also a Democratic candidate for governor. "Even if it saves one child, one Alicia, it's worth it."

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Posted at 4:47 PM ET, 01/27/2009

Richmond Mayor Will Endorse Moran

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones will endorse former delegate Brian Moran in his campaign for governor, according to several sources.

Jones, a former Democratic legislator and chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, served with Moran in the House of Delegates until Jones was elected mayor in November.

Jesse Ferguson, Moran's spokesman, would not confirm the endorsement.

Jones was expected to appear with Moran tomorrow morning on Capitol Square. But the event was canceled because of a scheduling conflict and bad weather. The event has yet to be rescheduled.

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Posted at 2:34 PM ET, 01/27/2009

Moran Camp Needles McAuliffe Over Fundraiser

Brian Moran's campaign is stepping up its efforts to draw contrasts with Terry McAuliffe, who is also a Democratic candidate for governor.

In a fundraising appeal sent out today, Moran strategist Mame Reiley jabbed McAuliffe for holding a fundraiser last week in New York. The email was titled "Park Avenue vs. Virginia."

"Last week, Terry McAuliffe was up on Wall Street at a glitzy Park Avenue location, collecting money while Brian Moran was announcing the boldest environmental plan of any candidate," Reiley wrote. "Yesterday, McAuliffe announced he's spending that Wall Street money on high-priced TV ads in Virginia."

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, McAuliffe raised $216,000 in 2008 from the finance and insurance industry but that does not include the donations he received last week in New York. Moran raised $139,000 from the finance and insurance industry last year.

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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 01/22/2009

Moran Vows to Stop New Coal Plant

Brian J. Moran, a Democratic candidate for governor, vowed today he will stop the construction of a proposed coal fired power plant in Surry County if he is elected governor.

Moran advisors say he is the first candidate for governor in modern times to oppose a new coal fired power plant, a further indication that Moran plans to aggressively pursue support from environmentalists. Moran said the plant, which has been proposed by Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, will contribute to global warming and harm the Chesapeake Bay.

"As a candidate for governor, it is important to know where the next governor will stand on important issues," Moran said a press conference this morning in front of the Department of Environmental Quality Office in Richmond. "We should be investing and developing clean sources of energy."

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Posted at 9:05 AM ET, 01/22/2009

Virginia Notebook: Deeds, Moran vs. McAuliffe

During this year's campaign for governor of Virginia, one piece of trivia that will probably be invoked is that since Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, the party that has won the White House has lost the state's race for governor the next year.

But here is another tidbit that might be more relevant in this year's contest: Since 1957, no delegate or state senator has won the nomination for governor without first leaving the General Assembly to serve in a higher office.

In Virginia, where governors can run for only one term, major party nominees in modern times have been sitting or former lieutenant governors, attorneys general, congressmen or businessmen.

Brian Moran (D), who resigned last month from the House of Delegates to focus on fundraising, and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) are hoping to buck that trend. But first, they have to get past Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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Posted at 9:46 AM ET, 01/21/2009

Moran Hires Trippi

Former delegate Brian Moran (D-Alexandria) announced today he has hired Joe Trippi as media consultant and general strategist for his campaign for governor.

"I'm excited to join Brian's team because of his record fighting for working families,'' Trippi said. "I think Virginians will respond to his leadership and experience as we grapple with today's tough times. I've known Brian for a long time and he has a bold vision for Virginia's future and the record to back it up."

Trippi has been credited as the man who "reinvented campaigning" after he developed the grassroots, online network for the Howard Dean's presidential campaign in 2004, according to a press release. Using the Internet, Dean raised more money than any Democratic presidential campaign to that point - all with donations averaging less than $100.

"We're very excited to add Joe to an all-star team working to build the best grassroots campaign," Campaign Chairwoman Mame Reiley said. "Joe is the architect of the 21st century campaign and knows how to help insurgent candidates win elections."

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Posted at 11:59 AM ET, 01/16/2009

Big Checks Escape Deeds, Moran

Terry McAuliffe appears to be the only Democratic candidate for governor who is having luck collecting big checks from donors during the economic downturn, according to campaign finance reports.

McAuliffe collected twice as many campaign contributions of at least $25,000 as Deeds and Moran were able to combined. The distinction is all the more striking because McAuliffe collected his money in six weeks. Moran and Deeds had six months, although both scaled back their fundraising during the fall presidential campaign.

Moran's brother, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.), was his largest contributor during the reporting period. James Moran's congressional campaign wrote Brian Moran a $50,000 check in mid December. Moran also collected four $25,000 contributions during the reporting period, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

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Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 01/16/2009

Deeds Misses Third Day of Session

Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) has been taking subtle swipes at his rival for the Democratic nomination for governor, Brian Moran, over his decision to give up his House seat.

Deeds often notes he is "staying to fight" for Democratic principles in the General Assembly, an apparent effort to highlight Moran's choice to leave so he can campaign and fundraise.

But on the third of the legislative session, a Democratic senator stood up on floor to announce that Deeds was away on "pressing, personal business." In other words, Deeds was on the campaign trail. According to his campaign schedule, Deeds is attending a prayer service today at Dar Al-Hiraj Mosque in Fairfax County. The mosque is a focal point of Northern Virginia's politically active Muslim community.

Deeds did not miss any votes. Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), a Deeds supporter, delayed action on bills today. The floor session lasted just 15 minutes.

If Deeds' continues to take days off, however, he could imperil Saslaw's ability to keep working control over the chamber. Democrats hold a narrow 21 to 19 Senate majority.

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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 01/14/2009

Plum Elected House Democratic Caucus Leader

In a surprising move, House Democrats chose Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax) over Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax) to be their caucus chairman, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House.

Amundson congratulated Plum afterward and said the Democratic caucus' goal remains the same no matter who is in charge: To win the six seats the party needs to take control of the Republican-led House.

The caucus deadlocked in three votes yesterday. Today, Plum narrowly won, after two new Democratic delegates were included in the vote behind closed doors.

Del. Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax) said the close votes were the result of disagreements over personality differences between Plum and Amundson, and nothing else.

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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 01/13/2009

Moran Rolls Out Aggressive Energy Plan

Former Del. Brian Moran, a Democratic candidate for governor this year, announced his support of a mandatory commitment to renewable and alternative energy in the hopes of creating thousands of jobs across the state.

Currently, Virginia has a voluntary goal of getting 12 percent of the state's energy from renewable resources. Moran's plan, which would more than double the current standard and make it mandatory, calls for a 25 percent mandatory standard by 2025. It would put Virginia in the top ten states nationally.

"I have proposed a bold step, which will make Virginia a leader in renewable energy," Moran said. "The next governor needs to be looking toward the future and creating an environment which will attract good high-paying green jobs, and help Virginia grow in the green economy. My commitment to our environment and our economy is too strong to do anything less."

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Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 01/12/2009

Moran Hires Campaign Manager

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian J. Moran will announce today he's hired a campaign manager, according to officials close to the campaign.

Andrew Roos, who oversaw Jack Markell's successful campaign for governor in Delaware last year, will become Moran's campaign manager.

Mame Reiley had been overseeing Moran's campaign, but he always planned on bringing on someone else to assume the role of manager. Reiley will continue to be the chair of Moran's effort and head his finance operation. Steve Jarding will also continue to serve as Moran's senior strategist.

As manager of Markell's campaign, Roos helped Markell upset then former Delaware Lt. Gov. John Carney in the Democratic primary. In that race, Carney started off the campaign with a big lead but Markell closed the gap after strong fundraising and an aggressive effort to organize voters.

"Roos has won primaries, and that is what we were looking for," said one Democratic official who is close to Moran. In a statement, Roos said Moran "will run an aggressive issued-based grassroots campaign."

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Posted at 5:35 PM ET, 01/10/2009

McAuliffe Announces Work Days

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said today that he will participate in a series of work days around the state to get a firsthand look at the economy from the perspective of working Virginians.

McAuliffe will take on different jobs starting with bussing tables Monday at Roger Brown's Restaurant and Sports Bar in Portsmouth.

"I know that when it comes to getting our economy back on track, not every good idea comes from Richmond," McAuliffe said. "I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work alongside Virginians from all walks of life, as we find a way to get our economy moving again."

McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, faces state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County and former state delegate Brian J. Moran of Alexandria in a June 9 Democratic primary.

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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/ 6/2009

Moran Gets Support in Arlington

Former Del. Brian J. Moran (D) received a slew of endorsements from elected leaders in Arlington County today in his race for governor.

Those endorsing Moran cited his proven record of leadership in Virginia and his record of fighting for families.

They include members of the General Assembly, Board of Supervisors and School Board, the commissioner of the revenue, clerk of court, treasurer and commonwealth's attorney.

Moran is running against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in the June 9 primary.

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Posted at 3:19 PM ET, 01/ 2/2009

Moran Challenges Rivals To Curb Fundraising

This morning on WTOP radio, former Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) called on his two rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor to refuse contributions from out-of-state donors.

"This election should be about who has a proven record of fighting for Virginia families and a vision for where to take the state," Moran said. "It should not be an election about who can raise more money from national donors. Virginia Democrats should choose our nominee."

Moran asked Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to make the pledge and continue it through the June 9 primary.

Moran is targeting McAuliffe, who is expected to announce Tuesday that he is running for governor. If he runs, he would likely be able to tap his personal funds and national fundraising network to raise millions of dollars quickly.

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Posted at 5:26 PM ET, 12/31/2008

McDonnell Reaches Out To Wilder

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, sent out a statement today praising Democrat L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor who is ending his tenure as Richmond mayor today.

"As the nation's first African-American Governor, Wilder made history. He governed Virginia well during a period of economic difficulty, and ensured that the Commonwealth would be well positioned to benefit from economic recovery,'' McDonnell said. "L. Douglas Wilder has dedicated his life to public service, and his contributions to Virginia will long be remembered."

None of the three Democratic candidates for governor sent out a statement on Wilder.

Wilder, who did not run for re-election, has been a fixture in Virginia politics for four decades. The charismatic, often flamboyant Wilder was known as an outspoken, sometimes combative Democrat who was not shy about breaking ranks with his party.

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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 12/31/2008

Fundraising Deadline Approaches

Candidates running for statewide office in 2009 are sending a flurry of last-minute emails to supporters to raise the last bit of money before tonight's fundraising deadline.

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, sent out an email with the subject line: "Only 24 hours left!"

"While our Republican team is united, the Democrats are waging a costly, contentious nomination battle,'' McDonnell wrote. "With your help , we have a great opportunity to build our organization and spread our message."

Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) are running for the Democratic nomination. Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is expected to announce Tuesday that he is running.

"Every single donation shows the strength of our organization and helps us build momentum,'' Deeds wrote in his email to supporters.

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Posted at 2:38 PM ET, 12/19/2008

Democratic Candidates Give to Others

As Terry McAuliffe considers a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, he has to overcome the impression that he has thin ties to the Virginia Democratic party and its activists.

But when it comes to spending his own money, campaign finance reports outline how McAuliffe has been far more interested in helping federal versus state candidates for office.

McAuliffe, a wealthy businessman and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has contributed more than $200,000 to presidential, congressional and national party committees since 2000, according to the Federal Election Commission. McAuliffe's wife, Dorothy, has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to federal candidates.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in state politics, McAuliffe has made only one contribution to a candidate running for state or local office in Virginia in the past eight years. On Oct. 28, after it was clear he was eyeing the governor's race, McAuliffe gave Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D) $500.

If McAuliffe made additional contributions to Virginia candidates this fall, they will be reported when the next round of campaign finance reports are due next month. But those donations will probably have been made after he began his exploratory effort for governor.

McAuliffe's lack of donations to Virginia candidates, especially considering his generous giving to federal candidates, could become fodder for his two rivals for the nomination, Brian J. Moran and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath).

Neither Deeds nor Moran have parted with much of their personal wealth in support of Virginia candidates, either. But both men have just a fraction of the fortune that McAuliffe can claim.

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Posted at 2:05 PM ET, 12/17/2008

Moran Picks Up Hampton Roads Support

Former Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) picked up the endorsements of the mayors of Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2009.

The mayors cited Moran's understanding of the diverse Hampton Roads area, his commitment to improving the region's struggling economy and his plans to invest in transportation and education.

"I know Brian Moran understands the needs of Hampton Roads," Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim said. "His dedication to finding real transportation solutions has been impressive. But more than that, he's been a fighter for our Commonwealth for two decades."

Moran told the mayors this afternoon at an endorsement announcement that he will work to fight for the military and its families in Hampton Roads.

"Our area needs strong leadership that believes in regional cooperation, understands the importance of our military community, and is committed to growing our economy,'' Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf said. "Brian understands the problems facing Hampton Roads -- we need him in the Governor's office."

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Posted at 1:29 PM ET, 12/17/2008

Virginia Notebook: Putting The Squeeze on Moran

Brian J. Moran's sudden decision to resign his House of Delegates seat is an indication he is starting to feel squeezed by his two rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) and Terry McAuliffe.

And being in the middle is the worst possible scenario for Moran as he prepares to campaign full time for a job he has been seeking since Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) took office in 2006.

Moran is emerging as the establishment candidate who faces well-financed McAuliffe on one side and Deeds, the underdog, on the other.

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Posted at 3:47 PM ET, 12/15/2008

Amundson Seeks Caucus Post

Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax) is running to replace Del. Brian J. Moran as leader of the House of Delegates Democratic caucus, the second-highest ranking Democratic in the House. She is phoning delegates to talk to them about the job.

Amundson, who is currently the caucus political director and chairwoman of the campaign committee, is the only delegate actively running so far.

Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake), who recently resigned his position as caucus vice chairman, said he will not support Amundson but refused to elaborate.

"It's not bad blood,'' Spruill said. "It's what is best for the caucus."

Amundson and House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) would not comment on Spruill's remarks.

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Posted at 4:10 PM ET, 12/12/2008

Deeds, McAuliffe React to Moran Decision

Two Democratic candidates for governor, Terry McAuliffe and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), have both responded to the news that the third candidate in the race, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), has resigned his House seat so he can campaign full time.

Both McAuliffe and Deeds released carefully worded statements that foreshadowed one potential line of attack against Moran: He's walking away from the fight over the budget in the General Assembly.

"Brian has been a great legislator for a long time," said Mo Elleithee, a McAuliffe spokesman. "The people of Virginia are losing a top notched legislative leader at a very challenging time. We hope his seat is filled as soon as possible so we don't have a void during the upcoming legislative session."

Peter Jackson, a Deeds spokesman, said in a statement his boss has no plans of giving up his seat.

"What Virginia needs most is steady leadership during these trying economic times," Jackson said. "Senator Deeds will continue fighting for Virginia's working families--creating 21st century jobs and restoring the state's financial health--both as a candidate for Governor and during this winter's legislative session."

In an interview, Moran responded, "This is about the next 4 years, this is not about the next 45 days."

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Posted at 1:04 PM ET, 12/12/2008

Moran Gives Up House Seat to Run for Governor

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) resigned today from the House of Delegates so he can campaign full time for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Moran sent a letter to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) this morning announcing his decision, which he said followed "long deliberation and discussions with" his family.

By resigning the seat he has held since 1996, Moran will be able to raise money and travel the state this winter instead of being bogged down by the 45-day legislative session. Had he not stepped down, Moran would have been in Richmond in January and February while one of his chief rivals for the nomination, Terry McAuliffe, was free to campaign. Moran will also be able to avoid looming tough votes on budget cuts, as well as possible tax or fee increases, as Virginia grapples with a big budget shortfall.

"While the decisions made in the coming 45 day General Assembly session are important, the leadership of Virginia for the next four years is even more critical," Moran wrote in a letter to his constituents. "Today's troubled times demand proven leadership. I believe the best thing I can do for the people of Alexandria, Fairfax and the entire state, is to win this campaign for governor."

There is no indication that the third Democrat in the race, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), plans to step down. As the only sitting legislator in the race, Deeds now has an opportunity to distinguish himself when it comes to the budget and other debates during the session.

But Moran advisers said he didn't think it was fair to his constituents for him to be distracted by his bid for governor.

"To be elected governor, you've got to have a single-minded focus on that objective," said Moran's brother, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) "It was a principled decision because he didn't want to give his constituents anything less than 100 percent of his attention."

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Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 12/10/2008

L.F. Payne Endorses Moran

Lewis F. Payne Jr., a former congressman from south central Virginia and unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in 1997, will announce this afternoon he is endorsing Del. Brian J. Moran (Alexandria) in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Until earlier this year, Payne had mentioned as a potential candidate for governor but he declined to run. He currently serves as the president of McGuireWoods Consulting Firm.

"Brian Moran has a proven record of fighting for Virginia families," Payne said. "He has a two-decade long record of public service to Virginians and was a chief partner of Mark Warner and now Tim Kaine."

Payne's endorsement could be a setback for state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), also a candidate for the Democratic nomination. Part of Deeds' district overlaps with Payne's old congressional district, which stretches from Charlottesville to Danville. Deeds also played a big role in helping Congressman-Elect Tom Perriello win back Payne's seat for the Democrats this year. Payne is heading up Perriello's transition.

Payne's wife, Susan, is also endorsing Moran. As a member of Congress from 1988 to 1997, L.F. Payne was a founding member of the Blue Dog Democrats, a collection of conservative Democrats, often from rural communities. His support of Moran could help the Alexandria Democrat burnish his credentials in the rural, southern part of the state.

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Posted at 4:01 PM ET, 12/ 4/2008

Spruill Resigns Leadership Post in House

Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake) resigned his position as vice chairman of the House of Delegates' Democratic caucus.

Spruill said he didn't have enough time to devote to the position because he is helping candidates, including gubernatorial hopeful Brian J. Moran, and may face a challenger for his own seat next year.

"When I am part of something I want to do it right,'' he said.

Republicans mocked Spruill when news broke that he makes about $7,500 a month to be an "outreach coordinator" for Moran, chairman of the House Democratic caucus. Spruill said today that he would not earn the salary during next year's legislative session.

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Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 12/ 4/2008

Moran Receives Martinsville Support

Democratic officials in Martinsville today endorsed Del. Brian J. Moran of Alexandria for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Moran received the support of House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong, Martinsville Sheriff Steven Draper, president of the Virginia Sheriffs' Association, and Martinsville Democratic Committee Chair Lorene Martin.

They stressed Moran's commitment to rural economic development, plans to re-energize Virginia's economy and his ability to win across Virgina, including rural regions.

"I am honored to have the support of these community leaders," Moran said. "I plan on being a champion of rural Virginia in the governor's office just as (former governor) Mark Warner has always been. I know that Virginia needs a leader with a record of fighting for the hard-working men and women of rural Virginia."

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Posted at 3:12 PM ET, 12/ 2/2008

Gubernatorial Candidates Square Off

The four men vying to be Virginia's next governor shared the stage for the first time today, unofficially kicking off a yearlong campaign for the state's top job.

Democrats Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, Del. Brian J. Moran and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Robert M. McDonnell answered questions posed by journalists at a forum in downtown Richmond sponsored by the Associated Press.

The candidates staked out mostly predictable stances on issues and agreed that the economy will likely dominate the race and at least the start of the governor's four-year term. All four agreed that Virginia would have to continue cutting the budget but they ruled out raising taxes in a poor economy.

"The worst thing you can do is to tax your way to prosperity,'' McDonnell. "That's failed in the United States and abroad."

Voters will chose a Democratic presidential nominee June 9 in the party's first contested battle for the nomination for governor in more than two decades. McDonnell became the Republican nominee last month after no one else filed to run by the deadline.

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Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 11/24/2008

Moran's Decision

In selling his decision to consider running for both his House seat and the Democratic nomination for governor next year, Del. Brian J. Moran's (D-Alexandria) staff point to Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden. After he was tapped by President-Elect Barack Obama, Biden remained on the ballot in Delaware for his U.S. Senate seat. He won both races so the governor of Delaware will now be filling his Senate seat.

But Biden was already his party's nominee for the Senate when he was selected by Obama. Moran would be starting the year with his eye toward winning two races at the same time.

According to legislative sources, 1993 was the last time a delegate ran for reelection to their seat while also running for higher office. Delegate Clint Miller sought the Republican nomination for Governor at the 1993 Republican Convention while simultaneously running for reelection. Miller lost the GOP nod for governor, placing third behind George Allen and Earl Williams. He won reelection to his seat in the House of Delegates, however.

In 2005, State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) gave up his House seat to seek the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

"I just felt like putting all my chips on the table and I didn't feel like it was being forthright to seek two offices at the same time," said Petersen, who is supporting Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) for governor. "I think the voter has the right to say which one does he really want."

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Posted at 1:05 PM ET, 11/20/2008

Moran Picks up Endorsements

Del. Brian J. Moran (Alexandria), a Democratic candidate for governor, announced today he has been endorsed by a majority of the members on the state party's steering committee.

The individual endorsements do not reflect a collective decision from the committee, but Moran has picked up support from several longtime party activists and local district chairs.

The list of officials now backing Moran include: party secretary Pixie Bell, George Burke, 11th District Chair, Sandra Brandt, 2nd District Chair, Marjorie Clark, 7th District Chair, Audrey Collins, 4th District Chair, . Kerry Donley, Immediate Past Chair,. Treasurer Abbi Easter, Rich Galecki, 10th District Chair, Margo Horner, 8th District Chair, Frank Leone, Jr., DNC Member, Gene Magruder, Chair of the Va. Association of Democratic Chairs, Suzette Matthews, 1st District Chair, Evelyn Morris-Harris, Chair of the Democratic Black Caucus of Va., Rachel Rifkind, Chair of the Women's Caucus and Justin Wilson, vice chair of Technology and Communications.

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Posted at 9:42 AM ET, 11/19/2008

Moran May Seek Two Jobs (Updated)

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) is considering running simultaneously this spring for both his House of Delegates seat as well as the Democratic nomination for governor.

Jesse F. Ferguson, Moran's communications director, said Moran will decide by Jan. 1 whether he plans to seek both positions. If Moran runs for both jobs, he would be all but guaranteed a job in 2010 if he loses his race for governor. If he wins the Democratic nomination for governor, Moran would most likely have to give up his House seat this summer, allowing the local Democratic comittee to decide the nominee for his House seat.

Ferguson said Moran is contemplating seeking reelection to the House as well as run for governor because the Alexandria Democratic Committee asked him to. But Susan B. Kellom, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, said Moran approached her about seeking both jobs.

"That is a decision Brian made and it is perfectly legal under state law," Kellom said. "He asked how I felt about it and I said, 'I am fine with it.' I am absolutely comfortable with him running for both....He is one of the finest members of the House of Delegates we can
have."

(Kellom has since written an email saying the Washington Post was "playing with semantics" in asking who asked whom that Moran run for reelection to his House seat. "I was on a call with his staff on another matter and told them that it was the best idea, and my preference that he run for both offices." Kellom wrote. "I expressed my preference and urged them to adopt it. I certainly think they could say I asked him but I didn't characterize it that way because I didn't want to seem presumptuous.")

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Posted at 3:57 PM ET, 11/17/2008

Moran and McAuliffe Camps Trade Charges

The first skirmish has developed between the campaign teams of Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Terry McAuliffe, both potential Democratic candidates for governor next year.

Mo Elleithee, a senior McAuliffe advisor, sent out a statement today condemning what he calls Moran's "surprisingly negative" tone when it comes to McAuliffe's potential candidacy. Earlier today, Jesse Ferguson, a Moran spokesman, sent out a statement titled "Virginians Respond to McAuliffe Candidacy." Ferguson's memo included snippets of recent editorials and columns that have been written about McAuliffe, including a Richmond Times Dispatch column comparing McAuliffe to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

Last week, when McAuliffe announced he will spend the next two months deciding on whether he plans to formally enter the race, Moran's campaign took a swipe at the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee by noting Florida Democrats had encouraged him to run for governor in that state in 2005.

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), also a candidate for the nomination, took a softer approach, welcoming McAuliffe into the race.

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Posted at 5:33 PM ET, 11/13/2008

Loudoun Officials Endorse Moran

A majority of Loudoun County's elected Democrats endorsed Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) today in his bid for governor next year.

The officials cited Moran's ability to win the swing county as well as his understanding of suburban communities and his history of working with the last two Democratic governors, Timothy M. Kaine and Mark R. Warner.

"Loudoun is the key to victory in Virginia and Loudoun Democrats know Brian Moran can win here," said Kelly Burk, a member of the Board of Supervisors. "We have to make sure that the Democratic nominee can win decisively in Northern Virginia and the suburbs. That's what it takes to win."

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Posted at 6:30 PM ET, 11/12/2008

As '09 Race Begins, Obama Supporters Up for Grabs

As the race for the Democratic nomination for governor gets underway, one question is still awaiting an answer: Will any of the candidates be able to latch into the extensive political network that President-Elect Barack Obama built in Virginia this year?

In what may turn out being the biggest missed opportunity of the 2009 race, none of the Democratic candidates got behind Obama early in the presidential campaign. Fearful of getting entangled in the primary battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.), both Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) remained neutral. The third contender for the nomination, Terry McAuliffe, served as national chairman of Clinton's campaign.

Had Deeds or Moran been associated with the Obama campaign during the presidential primaries, they would have likely been rewarded with intense loyalty from his supporters in 2009. Obama also may have decided to throw his support behind that candidate next year.

After the primaries, all three Democrats did hit the trail extensively for Obama around Virginia, appearing at times as if they were trying to outdo the others when it came to expressing their support for the Democratic ticket. But in fashioning their campaign teams, Moran, Deeds and McAuliffe are all so far relying on top Virginia strategists who supported, or worked for, Clinton during the primaries.

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Posted at 4:39 PM ET, 10/16/2008

Precursor to the Gov's Race?

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), both candidates for governor next year, will represent the two presidential candidates in a debate Oct. 29 in Lynchburg.

McDonnell is the presumed Republican nominee but Deeds faces a tough primary fight with Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and possibly Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Deeds will represent Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and McDonnell will represent Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

Deeds narrowly lost the race for attorney general in 2005 to McDonnell in one of the closest races in Virginia history.

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Posted at 10:36 AM ET, 09/24/2008

Budget Blues May Boost McAuliffe

With Virginia facing a budget shortfall of up $3 billion over two years, Democrat Terry McAuliffe could emerge as the big political winner this spring if he decides to seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

McAuliffe, who will be in Chesterfield County today campaigning for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has begun laying the groundwork for a campaign. He's hired Mo Elleithee, a veteran of former governor Mark R. Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's successful campaigns, to begin organizing the preliminary structure of his effort in case he enters the race.

McAulifee, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, would face Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) for the nomination. The budget shortfall means Moran and Deeds will be consumed when the General Assembly convenes in January with tough votes - including possible major spending cuts to schools and other government services as well as potential efforts to raise some taxes or fees - that McAuliffe will be able to avoid.

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Posted at 5:27 PM ET, 09/17/2008

Virginia Notebook: McAuliffe Muddles 09 Race

RICHMOND- One month before Sen. Barack Obama selected Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe was speaking before the Fairfax County Democratic Committee.

During his speech, McAuliffe was "adamant" that Obama select Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine as his running mate, according to the Falls Church News-Press.

His comments generated national attention because McAuliffe had been a chairman of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. What was one of Clinton's biggest supporters doing pushing Virginia's governor -- not his old boss -- for vice president?

Looking back, McAuliffe's comments might have been laying the groundwork for a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor next year.

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Posted at 2:40 PM ET, 09/15/2008

Deeds, Moran Off to Israel

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), both of whom are running for governor next year, leave this week for a 10-day, expense-paid, trip to Israel.

The trip, designed to bolster economic ties between Israel and Virginia, is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Federation. Annual expense-paid trips to Israel have become a staple for Virginia politicians looking to boost their foreign policy credentials.

Last year, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the likely GOP nominee for governor, took a 10-day trip to Israel sponsored by the American-Israel Friendship League.

McDonnell's office billed his trip as being an opportunity for him to learn about Israeli counter terrorism efforts. But some Republicans questioned the timing of McDonnell's adventure because it took place two weeks before last year's state legislative elections.

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Posted at 10:35 AM ET, 08/27/2008

Moran's Late Night

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), a candidate for governor in 2009, kept Virginia delegates to the Democratic National Convention happy at a party late last night at the delegation's hotel bar.

More than 100 Virginia Democrats attended the party, billed as a "Late Night With Brian Moran," including U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott and Moran's brother, Rep. James P. Moran. U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Mark R. Warner also made an appearance, hours after he delivered the convention keynote address.

"It was a nice opportunity to get everyone together after Mark's speech and celebrate Mark's speech," Brian Moran said.

Brian Moran's likely opponent for the Democratic nomination next year, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) is also in Denver this week. Deeds has embraced a less visible strategy. He has not scheduled a party, but is meeting with delegates in small groups in effort to win them over for next year, said Peter Jackson, Deed's spokesman.

"We've just been going out and meeting people one on one, and attending parties with national donors and various labor leaders," Jackson said.

When told of Jackson's comments, Moran said, "I'm much more comfortable with my fellow Virginians."

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Posted at 1:19 PM ET, 08/21/2008

Moran Offsets Delegation's Carbon Footprint

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) has purchased "carbon offsets to neutralize the carbon footprint" of the Virginia delegation while at the Democratic National Convention in Denver next week.

A carbon footprint measures the affect human activity has on the environment through greenhouse gases. Moran, who is not a delegate but will be attending the convention, purchased carbon offsets that will be invested in renewable energy through Native Energy.

"Democrats have a long track record as champions of our environment," Moran said. "Leaving a clean and healthy world for the next generation is both a moral obligation and an economic necessity. It's important we show our commitment to this cause with both our words and our actions."

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Posted at 12:46 PM ET, 07/22/2008

GOP Mocks Brian Moran

The Republican Party of Virginia is seizing on Del. Brian J. Moran's decision to pay Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake) $7,500 a month to be an "outreach coordinator" for his campaign for governor.

In an article published today in the Virginian Pilot, Spruill is quoted as saying his salary is "no big money."

"Anyone could have matched it," Spruill said of the $90,000-a-year salary.

Spruill is vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Moran (D-Alexandria), who is running against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) for the Democratic nomination for governor, is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

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Posted at 1:24 PM ET, 07/17/2008

Spruill Defends His Salary from Moran

In an interview today, Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake) defended his $7,500 a month salary from Del. Brian J. Moran's (D-Alexandria) campaign for governor.

Moran is paying Spruill, a prominent African-American who is vice-chairman of the House Democratic caucus, to be an "outreach consultant." Moran, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is running against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) in next year's Democratic primary for governor.

"I am working for Brian. I have contacts all over the state," said Spruill, who has developed a reputation for being able to help drive up black turnout in Hampton Roads. "I am working different meetings, several groups, churches and organizations all over the state. I have contacts all over the state."

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Posted at 8:31 PM ET, 07/16/2008

Moran's Finance Report Scrutinized by Deeds

A campaign staffer for Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, a Democratic candidate for governor, is accusing Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) of turning in misleading information about his own gubernatorial campaign's fundraising numbers.

The charge by Peter Jackson, a Deed's spokesman, comes amid growing acrimony between the two candidates for the Democratic nomination in next year's governor's race.

On Tuesday, Moran released campaign finance reports that showed he had $924,000 in the bank, although a week earlier he put out a press release stating he expected to have only $800,000 on hand. Deeds, who lives in Bath County, reported he had $650,000 in the bank. But a closer examination of Moran's finance report reveals he essentially stopped spending money in June, the last month of the reporting period.

In April, Moran spent $113,000 on staff and other expenses. In May, he spent about $119,000. In June, Moran spent just $4,000, mainly because he didn't pay his staff.

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Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 07/14/2008

Moran Feud with Fairfax Police Gets Heated

A nasty battle has developed between Del. Brian J. Moran's (D-Alexandria) staff and Fairfax County police officers and sheriff's deputies over their role in next year's governors race.

Last month, the Fairfax Coalition of Police and the Fairfax Deputy Sheriff's Coalition -- both affiliated with AFL-CIO and the International Union of Police Associations (I.U.P.A.) - endorsed Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) instead of Moran in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Jesse F. Ferguson, Moran's communications director, responded by writing a terse letter to the two organizations on July 1 questioning the "legitimacy of" their endorsement.

"We believe that endorsements conducted in secret, without transparency, notification or commonly followed procedures should be considered suspect at best," Ferguson wrote on Moran for Governor letterhead. "We strongly question the legitimacy of this decision."

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Posted at 1:08 PM ET, 07/11/2008

Moran and Deeds Debate Gas Tax Increase

The General Assembly's debate over transportation this week set up a rare, clear division between the two Democratic candidates for governor next year.

Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) voted in favor of a plan by Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) to raise the state's gas tax by six cents over six years, which would cost the average family about $45 a year. Deed's likely opponent in next year's Democratic primary, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), voted to strip the gas tax from Saslaw's bill when it got to the House floor.

The two campaigns are now throwing verbal jabs at the other over the issue.

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Posted at 12:07 AM ET, 07/ 7/2008

Moran Raises Nearly $1.4 Million in Six Months

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) will announce today he's raised about $1.4 million so far this year for his campaign for governor, which his staff is touting as a record haul for a gubernatorial candidate making their first bid for statewide office.

According to a statement Moran plans to release today, Virginians for Brian Moran will report it has $800,000 in the bank. Moran is expected to face off against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) next spring for the Democratic nomination.

Although the primary is almost a year away, Moran has been accelerating his campaign efforts in recent weeks, including building staff and traveling the state.

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Posted at 3:17 PM ET, 06/30/2008

Deeds Picks Up Endorsements in Moran's Backyard

Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) will pick up law enforcement endorsements for his 2009 gubernatorial campaign tonight in Northern Virginia - the home of his rival for the Democratic nomination, Del. Brian J. Moran of Alexandria, a former prosecutor.

Tonight's event is likely to be a boost for Deeds, who narrowly lost his bid for statewide office in 2005 and is already well known around the state. If Deeds can secure the Northern Virginia vote, he would be heavily favored to win the nomination.

The event at the Fairfax County Police Association Hall will include Sen. J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (D-Fairfax), Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert, Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Morrogh and former Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Horan.

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Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 06/27/2008

Thompson Raises Money for McDonnell

Former U.S. Senator and Law & Order alum Fred Thompson headlined a fundraiser for Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell last night in Virginia Beach.

The fundraiser for the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2009 and former co-chairman of Thompson's presidential campaign in Virginia raised more than $300,000. About 325 supporters attended.

"As a father, veteran, prosecutor and attorney general, Bob McDonnell has the experience, the values and the vision that Virginia needs,'' Thompson said. "I've been around politics a long time, and I believe that Bob McDonnell is the kind of leader we need. As a Virginia resident, I look forward to supporting Bob for Governor by voting for him next November."

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Posted at 12:38 AM ET, 06/15/2008

Convention Recap

As the 2008 Virginia Democratic Party convention draws to a close, here are eight observations about the weekend's events at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton.

1) If the Democrats' goal was to leave the convention united behind Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), they still have a lot of work to do. Surprisingly, numerous supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.) said they weren't sure if they would vote for Obama in the fall.

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Posted at 2:13 AM ET, 06/14/2008

Democrats Unite In Hampton Roads

Democratic activists gathered in Hampton Friday night to kick off the party's state convention, which will take place this weekend at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

Sen. James Webb and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott were special guests at a pool party at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center while four prominent Democrats hosted a packed party at the Embassy Suites.

"This is energizing the base,'' said C. Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party.

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Posted at 4:03 PM ET, 05/28/2008

Democrats Contemplate the House Without Moran

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) hasn't even announced that he is running for governor next year but two of his colleagues are eyeing his leadership position as Democratic caucus chairman, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House.

Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax), caucus political director, and Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake), caucus vice chairaman, are vying for the job if -- and when -- Moran choses to step down.

Moran is expected to run for the Democratic nomination for governor against Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) but he does not have to resign from his House seat or his leadership post.

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Posted at 1:52 PM ET, 05/21/2008

Likely Candidate Moran Opens Richmond Office

Del. Brian J. Moran of Alexandria, who is expected to run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year, has opened an office in downtown Richmond.

Moran, who is chairman of the Democratic caucus in the House of Delegates, had all his staff (about seven people) working out of an office in Alexandria until last month. Now, one staffer who is raising money has been located a few blocks from the Capitol in Richmond. That office is likely to expand in the coming months.

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Posted at 5:43 PM ET, 05/19/2008

Cheney to Speak to Virginia GOP

Vice-President Dick Cheney will be the keynote speaker at a fundraising gala at the Virginia Republican Party state convention next weekend in Richmond, party officials said today.

Cheney's appearance will almost certainly become fodder for Virginia Democrats, who are trying to link the GOP and its presumptive presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, to the Bush administration.

But the event will be a big money maker for the state GOP, which has been working to keep pace with Virginia Democrats in fundraising.

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Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 03/18/2008

Brian Moran Builds Staff

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) continues to bolster his campaign staff as he prepares to run for governor next year.

Moran announced today that Jean Jensen, former head of the State Board of Elections, will become a senior adviser to his campaign. Jensen is a former executive director of the Virginia Democratic Party. She also served as the Northern Virginia director for Mark Warner's 2001 bid for governor.

Del. Lionell Spruill (D -Chesapeake), a member of the Democratic National Committee, will be an outreach consultant for Moran. Spruill, an African-American, has deep roots in the Virginia Democratic Party and is widely respected in Hampton Roads. But Spruill hasn't had the best track record in recent years of picking winning candidates to work for.

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Posted at 8:44 AM ET, 02/27/2008

Brian Moran Adds To Campaign Staff

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) is beefing up his political staff as he prepares for an expected bid for governor next year.

Dave Mills, who had been finance director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, will now oversee Moran's fundraising operation. Prior to his work for the state party, Mills served as the Western Regional finance director for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) during his 2005 bid for governor.

Dominic Gabello, a former aide to former governor Mark R. Warner (D), is now the political director for "Virginians for Brian Moran." The additions to Moran's team come on the heels of his announcement last month that veteran Democratic strategists Mame Reiley and Steve Jarding will head up the "Virginians for Brian Moran" committee.

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Posted at 10:37 PM ET, 02/ 7/2008

Lingamfelter, Moran Have Testy Exchange

Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) took to the House floor Thursday to criticize his fellow Northern Virginian colleague, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), for asking for money to fight online child predators in a tight budget year.

Moran, chairman of the House Democratic caucus and likely candidate for governor next year, responded with an uncharacteristically fiery speech that was met with cheers from his side of the room.

"Stand up for the schoolchildren of Virginia!'' he bellowed. "Let's walk the walk!"

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Posted at 4:16 PM ET, 02/ 4/2008

U.S. House Members Stop by Virginia House

Even the introductions are partisan in the House of Delegates.

Del. Lacey E. Putney, an Independent from Bedford who caucuses with Republicans, introduced two visiting members of Virginia's congressional delegation, Republican Reps. Thelma Drake and Robert J. Wittman.

A third member, Democrat Rep. James P. Moran Jr. was sitting close by but was not recognized until House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) stood up to introduce him.

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Posted at 5:23 PM ET, 01/29/2008

House Democrats Want Regular Talks With Republicans

After three weeks of partisan bickering, House Democrats are asking House Republicans for weekly joint meetings between leaders of both parties.

A letter signed by House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) was sent to Republican leaders today.

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Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 01/17/2008

House Republicans and Democrats Continue Squabbling

Republicans and Democrats in the House have been bickering since the legislative session started last week.

First, there was the flare up about changes to the rules, then committee assignments and yesterday, it was the question of whether raising per diems would be used later in campaign attack ads.

Today, Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax) brought the per diem issue back for a second day in a row by accusing Democrats of trying to smear GOP candidates in last year's legislative elections.

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Posted at 3:06 PM ET, 01/16/2008

Potential Candidates for Gov. Have Money in the Bank

Earlier today, we told you how much money Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) has in the bank as he considers a run for governor in 2009. Some of his potential rivals have as much or more money than he does.

Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's political action committee, Building a Better Virginia, had $418,000 cash on hand at the end of the year.

On the Democratic side, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), had about $600,000 in his two accounts for Friends of Brian Moran and Leadership for Virginia's Future. Meanwhile, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) has almost $300,000 in his three accounts.


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Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 01/10/2008

Speaker Draws Ire for Committee Assignments

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) raised some eyebrows when he released long-awaited committee assignments to delegates last night.

The two highest ranking Democrats in the Republican-controlled House were removed from two of the three committees they had each spent a dozen years or more on.

Del. Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), House minority leader, was left on Courts of Justice and taken off General Laws and Counties, Cities and Towns. Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), House Democratic caucus chairman, was left on Courts of Justice but taken off Transportation and Health, Welfare and Institutions.

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Posted at 1:29 PM ET, 01/ 3/2008

Moran Moves Closer to Gubernatorial Bid

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) will announce tomorrow he is forming a new political action committee that will set the stage for his expected run for governor in 2009, according to Democratic sources.

The committee, Virginians For Brian Moran, will start raising money and organizing potential supporters.

Veteran Democratic strategist Mame Reiley, a confidant and former adviser to former governor Mark R. Warner (D), will be the director of Moran's PAC.

Steve Jarding will be the general consultant. Jarding ran Warner's 2001 campaign for governor. Last year, Jarding was a senior strategist to Sen. James Webb (D). Jarding currently serves as campaign manager to U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD).


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