Archive: Robert F. McDonnell
Posted at 2:14 PM ET, 11/10/2009
Attorney General Mims to private sector
Attorney General Bill Mims, a close ally to Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell, will become a partner at Richmond law firm Hunton & Williams at the end of his term in office in January. Mims took over the AG's office from McDonnell after McDonnell resigned to run for governor. He had preivously been McDonnell's deputy and is now serving as co-chair of the gov-elect's transition.
Per a release, Mims is joining the firm in Washington and Richmond in the administrative law group, government relations practice. The new gig means Mims will not become McDonnell's chief of staff or counsel, as had been one rumor for his landing place after Inauguration day.
It would not preclude him from an appointment to the Virginia Supreme Court, replacing Barbara Keenan, who has been nominated by President Obama for the federal bench and awaits confirmation by the Senate, Mims' other rumored landing pad.
"I am pleased to be joining Hunton & Williams," said Mims in a release from the firm. "I look forward to serving clients in Virginia, Washington, and nationwide. The firm's core values of excellence, integrity, and public service provide an excellent work culture."
"We are privileged to have someone of Bill's caliber join our firm," said Wally Martinez, the firm's managing partner, also in a release. "Bill will be representing clients whose interests are affected by the legislative and executive branches of various state governments and the federal government, particularly in health care, competition, consumer protection, and energy."
Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 11/ 8/2009
McDonnell on Sunday morning talk shows
Virginia Gov.-Elect Bob McDonnell fielded questions on a pair of Sunday morning talk shows about what his landslide victory Tuesday taught Republicans nationwide about running -- and winning.
"Stick to your conservative principles and focus on the quality-of life-issues,'' McDonnell told host Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday.
McDonnell said he focused on local and state issues, such as jobs and traffic, and a handful of federal issues that residents were concerned about, including the cap-and-trade and card check bills pending in Congress.
He also told CNN's State of the Union with John King that it was important to keep a positive message and focus on results. "I think if we do that Republicans have bright days ahead," he said.
In answer to questions from both hosts, McDonnell said he would not shy away from social issues but that they would not be his top focus. He gave us a similar answer in the days after his election.
"I've got to focus on creating jobs, improving the economy and managing this budget,'' he told Wallace. "That's what people overwhelmingly elected me to do and that's going to be my focus.''Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:02 PM ET, 11/ 6/2009
McDonnell staffs up
Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell is filling out his transition team, largely moving key campaign personnel into similar jobs preparing the way for his January Inauguration.
Campaign chief operations officer Janet Polarek was named deputy director of personnel and administration.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:36 PM ET, 11/ 4/2009
McDonnell names transition team
Governor-elect Bob McDonnell announced his transition team at a packed news conference this afternoon at the State Capitol in Richmond.
The five co-chairmen will be: Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling; longtime friend Attorney General Bill Mims; Tom Farrell, a high school classmate and president of Dominion Power; Bobbie Kilberg, president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council; and Kay Cole James, who served in George Allen's and George W. Bush's administrations.
Kilberg and James were not at the press conference, but Kilberg quickly released a statement saying she was delighted to participate. "The Governor-Elect clearly recognizes the importance of the technology industry to the economic growth of the Commonwealth and we look forward to working with him, his staff, and the incoming administration," she said.
Campaign manager Phil Cox will serve as McDonnell's transition director. Tucker Martin will serve as director of communications -- a job he held during the campaign.
McDonnell was laughing off questions today about a future vice presidential run, even as he fielded calls from President Obama, national Republicans leaders and TV networks clamoring for interviews. He also received calls from U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb and Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor and assistant to the president for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama administration.
His wife, Maureen, received a call from Virginia's First Lady, Anne Holton, who took her and four of the McDonnell's children on a tour of the Executive Mansion, this afternoon.
McDonnell is now being protected by State Police, who attended the press conference.
Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 11/ 4/2009
Obama calls McDonnell
We just heard that President Obama called Republican Bob McDonnell, who won a landslide victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds last night in Virginia's governor race.
The two men spoke for about 10 minutes in what McDonnell's campaign called a "very friendly conversation."
Obama told McDonnell: "The first thing you need to do is thank your wife!"
The two also talked about their shared support for charter schools and McDonnell's support of Obama's "Race to the Top" program -- a federal grant for schools committed to closing achievement gaps and getting more students into college. McDonnell frequently parised those programs on the campaign trail.
McDonnell is spending the morning at the Richmond Marriott with his wife, Maureen, five children and assorted other family members. He declined multiple requests to appear on news shows today. He will hold a 2 p.m. press conference at the state Capitol.
Gov. Tim Kaine also called McDonnell this morning. McDonnell's staff has already begun moving into the state-funded transition office off of Capitol Square in Richmond.
Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 11/ 4/2009
Gibbs calls Deeds underdog, praises Kaine
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at a gaggle this morning that Democrat Creigh Deeds was always the underdog in the race against Republican Bob McDonnell for Virginia governor.
He mentioned a fact that we are well aware of here in Virginia: Since 1977, no party that has won the White House has gone on to capture Virginia's governorship the next year.
"Given that sort of history, Creigh Deeds was always the underdog,'' Gibbs said.
If you were wondering what the Virginia and New Jersey losses mean for outgoing Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Gibbs's comments should help clarify.
"The President is enormously grateful for the leadership that Governor Kaine has and will continue to provide at the DNC,'' he said. "I think if you look at the record, again, of the president in these special elections involving members of Congress, the results are very positive for the DNC."
Kaine earlier called the Democratic win in a special election for Congress in New York the "most consequential race of the night'' after the Republican dropped out and left a conservative to run as a third-party candidate.
Posted at 9:25 AM ET, 11/ 4/2009
Video: Fairfax Republicans celebrate sweep, look to 2010
Posted at 10:42 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
McDonnell sidesteps race's national impact
Fresh off his election victory, governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell said he was "ready to work for the people of Virginia" but sidestepped questions of his victory's national implications for the Republican Party.
We caught up with McDonnell as he left the stage Tuesday night and asked what this all meant for the Virginia and national political landscape. He gave what you might call a non-answer answer.
"I'm going to leave that up to other experts," he said. "I was just running hard."
Posted at 10:17 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Deeds pens a letter to supporters
At 10:04 p.m., more than an hour after conceding the governor's race to Bob McDonnell, Creigh Deeds penned a letter to his supporters.
Here's the text:
First and foremost, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support over the course of this campaign.
Whether you donated your time volunteering in an office, gave up your weekend plans to make calls on my behalf, or gave up a few dollars to help our fight - I am truly grateful for everything you have done for this campaign and my candidacy.
This campaign has been a long journey, but one I would never give up. I am so touched by all the Virginians I have met in my travels across the Commonwealth and the stories they have shared.
I ran for Governor to bring opportunity, prosperity, and hope to every corner of this Commonwealth. While I fell short of my goal, I will not let these results stop me from continuing to fight for the working families of Virginia.
This chapter is closed, but the next chapter has yet to be written.
I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for all you have given me over the past few months, so tonight, simply I thank you.
Posted at 8:54 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
McDonnell to speak at 9:30
Republican Robert F. McDonnell will give his first speech as governor-elect at 9:30 p.m., staffers say.
Right now, McDonnell is in his suite with family, friends and campaign advisers, said Crystal Cameron, a McDonnell spokeswoman. A Regent University official also says religious broadcaster Pat Robertson paid McDonnell a visit but the campaign has not confirmed it.
After his speech, McDonnell will not take questions from reporters but the ballroom where his party is being held will be open until midnight.
At about 9 p.m., the concession speech by McDonnell's Democratic opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), flashed on two giant screens near the center podium. A chorus of boos could be heard until Deeds said, "This chapter is over." Then, as color commentators say, the crowd went wild.
Posted at 8:40 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
The Bob celebration begins
The victory party is beginning.
The main ballroom at the Richmond Marriott is getting crowded, as we hear soon-to-be-governor Robert F. McDonnell might come down from the presidential suite within the hour.
Former Virginia senator George Allen called McDonnell the "GOP's next star," when we asked him about what the Republican's victory meant. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said a McDonnell win would inspire conservatives. "We're going to roll up our sleeves tomorrow," he said.
Cantor took the podium moments later, saying that Bob had stayed true to his conservative creds while "leading us out of the wilderness."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:07 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Big cheers at McDonnell party
As Fox News called the governor's race for Republican Robert F. McDonnell a little before 8 p.m., along with other media outlets, the crowd
of about 500 wine-swirling supporters roared inside the main ballroom at the Richmond Marriott.
But McDonnell is not here yet and might not be for another hour.
A phrase heard repeatedly: What a difference a year makes.
Posted at 8:06 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Robert McDonnell: Your next governor
Virginians elected Republican Robert F. McDonnell the Commonwealth's 71st governor Tuesday, halting a decade of Democratic advances in the critical swing state.
The state's former attorney general defeated Democratic state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds with a promise to create jobs in the down economy and fix the state's clogged roadways without a tax increase.
McDonnell, 55, boosted by a political mood shift that has left many voters cool to Democrats, prevailed with a disciplined economic message and a campaign that steered clear of the hot-button social issues that in recent elections had alienated voters in northern Virginia and other urban centers. The Republican also benefited from a lackluster Democratic opponent voters came to know in good part from a video clip in which he waffled and stammered when asked if he would raise taxes.
Posted at 7:31 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
The McDonnell party: It's Pat!
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson made an appearance at Republican Robert F. McDonnell's election night party, calling his likely victory a testament to the American public's distaste of President Obama.
Speaking to The Washington Post outside the main ballroom at the Richmond Marriott, Robertson said McDonnell was a "true public servant" and that his election as Virginia's governor would "mean a whole lot to me."
"I'm president of his alma mater, you know," Robertson said, referring to Regent University in Virginia Beach. A university press crew, cheering for McDonnell from the press table, also showed up at the rally.
Robertson, who along with his family donated $40,000 in last-minute contributions to McDonnell's campaign, said that he would not "read too much" into a McDonnell victory but said Americans were "sick to death of Obama's agenda."
"I think it could be a signal that there's a good deal of anger out there about where this country is heading," he said.
His message to McDonnell: "Stay the course. You've done such a good job so far."
Posted at 7:06 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Barbour: What's changed? President Obama's policies
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a presence on the campaign trail with fellow Republican Robert F. McDonnell, said Virginia's former attorney general ran an issue-oriented campaign -- but he also emphasized the importance President Obama played in the race.
"First of all, you got a great candidate in Bob McDonnell. But four years ago he and Creigh Deeds ran a dead heat," he said. "What do I think has changed? President Obama's agenda and the policies of the Democratic majority are very unpopular here in Virginia, too...That's been critically important."
Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, also said McDonnell has been focusing on the issues most affecting Virginia voters, namely taxes and transportation.
Posted at 6:40 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
The McDonnell party: With candidate in suite, GOP festivities begin
Holed up in the presidential suite at the Richmond Marriott, Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell will be watching the election results come in with his family and a host of state and national GOP figures, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
Staffers say McDonnell is tentatively scheduled to head down to the hotel's Grand Ballroom for his election night speech at about 9 p.m., although that could change depending on how quickly the results come in.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:13 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Steele: McDonnell has 'winning formula'
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Robert F. McDonnell developed a "winning formula" during his Virginia gubernatorial campaign, one that will be duplicated by the GOP for the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.
Steele showed up at the Richmond Marriott about an hour before the festivities were slated to start for the GOP. He said McDonnell was able to "speak clearly" to voters on a number of contentious state issues while applying his "conservative principles to the 21st century."
"There were things that we did here in Virginia, whether it was through technology, whether it was through resource distribution, whether it was through the allocation of manpower," Steele said. "We tried something very different here. We made better use of the Internet. We made better use of the little thing known as the BlackBerry...We hadn't used those tools and those technologies in the past. So that was a very important step for a lot of us to say, 'How can we be the most helpful?' and 'What do we need?'"
So would a McDonnell victory signal a political shift, according to Steele?
"They (the Democrats) were so cocksure they were going to win it all," Steele said. "But a funny thing happened on the way to the election. The voters spoke."
Posted at 4:53 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
On tap for tonight at washingtonpost.com
Watch the election results roll in live tonight here at washingtonpost.com. On the new local homepage we'll have a county-by-county map of governor's race results and how they compare to previous year's statewide races.
For the House of Delegates, we'll keep you up-to-the-minute on the vote count in each race and how it impacts the overall balance of power in Richmond.
If you've got questions about the results and how they came to be, send them in to Post columnist Robert McCartney, who starting at 7 p.m. will offer you answers and give you a peek at what we learn from exit polling.
Posted at 1:14 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
McDonnell votes, greets voters
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell voted at 8:30 this morning at the Rivers Edge Elementary School in Glen Allen outside Richmond.
He was accompanied by his wife, Maureen, and his four of his five children, and was greeted by volunteers, supporters and reporters.
Del. Bill Janis, a Republican, was also on hand. He is running for re-election in the House of Delegates.
Check out the video below:
Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Chesterbrook Precinct: Republicans say today is a referendum on Obama
When Republican supporters of candidate Robert McDonnell are asked why they voted, a surprising number here refer to "he" or "him." The folks at the Chesterbrook polling place in McLean are not talking about McDonnell or his Democratic rival, Creigh Deeds, but President Barack Obama.
McDonnell voter Christina Hoag, a 58-year-old who owns a catering business with about 25 employees, said that she hopes a Republican victory would slow the growth of government and send the message to Democrats that they don't have the mandate in Washington they think they do to remake the economy.
"There's anger right now within ourselves, and I think most of that comes from uncertainty and fear," she said. "As a nation, we've lost our optimism."
Michael Barron, 60, said he's a Republican who has been willing to vote for Democrats occasionally over the years. Not this year.
"It's not local politics that's driving this," he said. "I'm concerned with the Democrats in Congress and, mostly, I'm concerned with sending them a message."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:54 AM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Video: Chesterbrook voters explain their choices
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Deeds poll coverage lags?
Are we in for a stunner of unexpected Democratic turnout? Not if the Internets are to be believed, where Democrats and Republicans are taking to blogs and Twitter to note what feels to them like low turnout in strongly Democratic precincts and poor poll coverage by candidate Creigh Deeds and other Democrats.
@Joseph_Taylor Not a single deeds poll worker in nokesville.
@AmayaNSugar Not a single Creigh Deeds sign or worker in my area of Hampton Roads either.
@npry 2 precincts in Portsmouth (70% Obama) no Deeds signs or volunteers
Feld at 6:22 a.m., after looking at a tweet indicating no lines in Arlington: After this tweet, I'm almost tempted to call the election for McDonnell/Bolling/Cooch. There should be LONG LINES IN ARLINGTON on a gubernatorial election day. No lines at all a few minutes after polls open? Horrible.
And Tribbett from Twitter: Hearing @CreighDeeds has the worst Dem poll coverage in a Virginia election since reconstruction
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 11/ 3/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
This is it! Election Day has finally arrived. Check back frequently for all of our election coverage throughout the day and night.
In the meantime, here's some morning reading to start your day:
Republican Bob McDonnell will vote outside Richmond this morning, before greeting voters at his childhood precinct in Fairfax County and at a Virginia Beach precint he represented in the House of Delegates.
Democrat Creigh Deeds will vote in Bath County this morning before greeting voters in Charlottesville, which he represents in the state Senate.
Both men will spend election night in the capital city. McDonnell will be at the Marriott downtown with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Deeds will be at the Westin Hotel in Richmond's West End with Gov. Tim Kaine and Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon, candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Posted at 10:33 PM ET, 11/ 2/2009
Pat Robertson and family donate money to McDonnell
Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell received a trio of last-minute donations totaling $40,000 from religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, his son and daughter-in-law.
Robertson contributed $25,000 on Oct. 20, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in politics. His son, Tim, donated $5,000 Friday for in-kind services (listed as catering) and his wife, Lisa, donated $10,000 to McDonnell today.
McDonnell attended CBN University, the Virginia Beach school founded Robertson and named after the Christian Broadcasting Network, whose studios share the campus. (Yes, this is where he wrote that controversial thesis.) He later served on the Board of Trustees of that school, now named Regent University, for eight years and spoke at its law school graduation last year.
McDonnell said in an interview earlier this year that he and Robertson only speak a couple times a year. But Robertson has become one of his biggest donors.
Robertson donated $35,000 to his campaign for governor (the other $10,000 donation was in December 2008) and $66,000 to his race for attorney general, according to VPAP.
Tim Robertson donated $24,000 to McDonnell's campaign for governor in 2008 and 2009, but nothing since April until the recent donation. He had previously donated $10,000 to his campaign for attorney general and $5,000 to his campaign for House of Delegates.
Another son, Gordon Robertson, contributed $500 to McDonnell's run for attorney general.
Posted at 6:31 PM ET, 11/ 2/2009
Palin, Huckabee call Virginia voters
We told you yesterday that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday.
Now, we have learned that a conservative group affiliated with former Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed asked both Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to make calls to nearly 700,000 voters in Virginia.
The Huckabee calls were made Saturday and the Palin calls were made Sunday and today.
The recordings make no mention of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, who has embraced Huckabee but distanced himself from Palin during the governor's race.
"Virginia, hello, this is Sarah Palin calling to urge you to go to the polls Tuesday and vote to share our principles," Palin said. "The eyes of America will be on Virginia and make no mistake about it, every vote counts. So don't take anything for granted, vote your values on Tuesday, and urge your friends and family to vote, too."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:49 PM ET, 11/ 2/2009
Kaine appears on MSNBC on election eve
Tim Kaine, Virginia governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said this afternoon on MSNBC that Democrats still have a chance to win both gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey tomorrow, even though polls show both men behind.
"For 24 years, the party that wins the White House loses both of these governships in Virginia and New Jersey,'' Kaine said. "So the way we look at it at the DNC is that these are uphill races. We had underdog candidates. They were writing us off in mid-summer, but we fought back strong and we're working awfully strong to break that 24-year string and we feel like we have a good shot tomorrow."
Kaine downplayed the significance of the races going into the 2010 midterm elections.
"Traditionally these races right after the presidential year are very focused on local issues and haven't been much of a bellwether for the midterms,'' he said.
Kaine said Obama and the statewide Democratic leaders -- he and Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb -- remain popular in Virginia, which should help gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds.
"There's a strong approval from Democratic voters,'' he said. "What we have to do is we just got to close that gap. We have to energize President Obama supporters. He's been to Virginia twice for Creigh Deeds. And that's what we are working to do."
But Kaine said that the real story tomorrow may be the outcome of New York's special congressional election where the Republican party's candidate dropped out this weekend and now backs the Democratic candidate against a conservative. "It portends a great divide in the Republican party,'' he said. "I think that's going to be the continuing story after tomorrow night."
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 11/ 2/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Monday, Nov. 2, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
The polls open in less than 24 hours!
In the same poll, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is up 13 percentage point over Jody Wagner and Republican Ken Cuccinelli is up 14 percentage points over Steve Shannon in the race for attorney general.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:16 PM ET, 11/ 1/2009
Palin records calls urging Virginians to vote
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday, Palin adviser Meg Stapleton told us tonight.
We are awaiting more details about the calls and will bring you the information as soon as we get it.
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, said Palin's calls were not being made at the request of the campaign or the Republican Party of Virginia. He said the campaign had no firsthand knowledge of the calls.
Almost all of the Republicans considered top candidates for a 2012 presidential run have made stops in Virginia this year to help McDonnell. But McDonnell has made it pretty clear in recent months that he did not want Palin's help.
McDonnell epeatedly and personally asked Palin for help this summer, but by late August Palin learned that the McDonnell campaign no longer wanted her assistance, Stapleton told us a few weeks ago.
Palin drew enormous, enthusiastic crowds in Virginia while campaigning as Sen. John McCain's runningmate during the presidential election last year. But she is a polarizing figure that could turn off independent voters. In the summer, she drew criticism for abruptly resigning as governor and later insisting that the healthcare bill being considered by Congress would cause the creation of "death panels."
Posted at 4:46 PM ET, 11/ 1/2009
Last-minute endorsements roll in
The last of the newspaper endorsements were published today in the race for Viginia governor. Or at least we think they're the last ones with just two days left until Election Day.
The Staunton News Leader endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds over Repubublican Bob McDonnell.
"The Deeds we saw and heard in our editorial board interview was a man filled with energy, passion and good ideas for Virginia,'' the paper wrote in its editorial. "We think you will agree he's the man we all want to see in the governor's mansion."
"If the economy and transportation are the two top crises facing Virginia, then the question is: Which candidate for governor has the best chance of solving those intertwined problems? And the answer has to be: Bob McDonnell,'' the Daily Progress writes.
Posted at 3:59 PM ET, 11/ 1/2009
McDonnell's money lead grows and grows
It is now not out of the realm of possibility that by Tuesday's election day, Republican Bob McDonnell will have received a three times as much a Democrat Creigh Deeds in late big-dollar donations.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, as of 5 p.m. on Saturday, McDonnell had collected $1.34 million in big contributions since Oct. 21, when the candidates began having to report gifts of $5,000 or more within 24 hours. Deeds had collected only $549,000 in big donations since then.
Those numbers included gifts through Oct. 30 and they showed that donations to McDonnell have been snowballing in recent days as poll after poll has shown him with big leads and contributors perhaps look to provide some late help to the candidate they perceive as the likely victor.
On Friday alone, McDonnell collected $184,310 in such gifts. Deeds received only $40,000.
Posted at 1:54 PM ET, 11/ 1/2009
Q & A with statewide candidates
The folks at the Richmond Times Dispatch asked all six statewide candidates to answer a series of policy questions and published them today.
They didn't break much new ground (after all, we're only two days from election day) but if you're still trying to decide who to vote for, check out the answers on jobs, transportation, college tuition, abortion and off shore drilling.
Gubernatorial candidates, Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell are here
Lieutenant governor candidates, Jody Wagner and Bill Bolling are here
Attorney general candidates, Steve Shannon and Ken Cuccinelli are here
Posted at 1:27 PM ET, 11/ 1/2009
One more poll puts McDonnell way up
A final Mason-Dixon poll in the Virginia race shows Republican Bob McDonnell continues to lead big over Democrat Creigh Deeds going into Tuesday's election. The survey, funded by the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Virginian Pilot and other state media outlets, showed McDonnell with a 12-point lead, while his ticketmates Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli led opponents Jody Wagner and Del. Steve Shannon by 13 points and 14 points respectively.
What must be most encouraging for McDonnell about all these late polls that have shown with strong, double-digit leads is that they have provided no indication that core Democratic groups are showing late enthusiasm for Deeds. His campaign is insisting it is running an aggressive effort to reach out to voters who helped elect President Obama last year.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:06 PM ET, 10/31/2009
Campaigns use new media to get the vote out
Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell are concentrating much of their get-out-the-vote efforts on traditional neighborhood canvasses and phone calls, but are also using online ads, Facebook and Twitter.
McDonnell's Website features an absentee ballot application and an interactive map where voters can look up their precinct location.
The campaign is urging Facebook members to donate their profile photo or status to McDonnell so their status can say things like: "Today is Election Day. Please don't forget to vote for Bob McDonnell and the Republican ticket." Facebook users can add a yard sign.
McDonnell's campaign has used their Website, email lists and GOP-friendly bloggers to get the word out about signing up for volunteer shifts. It has gained more than 2,500 interested volunteers via social media and the Website.
Deeds's campaign is reaching out to voters through Facebook ads in which President Obama's image is used and voters are encouraged to visit the Deeds Website to find their polling place. Voters who have signed up with the campaign will receive text messages asking them to volunteers.
The DNC also released a highly targeted ad on Facebook touting the president's support for Deeds. The ad appears only on pages of Virginia Facebook fans of Obama, people who live within 50 miles of Norfolk, Richmond or Fairfax and students of Virginia colleges and universities.
"Our goal, especially as we try to reach out to these surge voters who are less likely to read news sites or campaign Websites is to reach them where they reside online, which is social networks an search engines," Deeds new media director Eli Kaplan said.
Posted at 2:55 PM ET, 10/31/2009
With Scozzafava out, McDonnell might be sharing limelight Tuesday
It had appeared increasingly possible that Virginia Republican Bob McDonnell could be the only GOP victory Tuesday, despite all the talk about the national mood turning the party's direction one year after President Obama's election.
That's because Republican Chris Christie is locked in a head heat with Democrat Jon Corzine in the race for New Jersey governor. And it had been because it looked like Democrats might pick up a seat in Congress in a special election in New York, where a deep split had erupted in the GOP between supporters of the party's nominee and a third party conservative.
But, no longer.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:41 PM ET, 10/31/2009
Get a mop? Va. GOP says get a broom
Republicans rallying this morning in Springfield had a new prop: A broom that read "McBolliNelli" on the handle.
The Republican ticket is stumping throughout the state Saturday but began with a traditional GOP pep rally at Interstate Van Lines in Springfield. Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell was joined by ticket mates Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, attorney general candidate Sen. Ken Cuccinelli and a variety for Republican luminaries, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
It was Cuccinelli-- introduced to the crowd as Ken "Don't Tread on Me" Cuccinelli -- who held up the broom, which he had been handed as he made his way to the load dock that served as a stage.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:53 PM ET, 10/30/2009
McDonnell on FOX News's Hannity show
GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell said in a live interview tonight on FOX News that Republican wins in Virginia and New Jersey next week could provide momentum going into the 2010 mid-term elections -- much like Republican wins in both states did in 1993.
"There's a lot of national in this race obviously,'' McDonnell said. "I do think that (people are saying) if McDonnell and (Chris) Christie win there are some opportunities for some added momentum for 2010."
In a five-minute interview, McDonnell told conservative host Sean Hannity that he has been able to win over many independents that had voted for Democrats in Virginia in recent years in part because of discontent with President Obama and Congress.
"Some of the policies that this Congress has pursued and supported by the president like cap and trade and card check and tax increases and intrusions on the free enterprise system and deficit spending, I've made those issues in the race and I think Virginians are not enamored with those policies,'' he said. "I don't think they're good for Virginia....I think that is making a difference in the race."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:32 PM ET, 10/30/2009
McDonnell urges voters to go to polls
Earlier we told you what Democrat Creigh Deeds's final message to voters will be, now we are showing you what Republican Bob McDonnell's final contact with Virginians will be before Tuesday's election.
We have the final mailer going out from the Republican Party of Virginia on behalf of McDonnell as well as the doorhanger that volunteers are leaving at houses through Election Day supporting the entire GOP ticket -- McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
McDonnell's message is the same one we have heard for months: Improvements to the economy, education and transportation will be made without new taxes. (And, of course, there's also a photo or two of his family).
"We need to work together to bring jobs and opportunity to all Virginians,'' he says on the doorhanger. "I have specific plans and new ideas to create jobs, cut wasteful spending, make government more efficient, invest in our schools and improve transportation -- all without raising taxes. I would be honored to have your support and ask for your vote."
Posted at 3:19 PM ET, 10/30/2009
Updated: Warner misses Deeds events due to flu
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has a case of the seasonal flu, prompting Virginia's junior senator to cancel several planned campaign stops with Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds.
Warner showed up to Deeds' first campaign event Friday, at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Woodbridge, but he was visibly ill and told Democratic supporters and Deeds staffers that he was sick and would be leaving early.
Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said the former Virginia governor visited a doctor Thursday and got the flu diagnosis, adding that Warner "regretted missing the events but he is contagious."
Hall said Warner's illness is regular seasonal flu, not H1N1, known as swine flu.
One sign-holding supporter at the Woodbridge event was overheard asking whether Warner had a case of the "bad-poll-number virus," referring to Deeds' underdog status in his race with Republican Robert F. McDonnell.
Updated: We just learned that Warner's illness will keep him from the rest of this weekend's events with Deeds. But Deeds still expects to campaign with Gov. Tim Kaine and U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.
Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 10/30/2009
Planned Parenthood criticizes McDonnell's comments
Planned Parenthood is protesting Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's statement this week on Laura Ingraham's conservative radio show that he would veto any attempts to use tax dollars to fund their organization.
Ingraham asked McDonnell: "Can you promise that as governor you'll use the veto pen to ensure that Virginians' tax dollars are not used to fund Planned Parenthood or abortion?"
McDonnell responded: "Yeah, I've said that I would do that. We shouldn't be doing that in Virginia...That's common sense...That'll be part of what we'll get done."
Planned Parenthood, which serves 30,000 women in the state a year, is eligible for state money, but does currently not receive any. (In 2008 and 2009, attempts to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for funding were killed in the General Assembly.) But a change could mean the organization's clinics would not be reimbursed for providing healthcare to patients who receive Medicaid, a state-run program.
"The fact is Bob McDonnell is out of step and out of touch with voters and the wrong choice for Virginia,'' said Jessica Honke, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. "As governor, he will continue the anti-choice and anti-women's health policies he's pushed since his first day in public office."
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia endorsed McDonnell's opponent, Democrat Creigh Deeds.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 10/30/2009
The McCartney Scorecard: The final bell
Post columnist Robert McCartney is tracking the governor's race for readers, tallying up the blows week-by-week. Here's his take on the past week:
The Washington Post's last poll before Election Day shows McDonnell with his biggest lead yet, 11 points, and no sign of flagging. Obama campaigns with Deeds in Norfolk, but 7 in 10 likely voters said their view of Obama wouldn't affect their vote. With this result, McDonnell's won six out of nine rounds on this scorecard, going back to late August. But remember: The only referee that matters is the electorate. No matter which brawler you prefer, get out and vote!
Posted at 7:11 AM ET, 10/30/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Friday, Oct. 30, 2009
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
With just four days until Tuesday's election, we are now at the stage where there is nothing new for the candidates to say. Just many more people for them to say it to, and quickly.
Each have launched their final sweeps through the state, as Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds start multi-day, many stop stumps.
McDonnell's five-day, 25-stop "New Jobs, More Opportunities: It Starts Now!" tour began yesterday, with stops in Glen Allen, Danville, Martinsville and Rocky Mount. Deeds was in Richmond and Roanoke.
Both candidates finished their days Thursday greeting spectators tailgating at the Virginia Tech-UNC football game. The fans surely were eager to discuss issues of importance to the Commonwealth. Or, perhaps they were drunk and excited for the opportunity to hand their cellphones to a candidate, after shouting to their girlfriends/buddies/mothers, "Hey, talk to this guy! He's running for governor!"
Deeds's final tour is a four-day. 20-stop "All in for Virginia" tour, which will focus heavily on get out the vote efforts. The Democrat will hit Northern Virginia today. McDonnell today is in Lynchburg, Waynesboro, Culpeper, Ashland and Virginia Beach.
Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 10/29/2009
McDonnell gets last-minute biz endorsement
Less than a week before Election Day, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell picked up the endorsement of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, a key business group in the D.C. metro region.
The group endorsed Democrat Mark Warner in 2001, but declined to endorse in the 2005 race between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Jerry Kilgore.
"We believe Bob McDonnell will focus the attention needed to improve this region's transportation crisis and enhance economic development efforts throughout the commonwealth, which in turn helps strengthen the entire greater Washington region," said John M. Kane, board chairman and president of Office Movers, Inc.
Kane said the group endorsed after interviews with McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds. Issues of importance to the group include transportation, emergency preparedness, energy and the needs of the region's workforce.
Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 10/29/2009
Obama push for Deeds continues
Ever receive a letter from the president of the United States? About 330,000 Virginians are about to get one, as the Democratic Party of Virginia puts a letter in the snail mail from President Obama to voters identified as part of the "surge" who came out to the polls to elect Obama last year and are now seen as critical to closing the gap between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell.
The letterhead includes a nifty presidential symbol with the words, "A special message from President Barack Obama." In the letter, Obama writes, "To make real changes in this country, it will take more than just my presidency - it requires your continued vigilance in the cause of progress. To move this country forward, I need the support and partnership of good governors who are ready to help lay the foundations of change. And this November 3rd is your opportunity to help Virginia do just that."
You can read the whole letter here.
The party says this letter will be its last mailer to Virginia voters on Deeds' behalf.
Posted at 7:06 AM ET, 10/29/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Five days until the election, and the candidates continue their mad dash last campaign sweeps around the state. A day after President Obama came to town for Democrat Creigh Deeds, Republican Bob McDonnell gets help from some of his party's biggest stars. Likely 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney traveled with McDonnell Wednesday. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned on McDonnell's behalf in Fredericksburg and Fairfax, telling crowds that he hopes McDonnell sparks a national Republican resurgence akin to the one that began in 1993 with his own election as mayor and George Allen's election as Virginia governor.
McDonnell today visits Glen Allen, Danville, Martinsville, Rocky Mount and then concludes the day tailgating at the Virginia Tech football game in Blacksburg. Deeds yesterday was in Charlottesville, Reston and Sterling and today has several events in Richmond, then goes to Roanoke and also finishes the day out in the parking lots of Virginia Tech's football stadium.
Take from this what you will: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in Virginia today to campaign for McDonnell. He will also be spending election night in Richmond. Democratic National Committee chairman Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, on the other hand, heads today to New Jersey to campaign for Democratic governor Jon Corzine. (He'll be back Friday to pick up work on Deeds's behalf.)
Posted at 6:31 PM ET, 10/28/2009
Romney stumps with GOP ticket
Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful, spent a long ay flying across the state with the Republican ticket -- Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinell.
"This is a team that has the experience and qualifications to be able to get this state rolling again, creating jobs,'' Romney said. "This is a jobs ticket."
The four appeared together at a fundraiser in Virginia Beach on behalf of McDonnell, a rally in Roanoke and a press conference in Richmond. They flew in a borrowed plane belonging to Dan Banker, who owns Lynchburg-based Banker Steel, which is helping put together the foundation for the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero.
Romney also headlined a pair of fundraisers for Bolling today -- one this morning in Charlottesville and one tonight outside Richmond. The two events will bring in about $150,000. His fundraiser for McDonnell brought in $100,000.
"We will feel pretty good about where we are in this campaign six days prior to election day,'' Bolling said. "But we know that to win we have to work just as hard the next six days as we have the last six months. And that's exactly what we intend to do."
The GOP ticket will leave for a five-day tour across the state tomorrow morning.
Posted at 5:08 PM ET, 10/28/2009
Deeds airs closing argument
Democrat Creigh Deeds has now released his positive, final days television ad. The spot talks about Deeds' endorsement by three of the state's four largest papers and implores voters to elect "substance over style."
The campaign says the ad will air statewide. The question in these closing days for the Deeds campaign will be one of money.
Chances are, no matter where you live in Virginia, you'll be seeing the new spot released by Republican Bob McDonnell a heck of a lot more frequently than this new Deeds ad. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, McDonnell had a cash advantage on Oct. 21 that's only grown since then. Since that day, McDonnell has taken in more than $850,000 in donations of $5,000 or more. Deeds has received only $367,000 in big dollar gifts.
Posted at 3:38 PM ET, 10/28/2009
McDonnell airs new TV ad
In one of his final TV ads in the race for governor, Republican Bob McDonnell sticks with the positive.
In the ad, "Hope" McDonnell lays out his vision for the state, which includes keeping taxes low and controlling spending, while noting his service as an army officer and attorney general. Oh, and he also asks Virginians for their vote next Tuesday.
Watch it here:
Posted at 3:09 PM ET, 10/28/2009
Updated: Steele campaigns in Virginia
Expect to see a lot of Michael Steele this week.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee will rally volunteers at a campaign office outside Richmond tonight as they begin another night of calling potential voters.
Thursday and Friday, Steele will be with Bob McDonnell and the entire Republican ticket as they campaign in Southside, Southwest and Central Virginia.
In an interview, Steele told us that he expects to spend election night with McDonnell in Richmond too.
Does that mean he expects to win the governor's mansion in Virginia, and not New Jersey?
Of course, he didn't say that. He said he expects to spend time in the Garden State earlier on Tuesday.
Updated: For those of you who are wondering, Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will also be In Richmond on election night. Kaine will spend the evening at Deeds's party. Steve Shannon and Jody Wagner will also be there.
Posted at 2:18 PM ET, 10/28/2009
Excerpts: Post reporter, polling analyst answer questions
Post reporter Anita Kumar, who has been trailing the Deeds campaign, and Post polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta were online earlier today to discuss the Virginia governor's race and the week remaining in it. Read the full transcript or check out some excerpts from the chat below.
Fairfax County, Va.: Looking at the poll story and the graphics and table provided, it appears that Deeds is polling about as well in northern Virginia as, say, Mark Warner, but doing much worse in the rest of the state than anybody else you list -- Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, or Warner. Yet Deeds is the guy who's emphatically not from northern Virginia (admittedly Kaine isn't either). What gives?
washingtonpost.com: McDonnell's edge over Deeds grows stronger (Post, Oct. 27)
Jennifer Agiesta: Thanks for the question, Fairfax! The regional split is one of the most interesting things we found in this last poll. Deeds' victory in the primary seemed to be more about his electability and appeal outside of the DC suburbs than his positions on the issues, and that bit of strategic voting by Virginia Democrats may have backfired.
Conventional wisdom says a Democrat needs to win around 60 percent of the votes in Northern Virginia to win statewide, but that assumes the candidate can run closely with his or her opponent in the rest of the state, and Deeds is clearly lagging behind other successful Democrats on that front. Outside of Northern Virginia, half of all likely voters call Deeds "too liberal," and McDonnell has whopping advantages on handling taxes (32 points), transportation and the economy (25 points), and issues of special concern to women (17 points). Even in the western part of the state (which includes his home in Bath County) Deeds trails McDonnell in the race by 27 points.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:34 PM ET, 10/28/2009
Q&A with Deeds and McDonnell
The folks at Style Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Richmond, sat down with gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell to ask them a few final, pressing questions before Tuesday's big day.
Who is your political hero?
When is the last time that you were moved by a piece of great art?
If you were to invite us over for dinner, what's the best meal you could make?
And this final interesting question: Can you name one good reason that someone should vote for your opponent?
Read the answers here.
Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 10/28/2009
Get your governor's race questions answered
Washington Post staff writer Anita Kumar and Post polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta will be online today at noon to discuss the race for governor of Virginia in the final week of the campaign between Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert F. McDonnell. Kumar covered Deeds's rally with Obama yesterday, while Agiesta can explain The Post's polling in the race.
Posted at 7:12 AM ET, 10/28/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009
Good Morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
With just a week to go before Election Day, President Barack Obama sweeps into Norfolk for a brief but spirited rally for Democrat Creigh Deeds' bid for governor.
A presidential visit--with its Hail-to-the-Chiefiness and its Air Force One photo ops--is all-consuming to the news cycle of a state race, a fact obvious from a quick glance at this morning's Virginia media. Every outlet in the state carried news of the president, his exhortation "I don't believe in can't," and his plea for his supporters to ignore polls and pundits and work to get Deeds elected.
Posted at 4:27 PM ET, 10/27/2009
Gibbs: Virginia as 'purple as it can get'
Speaking to reporters on board Air Force One en route to this afternoon's rally in Norfolk, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Obama will not be returning to Virginia for Creigh Deeds after today.
"Not that I'm aware of," he said, before noting that he will be returning for a day of stops for Democratic governor Jon S. Corzine (N.J.).
"Look, certainly at a federal level, I mean, we were happy to see the progress in the commonwealth, but also understanding that Barack Obama was the first Democratic candidate to carry that state since 1964," Gibbs said, according to a transcript of the gaggle, explaining why Deeds is not doing better in the polls against Republican Bob McDonnell. "So I think everybody understands that it was -- you know, Virginia is a -- is probably as purple as it can get, certainly among a presidential state, given the fact that it's been in the red column for so long."
He rejected the idea that Deeds has been adversely impacted by perceptions of Obama, specifically citing this morning's Washington Post poll that showed that 70 percent of likely voters said their views of Obama will play no role in their vote. Of the 3 in 10 who said the president will play a role, half said they will be voting to express support for him rather than opposition.
"Obviously I think any number of factors go into what has happened in each state, and I think one of the factors that goes into Virginia is a Democrat that's been outspent," Gibbs said.
He said the White House is "very comfortable" with the level of support it has provided Deeds, noting Obama's role and Vice President Biden's two fundraisers, as well as help from the Democratic National Committee.
Posted at 3:04 PM ET, 10/27/2009
VPAP crunches finance numbers, with fascinating results
The Virginia Public Access Project has been working hard to slice and dice finance reports submitted by the campaigns yesterday and has already reported some very interesting findings.
For instance, there are 87 people and organizations who contributed a total of almost $504,000 to Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine in 2005, who this year have given to Republican Bob McDonnell instead, to the tune of almost $494,000. By contrast, there are only 50 such people and groups who gave to Republican Jerry Kilgore four years ago and who have contributed to Democrat Creigh Deeds this year. They have given Deeds a total of just under $150,000. We'll be looking through the list of donor switchers for interesting names and stories.
VPAP also shows us that of the $16.95 million Deeds has raised for his campaign committee, he has taken in $9.4 million from Virginians and $7.4 million from outside the state. Broken down by industry, outside of political committees, Deeds has received the most money from organized labor, followed by the legal industry and then real estate and construction.
McDonnell has raised far more than Deeds -- $22.4 million. It breaks down to $13.8 from in-state and $8.6 million from outside Virginia. After political committees, the top industry for McDonnell has been real estate/construction followed by retail and service businesses, then the finance and insurance industries.
Posted at 1:58 PM ET, 10/27/2009
Obama wants his 'friends' to come out for Deeds
As if there was any doubt that in these closing days, the strategy for Democrat Creigh Deeds is AAO (all about Obama), the Democratic National Committee today releases a new highly targeted Facebook ad touting the president's support for Deeds. The ad will appear only on pages of Virginia Facebook fans of Obama, people who live within 50 miles of Norfolk, Richmond or Fairfax and students of Virginia colleges and universities.
The goal here is to reach voters who backed Obama last year but may not be inclined to vote in a state election. Such voters, particularly young ones, are notoriously hard to reach through traditional means. (It is assumed that they are probably not reading this blog, for instance.) But Facebook is one way to find them.
The exclamation point on the effort, of course, comes this afternoon with the Norfolk rally for Deeds, which Obama is headlining. Stay tuned for more coverage of the event.
Posted at 7:12 AM ET, 10/27/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009
Good morning, Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Virginia voters go to the polls one week from today. Which makes news that Republican Bob McDonnell now leads Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor by 11 points in a new Post poll all the more exciting for Republicans and worrying for Democrats. Though Deeds often talks about past races where he overcame a deficit in the polls, the numbers this year have all been moving towards McDonnell in the last few weeks and time is running out.
Plus, McDonnell has already been outspending Deeds and he will continue to do so through Nov. 3--as new reports from the Virginia Public Access Project show he raised more than Deeds in the first three weeks of October.
The big news today will take place at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where Deeds rallies with President Obama. If anything could still scramble the race's dynamics in the last few days, it would be the engagement of so-called Obama surge voters, non-regular voters who came out for the president last year. Can a splashy, though brief, rally help? (Obama will be in Virginia for just a couple hours, total.)
Posted at 9:19 PM ET, 10/26/2009
Holtz, McDonnell share some laughs
Lou Holtz, the legendary football coach who led Notre Dame to a national championship and is now an ESPN analyst, cracked jokes and shared stories with a standing room only crowd of Bob McDonnell supporters in Richmond tonight.
A sampling of Holtz's quips:
What do you call a former Redskins player with a Super Bowl ring? "Senior citzens."
What was the most important thing you learned while coaching at William & Mary? "We had too many Marys and not enough Williams."
"I know we have Democrats in here. I tried to use small words."
"Well, they may have a few more people with the president tomorrow, but it won't be as entertaining,'' McDonnell proclaimed.
About 200 people sipped wine and munched on cheese and crackers at the Willow Oaks Country Club as Holtz spoke. Former Lt. Gov. John Hager attended, as did many McDonnell staffers and lobbyists. McDonnell was accompanied by his wife, Maureen, a former Redskins cheerleader, and three of their five children.
Throughout his speech, Holtz offered bits of wisdom to the audience and McDonnell.
"We're down near the end of the race here,'' he said. "You have to finish a game. You have to finish a race. There's never anything easy about it. You're got eight days left. Finish what you started. Be committed to it. Do the very best to your ability."
Posted at 6:15 PM ET, 10/26/2009
Huckabee draws a crowd in Richmond
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor turned FOX News commentator, said the White House's feud with FOX is only helping the network.
"The ratings are already at the top and now they are soaring to new levels,'' he said in a press conference Monday afternoon. "The sad thing is it's not just FOX news. [Obama] is taking on the Chamber of Commerce and the insurance companies. It seems like if people disagree with him, it becomes very personalized. It's unfortunate. I think it's going to be very troubling to the White House if they continue this tact."
Huckabee will headline the Family Foundation's gala Monday night at the convention center in Richmond. About 1,300 people are expected to attend, including House Speaker Bill Howell, who will introduce Huckabee. Statewide candidates Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli are on the campaign trail and will not attend.
Huckabee will headline a fundraiser Tuesday in Newport News for McDonnell.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 10/26/2009
Updated: Deeds raises $3.1 million, McDonnell $4 million
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds raised $3.1 million in the first three weeks of October, while his Republican rival Bob McDonnell raised $4 million during that same period, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in Virginia politics.
Deeds had nearly $1 million cash on hand going into the final weeks of the race, while McDonnell has almost double that, or $1.8 million, according to VPAP.
Deeds's campaign reported 2,392 total donors -- 68% who contributed less than $200. The campaign received contributions from 1,471 new donors.
"We are proud of the work the campaign has done to attract support and grassroots involvement in every corner of Virginia," Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey. "This support will be vital as we get our message out in the final 10-days of this election and look to turn out an unprecedented vote for the Democratic ticket."
McDonnell's campaign picked up 2,758 first-time donors over the period and received 2,426 donations of $100 or less. But more than half of McDonnell's total were in-kind contributions from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the state Republican party.
"As this campaign enters the final days we have the resources we need to continue getting Bob's positive vision out to voters statewide,'' McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox said. "And we have all the momentum in this race."
Posted at 9:58 AM ET, 10/26/2009
New Post poll coming today
With just a little more than a week to go until Election Day, the Post will release the results of its final poll in the Virginia governor's race later today.
Among other key findings, the poll will reveal whether perceptions about President Obama are a factor among likely voters, whether Creigh Deeds has managed to convince core Democrats to vote and whether it appears that Republican Bob McDonnell's arguments on taxes have been effective.
And, of course, the poll will tell us who's ahead and by how much.
Check it all out later today.
Posted at 9:27 AM ET, 10/26/2009
Live Discussion With Creigh Deeds
Democratic candidate for governor R. Creigh Deeds will be online at 11 a.m. today to answer your questions about the governor's race and his plans for running the state. Submit your questions now and tune back in at 11 a.m. to see his answers.
Posted at 12:07 AM ET, 10/26/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Monday, Oct. 26, 2009
Good Morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Eight days and counting until Election Day. The big event of the week is tomorrow's rally by President Obama in Norfolk for Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds. It comes just a few days after some of the president's senior aides were quoted anonymously saying they see virtually no chance for a Deeds victory against Republican Bob McDonnell and preparing to blame Deeds--and not their boss--for the loss. Awkward alert!
But Deeds supporters are working hard to prove those unnamed Cassandras wrong--including working to pump up Obama supporters over the weekend. McDonnell brings in a celeb of his own today, holding a rally in Richmond with former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. Deeds today campaigns at two retirement communities in Fairfax with U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly.
Campaign finance reports are due today covering the first 22 days of October. They're the last before the election but we're now in the zone where campaigns must also report all donations of $5,000 or more within 24 hours. So far, those daily reports have shown a big advantage in last minute contributions for McDonnell. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, McDonnell took in $80,000 in big dollar donations on Sunday alone. And how much did Deeds get? $0.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 10/25/2009
Big endorsements arrive on morning stoop
The remaining big Virginia newspapers made their endorsements this morning in the race for governor. No big surprises in the bunch, as papers' editorials boards largely went with the candidate's from the parties that best represented their well known policy stands.
That last editorial provided the only moment of intrigue for the moment. For one, choosing Deeds meant going against hometown candidate McDonnell. But, for the other, the endorsement is marked by a lack of enthusiasm for the chosen candidate. The paper's board chose Deeds as the better bet to fix transportation and manage state finances. But they called his campaign "chaotic" and generally slammed sophistication of the arguments advanced by both sides.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 10/25/2009
Fact Checker: Is that $7,800 number accurate?
Earlier this month, the GOP launched two television ads claiming that that Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds' support for a statewide gas tax and federal cap-and-trade legislation would result in $7,800 in additional taxes per Virginia family every four years.
Deeds (D-Bath) has fired back, debuting his own ad in southwest Virginia that called on Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell to "knock off the lies" about the Democrat's support for the cap-and-trade bill. So who is right and how did McDonnell reach that $7,800 number?
McDonnell's $7,800-figure ads were based primarily on two assumptions. The first is that Deeds would support a 20-cent-per-gallon state gas tax to raise the $1 billion he has said is needed for road and transit improvements. Deeds has yet to support such an increase.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:24 PM ET, 10/24/2009
NAACP Berates Shannon, Bolling
Virginia NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani repeatedly criticized Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon and Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for failing to attend the group's candidate's forum last night.
Khalfani mentioned their absences multiple times in front of the more than 100 people gathered at the Richmond Marriott for the candidate's forum as part of the group's annual conference.
He told the audience how Shannon initially agreed to come but then canceled two days ago with a phone call in which he said he assumed his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli was not attending either. Actually, Khalfani said, Cuccinelli was the first of six statewide candidates to RSVP and did so personally.
He also said that Bolling's campaign called for the first time an hour before the event to say Bolling could not attend and offered to send a surrogate in his place, but the NAACP told the campaign that the group does not allow surrogates.
Posted at 3:21 PM ET, 10/23/2009
Pssst! McDonnell stumps in ... Arlington
Republican Robert F. McDonnell continued his "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour with a stop at a flower shop in the Cherrydale area of Arlington -- but don't tell the neighborhood!
Owner John Nicholson hosted the event this afternoon at the request of the National Federation of Independent Business, which is supporting McDonnell. Nicholson is a past chairman of the Virginia NFIB's Leadership Council.
"My wife said, 'Are you sure you want to do this? Our customers might picket us,'" Nicholson said with a laugh, making a reference to Arlington's overwhelmingly Democratic electorate.
Nicholson went through with the event anyway, giving McDonnell a short tour of his flower shop, Company Flowers, and talking about what he views as the bigger challenges facing small business today -- the Business and Professional Licensing tax and the high cost of health insurance, among others.
Surrounded by greeting cards and Halloween decorations and the heavy scent of roses, Nicholson said, "It's nice to see somebody who really understands business."
But then he added, "I disagree with you on widening I-66," prompting a grin from McDonnell and this response: "I know Arlington's had some objections to that. We have to find a way to improve it. How about if we double-stack it?"
In case anyone doubted it, there are Republicans in Arlington -- and Sally Linderman is one of them. Out to support McDonnell at his flower shop appearance, Linderman said she's been looking forward to his gubernatorial campaign for two years.
"He looks the part, he speaks the part, he carries the whole aura of the governor of Virginia," she said. "And we need a change."
Posted at 1:31 PM ET, 10/23/2009
New NRA ad for McDonnell
The National Rifle Association is airing new TV ads on behalf of Republican Bob McDonnell that appeal to those who are worried about government intervention.
Check it out here:
Meanwhile, two Italian American organizations are calling on McDonnell to ask the NRA to o take down a previous TV commericial because of its "offensive characterization of Italian American."
"This type of negative imagery reinforces defaming stereotypes about an entire ethnic group and undermines the progress made in ending prejudice against all groups in our country,'' says a joint statement by the Columbus Citizens Foundation and the National Italian American Foundation: "We would hope that gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell would appeal to the electorate through substantive policy discussion on issues of importance to the State of Virginia rather than appealing through negative stereotyping."
Posted at 1:09 PM ET, 10/23/2009
Potts takes Deeds off-message on charter schools
Former state senator Russ Potts, a Republican who backs Democrat R. Creigh Deeds for governor and stumped for him Wednesday in Winchester, took a little detour off the message train by criticizing Republican Robert F. McDonnell for supporting charter schools.
Um, Deeds supports charter schools. And so does President Obama. And Deeds doesn't need to give Obama supporters another reason to think he's not fully supportive of the president. (And that's probably why McDonnell's campaign shopped around the reference to Potts's remarks, which were published yesterday in the Northern Virginia Daily).
Here's an excerpt from the article:
"One candidate is for charter schools, Bob McDonnell, the other is opposed to charter schools," Potts said.
Few charter schools have been created in the Old Dominion for a simple reason, Potts said. Communities that considered it "were very happy with the public education system in Virginia."
McDonnell does support charter schools, and he often cites Obama's similar view when he talks about it. Deeds has also publicly come out in favor of charter schools, although the McDonnell campaign today noted that Deeds has voted against charter schools in the legislature.
Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 10/23/2009
McDonnell grilled on health care
Republican Robert F. McDonnell today held a brief town hall meeting at the Manassas offices of Micron Technology Inc., which employs about 1,600 people in Virginia. The Idaho-based semiconductor microchip manufacturer's political action committee has contributed at least $10,000 to McDonnell over the years and its CEO, Steve Appleton, delivered a warm introduction before McDonnell's remarks.
That's not to say McDonnell was handed softball questions. More than 100 employees gathered in a large conference room to hear McDonnell speak, among them Charles McClure, an electrician who delivered the hardball of the day: How, he asked, will you ensure that Virginians receive the same quality of health insurance you do as a public employee?
McDonnell was typically on message, though clearly less comfortable on this issue than the topics he has been talking about regularly on the trail, such as job creation and energy independence.
"Anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of Virginians don't have a bona fide insurance policy, and there are a lot of reasons for it. Some are illegal immigrants, some don't have insurance by choice, some have legitimate preexisting conditions and don't qualify," he said. "My opinion is that overall, people are generally satisfied with the doctor-patient relationship under our current system."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 10/23/2009
More ads on cap-and-trade in Southwest
Democrat Creigh Deeds is out with a new ad--we're at that point in the campaign where that's going to be the story, for both sides, pretty much every day. This one's on jobs and is running in southwest Virginia and Harrisonburg. It features just folks calling on Republican Bob McDonnell to "knock off the lies" about Deeds and the cap-and-trade bill. Deeds has said he supports efforts to reduce global warming but opposes the cap-and-trade bill now pending in Congress.
You can watch the ad here:
Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 10/23/2009
New women's group airs McDonnell attack ad
A new state political action committee called Working Women for Virginia will start airing TV ads in Northern Virginia today to oppose Republican Bob McDonnell's views in his race for governor against Democrat Creigh Deeds.
We told you last week that the group registered with the state three weeks ago, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. It has been raising money through word of mouth, social networking and online advertising to pay for the TV commercials, said Margie Omero, a Democratic pollster who helped form the group.
Watch the ad here:
Posted at 9:08 AM ET, 10/23/2009
Deeds meets with IP workers
In campaign world, Thursday was the day Democrats in Washington began preparing for a loss by Creigh Deeds in the Virginia governor's race by blaming him for running a poor campaign.
In the real world, it was the day International Paper announced they were closing their paper mill in Franklin County, resulting in the loss of 1,100 Virginia jobs. Both campaigns put out statements expressing sympathy to the workers, as did Gov. Tim Kaine. From twitters, we see that Deeds made a detour from his campaign schedule to meet with workers at the gate last night.
Late last night, he tweeted:
Shook hands at IP gate. Devestating. Met employees of 41, 36, 31 years. We have much to do to restore hope
We're told he was with workers until almost midnight, then got up to do the early morning shift today as well.
Posted at 7:19 AM ET, 10/23/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Friday, Oct. 23, 2009
Good morning, Virginia! Just 11 days to go until Election Day, and today we have some news for you.
Democrat R. Creigh Deeds took a body blow Thursday from the White House, where senior administration sources said they were deeply frustrated with his failure to more fully embrace President Barack Obama on the campaign trail. Preparing for a Deeds loss, these officials seem to be trying to minimize any damage to the president or his agenda by laying the blame squarely at the candidate's feet.
Deeds appeared before the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Hampton Thursday night, while surrogates continued the campaign's "Educational Opportunity" school bus tour across the state in a school bus.
Republican Robert F. McDonnell continued his "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour yesterday with a stop in Culpeper and the debut of a new ad, "Jobs." He also reiterated, as forcefully as one can, that he has no plans to raise taxes if elected.
Today, McDonnell continues the jobs tour with stops in Manassas and Arlington, and he goes before the Southern Christian Leadership Conference tonight. Deeds rallies in Petersburg with actors and film industry leaders Tim and Daphne Reid. Both candidates will appear tonight in Richmond before the Virginia chapter of the NAACP.
The proverbial sparks flew at a debate Thursday between attorney general hopefuls Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican, and Steve Shannon, the Democrat.
Posted at 7:06 PM ET, 10/22/2009
McDonnell talks health care on FOX News
Republican Bob McDonnell criticized the health care package being written on Capitol Hill in a live interview today on Your World with Neil Cavuto on FOX News.
"I know our voters are telling us that they're concerned,'' McDonnell said. "While they think it's legitimate to address the cost and access to health care, turning over the greatest medical system in the world to the federal government is probably not a good idea."
McDonnell said Virginians are worried about increased costs, decreased choices and a interruption in the doctor-patient relationship.
Cavuto said Democrat Creigh Deeds was invited to appear on the show, but that he never heard back from Deeds' campaign. This is the third time in recent weeks that McDonnell has appeared on national TV alone with Deeds either declining or not responding to a interview request.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:37 PM ET, 10/22/2009
McDonnell airs new ad: 'Jobs'
Republican gubernatorial contender Robert F. McDonnell debuted a new ad titled "Jobs" to coincide with his four-city "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour, which was in Culpeper today and comes to Arlington on Friday.
Here's the ad's script:
"Creigh Deeds job-killing policies: A billion dollars in new taxes. A new energy tax that would kill up to 56,000 jobs. Deeds pushed a billion dollars in new spending. Creigh Deeds, higher taxes, job-killing policies"
"Bob McDonnell: a jobs governor. Job-creating policies endorsed by Virginia businesses.
Bob McDonnell, no to higher taxes and wasteful spending. Yes to innovative policies to create jobs. Bob McDonnell: a jobs governor."
And view the ad here:
Posted at 2:40 PM ET, 10/22/2009
McCartney Scorecard: This Week Endorsed by Deeds
Post columnist Robert McCartney is tracking the governor's race for readers, tallying up the blows week-by-week. Here's his take on the past week:
Deeds takes the round on points. He receives a ringing endorsement from The Washington Post's editorial page, and early enough to use it in television ads. Deeds also gets Obama to commit to campaign with him again, despite White House grumbling that he's run a poor campaign. All this help might well come too late for the Democrat, who's been well behind in the polls and didn't land any big blows in the fourth and final debate.
McCartney also was on News Channel 8 earlier today to discuss his column about GOP attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli. You can watch the clip below.
Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 10/22/2009
McDonnell: I will not raise taxes
Would Republican Bob McDonnell ever be willing to raise taxes?
Our colleague Lee Hockstader suggests in a column that he might. He questions whether the gubernatorial candidate might in fact be leaving himself some wiggle room to support a tax increase after the economic recession is over.
The McDonnell campaign says no.
McDonnell usually says he won't raise taxes in "this tough economic time," though he has on occasion dropped those last few words and stated unequivocally that he would not raise taxes under any circumstances.
"Bob McDonnell will not raise taxes as governor,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. "Creigh Deeds, on the other hand, has pledged to raise taxes immediately, even in a recession. It's a defining difference in this race."
Deeds has said he would be willing to raise taxes for transportation, though he has not said which taxes or how much. He has said he would sign a tax increase to provide new revenue for roads if it was the result of a bipartisan compromise passed by the General Assembly.
Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 10/22/2009
A second Deeds ad on The Post endorsement
We noted that a Northern Virginia ad that Democrat Creigh Deeds released several days about Deeds's endorsement by The Washington Post featured only lines praising Deeds -- and none of the endorsement's criticism of Republican Bob McDonnell.
It turned out, the Deeds campaign was saving those tidbits of the piece for a second ad, this one all about McDonnell. The ad began running Thursday morning and features pretty much nothing but quotes from The Post ed board about McDonnell, against a white background.
Watch it here.
Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 10/22/2009
Updated: McDonnell up on black radio
Republican Bob McDonnell will start airing a radio ad today mentioning three prominent African American leaders -- President Obama, former Virginia governor Doug Wilder and businesswoman Sheila Johnson -- as he tries to cut into the usually Democratic black vote.
All three African Americans in the ad are Democrats, and only Johnson has endorsed him.
The ad mentions that McDonnell, worked as attorney general with Wilder to reduce gang violence, holds the same views with Obama on charter schools and is supported by Johnson, wealthy co-founded of Black Entertainment Television.
"Bob McDonnell is a bipartisan leader who gets results,'' Johnson says in the ad. "That's the kind of governor we need. And that's why this Democrat strongly supports Bob McDonnell.''
The positive 60-second ad is airing on African American stations in Hampton Roads.
Listen to the ad here:
Update: Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) and Del. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) responded to McDonnell's ad with a joint statement: "This ad is blatantly misleading and a shameful attempt to dupe people into thinking Bob McDonnell supports the President. It would be laughable if it weren't clear that he was trying to lure voters into thinking he would be a partner and friend to our President and a good steward of Virginia's future. When Creigh Deeds stood with Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to make record investments in education, Bob McDonnell voted no. His education policies would rob much needed funding from Virginia classrooms and leave children with fewer books and teachers. His election would erode nearly a decade of progress here in Virginia."
Posted at 10:09 AM ET, 10/22/2009
GOP All-Stars to campaign for McDonnell
Democrat Creigh Deeds may be holding rallies with Presidents Obama and Clinton, but we hear Republican Bob McDonnell has a few bold names coming into the state for him too.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who serves as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, all are scheduled to campaign for McDonnell in the next two weeks. All have been mentioned as possible candidates for president in 2012.
In addition, Hall of Famer Bruce Smith -- a Norfolk native and Virginia Tech alum -- and former NFL quarterback Steve Beuerlein will hold a rally for McDonnell in Virginia Beach Saturday.
College football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz, a former Notre Dame coach-turned-TV commentator, will hold a meet-and-greet with McDonnell Monday in Richmond.
All four possible GOP presidential hopefuls have been in the state for McDonnell before, and are scheduled to return before Nov. 3.
Giuliani is scheduled to be Northern Virginia on Oct. 28, and Romney will participate in several events. We'll bring you details as they become available.
Posted at 9:27 AM ET, 10/22/2009
GOP group launches Deeds ad on public option
We knew this was coming.
The Republican Governors Association launched a new ad in Northern Virginia today seizing on what it calls Democrat Creigh Deeds's conflicting statements about whether he would consider opting out of a public health insurance option if Congress extended that possibility to the states.
"Creigh Deeds waffles more than IHOP after church lets out on Sunday," RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "But unlike their customers, Deeds leaves 'everything on the table.'"
Deeds made the comments at Tuesday night's final debate in Salem. Immediately after the debate, he tried to explain to reporters that he believed the public option might help reduce health care costs and expand coverage, but he is not certain it is the best way to achieve those goals. "It may be one way, it might not be the best way," he said.
Watch the ad here:
Posted at 7:35 AM ET, 10/22/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009
Good morning politicos! Twelve days to go until Election Day, and the campaigns for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House of Delegates are sprinting along.
The narrative remained largely static Wednesday, with more encouraging poll numbers for Republican Bob McDonnell and more evidence that Democrat Creigh Deeds is banking on a last-minute surge of support from supporters of President Obama.
Public Policy Polling, which uses a methodology that our in-house polling experts don't love, released numbers Wednesday giving McDonnell a 12-point lead over Deeds, a large jump from three weeks ago, when the same firm put Deeds within five points.
McDonnell launched his "New Jobs, New Virginia" tour yesterday with a stop at a Lynchburg furniture maker; today he continues the tour with a visit to a Culpeper home building company. And he got a boost when former state senator Brandon Bell, a Republican who had endorsed Deeds, switched horses midstream.
Deeds's only public appearance today is at a forum in Hampton sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:15 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Deeds takes heat online over public option comments
Left-leaning blogs and Democratic twitters are giving Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds a hard time over his comment at Tuesday night's final debate in Salem, indicating that he would consider opting out of a public health insurance option if Congress extended that possibility to the states. Daily Kos has run some items taking Deeds to task over his wishy-washy support for the public option, for instance. That's not to mention Virginia bloggers Ben Tribbett and Lowell Feld.
After the debate, Deeds tried to explain to reporters that he believed the public option might help reduce health care costs and expand coverage, but he is not certain it is the best way to achieve those goals. "It may be one way, it might not be the best way," he said.
(His campaign also circulated a statement today about the issue saying that "if the public option proves to be the best way" to reduce costs and expand coverage, "he'd support having Virginia participate. He'll examine all of the proposals on the table and choose the option than provides Virginians with the most affordable and quality coverage.")
But his attempt to clarify his position has now been turned into a new Republican video that is making the rounds, much like the Fairfax Count post-debate scrum.
And now it appears Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner is embracing the public option more vigorously, at least slightly, than Deeds.
It's hard to know whether the online world will filter into the rest of the world on this issue. But it's clear Deeds needs to energize committed Democrats behind his efforts--and some of them were not at all impressed with his answer on health care.
Just check out some of the tweets.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:58 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Excerpts: Post reporters discuss election
Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner of The Post were online earlier today to answer questions about the governor's race and the down-ballot campaigns. Read the full discussion transcript. Excerpts follow.
Richmond, Va.: You've reported several times that Deeds is having a tough time energizing Democrats and Obama voters and that was something he was going to emphasize over the next two weeks. However, last night he waffled on his support for the public option. Combined with his distancing himself from many of Obama and Congressional Democrat policies, is Deeds contradicting his proclaimed path to victory?
Amy Gardner: Great question. I think this speaks to the heart of Deeds's challenge -- the fact that he is a conservative Democrat, many of whose positions are to the right of President Obama, but who is seeking election in a year when the clear path to victory for a Democrat is to rally Obama voters. I don't know if Deeds has "waffled," but certainly he has wobbled a little bit trying to explain his views on health care reform and cap and trade legislation without sounding like he is contradicting Obama and without alienating those who support the president.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:58 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Obama signs email for Deeds
More signs that Democrat Creigh Deeds has made a late turn to Obama Democrats, in hopes of revving up the Democratic base behind his candidacy for governor: An email went out Wednesday to supporters of Organizing for America in Virginia, Obama's political organization. Unlike last week's missive that come out under the hand of the group's executive director, this email was signed by the man himself.
"We've worked too hard and come too far to let Virginia slip back. Creigh Deeds has embraced the movement you started by speaking directly and honestly to Virginians about the challenges ahead and the ideas that will move us forward," writes President Obama in the email.
OFA sent out in an email in Obama's name once before, the day after Deeds won the Democratic primary. Click through to read today's email in full.
Posted at 1:12 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Questions about the race? We'll answer them today.
Post reporters Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner will be online at 2 p.m. to discuss their stories today on the debate and Bill Clinton's Virginia visit, as well as any other aspect of the Virginia governor's race. Submit questions now or read the full discussion.
Earlier today, Post editorial board member Lee Hockstader took questions about the board's decision to endorse Deeds in the race -- read some excerpts from that discussion after the jump.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:28 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Obama in Norfolk for Deeds next week
We told you we'd let you know when we had more details about President Obama's Oct. 27 foray into Virginia to campaign with Democratic gubernatorial hopeful R. Creigh Deeds.
Here you go: A "Rally for Virginia" featuring Obama and Deeds will take place at the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. The Deeds folks say further information will be available in the coming days.
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 10/21/2009
GOP supporter defects from Deeds camp
Former Roanoke state Sen. Brandon Bell, who had been among some prominent Republican supporters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds earlier this year, announced Wednesday that he changed his mind and now supporters Republican Robert F. McDonnell, the McDonnell campaign announced today.
"I've watched this campaign unfold since both candidates secured their respective nominations," Bell said in a statement issued by the McDonnell folks. "In the four months since that time, Bob McDonnell has impressed me with his campaign, and his determined focus on rolling out specific policy proposals for Virginia's future."
Two steadfast Republican supporters of Deeds, former state senator Russ Potts of Winchester and former delegate Jim Dillard of Fairfax, are on the road in Northern Virginia today talking up his education plan. Mike Gehrke of the Deeds campaign today simply said, "We're still proud of the support we have from Republicans who know Bob McDonnell and have served with him."
Posted at 11:31 AM ET, 10/21/2009
U.S. Chamber Targets NoVa Drivers
As we told you earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is airing radio and TV ads in the pricey Washington media market to target Northern Virginians stuck in traffic.
The hard-hitting ads accuse Democrat Creigh Deeds of having no plan for transportation, while Republican Bob McDonnell has proposed widening I-66 inside the Beltway and extending Metro to Dulles airport.
"Tell Creigh Deeds we need a real transportation plan now,'' a narrator says at the end.
The transportation TV ad -- as well as a second one airing in the rest of the state on the so-called federal card-check legislation -- are part of a significant ad buy by the chamber that began last week.
McDonnell and his backers, which include the Republican Governors Association, the NRA and the chamber, continue to significantly outspend Deeds and his supporters on advertising.
Check out the ads after the jump.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:22 AM ET, 10/21/2009
Deeds releases ad featuring Obama
If there was any doubt that R. Creigh Deeds has President Obama in a bear hug in the final two weeks of the gubernatorial campaign, it should be erased today.
The Democratic hopeful has just released an ad called "Fired Up," which features the president at his inspirational best, calling on supporters to throw their support behind Deeds as a continuation of his history-making campaign last year. As we've reported before, Deeds lags Republican Robert F. McDonnell in the polls and must whip up the Democratic base in the two weeks left before the election.
"Last year, Virginia, you helped lead a movement of Americans who believed that their voices could make a difference," Obama says in the ad. "I need every one of you to get fired up once again so that we can go towards the future, with Creigh Deeds leading the great Commonwealth of Virginia."
Posted at 6:51 AM ET, 10/21/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009
Good morning, politicos! Though perhaps not if you're a Virginia Democrat.
Several new polls this week show Republican Robert F. McDonnell with a comfortable, even growing lead against Democrat R. Creigh Deeds -- and the word from Public Policy Polling, which releases new numbers this morning, seems to indicate more of the same. (Usual caveat: Our polling experts don't love the methodology on these polls).
PPP's Tom Jensen wrote in a blog item yesterday that even Democrats planning to vote are unenthused, and that many more are simply sitting this one out.
"We're looking at a McCain +6 electorate this year in a state that was Obama +6 last year," Jensen wrote. "There's no path to victory if that stays true through election day. We'll see how much good the visits from Obama, Bill Clinton, and other leading national Democrats do in the last few weeks but there is a lot of ground to make up."
Meanwhile, if Deeds had an opportunity to turn things around at Tuesday's final debate at Roanoke College, he seems to have missed the opportunity. Both candidates struck out at the other, with McDonnell accusing Deeds of planning to raise taxes and linking him to the controversial policies of President Obama, and Deeds portraying McDonnell as an election-year convert to moderation.
Before the debate, Deeds continued his last-ditch effort to turn the numbers around with an appearance with former president Bill Clinton in Tysons Corner. The Deeds campaign is focused on rallying core Democratic voters in these final two weeks, but the candidate may not have helped himself as he tried to articulate his position on a public option in health care reform after the debate.
Here's the video from the debate:
Continue reading this post »
And here's the post-debate scrum:
Posted at 6:57 PM ET, 10/20/2009
Moderator Proves Tough in Salem
Moderator Jay Warren is tough on both guys tonight. Here's a rough exchange he had with Democrat Creigh Deeds, pushing him on his transportation plan.
Warren: "What tax would you see increase under creigh deeds?"
"What tax would you see increase under creigh deeds?" Deeds asked incredulously.
"I can answer that," McDonnell said, as the crowd laughed.
"No you can't," Deeds responded.
"What I've said is that anything that has a nexus to transportation," Deeds began.
"What does that mean? Sales tax on cigarettes? Alcohol?" Warren asked.
"Anything that has a nexus to transportation. Anything that involves all the people who use the transportation system, both people who live in state and out of state."
Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 10/20/2009
Roanoke College Prepares for Final Debate
Greetings from the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Va., where Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds are 9 minutes from taking the stage for their final debate before the Nov. 3 election. Both candidates have enthusiastic supporters outside and went out and visited with their people before the kickoff. We'll give you a couple live updates as the debate progresses.
Posted at 2:49 PM ET, 10/20/2009
The Kitchen Table: Disenchanted Obama voter, revisited
In August, we brought you the story of Chris Ann Cleland, a real estate agent from Prince William County whose buyer's remorse over voting for President Obama last fall was coloring her view of the Virginia governor's race. Obama was not the change agent he promised to be, Cleland said. "I feel like I've been punked."
The quote so resonated that it got picked up by New York Times columnist Frank Rich and scored Cleland an interview on Fox News. But two months later, we wondered what she had finally decided about the governor's race.
Well, she settled on Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. The reason, she said, came down to two words: liquor stores.
A few weeks ago, Cleland was so busy with her work and so tired of what she perceived as politics as usual that she thought she might not even vote in the election this year. But then she learned that Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell had proposed privatizing state liquor stores to collect $500 million for road improvements, an idea that suggested a transformation of her community from tranquil to "trashy."
"While his plan may be thought out very well, I'll take my chances with the other guy, Deeds, because I don't want to feel like I live in Maryland or D.C.," she told us in a phone interview. "I like the way Virginia handles the liquor stores."
And how does she feel about Obama these days?
"I feel worse about him now," she said, citing what she viewed as his failure to adequately push for a public health care option and his deferential attitude toward misbehaving banks. "He just seems to be very self-interested and just continuing a run of bad choices, in my opinion."
The video we shot of Cleland back in August is below.
Posted at 6:52 AM ET, 10/20/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009
Good morning, politicos! Just 14 days to go until Election Day, and things are looking good for the GOP/bad for the Dems.
A new poll gives Republicans Robert F. McDonnell a substantial lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. We have a few issues with this poll, but there's another one out this morning from Clarus that shows McDonnell up by 8 points, 49 to 41.
The candidates for lieutenant governor, incumbent Republican Bill Bolling and Democrat Jody Wagner, took the proverbial gloves off last night in a televised debate.
And Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, unveiled a tough new ad accusing Republican Ken Cuccinelli of not being tough enough on public corruption because he hasn't called for the resignation of Del. Phil Hamilton.
The gubernatorial candidates meet for their final debate tonight in Roanoke. McDonnell is holed up to prepare, while Deeds will fit in a quick campaign appearance in Tysons Corner at lunchtime today with former president Bill Clinton and his pal Terry McAuliffe.
There's more grim news out regarding Virginia's revenue outlook, raising the obvious question of why all these folks even want the jobs they're seeking.
Lastly, we'll leave you with this thought: Bob McDonnell for President!
Posted at 10:35 PM ET, 10/19/2009
McDonnell for president?
Republican Bob McDonnell pledged to serve his entire four-year term -- and not run for president in 2012 -- if he is elected Virginia governor Nov. 3.
We never really considered McDonnell a serious contender for president in 2012, but In an interview with Ryan Nobles of Richmond's NBC12 McDonnell puts a stop to any presidency rumors that are out there.
"I think those are all pipe dreams down the road. You know there are a number of national political pundits that are paying an exceptional amount of attention to Virginia,'' he said. "I am running to be governor of Virginia, this is a state that I have lived in virtually my entire life. I love this state we have great opportunities ahead for the state to create more opportunity and prosperity for our citizens, in so many ways, I am fully committed to four years as Virginia's governor."
But McDonnell didn't stop there. He took a little jab at Tim Kaine, who has been criticized by some for serving both as governor and his party's national chairman. "We need a full time governor,'' he said.
Nobles interviewed Democrat Creigh Deeds last week. You can watch the full McDonnell interview here:
Posted at 7:24 PM ET, 10/19/2009
Another polls shows a big McDonnell lead
A new poll out this evening from the Virginian-Pilot, WVEC television, the ABC affiliate in the Hampton Roads area and Christopher Newport University shows Republican Bob McDonnell with a hefty lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor.
The poll is out this evening but involved interviews with 506 likely voters from Oct. 8 to 13. It showed McDonnell with a 14 point lead over Deeds, leading the Democrat by 44 to 30 percent. But the poll also showed that 22 percent of likely voters were undecided, a figure that would mean the race remains far from decided. And it's worth recalling that the poll is now a week old.
CNU professor Quentin Kidd told the television station that one reason the poll indicates so many undecided voters is that the results do not included so-called "leaners," people who told the pollsters that they their decision was not entirely set but they were leaning one way or the other.
"Anyone who counts Deeds out at this point is crazy," said Kidd, the poll's director.
The poll also indicated that two-thirds of likely voters said that McDonnell's controversial 1989 master's thesis wouldn't affect their vote.
Posted at 7:10 PM ET, 10/19/2009
New ad pushes Deeds as hometown choice
Another new ad from the Deeds campaign today, this one for the Bristol and Harrisonburg markets. The spot is designed to get votes for Deeds as the hometown kid. It features footage of Deeds with a shotgun and notes his A rating from the NRA; it does not mention that the NRA has endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell this year.
"For too long...our part of Virginia has been forgotten. Forgotten by Richmond when it comes to jobs, roads and schools. But this election we have a chance to change all that by voting for Creigh Deeds," the narrator says.
It's a message that Deeds has hit hard before and that could go over well in rural Virginia where many people do feel forgotten. It may not be as well received in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, where many voters think too few of their tax dollars stay in their regions already.
The ad concludes, "Creigh is from here...and has never left," a notion that has already earned him some mocking from the Republican Party of Virginia. Deeds' Bath County home is definitely on the state's rural end. But it's 85 miles from Harrisonburg and a full 240 miles to Bristol.
Watch the ad here:
Posted at 5:26 PM ET, 10/19/2009
GOP activist questions Deeds's contributions
Longtime Republican activist Gary Byler is asking the State Board of Elections to investigate whether Democratic gubernatorial Creigh Deeds violated state law by receiving contributions from labor unions.
Byler, a longtime friend of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, claims that Deeds and his backers, including the Democratic Governors Association, have accepted millions of dollars from groups that have not registered with the state or disclosed donors.
In a letter sent Monday, Byler asked the board to look into whether $3.7 million from the DGA and $1.1 million from unions comply with state laws.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:47 PM ET, 10/19/2009
Updated: U.S. Chamber airs ads in governor's race
Have you heard or seen the radio or TV ads being paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the Virginia governor's race?
They've been airing since last week in Northern Virginia and will be up through Election Day. The topic is transportation.
But the chamber, which has not endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds or Republican Bob McDonnell, refuses to share the ad, script or message with us.
It's an odd strategy -- considering that the ads are already on the air in the state. What is the nation's largest business group trying to hide?
In addition, the chamber is airing TV ads across the state on the so-called card check legislation that would remove the secret ballot from union elections. They won't give us any information on that one either, but we know where chamber officials stands on that issue: They oppose the bill.
McDonnell has repeatedly tried to pressure Deeds to talk about controversial issues, and accused him of supporting the card check bill. I guess we know whose side the chamber is on.
Have you heard or seen the ads? Let us know below.
Posted at 11:24 AM ET, 10/19/2009
One day later, Deeds gets Post nod in ad
That didn't take long. Democrat Creigh Deeds will begin airing a television ad today in Northern Virginia using lines from Sunday's endorsement by The Post editorial board, praising Deeds on education, transportation and the economy. It worked to spark momentum for the Deeds campaign during the Democratic primary -- Deeds hopes it can do the same this time.
The ad is all positive, including only lines from the editorial that support Deeds and resisting the temptation to use some of the choice language the ed board had for opponent Republican Bob McDonnell.
Watch the ad here.
Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 10/19/2009
Get to know a candidate: Hair edition
Welcome to Get to Know a Candidate, an occasional Virginia Politics blog feature about the the more light-hearted personal side of the gubernatorial candidates. Today, we consider the topic of the two men's hair. There are probably some metaphors to be drawn about the campaign from the topic. The coif of Republican Bob McDonnell, who has run a largely smooth and disciplined campaign, appears unshakable, with never a hair out of place. Democrat Creigh Deeds sometimes does television interviews with his hair still mussed from the wind.
This item was inspired by Julian Walker's profile of McDonnell in Saturday's Virginian-Pilot, where Walker took on directly the issue of whether the Republican dyes his hair.
"McDonnell laughed when asked whether he uses dye to conceal the silver strands in his never-out-of-place head of hair. He insists that he doesn't apply color; wife Maureen said a combination of natural extracts like chamomile and green tea and the summer sun have altered the hue of his hair," Walker wrote.
This intrigued us. Chamomile? Green tea? Was McDonnell's wife referring to some kind of hair product? Or is there actual brewing going on in the McDonnell household?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:56 AM ET, 10/19/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Monday, Oct. 19, 2009
Good morning, politicos! Just 15 days to go, and boy has it gotten busy. Republican Robert F. McDonnell and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds have transformed the race for governor into a sprint, with both zooming through mostly friendly crowds over the weekend to rev up their bases.
On Saturday, McDonnell rallied veterans in Virginia Beach with U.S. Sen. John McCain -- but coverage of the event didn't turn out exactly as planned when McDonnell was asked for his views on climate change. McDonnell went on to attend a Norfolk State-Hampton University football game in Norfolk, a seafood festival in heavily Republican Poquoson, a voter event in Glen Allen with House Minority Whip Eric I. Cantor and a Hispanic reception at a Mexican restaurant in Richmond.
Deeds flooded the zone too, rallying across Northern Virginia Saturday with various ethnic groups seen as crucial to Democratic turnout: Latinos in Baileys Crossroads, Vietnamese at the Eden Center in Falls Church, Ethiopians and more. On Sunday, Deeds hit five black churches in the Richmond area (and if you think that's a lot, wait until next week, when he's planning to visit 15 in one day in Hampton Roads). Terry McAuliffe rallied canvassers at his McLean home Sunday after going at it with Karl Rove on Fox News Sunday (and betting Rove $5 that Deeds will win).Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:43 PM ET, 10/18/2009
McAuliffe tells Fairfax Dems: Don't count out Creigh
So if former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is betting Gov. Jon Corzine takes New Jersey by seven, what about his former opponent Creigh Deeds in Virginia?
"Deeds by two," McAuliffe said this evening at the Fall Festival of the Dranesville Democratic Committee, at his McLean home.
Dozens of longtime Democrats were greeted by an enormous plastic pumpkin in front of the home before heading inside for the fundraiser and general pep rally. They crowded into the McAuliffe's kitchen to hear from Del. Margi Vanderhye and Del. Jim Scott, lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, McAuliffe and Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey. A laminated copy of this morning's Washington Post endorsement of Deeds was propped up on the kitchen table.
Posted at 2:36 PM ET, 10/18/2009
On Fox, McAuliffe and Rove Wager $5 on Va., N.J.
Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe appeared this afternoon on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, along with Karl Rove, mostly to discuss recent charges by the White House that Fox's news coverage is slanted. But as the interview concluded, the two got into a brief but spirited debate over the outcomes of the Virginia and New Jersey races.
It started as Wallace was wrapping up the piece, with McAuliffe shouting out, "Democrats big win, Virginia and New Jersey, coming up!" That prompted Rove to pull out a folder he had brought for the occasion and hold up a print-out of a story from the Richmond Times Dispatch that ran just before the June 9 primary between McAuliffe, Brian Moran and now Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds.
"I agree with Terry McAuliffe," Karl Rove said.
"I said Deeds can win. Of course he can win. He's gonna win," said McAuliffe.
Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 10/18/2009
In the Morning Papers, Endorsements Start Arriving
The editorial boards of Virginia's newspapers are starting to make their endorsements for governor.
The Daily Press this morning backed Republican Bob McDonnell. So did Inside Nova, which includes both the Manassas News-Messenger and the Potomac News. Also endorsing McDonnell this weekend were the Winchester Star and the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record.
The Washington Post's editorial board endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning.
Do newspaper endorsements matter?
Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 10/18/2009
Deeds, McDonnell Make Their Cases
The Richmond Times Dispatch published op-eds today from Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell on why Virginians should vote for them on Nov. 3.
Both candidates for governor talk about jobs, traffic, schools and energy.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 10/18/2009
Fact Check: Fueling the Debate Over Taxes
In a campaign that has lately shifted the debate to taxes, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic Party candidate for governor, says Republican candidate Robert F. McDonnell is exaggerating the potential cost that Deeds' proposals would cost Virginia's families.
Leaving aside the GOP's questionable claim that Deeds' total tax tab would amount to about $7,800 per family -- which would require yet another foray into the thicket of computations and counter-computations of the impact of cap-and-trade regulation on American consumers -- let's focus for the moment on the bill for transportation.
Deeds says Virginia needs at least $1 billion in new revenues every year to fix its transportation woes.
He does not specify where the new money will come from, other than to say that he will not use any money that now supports the state's public schools. He tells a scrum of reporters that he will not raise any taxes that go to the state's general fund, such as sales and income taxes. But he promises in writing that, as governor, he would enact a bipartisan, comprehensive transportation plan, "even if" it includes new taxes, to fix "a multibillion-dollar backlog."
For taking this stand, Deeds has won plaudits from some, including the editorial page of The Washington Post. The Post praised Deeds for "political guts" in acknowledging that taxpayers must foot the bill for "tens of billions of dollars in new revenue." The same page dismissed McDonnell's plan, which spurns any new taxes for roads, "as phony-baloney."
Yet when McDonnell accused Deeds during a recent debate -- and now in ads that began airing Oct. 10 -- of supporting "another billion dollars in taxes" or a "billion dollar tax increase," Deeds said McDonnell was lying.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:18 PM ET, 10/17/2009
Does Bob McDonnell Believe in Global Warming?
Yes. Well, sort of.
Republican Bob McDonnell said today that he believes the world has gotten warmer but declined to blame manmade carbon emissions.
"I think it's a real concern, and we need to find ways to be able to reduce (carbon dioxide) emissions," he told reporters after a rally with Sen. John McCain in Virginia Beach. "Well, there's some debate that various scientists are going on. I think the temperature of the earth, from the science I've seen, has gone up and what we need to do is promote reductions" in cardion dioxide.
But does he believe manmade carbon emissions created the problem?
"Look, it's not going to affect my policy decisions. What the policy decision needs to be is to find ways that are creative to be able to reduce" carbon dioxide, he said. "I am going to accept the science that's out there, and the science is that we need to do everything that we can to reduce (carbon dioxide) emissions in the atmosphere."
Posted at 5:17 PM ET, 10/17/2009
College Dems Bus in For Deeds
The Wolverines have arrived for Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Among about 100 canvassers who rallied with Deeds at the Mason District Park amphitheater in Annandale on this rainy afternoon were 30 students from the college Democrats at the University of Michigan. The group is spending their fall break knocking doors for Deeds.
A recent Washington Post poll showed that young voters appeared likely to make up a smaller portion of the electorate this year than in last year's presidential election, when they comprised 20 percent of the electorate. But Sam Marvin, 21, a senior at the University of Michigan, said his group hopes to help get Obama voters engaged for Deeds.
"It's about mobilizing those people. They would vote for him. I don't think there's anyone out there who would vote for Obama and not vote for Mr. Deeds. But it's about making sure they understand this is an important race too," said Marvin, who grew up in Fredericksburg before moving with his family to Kalamazoo.
Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 10/17/2009
McCain Rallies McDonnell Supporters
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, headlined a packed veterans rally for Virginia's Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on a cold, rainy Saturday morning.
About 300 supporters crammed into a Veterans of Foreign Wars post that had been decorated with massive red, white and blue "Veterans for McDonnell" signs.
"This is the man who will bring about fiscal discipline, who understands what it means to balance a budget, who understands what pork barrel spending is, who understands that we have an obligation not just to our present citizens and out present veterans but to our children and our grandchildren and not hand them an unsustainable debt,'' McCain said. "That's Bob McDonnell. He will be a fiscal conservative."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 10/16/2009
The Goracle Lands in Virginia
We learned today that if you bring Al Gore into a state to campaign, you're headed for a discussion about the politics of climate change.
Gore, the former vice president (and almost, but not quite president), who won an Oscar for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth and Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming, is attending a fundraiser dinner tonight with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds at a McLean home. (Tickets are $5,000).
Republicans accused Deeds and Democrats of supporting a "devastating" cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Democrats accused Republican Bob McDonnell and the rest of his ticket of failing to believe in the concept of global warming.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:34 PM ET, 10/16/2009
Democrats Make a Weekend Push In Va.
Organizing for America, an arm of the Democratic National Committee, is asking supporters from other states to travel to Virginia this weekend for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
The group sent emails to thousands of members in D.C. and Maryland, asking for volunteers to door-knock for Deeds, with a goal of working 5,000 hours by next weekend.
"Because this race isn't just about Virginia -- it's about standing up for the progress we've all fought so hard for and making sure our entire country keeps heading in the right direction,'' Mitch Stewart, the group's director, writes in the email.
Deeds will appear at six events with DNC Chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Jody Wagner, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, in Northern Virginia.
McDonnell will appear a veterans rally with Sen. John McCain tomorrow morning in Virginia Beach. He will appear with U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor in Richmond in the afternoon
McDonnell and Deeds do not have any public events Sunday. They will visit churches in the morning and spend the day preparing for the fourth and final debate, which will take place in Ronoake Tuesday night. Deeds will also have a mid-day fundraiser in Richmond.
Check back tomorrow for updates from Deeds's and McDonnell's travels.
In the meantime, read the Organizing for America letter below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:10 PM ET, 10/16/2009
Deeds On Air With TV Ad Accusing McDonnell of Misrepresentation
Democrat Creigh Deeds started airing a new TV ad today in Southwest Virginia accusing Republican Bob McDonnell of mispresenting Deeds on taxes.
The ad refers to the Roanoke Times and the nonpartisian Factcheck.org, both of which have questionned a McDonnell ad claiming Deeds supports a gas tax increase and the federal cap-and -rade bill.
Deeds has said he opposes the cap and trade bill, and has never said what specific tax increase he would support.
"He's running ads fabricating numbers for proposals Creigh Deeds doesn't support,'' Deeds campaign spokesperson Jared Leopold said. "The only thing clear from this ad is that Bob McDonnell will say or do anything to get elected."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 10/16/2009
McDonnell Airs New Ad on Cap-and-Trade
Republican Bob McDonnell began airing a new ad today in Roanoke and Southwest featuring an official from MeadWestvaco talking about the impact of the so-called cap and trade bill.
The ad says that Deeds supports the federal climate change legislation, though he has said in recent appearances that he is opposed.
Meadwest, a paper and packaging company, has a plant in Deeds's state senator district. The company has donated $15,000 to McDonnell and John Luke, its chairman, has given $10,000.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 10/16/2009
Clinton to Campaign for Deeds
The President's coming to Virginia for Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Former President Bill Clinton, that is. Clinton will hold a rally with Deeds somewhere inside the Beltway in Northern Virginia on Tuesday, the Deeds campaign confirms. Also in attendance will be Clinton buddy and Deeds's rival during the primary campaign, Terry McAuliffe.
Clinton did several appearances for McAuliffe before the June 9 primary. His work for Deeds comes as national Democrats swing into action to try to rev up a party base that polls have shown is unenthusiastic about Deeds's candidacy. This evening, Deeds holds a fundraiser with former vice president Al Gore.
Posted at 7:31 AM ET, 10/16/2009
First Click - Virginia
Happy Friday Virginia! Here's what's happening around the state in politics.
More evidence today that Republican Robert F. McDonnell has the advantage with less than three weeks left in the race for governor. As of Oct. 1, McDonnell had $4.5 million in the bank, $1.8 million more than his opponent Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, and in September had about 6,400 donors compared with Deeds's 3,800. Lots more information on the recent reports from all the Nov. election candidates -- and on all things campaign finance -- available from our friends at the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.
Deeds comes to Northern Virginia today, where Organizing for America, the Democratic group that grew out of President Obama's historic campaign, launches a major canvassing push this weekend. While there's still no word on a second campaign visit by Obama to the state, Obama's opponent from last fall, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), headlines a veterans rally for McDonnell in Virginia Beach tomorrow.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:57 PM ET, 10/15/2009
Obama "Will Be Back," Says Deeds
For the second time in week, Democrat Creigh Deeds has virtually promised that President Obama will be back to campaign for him before the Nov. 3 election, even though no date for such an event has been set.
In an interview with Ryan Nobles of Richmond's NBC12, Deeds said, "President Obama will be back in Virginia." Nobles asked the candidate, "Within the next 19 days, we will see you and Barack Obama, standing on a stage in Virginia?" And Deeds answered, "You will, yes."
Deeds told Mark Plotkin something similar last week on WTOP. Yet, Obama has announced a rally for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and so far, no such love for Deeds.
Deeds also tried to explain why he called himself a "Creigh Deeds Democrat" when asked at a recent debate whether he was a "Barack Obama Democrat." Was he trying to distance himself from the president?
"You know, I support the President, but I will not visit my sins upon anyone else. I support the President, I think he is doing a good job, I worked hard for his election last year, I want him to be successful. It is in the interest of every single American citizen that he be successful as President of the United States, But I speak for myself, I am my own kind of Democrat and I have always been a Creigh Deeds Democrat," he said, according to Nobles transcript of the interview.
You can watch the interview here:
Posted at 5:07 PM ET, 10/15/2009
McDonnell Raises $3.8M, Has $4.5M in Bank
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell raised $3.8 million in September and had $4.5 million in the bank going into the final month of the race.
The campaign raised more in September than July and August combined.
McDonnell had 6,440 unique donors. Of those, 4,819 were new contributors and 4,454 gave less than $100.
"With three weeks left in the race we have great momentum and the resources we need to continue to get Bob McDonnell's new ideas and positive vision out to voters across the state,'' said Phil Cox, McDonnell campaign manager.
The Republican National Committee donated $400,000, and several national Republican stars helped McDonnell raise more than $600,000 last month.
Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful, headlined a fundraiser at the offices of the American Gas Association on Capitol Hill. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hosted fundraiser for McDonnell at the McLean home of Dwight Schar, founder of NVR Inc, one of the nation's largest homebuilders. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hosted a breakfast fundraising at a Falls Church Marriott. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty raised $75,000 at a small luncheon at a Richmond hotel. And on the last day of the fundraising period, U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner headlined a fundraiser at the Alexandria home of lobbyist Bruce Gates.
Democratic rival Creigh Deeds raised half a million dollars more than McDonnell in July and August, though McDonnell, who had no primary opponent, had more in the bank.
Posted at 2:24 PM ET, 10/15/2009
McCartney Scorecard: Nothing Changes, McDonnell Wins
Post columnist Robert McCartney is scoring the Virginia governor's race blow-by-blow, round-by-round. Here's how he graded this past week:
The campaign turns static with McDonnell holding the lead. Deeds does better than expected in the first prime-time television debate, but expectations were low and he didn't do anything to turn it around. Deeds is still waiting for Obama to schedule a another event with him in Virginia -- and the delay is highlighted when White House says the president will campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Corzine in New Jersey.
Who do you think won? See and comment on the full McCartney Scorecard.
Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 10/15/2009
National Democratic Jewish Group Makes Push in Virginia
The National Jewish Democratic Council launched a major push Thursday in Virginia, its largest ever in the commonwealth, the organization said. The group will send at least three paid organizers to the state, including one based at the University of Virginia focusing on students, and is also organizing a Virginia Volunteer Corps. There will also be literature drops, phone calls and other grass-roots canvassing.
NJDC Political Director Linda Berg said the group's members were excited by Virginia's turning blue last year and determined to keep the state in the Democratic column this year -- particularly given the national attention on Virginia as harbinger of the 2010 midterm elections.
Posted at 9:10 AM ET, 10/15/2009
UPDATED: Gaffe or No, McDonnell Puts Johnson in Ad
Here's how much Republican Bob McDonnell thinks of calls for him to distance himself from businesswoman Sheila Johnson, after video surfaced of Johnson mocking opponent Deeds' speaking style: McDonnell's latest campaign ad features Johnson.
In the spot, airing as of this morning on Northern Virginia television, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and prominent supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine looks straight into the camera and says, "I'm Sheila Johnson, a Democrat business woman. I know what it takes to start and grow successful businesses and create jobs. That's why I support Bob McDonnell for governor."
She goes on to list some of McDonnell's resume before concluding, "That's why this Democrat strongly supports Bob McDonnell for governor."
Johnson apologized for her comments at a McDonnell event in which she adopted a faux stutter in mocking the way Deeds speaks. Her joke drew condemnation from the National Stuttering Association and others in the disability community and the Deeds campaign had called on McDonnell to apologize as well.
UPDATE: Here's the ad video:
Posted at 7:40 AM ET, 10/15/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening on this rainy fall day in state politics.
Today is the deadline for candidates in November's election to submit their campaign finance reports for September, offering the latest snapshot of the state of the fast-approaching race. Our friends at the Virginia Public Access Project are expected to post the information on their Web site by 6 p.m., and executive director David Poole joined with the Post's Amy Gardner yesterday to answer reader questions about campaign finance.
President Obama came to Virginia yesterday -- but not for Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds, giving fodder to the chattering classes who have been wondering aloud about whether Obama has given up on the Democratic nominee. The questioning intensified yesterday when news broke that Obama has committed to a campaign stop for the other Democrat running for governor this year, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:22 PM ET, 10/14/2009
Democrats Hit McDonnell on Stimulus
U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner will host a low-dollar fundraiser tonight for Republican Bob McDonnell at Jones Day law firm in Washington. More than 100 young professionals are expected to attend.
Democrats didn't say anything the last time the two campaigned together but this time, they seized on the news -- sending out multiple statements criticizing McDonnell for appearing with a congressman who opposes the federal stimulus package and accusing him of opposing it too.
"The question every Virginia voter should ask: why is Bob McDonnell more than happy to take John Boehner's money when it benefits his political campaign, but not willing to take money for roads and infrastructure projects benefiting all Virginians?" DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said.
It's true that Boehner did oppose the federal stimulus money, but it's not clear McDonnell did. He said he wasn't a huge fan of the package, but would accept federal money if elected governor.
"The money is coming from Virginia taxpayers, frankly it's coming from the children of Virginia taxpayers," McDonnell told the Washington Post in February. "I think we ought to take it to the maximum degree as possible."
McDonnell opposed changing Virginia's unemployment system so the state could take advantage of $125 million in federal stimulus money because he said it could translate to higher taxes for businesses. The General Assembly voted to reject the money in April.
Boehner headlined a fundraiser for McDonnell at the Alexandria home of lobbyist Bruce Gates on Sept. 30, raising $120,000.
Posted at 5:54 PM ET, 10/14/2009
Obama Commits to Corzine, but No Word on Deeds
President Obama has not yet agreed to campaign again for Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds--but he's made time for the nation's other Democratic gubernatorial candidate. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's campaign announced today that Obama will be holding a rally for his reelection effort at Fairleigh Dickinson University next Wednesday.
The news comes as Corzine's effort has pulled even with Republican Chris Christie, even as Deeds trails Republican Bob McDonnell by nine points in a recent Washington Post poll.
Obama did visit Virginia today, to tout the impact of the federal stimulus package at the Fairfax County Parkway extension construction project, the largest project of its kind in Virginia and a federal highway project partially funded by stimulus dollars.
But the event was not a campaign stop and Deeds was not present. Also not on site: Democratic Governor and Obama ally Timothy M. Kaine, who stood at the very same project with Obama in February to push for the stimulus' passage in Congress, citing the Fairfax County Parkway as a possible benefactor.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:30 PM ET, 10/14/2009
McDonnell Opposes Regent Hiring Policy
Democrats including Creigh Deeds have been criticizing Republican Bob McDonnell since news broke about the hiring policy of his alma mater Regent University.
But when we asked today, we were told McDonnell opposes Regent's non-discrimination policy that pledges equal opportunities for men and women, consistent with Biblical teachings that men are the head of households.
"Bob McDonnell supports hiring and promoting individuals based solely on merit and ability, and regardless of gender, race, creed, religion, national origin or sexual orientation. He supports equal pay for equal work,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "He does not support any policy to the contrary."
That seems pretty clear, right?
So why then did McDonnell serve for eight years (1998 to 2005) on the Board of Trustees at the Virginia Beach college founded by televangelist Pat Robertson when he opposed the hiring policy?
Here's the answer we got, though it doesn't answer the question: "Bob McDonnell's position is clear,'' Martin said. "He supports hiring based on merit and ability, and nothing else."Continue reading this post »
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.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 10/14/2009
DNC Facebook Ad Links McDonnell, Regent Policy
The Democratic National Committee is launching new ads on Facebook today that will be directed at women, students and supporters of Republican Bob McDonnell.
The ads target McDonnell on his alma mater Regent University, which has a non-discrimination policy that pledges equal opportunities for men and women, consistent with Biblical teachings that men are the head of households.
McDonnell served for eight years on the Board of Trustees at the Virginia Beach college founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. He received both a law and master's degree at the school in 1989. The DNC is trying to spread the word about the school's hiring practice here.
"McDonnell's support for this discriminatory policy can be directly traced to his belief articulated in his thesis that working women were 'detrimental to the family,' " DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said. "We wanted to ensure that Virginians knew that, despite his denials, Bob McDonnell's radical social agenda not only would deny equal rights for Virginians, but would deny them jobs as well."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:19 AM ET, 10/14/2009
Obama in Virginia, But Not For Deeds
President Obama is in Fairfax County today.
But not to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
Instead, Obama visits the Fairfax County Parkway extension today with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to talk about federal stimulus spending.
After days of very public discussions about whether Obama will choose to visit Virginia again on Deeds behalf before Nov. 3 and whether the president is trying to limit his exposure in the swing state in anticipation of a possible Deeds loss, that's got to hurt.
The campaign points out that it's not unusual for Obama to make quick hops across the Potomac to talk about how federal policy is affecting people in the states. And that it would be rare to co-mingle a political event with a policy event. And Jake Tapper of ABC twittered yesterday the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said time is being carved out for the president to campaign in Virginia, New Jersey and New York before election day. (Tapper soon added, however, that Gibbs did not specify "if and whom" Obama would campaign for.)
Plus, you heard it here first, Vice President Al Gore will be doing an event for Deeds--a private fundraiser Friday night in McLean at the home of Al and Claire Dwoskin.
"The White House has been very clear that the Virginia governor's race is a huge priority for them. We've been thrilled with their commitment so far. I think it would not have been appropriate to mix a political event with a visit in his official capacity, and I think people will appreciate that. There's still plenty of time for him to help, and the White House has been remarkably helpful," said Deeds's senior adviser Mo Elleithee.
But if the president has time for Virginia, it's hard to argue he would not have time for Deeds. Maybe Obama will say something about Deeds and transportation while he's talking about the topic in Fairfax? Event starts at 2:05 p.m. and we'll all be listening carefully.
UPDATE: Elleithee has something additional to note--he calls the $177 million Fairfax County Parkway Extension that Obama will tout "incredibly important" to Northern Virginia and says that if Republican Bob McDonnell had had his way on federal stimulus money, the project would not be underway. He said McDonnell tonight holds a fundraiser with House Minority Leader John Boehner, who opposed the stimulus package. McDonnell has said he did not oppose the bulk of the stimulus package--but did oppose a $125 million portion of the package for unemployment benefits in Virginia.
Posted at 7:28 AM ET, 10/14/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning, Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Today's big news in state politics comes not from the Virginia governor's race but from the latest chapter in the Virginia Information Technologies Agency fiasco. A state audit released yesterday shows that the bungled $2 billion contract with Northrup Grumman to upgrade computer systems could end up costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars if canceled.
The news did prompt some response from the two men running for governor, with Democrat R. Creigh Deeds blaming Republican Robert F. McDonnell, who was attorney general at the time, and McDonnell's spokesman blaming Democratic leaders.
The Virginia governor's race continues to get national scrutiny for what the outcome might say about President Obama's presidency. Earlier this week it was the New York Times; last night it was the Newshour on PBS, whose Judy Woodruff moderated Monday's gubernatorial debate in Roanoke. While it's still uncertain if Obama will campaign for Deeds in Virginia a second time, Organizing for America, the political organizing group that grew out of his campaign, has been making robo-calls around the state, according to Huffington Post.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:09 PM ET, 10/13/2009
The Politics of Virginia's Computer Contract
In light of today's stinging legislative audit detailing massive computer problems, Democrat Creigh Deeds accused Republican Bob McDonnell, the former attorney general, of failing to help safeguard the state in its 10-year, $2 billion contract with Northrop Grumman.
"Today's news, coupled with previous reports that Bob McDonnell's office knew of problems in the contract, calls his record into question,'' Deeds said in a statement. "McDonnell owes Virginians answers to questions of what he knew about problems in the contract, when he became aware of them, and whether he did anything at all about it."
The state looked for a private company to oversee its computer system in 2003 after a legislative review showed that its technology was out of date and increasingly expensive to maintain. Then-governor Mark Warner, now a U.S. senator, received approval to consolidate computer operations into one agency and overhauled the system to make it more efficient and less costly.
"VITA was created during a Democratic administration, and is run by Democratic governor Tim Kaine,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "We know that Creigh Deeds is increasingly angry as his negative campaign falls further behind in the polls. His latest baseless attack is as wrong as it is predictable."
The Attorney General's Office will not comment on what advice it provided state agencies with regard to the contract because of attorney-client privilege.
Both Deeds and McDonnell pledged to reform the troubled agency and support changes that would force the agency to report to the governor.
Posted at 2:17 PM ET, 10/13/2009
Johnson Stumps for McDonnell, Makes Less Inflammatory Joke
Northern Virginia businesswoman Sheila Johnson hit the campaign trail again Tuesday with Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell, vowing not to be "intimidated for crossing party lines" only days after she came under fire for comments she made mocking McDonnell's Democratic opponent.
Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and managing partner of the Washington Mystics, had ridiculed the speaking style of state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds at a Sept. 25 campaign event, saying, "The other people I talk to, especially his op-op-op-o-opponent, di-di-did this all through my interview with him."
On Tuesday, Johnson -- a Democrat who has previously supported President Obama and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) in their respective races -- opened up with another joke (prefaced by at least one audible gasp in the crowd). The topic? What the Bible's three wise men would have been like if had been women.
"They would have asked for directions and arrived on time," she noted. "And there would have been peace on Earth."
She later told supporters that she wasn't going "to be intimidated" for endorsing McDonnell, saying she supported Democratic candidates when she "thought they were the right people at the time."
"I did my homework," she said. "Bob is not only the best, but the smartest. His message resonated with me. It's not about party, it's about policy and the person."
She used the phrase "you are powerful," several times during her 10-minute speech, which she said she wrote at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
"You are smart enough, you are beautiful enough, you are powerful enough," Johnson told the gathering.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:57 PM ET, 10/13/2009
Excerpts: Post Columnist Discusses Gov. Race
Washington Post Metro columnist Robert McCartney was online earlier today to discuss the Monday night Virginia governor's race debate, the Deeds and McDonnell campaigns and his recent columns. Some excerpts follow. Read the entire discussion transcript here.
Northern Virginia: I thought that Deeds (in addition to talking issues) worked harder to introduce his biography to voters who are just "tuning in" -- the great uncle's summer camp "all in" philosophy, the four $20 bills going to college, the older Virginians in his family. Do you agree? We did learn about McDonnell's father's Alzheimer's, which is such a shame, but that was the only really personal or emotional thought from him.
Robert McCartney: Yes, Deeds talked a bit more about personal stuff than McDonnell. I've heard Deeds use some of those anecdotes before in public, but he probably figured it made sense to repeat them since this was the first debate televised live in prime time and a lot of people were tuning in for the first time.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:59 AM ET, 10/13/2009
Live Now: Post Columnist Robert McCartney Takes Your Questions
Got questions about last night's debate or the Virginia governor's race in general? Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney is answering those questions, as well as any about his recent columns, right now in a live online discussion.
Posted at 7:11 AM ET, 10/13/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Just about every Virginia publication has a story about last night's bitter debate between gubernatorial candidates R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R), who covered the same wide range of issues that have dominated the race, including transportation, education and the economy. Deeds's performance -- he accused McDonnell of "lying" then acknowledged the language might have been too harsh to reporters later -- will likely do little to appease critics who have said the Democratic nominee has been too negative. More on that from Politico and Talking Points Memo.
Deeds, who is behind in the polls, embarks on his second day of his "Hope and Opportunity Tour" of rural Virginia. McDonnell heads back to Northern Virginia for a Vienna rally with businesswoman Sheila Johnson, whose mocking of Deeds' speaking style apparently did not damage her standing with McDonnell's campaign. (And you can add Rush Limbaugh to the list of folks who have similarly attacked Deeds.)Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:00 PM ET, 10/12/2009
Live-Blog: Virginia Governor's Debate
Beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, the Post will have live video, blogging and more from the debate between governor's race candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell in Richmond.
For a look at what each candidate needs to accomplish tonight, read the preview by Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar.
UPDATE 6:18 p.m.: Apparently our TV partners will not be showing the debate live after all, which means we will be unable to stream it. C-SPAN appears to be streaming the debate live on its Web site, however. It also will be broadcast on WETA and C-SPAN3 in the D.C. area.
UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: We're getting started here. Questions for all of you out there: What could Deeds do to reverse the momentum in this race? How big a gaffe could McDonnell commit and still score a win on Nov. 3? Post your thoughts in the comments. Click through for the live-blogging.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:45 PM ET, 10/12/2009
Kaine Stumps for House Candidates, Calls Nobel 'Great Thing for Our Country'
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) paid a visit to Northern Virginia today in the hopes that his appeal among suburban voters might rub off on four fellow Democrats running for the House of Delegates: Incumbents Paul Nichols (Prince William) and Chuck Caputo (Fairfax/Loudoun), and newcomers John Bell (Loudoun/Prince William) and Mark Keam (Fairfax).
If you'll recall, Kaine won the 2005 gubernatorial race in part by emphasizing the issues that mattered to suburbanites: traffic, development and education. He became the first Democratic gubernatorial candidate in two decades to win Loudoun and Prince William counties, and he still enjoys a 71 percent approval rate in Northern Virginia, according to a recent Washington Post poll -- despite Republican efforts to paint him as a part-time governor because of his second job as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:02 PM ET, 10/12/2009
Updated: Limbaugh Calls Deeds 'Mealy-Mouthed Idiot'
Here's a friend Republican Bob McDonnell probably wasn't looking for.
Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh decided to put on his well-worn pundit's hat and weigh in on the race for Virginia governor.
Wouldn't you know, he thinks Democrat Creigh Deeds has been too negative? He gleefully told listeners that McDonnell remains ahead despite Deeds's attempt to paint McDonnell as "an anti-female caveman."
Why? Because Americans have sourced on the "radical" Democratic agenda.
But here's the part that might be just what Deeds needs to get pumped for tonight's televised debate.
"I'll tell you what I think's going on out there. I think the New York Times must not see the ads in Virginia, the Democrat, the mealy-mouthed idiot named Creigh Deeds."
Mealy-mouthed idiot? Ouch!
Read his full comments here.
Updated: Deeds responded to Limbaugh's comments after the debate tonight. "I feel I've hit the big time!'' he said with laugh. "They've called out the heavyweights on me."
Posted at 3:20 PM ET, 10/12/2009
Johnson's Apology Complete, McDonnell to Campaign Again With Her
Republican Bob McDonnell holds a rally for women tomorrow with Sheila Johnson, a top endorser who apologized last week after video of her surfaced at a previous campaign stop mocking Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style.
"We need someone who can really communicate," said Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. "And Bob McDonnell can communicate. The other people that I talk to, especially his o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-opponent ... could not articulate what needed to be done."
McDonnell declined opportunities last week to apologize for sitting quietly while Johnson poked fun at Deeds. And he clearly does not think the incident made her persona non grata for his campaign, despite condemnation from the National Stuttering Association and others in the disabilities community. He rallies with Johnson and other women supporting his effort at the Tysons Corner Marriott tomorrow. Johnson was a top supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine but endorsed McDonnell, arguing that he would do a better job handling the state's economy. Oh yes, and communicating his ideas for the future.
Posted at 9:20 AM ET, 10/12/2009
GOP Launches New Ad on Deeds and Taxes
The Republican Governors Association is out this morning with a new TV ad in Northern Virginia.
Guess what this one is about? You guessed it. Taxes again.
The new ad shows Democrat Creigh Deeds making what appears to be conflicting statements on taxes during and after the last debate.
"No amount of political double-talk can hide the fact that Creigh Deeds wants to hike taxes," RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said.
Update: By the way, in case you are wondering, McDonnell's and Deeds's campaigns signed an agreement not to use footage of the debate afterward it was over, but the RGA was not part of that agreement.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 10/12/2009
Deeds Ad Suggests McDonnell is Robertson's, Not Fairfax's Own
Democrat Creigh Deeds is not backing off negative campaign ads against Republican Bob McDonnell, at least in the Northern Virginia area.
The campaign this morning releases a new spot already airing in the Washington area, which attacks McDonnell's claim, featured on many campaign signs, that he is "Fairfax's Own" because of his Northern Virginia childhood.
"Bob McDonnell says he's from Fairfax County," the narrator says. "But that was before he attended Pat Robertson's law school. And served on its board." Before, the narrator continues, he wrote that working women are detrimental to the family, he introduced 35 bills on abortion or voted against equal pay for women.
"So no matter what McDonnell claims, all signs say he's not from around here...anymore," it concludes.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:21 AM ET, 10/12/2009
First Click - Virginia - UPDATED
Good morning Virginia! Twenty-two days before Election Day, but who's counting. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
After a brutal week of discouraging poll numbers and questions about his electability, Democrat R. Creigh Deeds will try to make good on his reputation as a strong finisher and turn the race for governor around in its waning weeks. In the face of criticism over what voters perceive as his negative focus, Deeds launched a positive ad yesterday focused on education. And he will have an important opportunity to make his case to Virginians tonight in Richmond, when he faces off against Republican Robert F. McDonnell in the men's first prime time televised debate.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:59 PM ET, 10/11/2009
New Deeds Ad on Education
Democrat Creigh Deeds is out with a new ad, a spot that does not mention his Republican opponent at all and instead focuses on Deeds' education proposals. The ad particularly highlights Deeds' Virginia Forward scholarship proposal, in which Deeds has said he would offer a 50 percent scholarship to any Virginia student at a Virginia public college who maintains a B average and commits to spending two years in public service after graduation.
The ad begins airing now in Richmond and will expand to other markets next week--no word yet on which.
Watch it here.
Posted at 3:11 PM ET, 10/11/2009
Cuccinelli Calls Obama's Nobel "A Joke"
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell may have been "delighted" that President Obama was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize, but his ticket-mate, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, feels a little differently.
"Well, it's official, the Nobel Peace Prize is officially meaningless," Cuccinelli opened his Cuccinelli Compass newsletter to supporters Friday. He went on to quote commentator John Podhoretz about what Cuccinelli termed the "Nobel hilarity." Podhoretz argued that the win is not surprising because Obama represents the Nobel committee's highest ideals because he is "an American President queasy about the projection of American power."
"I suspect that whoever nominated him actually did it as a joke. And how about that, it really did turn out to be a joke," Cuccinelli concluded on the subject.
Posted at 10:57 AM ET, 10/11/2009
Mason-Dixon Shows McDonnell by 8
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which like the Post does live interviews and not automated robocalls, is out with a poll in the Virginia governor's race. And it shows a similar spread to the Post poll last week--Republican Robert F. McDonnell over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds by eight percentage points.
Like the Post, Mason-Dixon, which was funded by the Richmond Times Dispatch and other Virginia press outlets, has McDonnell way up with independents, which will be encouraging to his campaign. The new poll shows him ahead by 15 with that group--a striking lead though not quite the 21 point gap the Post showed last week.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:21 AM ET, 10/11/2009
Fact-Checker: Did McDonnell Support Dropping Mammograms From Health Plans?
It was an alarming advertisement, claiming Virginia's former attorney general supported a bill that would have allowed employers to drop mammograms and cancer screenings from health care plans -- made more alarming by the claim that Robert F. McDonnell was one of only nine attorneys general in the U.S. to do so.
The radio ad, circulated this month by Democratic state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, noted that his Republican opponent McDonnell was one of the nine who had not signed on to a 2006 letter opposing federal legislation that would have allowed employers to not carry such state-mandated benefits.
McDonnell's campaign says the attorney general was also opposed to the legislation, but didn't receive the draft letter. It was sent to the office of his chief deputy, William C. Mims, on April 21, 2006, a Friday, the campaign said. The deadline was Monday, April 24, and the letter was sent to Congress on Tuesday.
That weekend, McDonnell was in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Shenandoah Valley, working and spending time with his family, his campaign said.
Posted at 6:34 PM ET, 10/10/2009
The Kitchen Table: Americans for Prosperity
Today, we told you about how Republicans are more energized about the governor's race this year than Democrats, in part because of disillusionment with Democratic leadership in Washington. Well, "disillusioned" is an understatement for the deep concern felt by many of the folks who attended the "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Crystal City last Saturday, sponsored by the conservative Americans for Prosperity.
The controversial group has played a prominent role at the some of the tense "Tea Party" and health care reform protests around the country, and has been among those loudly asserting that current events in Washington are leading the nation on a path to socialism.
AFP receives most of its funding from a foundation run by two brothers who control an oil-and-gas conglomerate in Kansas. A frequent target of liberal critics, AFP leaders insist that their efforts aren't mere industry-funded "astroturfing," saying that their bus tours around the country are getting an overwhelming turnout from local residents.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:34 PM ET, 10/10/2009
McDonnell Airs New Ad on Jobs
Republican Bob McDonnell launched a new TV ad in Southwest Virginia today that talks about his desire to be a "jobs governor." It's the second ad in a week that accuses Democrat Creigh Deeds of costing families $7,800 -- a number that includes the estimated costs of a gas tax increase and the federal cap and trade bill.
The ad assumes Deeds would support a gas increase, which he has voted for many times in the past, to raise the $1 billion that he says is needed for road and transit improvements, and that he favors a climate proposal with a greater emissions cap than the one being considered by Congress. But Deeds has never said what, if any, gax tax increase he would support as governor and has specifically said he does not support the cap and trade bill.
Read the script below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:51 PM ET, 10/ 9/2009
Palin: McDonnell Personally Asked for Help
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell repeatedly and personally asked former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for help this summer in his campaign for Virginia governor, a Palin spokeswoman said.
But by late August, Palin learned that the McDonnell campaign no longer wanted her assistance, Palin adviser Meg Stapleton said in an interview tonight.
Earlier this week, McDonnell reacted with a bit of sarcasm when asked whether Palin would be campaigning with him. "There was a time earlier on when she was governor when I thought she would come here,'' he said. "But I think she seems to be busy with books and other things like that. We've still got about 20 different events scheduled down the road and she's not one of them."
But Stapleton says Palin is not too busy to come. She says that her boss offered to help McDonnell numerous times both in conversations with him and his campaign and through the Republican Governors Association.
"The Governor, SarahPAC, and I have all communicated to the candidate, the campaign and to the RGA the Governor's continued willingness to assist in any way possible - even as recently as two weeks ago,'' Stapleton said.
Palin drew enormous, enthusiastic crowds in Virginia while campaigning as Sen. John McCain's runningmate during the presidential election last year. But she is a polarizing figure that could turn off independent voters. In the summer, she drew criticism for abruptly resigning as governor and later insisting that the healthcare bill being considered by Congress would cause the creation of "death panels."
McDonnell decision to back away from Palin is typical of his attempt to moderate himself. In his comments this week, he tried to communicate that he did not want to be seen with Palin without saying that it was his decision.
In recent months, he has welcomed a succession of other national GOP figures to Virginia including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:00 PM ET, 10/ 9/2009
Palin a No-Show in Virginia
After the election last year, Republican Bob McDonnell expected former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to campaign with him.
In the summer, even after Palin's stunning announcement that she was resigning as governor of Alaska, McDonnell said he would welcome her to Virginia.
This week, McDonnell made it clear that would not happen.
"There was a time earlier on when she was governor when I thought she would come here,'' McDonnell said after a candidates' forum in Loudoun County earlier this week. "But I think she seems to be busy with books and other things like that. We've still got about 20 different events scheduled down the road and she's not one of them."
But Palin adviser Meg Stapleton told Politico that her boss offered to help McDonnell. Calls and e-mails to Palin's political action committee were not returned. Her PAC donated $2,500 to McDonnell this summer.
Palin's visits to the state drew enormous, enthusiastic crowds of Republicans last year, but Democrats would have a field day with Palin's arrival if she did come here.
Posted at 5:07 PM ET, 10/ 9/2009
Conservative Group Targets Deeds
A political action committee tied to the conservative Family Research Council began airing TV ads accusing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds of flip-flopping on the issues of same-sex marriage and partial-birth abortion.
The Virginia Values Voter PAC ad is airing for one week on cable TV in Southwest Virginia.
"Creigh Deeds is willing to do anything to appease the most radical special interest groups within his party,'' PAC president Connie Mackey said. "His rhetoric doesn't match his votes. It appears he will do and say anything for votes except stick by his own."
Deeds voted for a ban on partial-birth abortion but later changed his mind because he said he worried that the bills were unconstitutional. He, voted to put on the ballot a state constitutional amendment prohibiting civil unions and same-sex marriage, but said he came to regret his decision and to believe that the language was discriminatory and said so publicly before the 2006 balloting.
"Another day, another false attack from Bob McDonnell and his allies,'' said Jared Leopold, a Deeds spokesman. "But all their false attacks don't change the fact that Bob McDonnell pushed 35 bills to restrict a woman's right to choose while not personally sponsoring one bill to create a job."
Posted at 4:18 PM ET, 10/ 9/2009
McDonnell "Delighted" Obama Won Nobel
Don't include Virginia gubernatorial candidate Republican Bob McDonnell among those conservatives who are deriding the Nobel Committee for awarding its Peace Prize to President Obama less than a year after he took office.
"I'm delighted to see the President of the United States bring honor to our country by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize," McDonnell said this afternoon. His Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds issued a statement early this morning praising the committee for its selection.
McDonnell said that he's been on the road and has not extensively read the committee's reasoning for the award, other than that it had to do with Obama's diplomatic efforts. But he said he was pleased with anything that "brings accolades to the United States." And then he repeated, "I'm delighted to see him win the award."
McDonnell's answer stands in stark contrast to others in in his party, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele, who said it was "unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights."
McDonnell has a habit of offering praise for Obama, a way of signaling that he is a moderate willing to work across party lines. He frequently praises Obama's support for charter schools and the president's work to strengthen fatherhood.
UPDATE: Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee responds: "It's nice to see Bob McDonnell join us in celebrating the President's Nobel Prize. I just wonder where this 'delight' was when he said the President shouldn't receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame because he was pro-choice."
Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 10/ 9/2009
Deeds on Obama: 'Yes, He Will.'
Will President Obama be back in Virginia before the Nov. 3 election? The Deeds campaign has spent days saying that they would love to see the president and believe he and the Democratic National Committee will be helpful in the final weeks of the governor's race. But everyone's been careful not to say that Obama will definitely be back, with no date yet offered by the White House.
Until this morning. Asked by Mark Plotkin on WTOP if President Obama will campaign for him, Deeds responded, "Yes, he will." Plotkin then asked where Obama will appear and Deeds answered, "I don't know that yet. I know he will be back in Virginia before Nov. 3."
Posted at 9:54 AM ET, 10/ 9/2009
Sagging in Northern Virginia, Deeds Introduces New Rural Ads
New poll results suggest that Democrat Creigh Deeds do more to sell himself to Northern Virginians, including the traditionally left-leaning inner Washington suburbs, and that voters believe his campaign has become largely negative.
Today we get positive ads from Deeds ... aimed at convincing rural Virginians that he's fighting for them to get their "fair share" from Richmond. And that Deeds will fight for "small towns." And that he understands "your part of the state." And that he's "From Here. For Here." There's a new "Hope and Opportunity" tour in the Shenandoah Valley and Southside. This is all going to give the political pundits something to chew on.
His campaign did make a nod at healing tensions with the White House and energizing Obama Democrats with a statement praising the Nobel Committee for awarding their Peace Prize to the president. "I join the Nobel Committee in standing by President Obama as he continues to spread his message of hope throughout the world," the statement reads in part.
Here's the new TV version:
UPDATE: We're being reminded that Deeds did begin airing a new ad on transportation in Northern Virginia on Thursday. You can watch that ad elsewhere on the blog.
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 10/ 9/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Friday, Oct. 9, 2009
Good morning and happy Friday everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Big news. The Washington Post released a new poll showing that Republican Bob McDonnell has widened his lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds. The entire GOP ticket is up by a hefty nine points.
The poll shows a lack of enthusiasm among many voters who elected President Obama last year and raises questions for the Democrats as they head into the 2010 mid-term elections. Democrats continue to wonder what Deeds's message will be and what the White House's role will be in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Deeds will be a guest on Mark Plotkin's radio show on WTOP at 10 a.m. Listen here. Tonight, he'll join fans at the Riverbend High football game in Fredericksburg.
McDonnell will attend the Patrick County Rally with former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode in Stuart and the Greater Richmond Urban League of Young Professionals candidate's forum tonight.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:55 PM ET, 10/ 8/2009
Post Poll: McDonnell's Lead Widens; Deeds Slips in NoVA
Republican Robert F. McDonnell has taken a commanding lead over R. Creigh Deeds in the race for governor of Virginia, as momentum the Democrat had built with an attack on his opponent's conservative social views has dissipated, according to a new Washington Post poll.
McDonnell leads 53 to 44 percent among likely voters, expanding on the four-point lead he held in mid-September. Deeds's advantage with female voters has all but disappeared and McDonnell has grown his already wide margin among independents. Deeds, a state senator from western Virginia, is widely seen by voters as running a negative campaign, a finding that might indicate his aggressive efforts to exploit McDonnell's 20-year-old graduate thesis are turning voters away.
Posted at 2:02 PM ET, 10/ 8/2009
McDonnell: White House's Support for Deeds Not Deciding Factor
Speaking at an event in Herndon to announce a new plan directed at Virginia retirees, Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell said that while a visit from the president or vice president could lend some "prestige" to his Democratic opponent, it would not be a deciding factor in the race.
"What wins this election is not who endorses who, it will be about who has the vision to lead Virginia," he said when asked by a reporter about the White House's support of Deeds' campaign. ""That's what this election is all about."
White House support for Deeds has become an issue among Democrats following recent news reports that Obama is distancing himself from Deeds.
McDonnell spoke this afternoon at the Herndon Senior Center, visiting with members of the Silver-Light Asian Senior Association to announce a plan to create a discount card program for seniors, toughen penalties for crimes committed against the elderly and to provide state incentives for businesses who purchase long-term health insurance.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:25 PM ET, 10/ 8/2009
Kaine Can't Confirm Obama Visit to Help Deeds Campaign
Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said today that President Obama's support is crucial for Democrat Creigh Deeds to win the Virginia governor's race, but said he could not confirm that Obama would return to the state to campaign.
"The way to win is to energize the huge upsurge of Obama '08 voters,'' Kaine said. "We registered an awful lot of people and we got a lot of them to turn out...We've got to have folks that care passionately about the president and care passionately about Creigh."
So is the president coming?
"I can't say one way or another,'' he said.
But Kaine denies recent news reports that Obama and the White House are distancing themselves from Deeds.
"Obviously the White House is very focused on this,'' Kaine said. "What we are doing at the DNC, ramping up our involvement is definitely in consultation with the White House. They're very focused and every week they're making decision about where to spend time. With the vice president here today and with the addiational resorces from the DNC, the White House is very engaged in this race. They're highly involved, highly engaged and it's not just dollars. We're helping in a lot of ways too."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:24 PM ET, 10/ 8/2009
Deeds Airs Transportation Ad
It doesn't appear that Democrat Creigh Deeds is taking the advice of some of his party's elected officials to stop going negative.
Deeds today released a new statewide TV ad, entitled Dishonest, that, well, is negative. It outlines what some newspapers are saying about Republican Bob McDonnell's transportation plan -- calling it "dishonest" and "dead on arrival."
"This ad proves two points,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "First, Creigh Deeds and The Washington Post editorial board both agree on hitting Virginians with a massive tax hike in the middle of a recession. Second, Terry McAuliffe still knows his politics. He presciently noted yesterday "Creigh pretty much doesn't have to say anything because the Washington Post is out there every day doing it."
Read the script below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 10/ 8/2009
NRA Airs Ad for McDonnell Featuring Bloomberg
The National Rifle Association is airing TV ads on behalf of Republican Bob McDonnell targeting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- and the mob, too.
In the ad, a mobster explains to Virginia voters that it would be in their best interest not to vote for McDonnell if they "know what's good" for them.
"When Mayor Bloomberg got down here, your guy, Bob McDonnell, kicked him out of Virginia, and it was very disrespectful," the man says. "When you vote, I strongly suggest you forget about your freedoms and your Mr. Second Amendment Bob McDonnell."
"I haven't seen the ad; heard about it. I'll leave Virginia politics to Virginians and worry about the politics here," Bloomberg told the New York Times.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 10/ 8/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Vice President Joe Biden returns to Virginia for a second time to help Democrat Creigh Deeds raise some cash at a mid-day event in Alexandria. It's a busy fundraising day for Deeds. Tonight, he appears with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley at the Potomac home of lobbyist Barbara Goldberg Goldman.
Republican Bob McDonnell will discuss plans to aid senior citizens at the Herndon Senior Center. Yes, McDonnell is still rolling out policy proposals less than four weeks before the big day.
Questions continue to arise about Deeds's negative message and whether he can make his case to voters in the last month of the race -- with or without help from President Obama.
The Wall Street Journal weighs into the Virginia governor's race for the second day in a row. This time, the paper reports on the Deeds campaign's formation of 60 book clubs to talk about McDonnell's graduate thesis.
Posted at 3:49 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009
Excerpts: Post Reporters, Bob Holsworth on Gov. Race
Earlier today, Post reporters Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman -- who are assigned to the McDonnell and Deeds campaigns respectively -- and former VCU professor Bob Holsworth (now blogging at Virginia Tomorrow) answered readers questions about the Virginia governor's race. Some excerpts follow. Read the entire discussion here.
And come back next Wednesday for another chat with Post reporters, who will be joined by fundraising watcher David Poole of the Virginia Public Access Project.
Alexandria, Va.: I want to like Deeds but feel he is taking NoVA for granted because it generally skews highly democratic. Does he have any plans for flyers, ads, appearances in the area that would help him convey his stances on the issues or plans for Virginia? So far, he hasn't done that at all (at least as far as I have noticed). He really needs to step up his game and come out with some real details if he wants to do well here.
Rosalind Helderman: Deeds was in Northern Virginia yesterday, attending a forum at the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce in Leesburg. He's doing the Mark Plotkin show on Friday. He also has a variety of television ads up in the area and is sending mail home to voters. Having said that, certainly plenty of Northern Virginians have suggested he has not done enough to explain who he is in this region.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:28 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009
GOPAC Helps McDonnell, Va GOP
GOPAC, a national organization dedicated to electing Republicans to state and local office, is donating $100,000 to gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and Virginia's House of Delegate candidates. More is expected to come.
The group is assisting several Republican House candidates in Northern Virginia including Del. Dave Albo (42nd district), Jay McConville (44th), Barbara Comstock (34th), Rich Anderson (51st) and Jim LeMunyon (67th).
"We are going to win because Bob McDonnell and Republicans running for the House of Delegates have better solutions to the issues that concern voters: low taxes, adequate transportation funding and patient-centered health care," Chairman Frank Donatelli said.
In the spring, GOPAC launched its first ever multi-media campaign to support McDonnell that includes cable TV ads and run ads online using Google search engine advertising, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other media. It also trained House candidates on how to best communicate GOP positions on healthcare and taxes.
Posted at 1:21 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009
Boehner Lends McDonnell A Hand
We don't know yet how much Republican Bob McDonnell raised in September, but we are starting to get some hints.
We told you that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal raised $250,000 for him, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich raised $100,000, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised $100,000 and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty raised $75,000.
Now we learn that on the last day of the one-month reporting period, Sept. 30, U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner headlined a fundraiser at the Alexandria home of lobbyist Bruce Gates, which brought in about $120,000.
For those of you who are doing the math, that's more than $600,000. We'll get his fundraising report on Oct. 15.
Posted at 1:10 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009
National Democrats Step Up Effort for Deeds
National Democrats are stepping up efforts to demonstrate they remain fully supportive of Virginia candidate Creigh Deeds. A new email is going out today from President Obama's Organizing for America to 500,000 Virginia voters urging them to help Deeds and check out Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis. It ties Deeds directly to the president, opening:
"As President Obama said, Creigh Deeds' pragmatic and bipartisan approach to politics "has an ability to bring people together, build consensus and deliver results."
There are also new ads going up on Facebook today urging voters to look into the thesis.
You can read the full OFA email after the jump.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:52 AM ET, 10/ 7/2009
Will Obama Be Back?
Will he or won't he?
Will President Obama be campaigning in Virginia again for Democrat R. Creigh Deeds?
It's the question of the moment as a story appears in this morning's Wall Street Journal citing a source who says the White House is backing off support for Deeds, and Gov. Brian Schweitzer, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, is quoted over the weekend suggesting that the Dems' chances in the New Jersey race are stronger than in Virginia.
No event has yet been announced, and the Deeds campaign continues to say only that they hope one will occur and they are working closely with the White House.
They also insist that all is well with the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, as the three groups hold daily conference calls and coordinate closely. The DGA pumped $250,000 into the campaign last week, and Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee said a $1 million contribution from the DNC announced Monday was not a pledge. It was a check -- wired directly into the Deeds account.
Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 10/ 7/2009
McDonnell Airs New TV Ad
Republican Bob McDonnell launched a new TV ad today that calculates the cost of a pair of proposals that Democrat Creigh Deeds has indicated he supports -- a gas tax increase and the federal cap and trade bill.
The ad assume Deeds would support a gas increase, which has voted for many times in the past, to raise the $1 billion that he says is needed for road and transit improvements. In Virginia, the gas tax produces roughly $50 million per penny, and would take a 20-cent increase to produce $1 billion a year. McDonnell's ad uses information from the state Department of Taxation to determine that a 20-cent increase would cost a household with two cars an average of $300 a year.
The ad assumes Deeds supports a climate proposal with a greater emissions cap than the one being considered by Congress. The cap and trade number comes a U.S. States Department of the Treasury report that found that Americans would see an impact of $1,761 per household if the bill passed.
The ad calculates the number over four years. It is airing statewide except for Northern Virginia:
"Creigh Deeds has the only realistic plan to solve Virginia's transportation crisis,'' said Jared Leopold, Deeds spokesman. "Bob McDonnell's dishonest ads are a desperate attempt to distract from his 'phony baloney' transportation scheme that would take $5.4 billion from Virginia schools. On transportation, the contrast is clear: Creigh Deeds has an honest plan, Bob McDonnell has dishonest, negative ads."
Continue reading this post »
Read the script below:
Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 10/ 7/2009
Get Your Questions Answered, and Debate the Transportation Plans
Today the Post brings you two opportunities to discuss the Virginia governor's race with our reporters and editors and your fellow readers.
At noon today, Post reporters Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman, who are assigned to the two campaigns, will take your questions and comments on the race. They'll be joined by former VCU professor Bob Holsworth, who now runs his Virginia Tomorrow blog. Submit your questions, then watch the discussion from noon to 1 p.m.
Those interested in digging deeper into Creigh Deeds's and Bob McDonnell's competing transportation plans can use our annotation tool to comment on and debate specific points in the candidates' proposals. Click here to see McDonnell's plan or click here for Deeds's.
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 10/ 7/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds shared a stage twice yesterday. Well, sort of.
First, they appeared at a candidate's forum sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. Later, they participated in interviews as part of a previously taped hour-long TV special where Deeds blamed Washington woes for his problems.
Today, McDonnell will shake some hands at the Chesapeake Sheriff's Great American Food Fest while Deeds will discuss his higher ed plans with students and faculty at the University of Virginia.
Sen. John McCain will hold a veterans rally for McDonnell this month, while the Wall Street Journal is just the latest newspaper to wonder if McCain's former opponent, President Obama is distancing himself from Deeds's campaign.
The flap over billonaire BET co-founder Sheila Johnson's remarks about Deeds' speaking styleis not quite over. A Northern Virginia PAC that advocates on behalf of people with disabilities is calling on McDonnell to apologize for his supporter's remarks. The issue has prompted some to wonder if the race is all about style ?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:30 PM ET, 10/ 6/2009
McDonnell Appears on CNBC
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell had to be pleased with his performance on national TV tonight.
In his seven-minute interview on the Kudlow and Company show on CNBC, McDonnell got to tout the federal issues he loves to talk about, received no questions about his 20-year-old thesis and gave his spin on how to fund transportation.
And to top it off, host Larry Kudlow mispronounced Democrat Creigh Deeds's name (It's Cree) and the show flashed an unflattering photo of Deeds (His mouth was hanging open).
Kudlow mentioned that McDonnell was up in the polls, and asked him if Republican wins in Virginia and New Jersey this year will help GOP candidates in 2010.
"The answer is yes,'' he said. "If we are able to win and Chris (Christie) wins in New Jersey, I think people will look at this, in part, as a referendum of left-leaning policies the United States Congress has been advocating -- intrusion into the free enterprise system, more deficit spending, more regulation and say that's not the direction we want to go."
Deeds was invited to appear on the show as well, and his campaign said they are still trying to work out a date.
Posted at 7:42 PM ET, 10/ 6/2009
Deeds v. McDonnell on Politico
Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert F. McDonnell faced off -- well, sort of; they were taped separately in back-to-back interviews -- at a forum moderated by WJLA's Leon Harris and Politico's John Harris and broadcast live tonight.
The two Harrises touched on all the usual subjects -- transportation, taxes, the thesis -- and the two candidates offered all the usual answers. But there were a few interesting moments.
Deeds was shown a video from a similar forum in during the Democratic primary in which he said he was "itchin'" to debate McDonnell in the fall -- and then he was asked why he agreed only to a forum with consecutive instead of joint appearances.
"I do not control the schedule at all," Deeds offered as a defense. Really?
McDonnell, meanwhile, was asked not only to defend his 20-year-old thesis, but to explain the fact that he had a conservative voting record in the General Assembly.
"I didn't," he said.
Finally, the hosts had some fun asking a few more frivolous questions, such as:
Should Jim Zorn be fired? Deeds: No. McDonnell: No comment.
Do you TiVo: No.
Do you watch Tom DeLay on Dancing With the Stars? No.
Do you Twitter? Yes.
Do you own an iPod? McDonnell: No. Deeds: Yes. What's on your iPod? Little Feat, Grateful Dead, other '60s and '70s rock.
Posted at 5:53 PM ET, 10/ 6/2009
PAC for People with Disabilities Demands McDonnell Apology
A political action committee in Northern Virginia that advocates on behalf of people with disabilities is calling on gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell to apologize for remarks made by a top supporter that mocked state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds's manner of speaking.
The controversy arose after Sheila Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of Black Entertainment Television who is backing McDonnell, mimicked Deeds's talking style during a Sept. 25 campaign event as she criticized his inability to communicate effectively. A video of her remarks has received a lot of play on the Web since its posting this week by liberal blogger Ben Tribbett.
"Sheila Johnson enjoys the same freedom of speech that all Americans have, but we are appalled and saddened that she used a political speech and introduction of the Republican candidate for Governor Bob McDonnell to laugh at people who have speech impediments," said Martha J. Toomey, a co-founder of disAbility Votes. The PAC, which is endorsing Deeds, has also supported candidates seeking to broaden insurance coverage for children with autism. "We are especially concerned that the message Mr. McDonnell seems to be endorsing is that of a playground bully making fun of a child who has disabilities. This is unacceptable."
Johnson later apologized. Earlier Tuesday, McDonnell declined to apologize for Johnson's remarks, saying that she had issued a statement "she believed was appropriate."
-- Fredrick Kunkle
Posted at 2:20 PM ET, 10/ 6/2009
McCain to Hold Rally With McDonnell
Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee and former prisoner of war, will hold a veterans campaign rally with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell Oct. 17 in Hampton Roads.
Lou Holtz, the former Notre Dame football coach turned TV commentator, will hold a meet-and-greet with McDonnell on Oct. 26 in Richmond.
McDonnell has appeared with many prominent Republicans, but most events were closed-door fundraisers. These two events are being billed as open to the public.
Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 10/ 6/2009
McDonnell Responds to Johnson Flap
Leaving a forum this morning hosted by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, Republican Bob McDonnell was asked what responsibility he bears for Sheila Johnson's videotaped comments mocking Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style and whether he would apologize for it. McDonnell did not apologize. Instead, he said that he knew that Johnson had issued a statement "she believed was appropriate." He went on to try to explain what he thought Johnson was trying to express in her comments.
"Listen," he told reporters. "Senator Deeds hasn't had any problem for the last two months viciously attacking me on any number of things that misrepresented my position. So I think he's a very good spokesman for his cause. ... The reason she's supporting me, that she said at the announcement speech, is that she believes I've got the best ideas on jobs, the economy and economic development."
"What she was saying, is what I understood her to say ... is that Senator Deeds hasn't been able to put together a comprehensive plan, a positive vision about where he's going to take Virginia. Now that's what I understood from Sheila's statement."
Posted at 1:15 PM ET, 10/ 6/2009
After the Unfortunate Remarks ...
Here's a fun fact on a Tuesday afternoon, 28 days until the big day -- Election Day, that is.
Republicans have been reminding us with some frequency about the number of viewers who have taken a look at the video of Democrat Creigh Deeds's post-debate scrum with reporters in which he struggles to explain whether he would raise taxes and snaps at a female reporter.
Well, check this out:
The clip of Deeds's post-debate scrum with reporters from Sept. 18 now has 52,050 views (and that's with nearly three weeks worth of Web ads directing viewers to the video)
But the video clip of Sheila Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and Bob McDonnell supporter who mocked Deeds's speaking style, now has 61,212 views after a mere 24 hours.
And, in case you aren't one of these thousands of people, you can see both videos right here:
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.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
McDonnell-Whitman Event Canceled
Democrats said today that Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO and current Republican candidate for California governor, canceled a campaign event with Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell because she did not want to be tied to the views he expressed in his 20-year-old graduate thesis.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the event was canceled more than a week ago and would not be rescheduled because the two campaigns could not work out an alternate date. The McDonnell campaign provided confidential emails to The Wasington Post that made clear that the event was canceled 10 days ago due to a miscommunication.
The fundraiser was set to take place Thursday at the Northern Virginia home of businessman John Backus, who has known Whitman since the 1980s. Backus said in an interview that the McDonnell campaign notified him last Monday that Whitman could not attend this Thursday. He said he initially wanted to reschedule the event at his home but that he and his wife, who is pregnant, realized it was too close to her due date.
The liberal group Americans United for Change sent an email to supporters today encouraging them to pressure Whitman not to attend the Virginia event before realizing that the event had already been canceled. Whitman's campaign did not return phone calls today.
The Democractic National Committee and Americans United for Change each sent out two emails tonight that linked the cancellation to McDonnell's thesis.
"I'm sure Meg Whitman didn't want Californians to know that she was not only embracing, but was also raising money for, a candidate who believes that women working outside the home are a 'detriment to the family' and who voted against the principle of equal pay for equal work," DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said.
Posted at 5:27 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
NRA Airs Ads for McDonnell
Get ready for even more TV ads.
The National Rifle Association is spending more than $500,000 on TV and radio ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign spending.
We told you last week that McDonnell and his supporters were outspending Democrat Creigh Deeds and his backers nearly 2 to 1 on TV ads. The NRA ad buy is only going to add to McDonnell's advantage.
Deeds's gun-friendly record earned him the NRA's endorsement in 2005 but cost him the support of former governor L. Douglas Wilder. This year the NRA switched to McDonnell, citing his record as attorney general and Deeds's "flip-flop" on the gun show loophole.
The NRA refused to disclose any details on the radio or TV ads -- so let us know when you see or hear them!
Posted at 4:46 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Sheila Johnson Apologizes for Deeds Remark
We just received the following statement from Sheila Johnson, about the video clip of her appearing to mock Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style:
"Two weeks ago I made reference to Creigh Deeds' inability to clearly communicate effective solutions to the serious problems facing Virginia. I shouldn't have done it in the manner in which I did and for that I apologize for any offense he, or others, may have taken," she said.
Does that end this campaign kerfuffle? We'll see.
Posted at 4:06 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Does Creigh Deeds Have a Stutter?
As the National Stuttering Association releases a statement condemning comments made recently by McDonnell supporter Sheila Johnson, in which she mocked Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style, his consultants fielded question after question this afternoon about whether the Democrat, in fact, has a stutter.
"It's something he's dealt with his whole life," said senior adviser Mo Elleithee in a call with reporters. "He's never sought any type of medical attention for it."
So does he have a stutter? "He sometimes stumbles over his words. He's spoken that way his entire life. He's never sought medical attention for it. There are people out there who have much worse problems. Many of them stutter," Elleithee went on to say.
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."
Posted at 2:16 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Sheila Johnson on Deeds's Speaking Style
This video clip of Sheila Johnson, a supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine now backing Republican Bob McDonnell for governor, has been making its way around the Internet, starting on Ben Tribbett's blog.
In the clip, Johnson, who co-founded BET, talks about her feeling that Democrat Creigh Deeds has trouble articulating his views for Virginia and seems to mock his stammering speaking style. Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee called Johnson's imitation of the rural senator a "petty personal attack."
Deeds himself said at a campaign stop today that he was "disappointed" in Johnson's comments.
"I'm disappointed and I'll be honest. If it's about being smooth or being a slick communicator, I'm never going to win that discussion. But I work as hard as I can to be honest and forthright and tell people what I think and I'm going to continue to work toward creating opportunity and hope and prosperity in every corner of Virginia. I think I've laid out my vision very well," Deeds said.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:22 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Updated: GOP Blasts Kaine on Transportation Spending
Republicans continued to blame Gov. Tim Kaine -- and his would-be successor Creigh Deeds -- for being slow in spending the state's share of federal stimulus money for transportation.
U.S. Frank Wolf and Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity, among others, criticized Kaine this morning on a conference call for not using the money for much-needed existing projects in congested Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
"We could use that money desperately,'' Wolf told reporters. "We're in a critical situation. The economic growth and the opportunities here depend on improving transportation. There are a lot of things up here that that money could be used for."
Republicans have been talking nonstop about transportation stimulus money since Friday, when the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent Kaine a stern letter that said the state is the last in the nation to spend its money.
"These projects have all been on the book for years. I just don't understand why they are not moving," Herrity said. "It seems we ought to be leading the pack, not behind the pack."
Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Education Group Airs New Ad Against McDonnell
The Virginia Education Association has launched a new TV ad, accusing Republican Bob McDonnell of opposing smaller class sizes and teacher raises while supporting vouchers for private schools.
The group, which has been airing ads for two weeks in Richmond and Hampton Roads, directs viewers to a Web site that compares McDonnell's and Democrat Creigh Deeds's education plans. (Check out The Post's take on their education plans).
Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 10/ 5/2009
McAuliffe BBQ Nets $100,000 for House Dems
Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is following through on a promise made in the spring to raise money for Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates, yesterday hosting a barbecue at his McLean home for House caucus chair Ken Plum's political action committee.
It may not be the millions he was rumored to have pledged to candidates if he were the nominee -- though Del. Plum insists the two had never talked numbers -- but Plum said the event netted about $100,000 for his Invest in Virginia committee. That's a pretty sizable figure given that Plum, who had endorsed McAuliffe, says the fund likely will raise $400,000 to $500,000 total this campaign season. And Plum said most attendees at the event were friends of McAuliffe who might not have given to the PAC otherwise.
"I never had an expectation he would necessarily do anything if he didn't get the nomination, so I'm very appreciative," Plum said. "I think he still has the potential for being a force in Virginia politics to keep us looking ahead and being progressive and working hard."
Is nominee Creigh Deeds being as supportive to House candidates? Plum said Deeds is doing what he can, but everyone recognizes he's got a tough campaign of his own to concentrate on. "There's an understanding that while Creigh Deeds is fully supportive and recognizes the need to win the House, he's got a race on his hands," Plum said.
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.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:18 PM ET, 10/ 4/2009
'Fairfax's Own' Pays Homage
Bob McDonnell's visit to a Fairfax County GOP breakfast pep rally yesterday was a homecoming of sorts. The Burke Fire Department hall was surrounded with those familiar "Fairfax's Own" signs, and the more than 300 activists getting pumped over coffee and pancakes were more than happy to claim him as their own.
But the visit also offered an acknowledgement of the role the county has played this year in reviving Republican hopes after a morale-crushing few years in the once-red state.
McDonnell, who leads Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the polls, gave a particular shout-out to Fairfax supervisors Pat Herrity and John Cook, whose better-than-expected performances in a couple of elections (along with the success of Republican Frank Fannon and GOP-endorsed independent Alicia Hughes in Alexandria and a close House of Delegates special election in Arlington) helped create momentum for Virginia Republicans this year. ""Pat Herrity and John Cook, the leaders of the revolution," McDonnell said to thunderous applause.Continue reading this post »
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.
Posted at 11:29 AM ET, 10/ 4/2009
DNC To Donate Another $1 Million to Deeds
The Democratic National Committee will announce tomorrow that it is donating another $1 million as well as additional in-kind contributions to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
That brings the DNC commitment in Virginia to more than $6 million -- roughly equal to the Republican National Committee's pledge of $7 million to aid candidate Bob McDonnell.
The DNC, chaired by Gov. Tim Kaine, made the decision to donate more money and other resources to Deeds after seeing McDonnell's lead narrow considerably in recent weeks.
"We see a real strong opportunity here,'' said Brad Woodhouse, DNC communications director. "We're real pleased with the direction of the race."
The DNC's $1 million check will be sent to Deeds tomorrow.
"We're thrilled with the additional commitment from Governor Kaine and the DNC,'' said Mo Elleithee, a senior adviser to the Deeds campaign. "The fact that they are digging so deep shows that they're fully committed to Creigh and to this race, and we are very appreciative of their support."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:01 PM ET, 10/ 3/2009
Deeds Country Comes to Richmond
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds received a warm welcome at the annual Second Street Festival this afternoon in the historically black neighborhood of Jackson Ward in Richmond.
The event -- known by locals as the Two Street Festival or the Deuce -- was truly Deeds Country.
The predominately African American crowd gathered around Deeds, dressed casually in khakis and a polo shirt, to shake his hand, snap his picture, wish him luck. Most were wearing blue Deeds stickers. There were no McDonnell stickers in sight.
"I think you're going to win,'' one man yelled over the crowd.
"Governor! I'm going to call you governor already!" another man said as he reached out to grab his hand.
Deeds was accompanied by Gov. Tim Kaine, a festival regular since 1995, and most of the city's African American leaders, including Mayor Dwight Jones, Del. Jennifer McClellan and Sens. Don McEachin and Henry Marsh. Steve Shannon, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, also worked the crowd.
Jones, a former House member who used to lead the legislative black caucus, said Deeds has momentum. "He's right where he wants to be,'' he said. "We just want to make sure there is no slippage in the black community."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:40 PM ET, 10/ 3/2009
A McCain-McDonnell Event on the Horizon?
Will Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain be headlining a rally for gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell sometime soon? Maybe.
While shaking hands at a fall festival in Manassas today, McDonnell told a voter that McCain would be holding a veteran's rally for him.
But asked about McCain shortly after, McDonnell sounded less certain. He said McCain, who held a fundraiser for McDonnell back in March, told him months ago he was interested in holding an rally for veterans, likely in Hampton Roads, but there is no date.
"I know we were working on that," he said. He promised his staff would be back in touch to provide the "straight scoop" on any event.
"I must have misspoken on that," he added.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:15 PM ET, 10/ 2/2009
Schweitzer: Dems Have Better Shot in New Jersey
The head of the Democratic Governors Association suggested Friday that Democrats would have a better shot at winning the governor's race in New Jersey than in Virginia, although he said the revelation of Republican Robert F. McDonnell's controversial thesis could hurt the GOP in the commonwealth.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said in an interview that Democrat R. Creigh Deeds is "a good candidate," but was more laudatory of Gov. Jon S. Corzine's campaign in New Jersey. Schweitzer believed Corzine would win re-election despite many public polls showing the Democratic incumbent lagging behind Republican Chris Christie.
In Virginia, Schweitzer said McDonnell's graduate thesis detailing his conservative social views shows him as "out of step with most of Virginia."
"Creigh Deeds is a good candidate, he'd be a strong governor and he's building his coalition in the way that he sees fit," said Schweitzer, who was in Washington this week for a Democratic Governors Association fundraiser featuring President Obama.
In Virginia's Democratic primary, Schweitzer endorsed Terry McAuliffe and campaigned with him in the closing days before the June vote. Asked if he had put his prestige on the line by doing so, Schweitzer said: "I didn't have any prestige when I started. Nobody had ever heard of me in Virginia."
Since then, Schweitzer said, he has had little contact with Deeds, although the Democratic Governors Association staff has been working closely with the Deeds campaign.
At a recent debate, Deeds was asked whether he would consider himself an "Obama Democrat," and paused before eventually saying: "I'm a Creigh Deeds Democrat." Asked what Deeds's remark said about the popularity of Obama and the Democratic Party in Virginia, Schweitzer said: "I don't know. You'd have to ask Creigh Deeds."
-- Philip Rucker
Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 10/ 2/2009
New Deeds Ad: Elections Matter"
Democrat Creigh Deeds has been the star of the most recent Republican ads in the governor's race. Now Deeds is making Republican Bob McDonnell the star of his most recent spot.
This ad is designed to the be exclamation point on the Deeds argument that social issues have been the driving force in McDonnell's public career, using footage of McDonnell telling the National Right to Life Committee last year that elections are important because they determine whether pro-life lawmakers reach office. The Deeds campaign says it will air statewide from now until Nov. 3.
Watch the ad here:
Posted at 1:33 PM ET, 10/ 2/2009
Two New McDonnell Ads Are Up . . .
... and boy, are they tough.
The first, called "Trust," shows a series of women defending Republican Bob McDonnell's record of working with women and advocating on behalf of women and children.
The second, called "Reality TV," mirrors the new Republican Governors Association piece that shows video of Democrat Creigh Deeds answering questions last month after the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate about whether he would raise taxes. It features a starring role for Washington Post columnist Bob McCartney.
One interesting note about "Trust" is that McDonnell's campaign did what Deeds refused to do when the Democrat launched an ad of women criticizing McDonnell: He provided the names and affiliations of the women in the spot. All are current or past co-workers of McDonnell's who are supporting him for governor.
Another interesting note about "Trust" is that it sure seems like the McDonnell campaign is placing new emphasis on the women's vote -- contrary to spokesman Tucker Martin's assertion to the contrary earlier this week.
And on "Reality TV": It's a minute long, but it's in rotation across Virginia, even pricey NoVa. The other one's rotating across the land as well.
View the two ads here:
Read on for the scripts.
Posted at 7:06 AM ET, 10/ 2/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Fri., Oct. 2, 2009
Happy Friday! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
With a new push in Northern Virginia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and his friends at the Republican Governors Association are now airing twice as many ads than Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, even counting ads run by the Virginia Education Association.
The Democratic Governors Association spent millions in the spring trying to tarnish McDonnell while the Dems were fighting it out before the June primary. Was that a mistake? Will Gov. Tim Kaine let his DNC be outspent by the RNC? Will President Obama let that happen? Talk to us Nov. 4.
At a forum attended by a who's who of Virginia politics, both Deeds and McDonnell endorsed awarding tens of thousands of new college degrees in future years. Neither said much about how they would pay for that.
Posted at 5:41 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
RPV Blasts Deeds for GOP-Backed Bill
The Republican Party of Virginia held a conference call this afternoon with physicians Del. John O'Bannon and delegate candidate Chris Stolle, as well several other doctors, to slam Democrat Creigh Deeds for sponsoring a 1999 bill that would have raised Virginia's cap on medical malpractice settlements from $1 million to $3 million.
"During our last real malpractice crisis, to triple the cap is just real bad judgment," O'Bannon said.
But here's something kind of interesting about that bill: Though co-sponsored by Deeds and then-delegate, now Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman C. Richard Cranwell, its chief sponsor was Republican Del. Terry Kilgore, brother of the GOP's last gubernatorial nominee, and himself a possible future Republican candidate for Congress.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:55 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
Environmental Groups Back Deeds
Put this one into the rather large and growing file of not-very-surprising endorsements: the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters joined today to endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor.
They noted Deeds has received an 86 percent on the LCV's legislative scorecard; Republican Bob McDonnell got an 18 percent. They praised Deeds for his work preserving rural land in Virginia and said they believed he was better-positioned to help Virginia become a leader in alternative energy technologies. And they slammed McDonnell's transportation as relying on a "false promise" of future oil drilling revenues.
"Creigh Deeds is going to work for a common sense solution on that rather than offering false promises that do nothing but dig us in deeper," said Lisa Guthrie, executive director of the Virginia LCV.
Posted at 1:38 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
Updated: Northern Virginia Tech Group to Endorse McDonnell
Republican Bob McDonnell picked up the support today of the Northern Virginia Technology Council's PAC -- marking his second major business endorsement in the all-important vote-rich region.
The political arm of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce endorsed McDonnell over Democrat Creigh Deeds last week.
The NVTC has about 1,000 member companies representing more than 200,000 employees and is considered one of the premier business groups in the region.
The TechPAC board voted to endorse McDonnell after interviewing both candidates this week and examining their voting records on issues of importance to Northern Virginia's technology community.
"The trustees determined that Bob McDonnell is a strong leader with specific proposals to ensure Virginia remains a competitive and innovative global technology center," said Dendy Young, TechPAC chairman and CEO of McLean Capital. "McDonnell has a consistent history of working closely with our technology industry and will build on his record of developing and supporting Virginia's technology initiatives and on his long-term commitment to business development in the commonwealth."
Still, the endorsement wasn't too much of a surprise. In 2005, the group backed Republican Jerry Kilgore over Democrat Tim Kaine.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
GOP Governors Group Features Deeds in New Ad
It's never a good thing for a candidate when he is the star of the video clips used in campaign ads by the other side. But as soon as the media scrum concluded after the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debate, it was pretty obvious that Republicans would be using footage of Creigh Deeds's bumbling answer on taxes for transportation in an ad sometime soon. And now they have.
The Republican Governors Association will spend $1.7 million over the next three weeks to air "Deeds Uncut" in Northern Virginia. Also featured prominently in the ad is our colleague Bob McCartney, pressing Deeds on taxes.
Watch the ad here.
Posted at 7:06 AM ET, 10/ 1/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
We hope everyone really lurves those campaign ads. For those of us in Northern Virginia, the pace is picking up significantly today, as a big three-week, $1.7 million blitz by the Republican Governors Association for Bob McDonnell hits the airwaves.
McDonnell joins Democrat Creigh Deeds, Gov. Tim Kaine and others today at a forum to discuss higher education organized by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council. Post columnist Bob McCartney thinks neither gubernatorial candidate has said enough about how they would pay for their ambitious higher ed proposals.
Sometime afterward, Deeds heads to North Carolina, where will attend a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Bev Perdue and former longtime Gov. Jim Hunt in downtown Raleigh. McDonnell will tour a charter school in Richmond.
Have we mentioned before our reservations about polls that perform automated robo-calling? Right, they still exist. Another such poll came out yesterday--Rasmussen Reports showed McDonnell up by a wide margin.
Both candidates were pretty quiet yesterday, as they raced to meet the September 30 fundraiser deadline. Deeds got a boost from AFSCME, which donated $400,000 to his effort this week.
At least 75 people also crowded into a newly opened Deeds campaign office in downtown Falls Church Wednesday night, where Deeds was joined by local political luminaries and former rival Brian Moran.
Here's a special First Click report on the event: It was Moran's second appearance with Deeds in as many days, the continuation of his reappearance since his defeat to Deeds in the Democratic primary in June. But after a long summer in Maine with his family, Moran is back.
He was a bit late, but it made for good speechifying in his home territory: He got stuck in traffic. After bounding up onto the dais and grabbing the microphone, Moran led the crowd in a spirited pep talk on why Deeds is the only choice for Virginia, and began with a story about Falls Church's top-rated schools and how Republican Bob McDonnell's plan to improve roads with general fund growth could harm those schools.
"I hear this fellow from Virginia Beach telling me about Northern Virginia traffic," Moran said. "He's coming to Northern Virginia, telling me, 'We have to do something about the roads in Northern Virginia.' You don't have to tell me about the roads in Northern Virginia! It's a frustration. It's a daily frustration. But we in Northern Virginia, especially here in Falls Church, understand that we will not fix our roads at the expense of our school children."
After the event, Moran and Deeds left for a fundraiser hosted by Moran.
Posted at 8:37 PM ET, 09/30/2009
RGA Spends $1.7M on Ads, DGA Donates $500K
The Republican Governors Association plans to spend $1.7 million on TV ads for Bob McDonnell in Northern Virginia starting tomorrow, according to several sources familiar with the ad buy.
The RGA has been airing $2 million worth of ads across the state since late August, but this will be the first time the group is spending money in the pricey Washington market. The $1.7 million will pay for ads for the next three weeks.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Governors Association wrote Creigh Deeds another check this week -- this one for $250,000. The DGA gave Deeds a total of $500,000 in September on top of $500,000 in June. The DGA has spent more on this year's Virginia governor's race -- $4 million in cash and TV ads -- than any other race in the group's history.
Posted at 5:03 PM ET, 09/30/2009
New Deeds Radio Ad for Northern Virginia
Democrat Creigh Deeds has a new radio ad, versions of which will play in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Both are about jobs, education and transportation, slamming Bob McDonnell's plans on the topic and then transitioning to praise for Deeds's proposals. It opens by trying to make McDonnell regret accepting that Chris Wallace invitation to appear on Fox News last weekend.
The ad's got a woman and man talking to each other. "So this Bob McDonnell is not all he's cracked up to be..." the woman says to the man.
"I know, Fox News just said his jobs and transportation plan just doesn't add up," the man says.
And she responds: "Fox News?"
Take a listen to the Nova version here:
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.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:20 PM ET, 09/30/2009
Updated: Is Bolling Criticizing McDonnell, Too?
In recent days, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has been attacking Democrat Jody Wagner for quitting her job as state finance secretary to run for office.
"Ms. Wagner quit to run for higher office, putting her own personal political interests ahead of Virginia's interests and the fulfillment of her responsibilities as Secretary of Finance,'' Bolling wrote in a news release yesterday.
Bolling, of course, remained in his part-time job to run for reelection. But wait a minute.
His friend and running mate, Bob McDonnell, quit his job as attorney general to run for governor. Is Bolling criticizing McDonnell, too?
The folks at the state Democratic Party want to point out this obvious disconnect.
''Do you think Bolling has ever confronted McDonnell about his decision to step down as Virginia's Attorney General to run for governor?'' the party wrote in a news release. "Judging by his willingness to campaign with McDonnell across Virginia, it seems as if Bolling has opted to put HIS personal political interests first and stayed quiet."
Updated: Matt Wells, Bolling's campaign manager responds. "There is a fundamental difference between the two. Bob McDonnell left office as one of the most successful attorneys general in modern Virginia history. He accomplished the goals he laid out when he entered office and left the attorney general's office in excellent standing. On the other hand, Jody Wagner totally mismanaged the state's finances. She missed her revenue projections by 20 percent points and created $7 billion in budget shortfalls. And then, when the extent of her financial mismanagement became known, she quit and asked the people of Virginia to give her a promotion. She put her personal political interests ahead of the people's interests and didn't even stick around to help clean up the mess she created."
Posted at 12:24 PM ET, 09/30/2009
Excerpts: Post Reporters Take Questions on Governor's Race
Washington Post staff writers Amy Gardner and Sandhya Somashekhar were online Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss Virginia politics and the Race to Richmond.
See some of their answers to readers' questions below, or read the full transcript.
Aldie, Va.: When the Post broke the thesis story, did you detect a shift in Deeds's focus on issues? Aside from social concerns, what issues does Deeds talk about the most on the campaign trail?
Amy Gardner: Hello, and thanks for the question. There's no question that Deeds's campaign strategy shifted pretty significantly after the story of the thesis broke on Aug. 30. Certainly his campaign was planning to focus on Bob McDonnell's record of conservatism, particularly on such social issues as abortion and covenant marriage. But since then it's been pretty much a blitz about McDonnell's thesis and the votes he's taken in the General Assembly that have matched some of the ideas laid out in it.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 09/30/2009
VPBA Endorses Deeds, Four Years After Backing McDonnell
The Virginia Police Benevolent Association has endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor. The group's announcement comes on the heels of the Fraternal Order of Police's endorsement of Republican Bob McDonnell last week. But the FOP also endorsed McDonnell in 2005 when the two ran against each other for attorney general.
The VPBA, on the other hand, is switching teams -- after endorsing McDonnell in 2005, this time the group has gone with Deeds. And, to put an exclamation point on their bipartisan nods, the same group is also backing incumbent Republican Bill Bolling for reelection as lieutenant governor.
Deeds Country helpfully notes that McDonnell called the VPBA's endorsement one of the "most important endorsements that a candidate can have" when he received it in 2005. (Full context: McDonnell's quote referred both to the VPBA and the FOP nods in 2005. "These are the most important endorsements that a candidate can have," McDonnell told The Post. "I think they show that I've received the support from the law and order community.")
Group president Jason Knorowski said Deeds won the group's backing by demonstrating "his support for issues that are important to law enforcement and keeping our neighborhoods safe."
Posted at 7:03 AM ET, 09/30/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Wed., Sept. 30, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Remember soccer moms? And security moms? The Virginia election this year is shaping up to be a battle for working moms--and other women--as Democrat Creigh Deeds senses opportunity and makes an explicit appeal to the group that make up 54 percent of registered voters and Republican Bob McDonnell works to defend ground with the group.
In the category of the not very surprising, Gov. Linwood Holton, Virginia's first Republican chief executive since reconstruction and, oh yes, Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law, endorses Deeds. McDonnell joins Republican attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli to talk mental health.
Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 09/29/2009
Virginia's Regional Divide on the Issues
Our colleagues on the polling team have put up an interesting analysis of perceptions of the Virginia governor's race in Northern Virginia versus the rest of the state in the most recent Washington Post poll on their blog, Behind the Numbers.
Take a look here.
Posted at 3:51 PM ET, 09/29/2009
New Deeds Ad: 'Detrimental'
Democrat Creigh Deeds has a new McDonnell thesis-related ad going up in television markets statewide. The new ad begins, "What kind of person writes a thesis calling working women 'detrimental to the family' ... then lies about his opponent to cover up his own record?"
I don't think we're supposed to conclude a very good one!
As this race gets nastier and nastier, the ad relies heavily on newspaper clips to slam Republican Bob McDonnell as a guy running a deceptive campaign. (In that regards, it's similar to a McDonnell ad that went up last week that makes the same claims about Deeds.)
You can watch the new spot here:
Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 09/29/2009
Updated: McDonnell, Cuccinelli Talk About Mental Health
Republican candidates Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli released their plans to improve mental health care in the state on a conference call today with reporters.
The proposal includes improving services for children, adolescents and veterans, allowing people who are receiving in-patient care to transfer to out-patient care with oversight, requiring that temporary detention orders be issued by 72 hours from detention to hearing, encouraging partnerships between schools and mental health providers, providing better care at jails and allowing trained law students to represent willing petitioners with behavioral health issues.
"Mental health care is a critically important issue that unfortunately often is overlooked,'" McDonnell said. "We must improve and expand community based mental health care."
Read the full plan here
Update: Democrats criticize McDonnell and Cuccinelli for supporting a trabsportation plan that they say will divert from the general fund for core services, which could include mental healthcare. "The Republican campaign strategy of smoke and mirrors continues," said Allison Jaslow, spokeswoman for the state Democratic party. "I imagine it will be difficult to improve the quality of mental health care in the state of Virginia, when Bob McDonnell actually plans to eliminate one of its dedicated sources of funding."
Posted at 11:28 AM ET, 09/29/2009
McDonnell Receives Another Business Endorsement
We told you before that Republican Bob McDonnell is the choice of many of Virginia's business groups -- or at least the groups that endorse in the governor's race.
Here's another sign: This morning, McDonnell was endorsed by yet another business group -- this time the Virginia Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, representing more than 600 construction and related companies across the state.
"Bob McDonnell is a proven leader with a record of protecting the free enterprise system,'' said Pat Dean, the group's president. "He is the candidate best prepared to get our economy back on track and help Virginia's business owners create great jobs statewide."
McDonnell has been endorsed by the Fairfax County and Hampton Roads chambers of commerce as well as groups representing realtors, farmers, credit unions and small businesses.
Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 09/29/2009
Former Gov. Holton Endorses Deeds
Former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, who in the 1960s became the first Republican elected to statewide office since Reconstruction, endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning.
The nod was not exactly a surprise -- Holton is Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law and has been backing Democrats for office for a while now. Holton lives in Richmond, but the campaign chose the Clarendon Metro stop as the location for a press conference on the announcement -- all the better to get on D.C. area television to talk about, what else, transportation.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 09/29/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Election Day is exactly five weeks away. And it feels like it. The campaigns are in full swing -- working around the clock, rolling out policy plans, airing new TV ads.
Democrat Creigh Deeds heads back to a metro station this morning -- this time, to unveil an endorsement from former Republican Gov. Linwood Holton. (Didn't we already know Holton supported Deeds? After all, he's Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law and he's endorsed Democrats in most recent statewide elections, including Barack Obama).
Deeds debuted a TV ad yesterday featuring U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, arguably the most popular politician in the state.
Republican Bob McDonnell rolls out another policy -- on mental health -- this morning on a conference call with reporters.
McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling released the second part of their good government plan yesterday. McDonnell also raised $350,000 at a pair of fundraisers with
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Virginia Business magazine takes a look at how Deeds and McDonnell plan to create jobs and boost the economy. And as part of his voter series, Joel Rubin of Cox1Hampton Roads has posted new interviews with Deeds here and here, and McDonnell here and here.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:12 PM ET, 09/28/2009
All Aboard! Deeds Campaigns on Metro
Yes, that really was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds riding the blue line through Northern Virginia this morning. No, he wasn't commuting to his Alexandria office.
Deeds rode the blue line nine stops from Franconia-Springfield to Rosslyn, shaking hands, handing out literature and introducing himself to potential voters from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. He got out at some of the stops, including King Street, where he was accompanied by son, Gus, and Alexandria Mayor William Euille (who did a Q&A for this weekend's Post Magazine).
Posted at 2:22 PM ET, 09/28/2009
Updated: McDonnell, Bolling Unveil Good Government Plan
Republicans Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling rolled out the second part of their "good government plan" to bring more fiscal responsibility to Richmond through changes to the way the state budgets and spends money.
The plan includes a more accurate revenue-forecasting model, increasing the size of the rainy-day fund and instituting performance audits of major agencies. Read the whole plan here.
Back in May, they released a plan calling for bipartisan redistricting, limits on political contributions to executive branch officials, creation of a watchdog group to eliminate waste in state agencies and greater lobbyist disclosure.
"We must put an end to the roller coaster spending by Richmond,'' McDonnell said. "That will require exercising spending restraint, not just in bad times but in good times, too."
McDonnell used the call to -- again - to criticize Democrat Creigh Deeds for supporting a tax hike and to praise former governor Doug Wilder, who as we all now know snubbed Deeds last week by announcing that he would not support him.
Posted at 1:35 PM ET, 09/28/2009
UPDATE -- Everyone Owns Bob McDonnell
Have you noticed how many local ties Republican Bob McDonnell has across Virginia? Fairfax's Own! Virginia Beach's Own! As McDonnell has said again and again: "I'm basically your local candidate all over the state. It doesn't matter where you live."
We wrote about this topic a while back, but those yard signs keep popping up showing McDonnell's personal ties to [community name here], so the time has come for a proper photo gallery.
We're also launching a contest to name the next generation of signs. Certainly "Henrico's Own" is in the offing, as that's where McDonnell lives now. And "Richmond's Own", where he's worked for the past four years. How about "Third Crossing's Own?" or "Notre Dame's Own?" What other slogans can you think of?
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin was happy to speak seriously about his candidate's ties to different parts of the state.
"Bob has deep and personal connections to both Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, two dynamic and growing regions of our state," Martin wrote in an email a few moments ago. "He was raised in Northern Virginia. And he raised his family in Hampton Roads, and represented Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates for 14 years. We want all Virginia voters to know about his connections to these two regions. They provide Bob with the kind of broad understanding of Virginia that is of great benefit to someone seeking to serve as governor of all of Virginia."
Keep the slogans coming as well as the pictures -- we'll gladly expand the photo gallery with your images and ideas. And don't forget -- we jabbed Democrat Creigh Deeds last week for an interesting placement of a "Deeds Country" sign in the middle of Great Falls mansion-land.
UPDATE: Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold wins the prize for the first contest entry: "It doesn't matter where in Virginia you're from, taking $5.4 billion from our schools is bad for every community. We're looking forward to seeing that on a sign."
Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 09/28/2009
Deeds Airs Another Ad on Electric Rates
First, Democrat Creigh Deeds aired an ad accusing Republican Bob McDonnell of supporting power rate increases during an economic downturn. Then, McDonnell responded with an ad saying he saved $300 million in rate increases as attorney general.
Here we go again. Deeds is back with another ad about rate increases in response to McDonnell's ad.
Deeds' campaign did not initially release the ad or post it on its Web site, leading the McDonnell campaign to issue this press release: "After multiple editorials finding Creigh Deeds's attacks on Bob McDonnell regarding electricity rate increases to be completely without merit and false, the Democrat has now gone up with a NEW ad reiterating the same erroneous claims. As of this press release, it does not appear the Deeds' campaign has posted this new ad to their website, perhaps aware of the new lows the ad reaches."
Post reporter Derek Kravitz fact-checked the electricity-rate issue earlier this month.
Posted at 12:29 PM ET, 09/28/2009
UPDATED: Jindal Raises Money for McDonnell Tonight
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will headline a fundraiser for Republican Bob McDonnell tonight at the McLean home of Dwight Schar, founder of NVR Inc, one of the nation's largest homebuilders.
The event will be attended by about 20 people and is expected to raise about $250,000. For those who need a quick math calculation, that means the guests would donate an average of $12,500.
McDonnell will be joined by Sheila Johnson, the wealthy co-founder of Black Entertainment Television who endorsed him earlier this year despite being a major Democratic fundraiser.
Schar donated $5,000 to McDonnell last year, and was a major fundraiser for Republican John McCain in Virginia last year.
McDonnell has campaigned with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. This is Jindal's second trip to Virginia.
Updated: We neglected to tell you that McDonnell raised $100,000 at a breakfast fundraising this morning with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at the Falls Church Marriott.
Posted at 11:04 AM ET, 09/28/2009
O'Malley Helps Deeds Raise Money
Democrat Creigh Deeds will make a brief stop in neighboring Maryland next week to raise money as he heads into the final month of the governor's race.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Turnbull will host a fundraising reception for Deeds Oct. 8 at the Potomac home of lobbyist Barbara Goldberg Goldman.
"Our friends and neighbors just across the Potomac River and the entire Democratic Party need our help!'' according to the invitation. "Here is an opportunity to help Creigh continue serving the fine people of Virginia, and to keep Virginia blue! This race is in the home stretch with just under 37 days to go and, according to recent polls, is neck and neck."
Read the full invitation below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/27/2009
McDonnell Appears on FOX News Sunday
Anyone who thinks FOX News goes easy on Republicans should check out Chris Wallace's interview with Republican Bob McDonnell this morning.
McDonnell faced a barrage of tough questions on FOX News Sunday including: Why did he vote to slash the the governor's opportunity fund if he now supports it? Will he cut education to pay for transportation improvements? Did he introduce any bills to create jobs in his 14 years in the legislature? How does he explain the "radical agenda" he wrote his graduate school thesis 20 years ago?
McDonnell mostly held his own, providing the national audience with many of the same answers he has been giving here in the state during the campaign.
"I've spent a lot of time in my legislative career and as attorney general finding ways to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on folks, to create tax credits for jobs creation -- all of which I think contributed to the real good economic base in Virginia,'' McDonnell said.
Democrat Creigh Deeds had been invited to appear several times, according to Wallace, but declined to participate in what had been set up as a debate. Deeds campaign said he offered to appear alone, but that the show declined.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 09/27/2009
Deeds, McDonnell and Northern Virginia Promises
The Washington Post asked Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell to pen op-eds explaining what they would do to help Northern Virginia if they were elected governor.
The exact question they were asked: "If you're elected, what will you do to improve the lives of the people in Northern Virginia? Please be as specific as you can."
Posted at 4:34 PM ET, 09/25/2009
Ad Watch: 'Transportation Contrast'
Republican candidate for governor Robert F. McDonnell took a page from his opponent in a recent television ad, quoting extensively from the Washington Post to promote his transportation plan. It's called "Transportation Contrast."
"The Washington Post says Creigh Deeds has 'not even bothered to formulate' much of a transportation plan. On road funding, Deeds's approach is 'as politically expedient as it is irresponsible.' Deeds's 'approach to transportation funding is to sidestep the subject.' Bob McDonnell's transportation plan 'deserves credit for the extent and specificity of its proposals,' like selling state liquor stores to invest a half-billion dollars to widen I-66, improve I-95 and expand Metro to Dulles. 'I'm Bob McDonnell, candidate for governor, and my campaign sponsored this ad."
The ad features excerpts from a Washington Post editorial, floating alongside unflattering cutouts of Deeds. Ominous music turns more inspiring as the ad transitions to images of McDonnell chatting up Virginians and walking around with his family.
This ad has been airing in Northern Virginia, where traffic congestion is a perennial source of frustration and transportation ranks just behind the economy as the top issue of concern among voters. It draws exclusively on a July 29 editorial that is particularly critical of McDonnell -- though you wouldn't know it from the ad.
Posted at 1:49 PM ET, 09/25/2009
McDonnell Unveils A Pair of New Ads
Republican Bob McDonnell is up on air with two new TV ads today, as predicted in this morning's First Click.
The first ad accuses Democrat Creigh Deeds of "disingenuous" and "deceitful" attacks against him. The second is another attempt to appeal to the female vote post-thesis. For this ad, he had his eldest daughter speak about the values her father taught her and her service in Iraq.
Read the scripts below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 09/25/2009
McDonnell Picks Up Another Endorsement
Republican Bob McDonnell scored another endorsement today -- the third day in a row.
The political arm of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce announced its support of McDonnell at a morning news conference. The group represents 2,500 member firms that employ nearly 300,000 workers in the state's second-most populous area.
"Bob McDonnell's detailed transportation plan and solid stance on strategic business issues were key to his receiving this endorsement," said W. Sheppard Miller III, chairman of the Hampton Roads Business PAC.
The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce PAC also endorsed McDonnell this week, citing transportation, economic development and tax policy.
Both chambers have given the nod to Republicans in the past, so these endorsements were not a huge surprise. But there's no denying it's been a pretty good week for McDonnell, who also picked up support from the Fraternal Order of Police and scored a victory when former governor Doug Wilder refused to endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Posted at 4:28 PM ET, 09/24/2009
Ad Watch: 'Why Did You?'
Democratic candidate for governor R. Creigh Deeds unveiled two new ads this week hitting Republican Robert F. McDonnell over issues related to McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis. One is entitled "Why Did You?"
Woman: Bob McDonnell, we know what you wrote about working women ...
Woman: ... and we've seen all your ads and heard your excuses.
Woman: But your RECORD troubles me.
Woman: ... 35 bills restricting a woman's choice
Woman: And you opposed birth control for married adults.
Woman: Mr. McDonnell: We've read your words ...
Woman: We've checked your record.
Woman: Why did you vote that way?
Each line is spoken sternly by a different woman, looking straight into the camera. They are diverse in age and race and are featured in different settings--one in what looks like an office, another in front of a house. The Deeds campaign says the women are Virginia residents--not actors. They include Phyllis Randall, who ran for supervisor as a Democrat in Loudoun, and party activist Chrisi West. The campaign refused to release a full list.
Keep reading for an analysuis
Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 09/24/2009
Updated: Wilder Declines to Endorse Deeds
Former Democratic governor L. Douglas Wilder said today that he will not endorse either candidate in the race for Virginia governor despite serious courting from both candidates, Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democration National Committee, and even President Barack Obama.
The decision can only be considered a slap in the face to Democrat Creigh Deeds and a victory -- of sorts -- for Republican Bob McDonnell. No one really expected Wilder to endorse McDonnell because he never has supported a Republican, but declining to endorse anyone -- and resisting Obama's personal lobbying --- sends enough of a message.
Wilder specifically mentions his opposition to increasing taxes (which Deeds has said he would be open to for road and transit) and his desire to limit the number of handguns.
UPDATE: Deeds' campaign responds. "We respect Governor Wilder's decision,'' said Jared Leopold, a Deeds spokesman. "While Creigh and he may not agree on every issue, they share a fundamental commitment to keeping Virginia the best managed state in the nation, as Governor Wilder first made it in 1992. As governor, Creigh intends to seek Governor Wilder's counsel often, and looks forward to working with him."
Meanwhile, McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said: "Bob McDonnell and Governor Wilder have worked together well on issues ranging from combating gangs to promoting programs to help the homeless in Richmond. They share the same commitment to fiscal responsibility and keeping taxes low. They both understand that during these tough economic times public servants have to focus on the real-world situation of working families and small businesses who are struggling to make ends meet. The last thing they need is another tax increase that makes their burdens heavier and dries up job opportunities. Bob holds the Governor in high regard for his historic achievements and public service, and he looks forward to continuing to work closely with him in the years ahead."
In the meantime, read Wilder's full statement below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 09/24/2009
VEA Airs TV Ads Against McDonnell
The Virginia Education Association is airing TV ads in Richmond and Hampton Roads that criticize Republican Bob McDonnell for opposing money for smaller class sizes and teacher raises, and for supporting vouchers for private schools.
The commercial directs viewers to a Web site that gives them the VEA's take on McDonnell's and Democrat Creigh Deeds's education plans and urges them to sign a petition asking McDonnell to change his positions while encouraging Deeds to continue his education efforts.
"Our commercial asks those who agree with us to ask the candidates for governor to support our positions for smaller class sizes and increased teacher salaries and against draining dollars from public schools to fund private school tuition vouchers," VEA President Kitty Boitnott said.
McDonnell's campaign's response: "Only one candidate in this race is actually advocating bold reforms for Virginia's public education system: Bob McDonnell,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "He has put forward an innovative plan to get nearly half a billion dollars more each year into the classroom, increasing teacher salaries and improving technology, without raising taxes. And he is standing with President Barack Obama in strong support of charter schools and performance pay, policies opposed by the VEA and Creigh Deeds. We know the VEA is backing Creigh Deeds, but Virginia's parents, students and teachers in the classroom are standing with Bob McDonnell."
Posted at 7:08 AM ET, 09/24/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
For the fourth year in a row, Forbes.com has ranked Virginia the best place in the country to do business. It's good news for the state, coming on the heels of word that the unemployment rate has dipped and the Commonwealth now has the lowest rate of people out of work of any large state.
It's also good news for Democratic candidates for office, who have used the Forbes accolade as proof that Democratic leadership has been good for the state's economy and the candidates took little time to crow.
Not persuaded: The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, which Wednesday endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. The chamber says they believe McDonnell would be more likely to spark private sector growth. The Chamber slammed Deeds for not putting forward a specific funding proposal for transportation.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:30 PM ET, 09/23/2009
Wilder Watch Continues
It turns out Democrat Creigh Deeds wasn't the only one who met with former governor L. Douglas Wilder this week.
Republican Bob McDonnell had a face-to-face meeting with Wilder yesterday -- a day after Deeds, several sources say.
Both men are hoping to score an endorsement from the nation's first elected black governor.
Wilder said this morning that he would not make any announcement today, but would release something by the end of the week. Remember, that doesn't mean he will actually endorse anyone this week. He may just issue a statement about what he is looking for in a candidate. This is Wilder we are talking about, after all.
McDonnell and Wilder, who have had a good working relationship for years, met for lunch in downtown Richmond back in May, and have spoken regularly since then.
It's unclear which of them set up yesterday's meeting. Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman, refused to comment.
Wilder has been downright critical of Deeds in the past, but it's still unlikely he would endorse a Republican. He could, however, sit the race out.
In 1997, Wilder refused to endorse Democrat Don Beyer in the governor's race, which helped Republican James S. Gilmore. And then, in 2005, he refused to back Deeds in the attorney general's race against McDonnell because of his position on guns.
Posted at 4:46 PM ET, 09/23/2009
Virginia Notebook: Young Women, Meet Young Bob McDonnell
If you live in Virginia and you're planning to vote for governor in November, if you happen to be between ages 18 and 44 and you also just happen to be a woman, gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds has something he'd like to talk to you about.
It has to do with a certain graduate school thesis written by Deeds's opponent, Robert F. McDonnell, in 1989. In the document, McDonnell wrote about how to use public policy to strengthen the traditional family and said that working women and feminism were "detrimental" to the family.
McDonnell has said that some of his views have changed since he wrote the paper and cited his working wife and daughters as proof that he does, indeed, support women in the workforce. But Deeds launched an ad blitz this week to publicize the issue, some featuring Virginia women looking straight into the camera and insisting that McDonnell's record as a lawmaker shows otherwise.
A Washington Post poll released Sunday showed that the thesis has had some impact on the race already, and that there is quite a bit of room left for Deeds to run with the issue.
Take a look at some pretty striking numbers about younger voters, those between the ages of 18 to 44, and that reality seems clear.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:58 PM ET, 09/23/2009
GOP Group Donates $200,000 to Cuccinelli
The Republican State Leadership Committee, which calls itself the nation's largest caucus of GOP state leaders, donated $200,000 Wednesday to attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
The group has contributed $515,000 to Virginia candidates this election cycle, including more than $90,000 to the state Republican party.
"Ken Cuccinelli is a common-sense conservative who understands that a competitive Virginia, with state government officials who will keep tax and regulatory burdens low, will allow individuals and businesses to prosper," said Scott Ward, the group's president.
The RSLC is a national organization with more than 75,000 donors that works to elect Republicans to state legislatures as well as to the offices of attorney general, lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
Virginia changed its campaign finance reporting law after the RSLC gave Bob McDonnell more than $2 million in his 2005 race for attorney general against Creigh Deeds. At the time, the group did not have to reveal the source of its donations.
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.
Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 09/23/2009
Move Over Oprah -- It's the Deeds Book Club
Next week, Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds is asking supporters to organize "book clubs" around the state. The book under discussion? You've got it. Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis.
In an e-mail being sent to supporters today, lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner asks that supporters get together in homes around the state with a full copy of the thesis. (You can read it here.)
"The Deeds campaign is getting the word out on TV, but that's no substitute for real person-to-person interaction within your own communities," Wagner writes. "Bring along a friend or co-worker who has heard the attacks being thrown towards Creigh on TV and has questions about this race. Each party will include full copies of Bob's thesis so that you can read for yourself exactly what he wrote."
House parties are a tried and true method of using word-of-mouth, neighbor-to-neighbor connections to drive up excitement for a campaign. The book club -- a particularly popular activity among women, we'd note -- is a new twist. It's likely driven by experiences with focus groups that show that women who sit around talking about McDonnell's thesis for a while leave saying they are far more likely to vote for Deeds.
Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 09/23/2009
UPDATED: Fairfax Chamber Endorses McDonnell
The political arm of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce is expected to endorse Republican Bob McDonnell this morning in the Virginia governor's race.
The chamber represents more than 700 member companies and an influential voting bloc in the all-important, vote-rich region of Northern Virginia.
As we told you last week, some business groups that have supported Democrats in recent years have not warmed to Democrat Creigh Deeds this year.
Instead, many of them are supporting McDonnell who has pledged to create jobs, fix roads, keep taxes and regulation low and protect Virginia's right-to-work laws. In recent weeks, he has been endorsed by groups that represent small businesses, credit unions, Realtors and farmers.
We will provide you with more details when they become available later this morning.
Update: The annoucement came via press release at 9:30 a.m. "Mr. McDonnell earned the support of NOVABizPAC because of his overall stronger support for the Fairfax County Chamber's priorities, specifically for identifying a plan for transportation,'' NOVABizPAC Chairwoman Fran Fisher said.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:50 PM ET, 09/22/2009
Rep. Joe Wilson Helps Va. GOP. No Lie!
It turns out U.S. Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson has some interest in Virginia politics. Wilson e-mailed a fundraiser appeal Tuesday on behalf of the Dominion Leadership Trust political action committee, the PAC organized by House Speaker Bill Howell in 2002 to support Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates.
The South Carolina congressman encourages recipients to contribute to the PAC to keep a Republican majority in the House, to counter union money and national support from liberal groups including ACORN and to "send a message to the national Democrats -- Americans won't put up with your big government agenda."
It's worth noting that Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell has condemned Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress, citing it as an example of the lack of civility now invading public life.
UPDATE: Eric Dell, Wilson's chief of staff, says the congressman sent the e-mail after Howell's office called and asked for his help. "They contacted us on this. The congressman said he'd be happy to help," Dell said.
You can read Wilson's whole e-mail after the jump.
Posted at 4:12 PM ET, 09/22/2009
Warner, Chichester Defend 2004 Tax Deal
Woe unto the political candidate who questions 2004. That's what Republican Bob McDonnell did in last week's debate against Creigh Deeds in front of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, when he said the major tax increase of that year was a bad idea.
Button pushed. Conference call scheduled. Senators Warner and Chichester, are you on the line?
Democrat Mark R. Warner (D) the U.S. senator and former governor, and Republican John H. Chichester, the former state Senate president pro tem, both gladly spoke by telephone to reporters today to defend what they view as their historic stewardship of Virginia's finances five years ago.
"What we did in 2004 was not about creating new programs," Warner told a telephone gaggle of reporters this afternoon. "It was not about creating expensive new initiatives. It was about paying our bills."
What they did, specifically, was persuade a coalition of business leaders, community groups and moderate Republicans to back a $1.4 billion tax increase. The plan closed a gap in the state budget that had threatened Virginia's top-notch bond rating and boosted spending on schools, public safety and mental health care. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, McDonnell's Democratic opponent, voted for the increase. McDonnell, then a delegate from Virginia Beach, voted against it.
Deeds, needless to say, arranged today's call.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 09/22/2009
Updated: Wilder Watch on Deeds Endorsement Goes On
As promised, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds did indeed meet with former governor L. Douglas Wilder yesterday, meeting with him for more than an hour to discuss the gubernatorial race in what Wilder termed "a very nice conversation."
Unlike during a previous such confab, Wilder says this time Deeds did, formally, ask if he would endorse his candidacy for governor. And Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), chairman of the national Democratic party, called shortly after the meeting to appeal for the same thing, adding his voice to that of the president of the United States.
Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 09/22/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009
Happy Autumn, Virginia! And Happy Season of the Television Ad Blitz. Democrat Creigh Deeds is off to the races with, count 'em, three new TV spots -- two of them hitting Republican Bob McDonnell on his graduate school thesis, and the third showcasing Deeds's supreme comfort in the rolling farmland of Bath County.
The blitz tells us that Deeds is staking his campaign on recent polling information showing that McDonnell's thesis, which criticizes the role of working women on families, is a potential dealbreaker for voters, especially women -- if only he can reach them. It also makes clear that this race is going to be a mudfest from this day forward. Expect McDonnell not to sit back for too long; that same polling data shows the Republican with an advantage among voters when it comes to dealing with the economy, transportation and the state budget crisis.
Today, McDonnell and Deeds will appear in Williamsburg at the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium, and again tonight at Virginia Union University in Richmond. But don't expect a photo opportunity of the two men arm in arm; according to the McDonnell campaign, Deeds requested a change in format at the Richmond appearance so that the two will not appear together on stage. Deeds folks say the appearance was never billed as a debate, so a back-to-back format was appropriate.
President Obama has gotten involved in the Virginia governor's race, calling former Virginia governor Doug Wilder to urge him to endorse Deeds. Wilder told reporters he will make an announcement regarding an endorsement later this week.
Congressmen Eric Cantor (R) and Bobby Scott (D) showed a Richmond-area crowd yesterday that public meetings on health care can remain civil.
And a novel idea from the beleaguered Virginia Information Technologies Agency to its contractor, Northrup Grumman: Please control costs.
Posted at 4:18 PM ET, 09/21/2009
Democrats' Press Call Goes Awry with Mudcat's Candor
Oops. This afternoon, what was billed as a press call to slam former congressman Tom Davis (R) for allegedly anti-rural remarks turned into an all-too-candid strategy session, courtesy of David "Mudcat" Saunders.
The longtime Democratic operative apparently wasn't told by party officials or the campaign of gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds (D) that it was in fact a press call, rather than an internal chat about strategy. So for several minutes, Saunders spoke rather colorfully and indelicately about his indignation over Davis' recent comments and about how they could be leveraged to help Deeds.
He noted that the remarks might better be spun as anti-working-person, rather than anti-rural, because "From what I've seen up in Northern Virginia, they don't give a damn if people talk s*** about us." And in trying to explain that the comments might also be offensive to those with rural roots who live in Northern Virginia, he said there are "more rednecks on Route 1 in Alexandria than the sixth district of Virginia."
Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 09/21/2009
Updated: Deeds Unveils News Ads on Thesis
Democrat Creigh Deeds hits the airwaves today with two hard-hitting new TV ads that attack Republican Bob McDonnell on his 20-year-old thesis and social issues, including abortion.
Updated: McDonnell's campaign responds: "With only six weeks to go until election day, it's disappointing that Mr. Deeds continues to wage these negative and false attacks against Bob McDonnell,'' said Crystal Camerson, a McDonnell spokeswoman. "This is just another example of how desperate he is to rally his own base. It's no surprise Mr. Deeds doesn't want to talk about himself --- he has no plan for transportation, supports a cap and trade scheme that will kill Virginia jobs, bragged about being the biggest spender in Richmond, and has said he will a partner for big labor after accepting millions in campaign contributions."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:34 AM ET, 09/21/2009
Wilder: Obama Made a Pitch for Deeds
Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder says he received a call directly from President Obama about three weeks ago to discuss a variety of issues, but, top among them, was the Virginia governor's race.
Wilder said the call was confidential and he would not reveal his exact back and forth with the president, whom Wilder strongly supported last year. But, he said, Obama made clear that he would like the former Democratic governor to get off the fence and endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds.
"I'll just say he called and made his position known and made it clear, he's a Democrat, Mr. Deeds is a Democrat and obviously, the president would like to see a Democratic victory," Wilder said.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 09/21/2009
Union Sends Mailers for Deeds
Now come the mailers.
The Virginia AFL-CIO has started mailing campaign brochures to potential voters on Deeds' behalf. Mailers have been received in Richmond, and possibly other locations across the state.
One side of the mailer features a photo of former governor Mark Warner and says: "Eight years ago Mark Warner put Virginia on the road to prosperity. Only Creigh Deeds will keep Virginia moving forward."
On the flip side, with a nice photo of Deeds and a not-so-flattering picture of Republican Bob McDonnell, the mailer claims that Deeds voted to accept $125 million in federal money for Virginia's unemployed workers while McDonnell opposed it.
"In difficult economic times like these, it's more important than ever to continue the common sense policies started by Mark Warner. We need policies that cut wasteful spending, invest in our future and protect working families -- not the super-rich."
Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 09/20/2009
More on All-Important Business Support
On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that Democrat R. Creigh Deeds is struggling to make the sale with Virginia business leaders. One detail in that story worth fleshing out is how Deeds and McDonnell have done in the area of campaign contributions.
Thanks as always to David Poole and the Virginia Public Access Project for their outstanding compilation of donor data and a big assist on this analysis in particular.
We started with a baseline of all those donors who have given to both Democrat Mark R. Warner and Republican Tom Davis, two politicians with a long history of popularity with the state's business community, particularly the high-tech corridor of Northern Virginia. We then looked at how those donors performed through Election Day in 2005 -- and how they're behaving so far this year. Here's what we found:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 09/20/2009
Fack Checker: McDonnell and School Funding
For some time now, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) has been bashing Robert F. McDonnell, his Republican opponent in the governor's race, for his stance on school funding.
Deeds and fellow Democrats accuse McDonnell of wanting to raid K-12 education funding to fix the transportation mess in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
In a press release earlier this month, the Deeds campaign said McDonnell "has pledged to take $5.4 billion from our schools to pay for roads."
Deeds made similar claims in an Aug. 21 speech at George Mason University and again at Wednesday's debate sponsored by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce in McLean.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:02 PM ET, 09/18/2009
Mrs. McDonnell to Perform at Redskins Game
If you were lucky enough to score Redskins tickets for Sunday, or even if you plan to watch on TV, make sure you pay special attention to the ladies performing at the halftime show.
Maureen McDonnell, the 55-year-old wife of Bob McDonnell and former "Redskinette," will join other former cheerleaders on the field to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their alumni association. She will be wearing black pants and a Redskins Jersey (with McDonnell and the number 76 on the back) as they dance to Michael Jackson tunes.
McDonnell will be campaigning (and tailgating) before the game and then in the stands watching when his wife takes the field.
The former Maureen Gardner loves to tell the story of how she became a cheerleader at campaign events.
In case you were wondering: It was her father's idea. He wanted the free tickets that came with the job. Can you blame him?
Posted at 4:59 PM ET, 09/18/2009
McDonnell Snags More Business Support
Republican Bob McDonnell announced endorsements this afternoon from Mark Kington, managing director of X-10 Capital (and Sen. Mark Warner's former partner) and John Luke, CEO of MeadWestvaco, as he unveiled the formation of a business coalition of more than 200 leaders from across the state.
"The men and women on this list know this is the campaign on the side of Virginia's job creators and workers,'' McDonnell said. "They know where I stand on the issues crucial to Virginia's economy in the years ahead."
Kington said he has supported Republicans and Democrats in the past, although he supported Republican Jerry Kilgore in 2005. He has donated $78,500 to McDonnell.
"Bob McDonnell is focused on the issues that matter to Virginians and how they lead their daily lives -- job creation, education excellence, transportation solutions -- and I proudly support him as our next governor."
See the full list of coalition members below:
Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 09/18/2009
Humane Society Endorses McDonnell, Shannon
The Humane Society's legislative arm has endorsed Republican Robert F. McDonnell for governor and Democrat Steve Shannon for attorney general, and had some sharp words for Shannon's opponent, Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
The animal welfare organization praised McDonnell and Shannon for supporting stiff penalties against animal fighting. The group singled out McDonnell for special praise, in part because of his stand opposing so-called "crush videos," which depict scantily clad women killing kittens, puppies and other small animals, sometimes using their high heels.
"Bob McDonnell included a crackdown on animal fighting as part of his anti-crime agenda, and he understands that the way we treat animals is a reflection of our basic attitudes and values in society," said Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, in the endorsement letter. "Virginians deserve a governor like Bob McDonnell who has demonstrated strong and consistent leadership in protecting animals from cruelty and abuse."
The group criticized Cuccinelli, however, saying the state senator "has often stood nearly alone in the Senate as an opponent of modest and mainstream animal protection reforms." For example, the group says, Cuccinelli was one of only two senators to vote against a stronger animal fighting law in 2007 and was one of only three to oppose restrictions on large-scale puppy mills a year later.
As you may recall, McDonnell was attorney general when two years ago, NFL quarterback Michael Vick was busted for a dogfighting operation outside of Newport News, where he lived at the time.
Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 09/18/2009
McDonnell 50, Deeds 43
As we've told you a few times we don't trust all polls, but here's one that we don't mind telling you about.
A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race shows that Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds among likely voters, 50 percent to 43 percent -- virtually unchanged since an August poll.
Back in mid-June, McDonnell had 45 percent and Deeds 44 percent. But once again the favorable numbers prove quite interesting: McDonnell at 56 percent, Deeds at 47 percent.
The left-leaning Daily Kos tells us that McDonnell is aided by support from independent voters, who support him by a 13-point margin, 51 to 38 percent.
And in case you were wondering the poll shows Deeds narrowly leads among women -- 47 to 44 percent -- but he has all along. No change this month due to McDonnell's thesis.
Posted at 7:12 AM ET, 09/18/2009
First Click - Virginia
Happy Friday, Virginia, here's what's happening in state politics today.
The news offers political junkies two interesting indicators about the gubernatorial contest between R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R). The two men sparred over a wide range of issues, from the economy to energy to gay adoptions, at a debate in Tysons Corner yesterday, which was tense from the very start.
Afterward, Deeds was asked by a scrum of reporters about an apparent contradiction in his position on raising taxes for transportation. The line of questioning provoked a snippy response to a female reporter, which was caught on tape. Bob McCartney was not impressed with Deeds' performance.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 09/18/2009
The Kitchen Table: The Reston Farmer's Market
So, we haven't actually taken you into someone's kitchen yet for "The Kitchen Table," our sorta-weekly feature bringing you the voices of Virginia's voters, but at least this one is food-related.
You know fall is coming when the early-season apples show up at the farmer's market and you can't buy a baguette there without someone trying to stuff your eco-friendly reusable bag with campaign literature -- particularly Democratic campaign literature.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:25 PM ET, 09/17/2009
McDonnell Airs Transportation Ad
Republican Robert F. McDonnell began airing a TV ad in Northern Virginia today contrasting his transportation plan with that of his Democratic opponent, R. Creigh Deeds. Or, more accurately, taking credit for having a transportation plan at all.
Here's the ad script, helpfully furnished by the McDonnell campaign: "The Washington Post says Creigh Deeds has not even bothered to formulate much of a transportation plan. On road funding Deeds' approach is as politically expedient as it is irresponsible. Deeds' approach to transportation funding is to sidestep the subject. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan deserves credit for the extent and specificity of its proposals like selling state liquor stores to invest a half billion dollars to widen I-66, improve I-95 and expand metro to Dulles. I'm Bob McDonnell, candidate for governor, and my campaign sponsored this ad."
Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold responded that the ad conveniently leaves out details from those same editorials, which also criticized some of McDonnell's proposals.
"The two editorials that he cited both attacked his plan as not having solutions and being unrealistic," Leopold said.
Posted at 2:17 PM ET, 09/17/2009
Fairfax Chamber Debate: The After Scrum
The Republican Party of Virginia is circulating this video of Democrat R. Creigh Deeds explaining how he's not for taxes except when he is after the close of his debate with Republican Robert F. McDonnell today at the Capital One center in Tysons Corner.
It's pretty self-explanatory, is probably not terribly helpful to Deeds, and undoubtedly is coming soon, all or in part, to a McDonnell television ad near you.
Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 09/17/2009
Video Highlights: Fairfax Debate
After the jump, see clips from today's Virginia governor's race debate in which the candidates clashed on McDonnell's graduate school thesis and Deeds's references to it (posted now), as well as support for cap-and-trade legislation and women in the workplace (posted soon).Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 09/17/2009
Now that we have told you a little about Democrat Creigh Deeds's money, we thought we would tell you a bit more about Republican Bob McDonnell's cash.
McDonnell's top donors in the two-month period that ended Aug. 31 were a combination of businesses, longtime Republican donors and, of course, the Republican National Committee, which gave him $350,000.
Top individual donors include Edward and Lynn Via of Roanoke ($150,000), chemical company executive Bruce C. Gottwald ($50,000), Dominion resources president Tom Farrell ($15,000), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's political action committee ($5,000).
Top non-individual donors include: the Virginia Association of Realtors ($60,000), Fluor Enterprises -- the company helping build HOT lanes on the Beltway -- ($15,000), law firm McGuire Woods's political action committee ($18,000) and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly ($5,000).
Notably absent: Sheila C. Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of the Black Entertainment Television network, who has been a major donor to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and other Democrats, but who endorsed McDonnell in July.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:29 PM ET, 09/17/2009
Fact Check: Jobs
In his closing statement during today's debate, Deeds said McDonnell "never wrote a bill to create a job." Afterward, a reporter asked McDonnell about this accusation.
Here's how he responded: "I carried the historic welfare reform bill in 1995. Do you know what that bill did? It put women to work. It created the transportation and health-care benefits and tax support so that women could go back to work, and then a year after that I introduced a tax credit bill to give businesses the ability to receive tax credits for hiring people."
Okay, so neither exactly created jobs. But the welfare bill did require people to work to get state welfare benefits. We wrote more on that bill and McDonnell's repeated references to it in this campaign.
Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 09/17/2009
Live Blog: The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce Debate
Greetings from the glass-and-concrete fortress that is the Capitol One headquarters in Tysons Corner. We'll be live-blogging today's debate between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell. The debate will be kicking off shortly and so will we. Follow to the jump to read along.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:35 AM ET, 09/17/2009
Unions Help Deeds With More Than Money
We told you today about how much money labor unions are pouring into Democrat Creigh Deeds's bank account, but that's not all they're doing.
The AFL-CIO has started making recorded calls to potential voters on Deeds's behalf. Calls are being made in Richmond, and possibly other locations across the state.
Here is the script:
Hello. This is Julie calling from the AFL-CIO with important information about the upcoming election for governor.Continue reading this post »
Creigh Deeds is the only candidate for governor who has a track record of standing up for our working families. He supported a plan to invest federal resources to create jobs and help turn around our economy. And Deeds voted to help workers by accepting $125 million in federal aid for Virginia's unemployed workers.
Bob McDonnell opposed resources to protect our jobs and failed to support aid for recently laid-off workers. That's why the AFL-CIO has endorsed Creigh Deeds for governor. Our working families can't afford Bob McDonnell. Vote Creigh Deeds for governor Nov. 3.
Posted at 8:13 AM ET, 09/17/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Good morning Virginia, here's what's happening in state politics today.
R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R) face off today in a much-anticipated debate before Northern Virginia's business community, to be moderated by David Gregory of "Meet the Press." A lot is at stake today for both gubernatorial candidates, as McDonnell seeks to move beyond the thesis that has dominated headlines in recent weeks and Deeds aims to overcome the unfriendly atmosphere for Democrats nationally.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 09/16/2009
Romney to Raise Money for McDonnell
Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful, will headline a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on Monday in Washington.
The event will be held at the offices of the American Gas Association on Capitol Hill. About 100 people are scheduled to attend the fundraiser, which is expected to bring in about $100,000.
Romney spent two days in Virginia in May campaigning for Virginia's top Republicans, including McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, and received an enthusiastic welcome when he spoke at a sold-out fundraiser of 1,300 for the state party in Richmond.
Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty campaigned with McDonnell last week. A slew of other Republican stars have helped out McDonnell, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
Posted at 7:17 AM ET, 09/16/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning, Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
The campaign finance numbers are in, and they're big. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democrat running for governor, raked in a record $3.48 million in July and August, about a half million dollars more than Republican Robert F. McDonnell. But McDonnell, who didn't have a primary challenge, has more money in the bank, $5.8 million, compared with Deeds's nearly $4.4 million.
It's a good news, bad news day for Deeds. According to a recent poll of registered voters, McDonnell's lead has slimmed to five percentage points (the poll was conducted by live interviewers, which is critical to meeting the Post's standards). But the Democrat is facing questions about seemingly contradictory responses he gave two groups about collective bargaining.
Both men are in Richmond today at a forum sponsored by Virginia FREE. Sorry, you weren't invited.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 09/16/2009
Gov Hopefuls Attend Closed Candidate's Forum
Both candidates for Virginia governor will speak at a forum today in Richmond but you aren't invited. That's the right. The public is not invited.
Virginia FREE, a Richmond-based coalition of businesses from across the state, is hosting all six statewide candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell, at a gathering of more than 100 of its members. Bob Holsworth, political commenator and author of the Virginia Tomorrow blog will be the moderator.
The group made the decision to close the event so its members could have a "candid and open discussion" with the candidates, said Clayton Roberts, the group's executive diector. It's the same thing Virginia FREE has done for two decades.
Deeds will speak around 9 a.m. McDonnell will talk about an hour later.
We'd tell you what they said if we could but alas, we are not invited either.
Posted at 7:22 PM ET, 09/15/2009
McDonnell Responds on Energy
Republican Bob McDonnell is hitting back at Democrat Creigh Deeds over energy prices.
His campaign announced a new ad this evening, running in the same markets where Deeds put up a spot last week that claimed McDonnell had approved energy rate hikes as attorney general. (Read more about that claim here.) In McDonnell's ad, he takes credit for saving consumers money on energy and slams Deeds over the national Democrat's green house emissions bill that would include a cap-and-trade provision for energy companies. (Deeds has said he opposes the cap-and-trade as it is now written though he believes that action needs to be taken to address global warming.)
Watch the ad here.
Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold responded: "With tightening polls Bob McDonnell is starting to resort to false attacks. Bob McDonnell was sitting in the room last week when Creigh Deeds said again that he doesn't support the House cap and trade bill. Anyone in Virginia can tell you, energy rates are going up and Bob McDonnell could have done something about it. Why won't he ever take responsibility for his record?"
Posted at 4:05 PM ET, 09/15/2009
McDonnell: $2.9 Million in July-August
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell raised half a million dollars less than Democratic rival Creigh Deeds in the two-month period ending last month.
But McDonnell, who did not have a primary opponent, has more money in the bank -- $5.8 million compared with Deeds's nearly $4.4 million.
McDonnell reports receiving donations from 6,239 donors -- significantly more than Deeds's 3,764. About $350,000 came from national groups.
Phil Cox, McDonnell campaign manager, said the 2,500 additional donors "is reflective of the grass-roots energy we have seen building throughout our campaign."
We'll be taking a closer look at these numbers and bringing you our findings.
Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 09/15/2009
Deeds: $3.5 Million in July and August
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has beaten Republican Bob McDonnell to the punch in getting out his fundraising numbers for the July and August period. According to the campaign, Deeds raised $3.48 million, including from 2,284 new donors. They say 90 percent of his donors were from Virginia and 68 percent of them gave $200 or less.
According to the campaign, that haul exceeds fundraising totals for gubernatorial candidates of both parties over July and August in both 2001 and 2005. Campaign officials say he had $4.38 million on hand as of Aug. 31.
They say his top individual donations included $37,500 from Washington Capitals and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis and $25,000 from Northern Virginia real estate executive Robert H. Smith.
We'll be taking a closer look at these numbers and bringing you our findings, as well as reporting McDonnell's haul, today and tomorrow.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 09/15/2009
GOP Group Donates $250,000 to Va Candidates
The Republican State Leadership Committee, which calls itself the nation's largest caucus of GOP state leaders, has donated nearly $250,000 to Virginia candidates this election cycle.
This week, the group gave more than $90,000 to the state Republican party (which let's face it, desperately needs the money) and Chris Stolle, a House candidate in Hampton Roads (and yes, brother of the state senator.)
"We believe that the Republican candidates are well-positioned for victory in November because they understand the private sector, not the public sector, will create the road to recovery and keep Virginia competitive,'' said Scott Ward, the group's president.
The RSLC is a national organization with more than 75,000 donors that works to elect Republicans to state legislatures as well as to the offices of attorney general, lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
You may recall that Virginia changed its campaign finance reporting law after the RSLC gave Bob McDonnell more than $2 million in his race for attorney general against Creigh Deeds. At the time, the group did not have to reveal the source of its donations.
Today is the deadline for candidates and others to report to turn in their campaign finance reports for the two months ending in August. Check back here for details on those reports as we get them.
Posted at 6:59 AM ET, 09/15/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning, Virginia, here's what's happening in state politics today.
Today is the deadline for candidates in November's election to file their summer campaign finance reports, including gubernatorial hopefuls R. Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert F. McDonnell (R). The reports will provide a valuable glimpse into the kind of support each man is attracting, as did yesterday's announcement that Deeds has been endorsed by the state firefighters and McDonnell got the nod from the NRA, which supported Deeds in their last match-up four years ago. Observers will also be on the lookout for evidence of the national groups that are expected to pour resources into one of the first big races since last year's history-making presidential election.
Both men attend a candidates forum at a Bar Association event in Norfolk today, offering a preview of Thursday's debate in Fairfax.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:27 PM ET, 09/14/2009
Brady Campaign Responds to NRA
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has issued a statement responding to the National Rifle Association's endorsement of Bob McDonnell for governor. According to Helmke, the "one critical issue" that separates Virginia's candidates for governor on gun rights is the tightening of rules for buying weapons at gun shows--the so-called gun show loophole.
"Creigh Deeds agrees with the families of the victims of Virginia Tech that the most dangerous people, prohibited by law from purchasing guns from federally licensed gun dealers, shouldn't be able to get around those laws by buying them from non-licensed gun sellers at weapons bazaars," Helmke said in his statement. "Bob McDonnell, who now refuses to acknowledge that this gaping loophole in Virginia gun laws even exists, appears eager to do whatever the gun lobby wants him to. That's playing politics with public safety, and the voters should judge the candidates accordingly."
Posted at 2:45 PM ET, 09/14/2009
NRA Backs McDonnell
What a difference four years makes.
When Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell ran against each other for attorney general in 2005, the National Rifle Association's political action committee took the unusual step of endorsing Deeds, the rural Democrat, over McDonnell.
Not this year.
Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, announced this afternoon that the group has endorsed McDonnell for governor and will urge the NRA's 120,000 Virginia members to vote for the Republican.
Cox told reporters in a conference call that the group was impressed by an amicus brief McDonnell filed in 2008 along with 30 other state attorney generals urging the Supreme Court to strike down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban. He also praised McDonnell for standing against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has contended that criminals buy guns in Virginia because of its less restrictive laws and take them to New York.
Cox, meanwhile, declared that NRA members have been "shocked and disappointed" at Deeds because of his support in recent years for closing the so-called gun show loophole, which allows private individuals to sell weapons at shows without conducting the background checks required of weapons dealers. Deeds once opposed changing the law but has changed his position, he says in response to requests from family members of victims of the Virginia Tech shooting.
"Obviously a lot has changed in the last four years," Cox said. "Two things that haven't changed is the NRA and Bob McDonnell. The one thing that did change was Creigh Deeds."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 09/14/2009
First Click -- Virginia
OMG, did you hear what Kanye West said at the MTV video music awards? Kidding, here's what's happening in Virginia politics today.
The candidates for Virginia governor stump in separate parts of the state today, with Republican Robert F. McDonnell addressing attendees at a rural summit in Lynchburg and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, where he is planning to announce what his campaign has billed as a "major endorsement." The ad wars took a sharp turn late last week, and the two men will clash in person at their second debate of the season Thursday in Fairfax.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:50 PM ET, 09/11/2009
Yet More Deeds Ads
To finish out this week of new ads, we get three -- count 'em, three -- new ads from Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds. They're all the same theme --taxes and fees that Republican Bob McDonnell has backed while in the House of Delegates. These ads come as the Republican Governors Association is running spots slamming Deeds for voting to increase the gas tax. Two are radio ads. One is a television ad, airing in the Roanoke, Tri Cities and Harrisonburg media markets.
It can be viewed here.
Posted at 4:48 PM ET, 09/11/2009
Updated: McDonnell Airs Two New Ads
Republican Bob McDonnell unveiled a pair of positive new TV ads today -- including one in which he refutes criticism about his 20-year-old graduate thesis and his stance on working women. In the ads, he speaks directly into the camera, talking about the kind of governor he would be and his quest to create more jobs in the state.
"Protect" began airing today in the Northern Virginia, Norfolk, Richmond, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg markets.
"Jobs Agenda" began airing today statewide, except Northern Virginia.
Updated: Here's a response from Democrat Creigh Deeds campaign: "Bob's new ad is correct -- attacks on his character HAVE raised questions about who he is and what kind of governor he'll be,'' said Jared Leopold, a Deeds spokesman. "And he still doesn't explain why he sponsored 35 bills to restrict a woman's right to choose; why he voted against equal pay for women; why he voted repeatedly against public schools; why he voted against child care programs; or why he voted against access to contraception. The problem with his thesis is that it was a blueprint for how he legislated."
Read the scripts below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:54 PM ET, 09/11/2009
UPDATED: Deeds on Gay Rights
Does Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Creigh Deeds support gay rights? His top campaign advisers were asked the question in a conference call with reporters today, in reference to a quote a Deeds' spokesman gave to the Staunton Daily News Leader during his 1999 campaign for the House of Delegates:
"Mr. Deeds does not support gay rights," spokesman Brian Worthy told the paper, in pretty clear language.
The issue, of course, is whether Deeds once held a more conservative position on gay rights than he now advertises to the progressive Democrats he is trying to energize. Deeds has already acknowledged shifting positions on the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which he voted to put on the ballot but then campaigned against. Through the Democratic primary campaign, he would often refer to himself as "a work in progress" on the issue.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/11/2009
Get to Know Your Candidates: Archive Edition
Get to Know Your Candidates--when we pose off-the wall and lighter questions to the gubernatorial candidates, to help you get to know them better as people instead of politicians. Today's question: Can the candidates sing? Answer: Absolutely! Can they sing well? We'll let you be the judge.
In 2006, a raging debate consumed the General Assembly. At issue, should Virginia delcare "Shenandoah" its official state song, replacing "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," which had been declared the song emeritus some years earlier because of lyrics deemed racist. At the time, this blog was in its infancy. Lawmakers did not yet know to avoid us. We recorded a series of clips of lawmakers and others singing a few bars of Shenandoah, including demo tapes from Sen. Creigh Deeds and then-Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell.
After noticing that the song talks a lot about the Missouri River, which doesn't exactly flow through Virginia, the "Shenandoah" proposal failed. But the recordings live on. Enjoy.
Posted at 8:50 AM ET, 09/11/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Friday, Sept. 11, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Republican Bob McDonnell will be a guest on Mark Plotkin's radio show on WTOP at 10 a.m. (listen live online here) while Democrat Creigh Deeds is taking a day off from public events.
Later, the GOP ticket -- McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general hopeful Ken Cuccinelli -- talked health care. No surprise that they're not fans of President Obama's plan, and instead introduced their own.
The ads are coming fast and furious these days. Deeds launched a new TV ad accusing McDonnell of supporting power rate hikes in Southwest and Southside. Meanwhile, the Republican Governors Association started airing TV and radio ads focusing on Deeds's past support of tax increases.
Former Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe gets back into the game by accusing McDonnell of stealing his energy slogan. (By the way, what was The Macker doing at the Palm with Billy Crystal and Pat Sajak?)Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 09/10/2009
Live Blog: The Potomac Officers Club Forum
Greetings from the ritzy Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, where a forum hosted by the Potomac Officers Club with gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell is about to kick off. The two men won't be sharing the same stage. We understand they are even attending two separate VIP events before the main event. But they'll appear consecutively on the same stage to answer questions from the critical business community. We'll be live-blogging the event when it kicks off, assuming our trusty wireless card holds out here in the hotel ballroom. Follow to the jump to read.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:47 AM ET, 09/10/2009
UPDATED: Deeds Airs New Ad
Democrat Creigh Deeds launched yet another new TV ad today -- this one, accusing Republican Bob McDonnell of supporting power rate hikes in Southwest and Southside Virginia during tough economic times.
The ad, which is running in Roanoke and Bristol, references McDonnell's comment from the July 25 debate that utility companies "are entitled to rate increases."
UPDATE: McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said Deeds should know that the attorney general does not approve rate increase, but rather serves as the consumer counsel. "We know Creigh is desperate, but he should still treat Virginia voters with a little more respect,'' he said. "This negative ad sets a new standard for political duplicity. Creigh voted for the bill that allows utility companies to recoup expenses. ... This ad is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Virginia."
Read the script below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 09/10/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Democrat Creigh Deeds will meet with supporters at a cafe in Sterling this morning while Republican Bob McDonnell will spend much of the day in Winchester, where he will stop by Shenandoah University, a GOP campaign office and the Hob Nob in the Valley event.
Deeds and McDonnell will participate in a forum hosted by the Potomac Officers Club and ExecutiveBiz online magazine at noon in McLean. It's not a debate -- one candidate will speak and then another -- but still will be worth a listen. (Check back for our coverage).
McDonnell held a news conference with Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota governor and possible GOP presidential hopeful, yesterday that didn't go quite the way he wanted. His campaign added a much-needed staffer to its press shop -- Stacey Johnson, who is on loan from U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor to serve as traveling press secretary for the next two months.
Those on the right are fighting back against a barrage of negative McDonnell coverage by circulating a 10-year-old Deeds campaign mailer on gays and lesbians in which he says "I don't believe in special rights for anyone." Overnight, the mailer has hit the blogosphere and can be found here and here.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:32 AM ET, 09/10/2009
Deeds Weighs in on Obama Speech
Among the many statements and releases flying around today about President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress was a release from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
Putting out a statement was an interesting choice for Deeds, who has resisted Republican calls to make federal issues a major part of the Virginia campaign. But staying silent on health care, with his party's president in the fight of his political life on the issue, likely was not an appealing option either.
Deeds seems to have settled on putting out remarks that are amorphously supportive of Obama but not exactly controversial in their substance. He wrote that rising health care costs must be solved and said he hoped Congress would reform the system "so businesses remain competitive and families get the medical care they deserve."
Here's the full statement: "The President challenged all of us to help solve America's health care crisis. I think Democrats and Republicans all agree that rising health care costs are a problem that must be solved. Like all Virginians, I hope our Congressional leadership will reform the system so our businesses stay competitive and families get the medical care they deserve. And as Governor, I will continue to fight to make health care affordable and accessible to all."
Posted at 4:44 PM ET, 09/ 9/2009
Updated: Deeds To Air Attack Ads in NoVa
Democrat Creigh Deeds will launch a new attack TV ad against Republican Bob McDonnell in Northern Virginia starting tonight. Yes, he has had negative ads before, but this one mentions the hot-button issues of abortion and birth control. Take a look:
Updated: Here's a response from the McDonnell campaign: "Creigh Deeds refuses to put together even an outline of a transportation plan, but he's got plenty of time to craft negative, backwards looking attack ads and run a campaign which divides Virginians,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "In these tough times Virginians deserve far better from candidates for the Commonwealth's highest office."
Read the script below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:27 PM ET, 09/ 9/2009
Dems Ask Opponents to Repudiate McDonnell Thesis; One Does
At least three Northern Virginia Democratic candidates for House of Delegates have asked their Republican opponents to condemn the views espoused by gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell (R) in his much-discussed 1989 graduate school thesis.
It's unlikely that Greg Werkheiser and John Bell, who are respectively challenging Republican delegates Dave Albo and Bob Marshall, and Scott A. Surovell, who is up against Jay McConville (R) for the seat being vacated by Kris Amundson (D), actually expected a response. But one of them got one today.
Albo said in a phone interview that he did not know of Werkheiser's demand, but called the past assertion by McDonnell that working mothers are detrimental to the family "ridiculous."
"I think what Bob said [in the thesis] was ridiculous, but I know Bob McDonnell the legislator now and he's one of the best legislators who has ever served in Virginia," Albo said.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:12 PM ET, 09/ 9/2009
UPDATED: DNC to Pawlenty: Do You Agree With McDonnell?
How radioactive would the Democratic National Committee like to make Virginia's Republican candidate? So hot that simply standing next to him will raise the rad count of other Republican politicians.
In a call with reporters today, DNC press secretary Hari Sevugan said that any elected official who campaigns in Virginia is "tainted by Bob McDonnell's extremist positions."
"At the very least, they should be willing and ready to answer whether they agree with Bob McDonnell's far-right positions on women in the workforce, on choice, on contraception, on public education," he said in a call designed to ask Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to do just that.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:20 PM ET, 09/ 9/2009
Updated: The Pawlenty-McDonnell Press Conference
Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota governor and possible GOP presidential hopeful, appeared with Republican Bob McDonnell this afternoon at a downtown Richmond hotel after a fundraising lunch for the gubernatorial nominee.
The packed news conference did not go well -- marking a rare stumble for the usually organized McDonnell campaign.
A couple reporters were allowed to dominate the news conference -- which started almost 30 minutes late -- with questions about McDonnell's 20-year-old thesis and Gov. Tim Kaine's budget cuts.
McDonnell was calm and relaxed under some tough questioning, although he didn't say much new (beyond criticizing Kaine for miscalculating the ever-escalating budget shortfall). But his staff abruptly ended the news conference anyway, leaving most of the remaining reporters who were never called on yelling questions at McDonnell and Pawlenty as they tried to leave.
Pawlenty, a rising star in the Republican Party who was considered as John McCain's running mate last year, was quickly escorted out of the room. But McDonnell was not so lucky -- he was caught in the hall by angry reporters, some with TV cameras.
The result? No one got to ask Pawlenty any questions, including basic ones such as: "Are you running for president?" or "How can the Republicans start winning again?" or "Why do you support Bob McDonnell?"
UPDATE: McDonnell's campaign reports that 20 people came to the Pawlenty lunch, raising $75,000.
Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 09/ 9/2009
Democrats Opposed Askew, Too
The Republican Party of Virginia, Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell and state Sen. Ken Stolle want you to know something about the controversial reappointment hearing in 2003 of Newport News Circuit Judge Verbena M. Askew: Two prominent Fairfax County Democrats, Janet Howell and now-Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, also voted to deny Askew a second term.
The Post published a story this morning about McDonnell's role in the episode.
Askew was voted off the bench after an emotional, seven-hour hearing during which she and other witnesses were questioned extensively about her judicial conduct and also the fact that she had been the subject of a sexual harassment claim by a female colleague. Askew denied the claim, but the city of Hampton, where Askew operated a drug court and which was also named in the claim, settled with the accuser for $64,000.
Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), who led the hearing as chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice committee, said Saslaw's and Howell's votes with the majority are a crucial detail left out of the story this morning. He said the fact of their votes dispels the idea that the committee proceeding was about Askew's alleged sexual orientation -- something he and other senators denied vigorously at the time, as well.
Saslaw and Howell both said at the time that the hearing was as fair as it could be. McDonnell, too, was credited with making sure that witnesses testifying on behalf of Askew were allowed to speak.
However, McDonnell's role in the episode -- and the focus of this morning's story -- stretched beyond the hearing itself when he spoke individually to a reporter about the relevance of homosexual behavior to qualifying to be a judge.
Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 09/ 9/2009
Deeds Pushes College Scholarship Program
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds joined college students at Virginia Union University in Richmond this morning to unveil a series of new education proposals, including a new college scholarship program for students who agree to spend two years after school in public service.
Under the Virginia Forward plan, any student who got a B average or higher and committed to spend two years as a teacher, nurse, police officer or in "other needed fields" would receive up to 50 percent of their college tuition paid at public universities in Virginia.
Here's the cost breakdown on the program, a natural question as Gov. Tim Kaine announced big cuts to higher ed budgets Tuesday.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 09/ 9/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Republican Bob McDonnell is bringing a little GOP star power to Richmond this afternoon. He will campaign with yet another possible presidential hopeful, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, at a luncheon. Perhaps not surprisingly, a pair of progressive groups in his home state have called on Pawlenty to cancel his trip and to distance himself from McDonnell and his views on women as outlined in his 20-year-old graduate thesis. Later, McDonnell will attend a veterans rally in Chesterfield.
Democrat Creigh Deeds will join students from Virginia Union University and other area colleges to discuss education issues in Richmond. He answered questions for an online business magazine yesterday.
Both McDonnell and Deeds aired their first new television ads in Northern Virginia since the general election kicked off in June.
The Post takes a look back today at a controversial piece of McDonnell's legislative career: the hearing on the reappointment -- eventually denied -- of Verbena M. Askew, the state's first female, black Circuit Court judge.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:20 PM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Kaine Takes a Swipe at McDonnell
That's not really a surprise these days, is it?
But the venue Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine used to criticize Republican Bob McDonnell was a bit surprising.
At a news conference to outline how the state would close a $1.5 billion budget shortfall, Kaine stopped to express his disapproval of those who want to spend education dollars on transportation.
"There's been some discussion in this time of year -- I know it's campaign season -- about using general fund education dollars to fund things like transportation. Three and a half years of being governor under tough circumstances tells me that is a horrible idea,'' Kaine said to a room packed with reporters and lobbyists. "We shouldn't be going to the eduction budget to try to fund other priorities."
No, he didn't mention any names, but there was no need. Democrats have been attacking McDonnell for weeks over a plan to divert a fraction of sales tax receipts collected in Northern Virginia now used for schools, public safety and other core services to fund roads.
In fact, Deeds said the same exact thing today, first in a press release to reporters responding to the budget and then again in an e-mail to supporters.
"Given the budget shortfalls and traffic gridlock that have characterized Governor Kaine's administration, we think Virginia voters may be looking elsewhere for advice on these issues," said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman.
Posted at 3:44 PM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Deeds Knocks Down Pr. William Office Rumor
Has Creigh Deeds closed up shop in Prince William County?
That was the claim on some blogs this morning that lean to the right, featuring a photo of a Deeds office in the county with a "for lease" sign in the window and the suggestion that perhaps Deeds is pulling out of Northern Virginia to concentrate on rural areas instead.
Hogwash, said Deeds's campaign manager Joe Abbey. According to Abbey, the campaign has two offices up and running in the county, one in Dumfries and one in Woodbridge. The office in the photo is in Manassas and, rather than closing it up, the campaign is about to open there.
"Prince William County plays a critical role in our Election Day strategy," Abbey said. He said the campaign believes that after voters compare Deeds's record with that of Republican Bob McDonnell, Deeds will win Prince William and the rest of Northern Virginia "convincingly."
Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Pawlenty to Campaign with McDonnell
Minnesota governor and possible presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty will campaign with Bob McDonnell tomorrow in Richmond.
Pawlenty, a rising star in the Republican Party who was considered for John McCain's running mate last year, also will appear solo in Fredericksburg and Alexandria.
He campaigned last week with Chris Christie, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in New Jersey -- the only other state with a governor's race this year.
A slew of Republican stars have come to Virginia to help McDonnell, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Deeds, McDonnell on Air in NoVa
It's no joke that Labor Day is when the fall campaign season starts in earnest. Here's one good bit of evidence: Both Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell aired their first television ads in Northern Virginia since right around the time of the June 9 primary Tuesday morning.
Television advertising in the D.C. market is one of the biggest expenditures for any Virginia campaign. It costs about half a million dollars a week to run enough ads in Northern Virginia that people are actually likely to see them. And campaigns know much of that money is wasted on nonvoting television watchers in the District and suburban Maryland.
But with about a third of the voting population in Northern Virginia, persuading the region's voters is critical and so, sure enough, both campaigns were on air as of the Today show Tuesday morning. Ads for both are versions of spots that have run during the campaign. Watch Deeds's ad here:
McDonnell's is called "Leadership." You can see a version here, although in Northern Virginia, this ad is tweaked slightly to note that McDonnell grew up in Fairfax.
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Thompson Helps Cuccinelli Raise Cash
Former presidential hopeful Fred Thompson will headline a fundraiser next week for state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for attorney general.
The former Tennessee senator and his wife, Jeri, will host an event in Arlington next Wednesday with beer, barbecue, cigars and bluegrass band The Naked Mountain Boys.
Thompson already has helped gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell raise nearly $500,000 at a pair of fundraisers.
Thompson, who owns a house in McLean, played New York District Attorney Arthur Branch on the Emmy Award-winning NBC drama "Law & Order" and has appeared in more than 20 films, including "Days of Thunder" and "The Hunt for Red October."
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 09/ 8/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today
The big news from Richmond is the bleak budget picture. Gov. Tim Kaine will unveil another $1.5 billion in cuts to state agencies that likely will include trims to core services like education, and layoffs and furloughs for state employees.
Gubernatorial candidates Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell, will take a rare day off from public events today to allow Kaine to make his announcement (though we fully expect them to issue statements reacting to the bad news).
Later, Deeds will attend a Kaine-hosted fundraiser at the historic Main Street Station in downtown Richmond.
While most of the world took the day off yesterday, Deeds and McDonnell officially kicked off the fall campaign at the Buena Vista Labor Day Parade. For 39 years, it has been a must-do for statewide candidates. Check out some photos from the festivities. Later, Deeds and Kaine gathered with hundreds of Democratic activists at U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott's annual picnic in Newport News.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Sights and Sounds from Buena Vista
Gov. Tim Kaine enjoyed his eighth stroll down the Buena Vista Labor Day parade route -- the unofficial starting line of the fall campaign trail -- despite some periodic heckling.
Enthusiastic Republicans taunted Kaine, who serves as his party's national chairman, for being a part-time governor and following in lockstep with his friend, President Obama. "Nothing but a Kool-Aid-drinking governor,'' one woman yelled to Kaine as she clutched a "McDonnell for Governor" sign.
Kaine didn't respond to the criticism. Instead, he ditched his state-issued SUV and walked along Magnolia Avenue, shaking hands and greeting local residents who needed no introduction. Occasionally, he climbed into the back of a pickup truck to play harmonica with local bluegrass band (and Creigh Deed supporters) Walker's Run.
But after the parade, even Bob McDonnell got into the act of ridiculing the governor for holding two jobs in his speech to a few hundred spectators at a park pavilion. McDonnell, still smarting from Kaine's harsh comments about him last week, said snidely "Governor, thanks for stopping back by in Virginia for just a little bit." (To be fair, Kaine has been around a little more lately.)Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 09/ 5/2009
Kaine Hits the Campaign Trail With Deeds
There's no doubt that Gov. Tim Kaine has been helping Creigh Deeds with his gubernatorial campaign, though in recent weeks it has been largely behind the scenes.
But this Labor Day weekend, (the unofficial kickoff to the race), Virginia's governor and DNC chairman will be out with Deeds in full force.
Kaine and Deeds will appear together in Dublin and Harrisonburg Sunday and then again at a slew of Labor Day events on Monday, including the traditional Buena Vista Labor Day parade and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott's 32nd annual picnic in Newsport News.
Expect Kaine to be a lot more visible as the race kicks into high gear the final two months.
Next up? Kaine will host a fundraiser for Deeds Tuesday at the historic Main Street Station in downtown Richmond. Tickets are $100 to $500.
Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 09/ 4/2009
Remembering (and Forgetting) the Titans
This is one of those small-world stories.
Three decades ago, when Bob McDonnell played football at Bishop Ireton High School, he once faced the same undefeated T.C. Williams team later depicted in the movie "Remember the Titans."
McDonnell scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Of course, we all know how the story ends -- the Titans won -- but apparently some of the Titans' players were not too fond of McDonnell after he scored.
McDonnell's high school friend, Tim Battle, remembers that one player even shoved him, costing him a penalty. (McDonnell doesn't remember having a run-in with one particular player but does remember getting "clocked" in the end zone by a bunch of Titans.)
Battle said that teenager was Earl Cook -- the same Earl Cook who took over as Alexandria's first black police chief last week (after the former chief was arrested for drunken driving in Arlington County). Cook's office did not return calls for comment.
"I hope he's still not mad at me,'' McDonnell quipped. "It's going to be rough driving in Alexandria."
Posted at 5:09 PM ET, 09/ 4/2009
Deeds' California Dreaming Part II
Democrat Creigh Deeds was strangely quiet at the beginning of this week, out of state and raising money for his effort in California.
Wondering who he met with on the west coast?
Turns out, they included top entertainment executives and some pretty well known Democrats.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:21 PM ET, 09/ 4/2009
McDonnell, Deeds Talk Business
For those of you who think we don't write enough about the issues, this is for you.
ExecutiveBiz, an online publication that serves the Washington metro government contracting community, published interviews with Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds this week.
How would you make Virginia a more business friendly state? What's the future of VITA? How do you plan to protect the state from future cyber attacks? (Remember the one involving the $10 million ransom?)
Both candidates will speak at ExecutiveBiz's event next week.
Posted at 6:23 PM ET, 09/ 3/2009
McDonnell Airs New TV Ad
Republican Bob McDonnell began airing positive new TV spots highlighting his middle-class roots (in which he mentions he was raised by an Army officer and working mom), his service in the Army and his business and law degrees.
The ad, called "Leadership," will run in every market across the state (except the pricey Northern Virginia market) for a week.
Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 09/ 3/2009
GOP Attacks Deeds on Social Issues Talk
Virginia Republicans continue to mock Creigh Deeds for saying the governor's race should be about the economy, transportation and education while he attacks Bob McDonnell on abortion, covenant marriage, stem-cell research and, of course, his 20-year-old graduate thesis.
Check out the party's new video that includes a TV interview with Deeds this morning in Newport News in which he, once again, says the race isn't about social issues.
Posted at 4:10 PM ET, 09/ 3/2009
McDonnell, Deeds: Works in Progress?
During the primary, Creigh Deeds was criticized by his Democratic opponents for having changed his views on hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage and background checks for gun buyers. (His favorite expression at the time was "Each of us is a work in progress.")
Now, months later, Republican Bob McDonnell says he has changed his views on whether women should work outside the home and other issues he explored as a graduate student two decades ago.
But the Deeds' campaign has attacked him every day this week (including again today) for views he longer says he holds.
So why is that any different than Deeds' changing mind? Well, we asked him.
Deeds said at a press conference today at the state Capitol in Richmond that he doesn't actually believe McDonnell has changed his mind. "His record throughout his period of public service is consistent with the thesis,'' he said. Now you can say you've changed your mind today but the record doesn't go away."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 09/ 3/2009
First Deeds Thesis Ad Airing in Northern Virginia
Democrat Creigh Deeds is running his first ads in Northern Virginia since his June primary victory. He's putting up radio ads only for now, which are of course far cheaper than television commercials. And guess what the ads are about? Righto! Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis. Or rather, in the words of the ad, McDonnell's "plan to take us back to the dark ages."
Hear the ad here:
The ad of course does not mention that McDonnell has said he no longer believes key portions of his thesis, particularly the parts that form the thrust of the ad -- comments in the thesis about women in the workplace. Also, interestingly, the ad is thethe first mention of Pat Robertson's name by the Deeds camp in this year's campaign.
Posted at 8:17 AM ET, 09/ 3/2009
Deeds' Law Review Articles
Over the past few days, a number of people have asked a very reasonable question: So what did Democrat Creigh Deeds write his thesis about?
The answer: He didn't write a thesis. That's what he said in an interview Wednesday, and it matches what we found some days ago when we searched the library collections of Concord College in West Virginia, where he got his undergrad degree, and Wake Forest University, where he attended law school.
Deeds did write two articles published in the Wake Forest Law Review in 1983 and 1984, posted here for your reading pleasure.
Having had that exciting task, we must say it's hard to imagine either getting anyone's hearts beating.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:14 PM ET, 09/ 2/2009
Update: Here It Comes!
The money, that is. The Democratic National Committee will pour $5 million into the Virginia governor's race this year, spokesman Brad Woodhouse said Wednesday.
Some will go directly to Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, and some will go to the state party for organization and coordination efforts. It will be much like four years ago, when the DNC sent $5 million to help then-candidate Tim Kaine. Kaine, Virginia governor and chairman of the DNC, wouldn't have it any other way, Woodhouse said.
And does the timing of the announcement have anything to do with this week's big news about Republican Bob McDonnell's graduate thesis? You betcha!
"Governor Kaine is very, very enthusiastic about this race," Woodhouse said. "He obviously knows Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds. He has a good sense that Creigh Deeds is who you see, and Bob McDonnell is who we learned about through his thesis."
Update: State GOP spokesman Tim Murtaugh had this to say about the $5 million headline: "It's no surprise given that Tim Kaine is partisan in chief. He can't leave an actual legacy, so he's trying to buy one."
Posted at 2:33 PM ET, 09/ 2/2009
Deeds on McDonnell Thesis: It's Relevant
Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis is a relevant topic for the Virginia governor's campaign that helps shed light on McDonnell's record in public life, opponent Creigh Deeds said this afternoon in his first public comments since the publication of the thesis in the Post on Sunday.
"The thesis explains the social agenda that has apparently driven his legislative agenda during the years," Deeds said. "If anything, this ensures people understand there are very clear differences between me and the other guy in terms of our record. Records are important."
Deeds said he was not entirely surprised by some of the ideas expressed in the thesis, noting that McDonnell sponsored legislation to establish covenant marriage in Virginia four times, backed numerous bills restricting access to abortions and voted in 2001 against a resolution that urged equal pay for men and women.
He said the thesis explains the ideas McDonnell pursued once elected to the legislature, a "social crusade" that did not include the economic development the Republican has now made the center of his campaign. Deeds said his own record has focused on improving education and creating economic opportunity.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said, "It's good to see Creigh has come back from California and wants to talk about records. We will be happy to talk about his lifetime 94 percent rating from big unions, his championing of greater government spending, and his strong support for 3.5 billion in tax hikes in just the last 5 years.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:32 PM ET, 09/ 2/2009
Realtors (Some Democrats) Want to Revisit McDonnell Endorsement
Six female Realtors are asking the Virginia Association of Realtors to reconsider its endorsement of Bob McDonnell following the release of his 20-year-old graduate thesis.
But it's unlikely that the women -- at least some of them -- were ever fans of McDonnell in the first place.
That's because three of them have given to Democratic candidates in the past, according to the Virginia Public Access Project and OpenSecrets.org. One of them donated money to Creigh Deeds, and another to his former Democratic rival Brian Moran.
The association represents 33,000 Realtors statewide.
McDonnell's campaign described the letter as a stunt. "I guess to counter this transparent stunt we should put out a letter with six Republicans not supporting Creigh Deeds, or a letter from 10 teachers asking the VEA to rescind their endorsement of Creigh, but frankly but we're not interested in wasting reporters and voters time," said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman.
John L. Powell, association president, said the endorsement process focuses on issues relating to the real estate industry and is unlikely to be restarted at this late date in the campaign. "This endorsement process is a pretty lengthy one,'' he said. "It involves scrutiny of voting records, policy statements -- we even do a detailed questionnaire that we send out to all candidates in advance."
Powell said he didn't know anything about the association members who asked for the review. But you can read the full letter from the women below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 09/ 2/2009
McDonnell Camp Declines TV Questions on Thesis
How anxious is Republican Bob McDonnell to change the subject from the thesis he wrote 20 years ago, at age 34, that's been consuming the campaign all week?
So much that his staffers have been declining to make surrogates available to defend their candidate on television about the issue.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:04 AM ET, 09/ 2/2009
Matthews Plays Hardball with McDonnell
It looks like the national media is still learning about Virginia's race for governor.
On Chris Matthews's show "Hardball" this evening, Matthews began an almost 8-minute-long segment on the impact of Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis on the governor's race by telling us he was hoping to be joined by Mo Elleithee, spokesman for the Democrat in the race, Creigh Davis. (Per Elleithee's twitter feed, technical difficulties kept him off the air.)
Watch the whole clip after the jump.
Posted at 6:06 PM ET, 09/ 1/2009
McDonnell Unveils Proposal, Avoids Thesis Talk
Bob McDonnell, joined by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, unveiled the fourth part of his education plan (yes, fourth!) -- designed to boost money for schools by $480 million a year -- in Alexandria this afternoon. And no, he's not proposing a tax increase.
Instead, McDonnell and Bolling want to shift money from administration to the classroom by an average of 4 percent, so that 65 percent of education dollars will go to the classroom. Some schools already do that, but the proposal would be implemented statewide.
"Our children will get the best education by having the best teachers, best textbooks and best technology, not excessive administration and bureaucracy,'' McDonnell said. We need to put education funding in the classroom, where it counts."
McDonnell tried to steer attention away from the uproar over his 20-year-old thesis, but that was difficult. He was greeted at T.C. Williams High School by reporters who peppered him with questions. For the second day in a row, McDonnell, who was surrounded by female supporters carrying pink "Women for McDonnell" signs, was prepared for the onslaught .
"Listen, this campaign to me is not about a 20-year-old thesis," he said. "This campaign is about who's got the best ideas about jobs and the economy and transportation and education. These are the things people all over Virginia have told me that they care about."
Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 09/ 1/2009
Excerpts: Live Discussion With Post Reporters
Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman were online earlier today to answer readers' questions about the Virginia governor's race, and Bob McDonnell's graduate school thesis specifically. Excerpts follow.
Arlington, Va.: Thank you for taking my question. I want to know if McDonnell is still a practicing Catholic.
His controversial thesis from Regent University has really opened my eyes. As a Catholic I am extremely offended by the anti-Catholic rhetoric of Pat Robertson and his ilk over at Regent University. This thesis has opened up a whole new angle to the gubernatorial race that I am very concerned about.
washingtonpost.com: Governor's Race Erupts Over McDonnell's Past Views (Post, Sept. 1)
Anita Kumar: Thanks for the question. Yes, McDonnell is a practicing Catholic and talks frequents about how important his faith is to him. He attends church weekly. At Regent University, he was sole Catholic in his graduating class. He would the state's second Catholic governor, if elected, after Gov. Tim Kaine.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:11 PM ET, 09/ 1/2009
Deeds Continues to Push McDonnell Thesis
As expected, Creigh Deeds's campaign continued today to try to make Bob McDonnell's thesis an issue in the race for governor.
The campaign held a conference call with moderate former legislators who served with McDonnell in the General Assembly. Of course, these are Republicans who have said they are breaking with their party to support Deeds.
Here's what they said about McDonnell:
"His record really has been one of pushing social issues in the entire time he has been in the assembly, and for him now to try to back away from that is the total reinvention of that now so he can be governor,'' former delegate Jim Dillard of Fairfax said.
"I believe Bob McDonnell wants to govern from the right and I believe he will have an extreme right-wing agenda if he's elected governor,'' former senator Russ Potts said.
Meanwhile, McDonnell's campaign is trying to move on. McDonnell traveled to Alexandria to roll out the fourth part of his education plan. More on that soon.
Posted at 7:39 PM ET, 08/31/2009
McDonnell Fights Back On Google
Search "McDonnell" and "thesis" on Google, and you'll get a list of stories about the controversy surrounding Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis.
But check out the right-hand column of paid advertisements. You'll also see a sponsored link to "Women For McDonnell." Coincidence? Not on your life. McDonnell is pushing against the controversy on many fronts, and one of them, clearly, is the Internet.
Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Deeds: California Dreaming
With all the talk about Bob McDonnell's thesis today, you may be wondering why we never heard directly from his rival Creigh Deeds? We wondered too.
It turns out Deeds is in Los Angeles today raising money. He flew out of state Sunday night and will return Tuesday night.
The Deeds's campaign confirmed that he was in the City of Angels when we asked, but they won't tell us which city he will be in tomorrow (but we hear it's San Francisco) or who is hosting his fundraisers. (Why won't they say?)
Deeds is rarely out of state (unlike his former Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe who was always jet setting around the nation).
McDonnell has been out of town raising money once this month. He went to Wyoming the first week of August, along with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Chris Christie, to meet with top RNC donors.
Posted at 6:50 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Down-Ticket GOP Candidates on McDonnell's Thesis
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who stepped aside so Bob McDonnell could run for governor and has been campaigning for re-election as McDonnell's running mate, dismissed the GOP candidate's thesis as a 20-year-old academic paper.
"A candidate with 18 years of public service in the House of Delegates and as attorney general should be judged by his record in office, not by a term paper he wrote as a college student,'' Bolling said. "Bob's record is clearly one of supporting women and families."
State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II of Fairfax County, the Republican nominee for attorney general, said that he had not read the thesis and that his initial reaction was that the Post's article had taken the quotes out of context, and merely wrote about it because it was written while McDonnell was at Regent University.
Bolling said the issue will not affect his race against Democrat Jody Wagner. Cuccinelli said he doesn't know if the thesis will impact his race, though he acknowledges that his campaign, in part, depends on McDonnell's success. "Creigh Deeds is desperate to change the subject,'' he said.
Posted at 5:11 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Shannon Jumps In on McDonnell Thesis
Remember the Sesame Street song "One of These Things is Not Like the Other?"
It might have seemed a little odd when Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon's campaign declined to comment on Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis, just as the rest of the Democratic establishment was racing to condemn McDonnell for the work.
Apparently, that wasn't where the Shannon campaign wanted to end up on the story of the day, so spokesman Brian Coy put out a new statement on the issue late this afternoon:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:40 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Va. Democratic Party Video on Thesis: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
Is Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis scary? That's sure what the Democratic Party of Virginia wants people to conclude with the following video, distributed today. Of course, clips of puppies playing in a meadow would be frightening if set to the music used in this video. Is it over the top? Certainly, Republicans will conclude so. What do you think? Tell us in the comments.
Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Kaine Has 'Grave Concerns' About McDonnell's Thesis
Gov. Tim Kaine said today that he was not surprised by what Bob McDonnell wrote in his thesis.
"The views expressed in that paper are views that I have long felt were Bob McDonnell's very sincere and long-held views,'' Kaine said in an interview. "In interactions with Bob on a number of those issues, he has demonstrated to me that I think that many of those views he still holds."
Kaine reminded reporters that when McDonnell was attorney general, he told him that he did not have the authority to issue an executive order barring state agencies from discriminating based on sexual orientation. McDonnell said at the time that he did not consider sexual orientation when hiring employees for his office, but that Kaine's order violated the "founders' mandate to separate and limit the power of the executive branch."
"I would never challenge someone's personal beliefs. [But] I think they are not the right governing philosophies for the commonwealth, however, so I was not surprised to read about the thesis,'' Kaine said. "To me, it seems like kind of a blueprint of here's what I hope to do as an elected official and I think he's been working diligently to do that."
Posted at 3:03 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Downticket Dems Take Different Paths on McDonnell Thesis
Might Bob McDonnell's 20-year-old thesis, already the talk of the governor's race, also affect the races for attorney general and lieutenant governor?
It's hard to say, especially since the two Democratic campaigns are taking such different positions on the issue. Pete Kavanaugh, an advisor to lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, said that as a working mother of four, she was particularly disturbed by McDonnell's writing. Wagner is the only woman on either party's statewide ticket.
"She proves how successful working women can be," Kavanaugh said. "Our question right now for [Lt. Gov. Bill] Bolling is is this really what he believes? Will he stand with McDonnell through this?"
Meanwhile, Brian Coy, a spokesman for Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon, declined to comment.
"Steve Shannon is proud to be running with Creigh Deeds and thinks he is the right choice to be next Governor. Steve is running for Attorney General to make Virginia safer by cracking down on gangs, drunk drivers and internet predators who target our kids," he said.
Posted at 2:50 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Who is Jennifer? Another Case of Inter-Campaign Trickery
Bob McDonnell's campaign received a call this morning from a woman who called herself "Jennifer" and claimed to be a freelance reporter from the Connection newspapers in Northern Virginia. She asked for information about McDonnell's schedule.
The problem? She isn't a reporter. She actually works for Creigh Deeds's campaign.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin, who took her call, said the caller ID showed Deeds's campaign headquarters phone number and the words "Deeds for Va."
Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey questioned his staffers after hearing about the call from a reporter. He later said he found out the caller was one of his staffers -- though he did not release the woman's name.
"An overzealous campaign worker was trying to figure out where Bob McDonnell was today,'' Abbey said. "We have made it clear to all staff and volunteers that this behavior is not acceptable and should not happen again."
Posted at 12:26 PM ET, 08/31/2009
McDonnell: Women Support Me
We hear Bob McDonnell's response to the story about his thesis is coming soon. It will feature quotes from women who back his efforts, who talk about how supportive he has been of working women...
UPDATE: You can find this release here.
The women defending McDonnell include Judy Wason Ford, head of Virginians for McDonnell and formerly head of Virginians for (Mark) Warner. "Bob has always respected and supported working women and will continue to do so. Virginians are worried about the future, not a decades-old academic paper," writes Wason, who identifies herself as a pro-choice woman.
Other women include Janet Polarek, a top McDonnell aide who managed his 2005 attorney general's campaign, commonwealth attorneys, a deputy attorney general, and business leaders.
Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 08/31/2009
Deeds Camp: Our Phones Are Ringing Off the Hook
Bob McDonnell's graduate school thesis has the "potential to really change the dynamics of this race."
That's the claim (and hope) of Creigh Deeds's communications director, Mike Gehrke, and senior adviser Mo Elleithee, who just held a media call to talk about how they think the thesis is relevant to the race. Is there interest in the story? Judging by the media list who listened in to the call, which included everyone from CNN to Amy Walter of Hotline, absolutely.
"Our phones are ringing off the hook," Elleithee said. "Our e-mail box is filing up. People are wanting to know how they can get more engaged in the race. People are coming up to the campaign office and our canvassers and the candidate and asking how they can help because the stakes are too high."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:45 AM ET, 08/31/2009
Monday, Aug. 31, 2009
Good morning, Virginia! Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today.
How much impact will this weekend's Post story about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis have on the race for governor? It's the big political question of the moment as the week begins. Articles about the thesis have appeared in pretty much every Virginia newspaper now, so the story's gotten plenty of statewide attention and it's now time to watch how the campaigns respond.
A lot of Republicans are dismissing the writings as an ancient academic exercise that will count for little on Nov. 3. The McDonnell campaign did not make their candidate available to answer questions about the thesis to the Associated Press on Sunday. So far they instead have stuck to a statement on the issue composed before The Post's story appeared. But expect McDonnell to face lots of questions about the thesis this week.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 08/30/2009
Fact Check: Is Economic Fund a Cure-All?
If you listen to state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) and ex-attorney general Robert F. McDonnell (R), a little-understood fund run by the governor's office is a quick ticket to economic prosperity in Virginia.
Both gubernatorial candidates have called for doubling the state appropriation for the Governor's Opportunity Fund to $20 million, and both say the potential for economic growth is big.
But Democrats also charge that McDonnell, as a House delegate from Virginia Beach earlier this decade, voted three times to cut the fund. And Republicans argue that Gov. Tim Kaine (D) isn't using the fund to its full potential, letting millions sit unused.
Neither claim is completely accurate.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 08/28/2009
Republicans Gather In Richmond
More than 350 Republican activists from around the state will gather at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Richmond tonight to hear from the party's three statewide candidates -- Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli.
Also speaking: former governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore and former U.S. Rep. Davis. Rep. Rob Wittman, House Speaker Bill Howell and several members of the General Assembly will be in attendance.
The "Victory Dinner," an annual fundraiser for the state party, will raise about $250,000.
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 08/28/2009
Ad Watch: "No Good Deeds"
The ads are coming fast and furious.
And we told you that when they started, we'd be analyzing the commercials, picking apart claims made by the campaigns and assessing the messages they are intending to send.
Here's our latest installment: a Republican Governors Association ad -- the first one of the general election -- attacking Democrat Creigh Deeds, which began airing Wednesday.
Posted at 5:07 PM ET, 08/27/2009
Deeds Ad Hits McDonnell on Bush
The governor's race ads are getting tougher. First, the Republican Governor's Association hit Creigh Deeds on spending. Now, Deeds has put out a variant of the happy, shiny ad he first aired last week. It addresses similar themes as his first spot--Deeds will govern like Warner, offer tax credits to businesses that create jobs, audit state agencies.
But this time around, instead of merely mentioning that he won't govern like George Bush, Deeds makes the link between Republican Bob McDonnell and Bush explicit.
The Deeds camp says the ad will be airing in all Virginia media markets except pricey NoVa.
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 08/27/2009
The Kitchen Table: Greenspring Village on the Governor's Race
This week's Kitchen Table takes us to Greenspring Village, a retirement community in Springfield and one of the most politically engaged communities in the state. Just about every candidate running for Fairfax County or statewide office makes at least one swing through this tree-lined 100-acre campus, and no wonder: turnout in last fall's election was 87 percent of its 1,945 registered voters (and just about everyone here is registered to vote).
So it's perhaps no surprise that Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D), a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors who knows these residents well, on Tuesday held a healthcare town hall meeting at Greenspring Village. (You can meet some of these residents in a video published on washingtonpost.com.)Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 08/27/2009
What Might Have Been
Here's one headache Virginia Democrats must be relieved they do not have to face.
A top national Democratic financier has been charged with lying about his assets to get a $74 million loan from Citibank and leading Democrats have been racing to return his donations. Hassan Nemazee, son of an Iranian shipping tycoon and CEO of Nemazee Capital, served as co-chair of fundraising efforts for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year. And who was Clinton's campaign chairman? Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:39 PM ET, 08/26/2009
Deeds Ad: "Grass Stains"
How can we tell it's almost Labor Day? The campaigns are putting out new ads left and right. Here's the latest radio spot from Creigh Deeds, featuring the two most politically attuned people ever to attend a junior high school football practice.
On the sidelines of football field, a man and woman talk about the campaign and Republican Bob McDonnell's comments praising George Bush economic policy.
"What I can't figure is why this Bob McDonnell wants to do it JUST LIKE Bush," the guy says.
Together, the conclude that Deeds is "that underdog guy" and "a little more Mark Warner, a lot less George Bush."
And current Gov. Tim Kaine? Once again for a Deeds ad, he doesn't come up on the sidelines.
Listen to the ad here.
Posted at 5:35 PM ET, 08/26/2009
Virginia Notebook: Regional Differences Challenge Candidates
Do Northern Virginians look at the world differently from residents of the rest of the state?
It's been a sensitive question in the commonwealth's recent electoral history, one that has gone hand in hand with an occasional suggestion that those who live north of the Rappahannock River don't hold the same views as those in "real Virginia."
When The Washington Post last week published an article featuring the voices of Northern Virginians who had taken part in a recent Post poll, respondents said gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds's rural roots made them anxious about whether he could understand their lives. Some readers said that the story reinforced stereotypes about differences between Washington area suburbanites and Virginians who live in other parts of the state.
But drill down further into the survey's results, and this much becomes clear: There are real distinctions between how voters in the northern counties view issues and candidates and how Virginians elsewhere in the state look at them.
Posted at 2:05 PM ET, 08/26/2009
Updated: RGA Launches Attack Ads
Bob McDonnell goes negative. Sort of. The Republican Governors Association is doing it for him.
The RGA's political action committee, Virginia Common Sense, launched TV and radio ads across the state (except pricey Northern Virginia) that criticize Democrat Creigh Deeds for supposedly supporting big government spending.
The ads feature footage from remarks Deeds made to a crowd in Lexington April 4 when he said: "In Richmond we don't have earmarks, we have budget amendments. And I had the most budget amendments in 2008 of all."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 08/26/2009
Ad Watch: "This Election"
As the ads begin running in the governor's race, we'll be analyzing the commercials, picking apart claims made by the campaigns and analyzing messages they are intending to send. First up, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, whose first ad of the general election campaign began airing Friday.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 08/26/2009
Where's Dick Cranwell?
The usually outspoken chairman of the state Democratic party has remained uncharacteristically silent during the escalating scandal over his former House colleague Phil Hamilton.
One by one, Gov. Tim Kaine, all six statewide candidates, the chairman of the state GOP and, of course, the House speaker have voiced an opinion on what should be done in Hamilton's case.
But not Cranwell.
Reporters have been asking for his response for days, but have received nothing from him or his staff -- though they issue multiple attacks against Bob McDonnell each day.
All three statewide Democratic candidates - Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon - have called for Hamilton's resignation so it's unlikely Cranwell would stray from that message.
But maybe, just maybe, Cranwell doesn't agree with his fellow Democrats and that's why he's silent?
Posted at 5:33 PM ET, 08/25/2009
National GOP Group Gives Pro-McDonnell PAC $2.5 Million
We told you yesterday that a Republican PAC, Virginia Common Sense, was starting to air TV ads for Bob McDonnell this week.
Now we know how it's paying for the ads:
The Republican Governors Association has just reported giving $2.5-million to Virginia Common Sense, the RGA's political action committee, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign money in the state.
McDonnell and the RGA were critical of the Democratic Governors Associaton's PAC, Common Sense Virginia, which spent nearly $3 million on ads opposing McDonnell during the Democratic primary. McDonnell's spokesman said at the time that those Democratic ads were funded by "out of state special interests who have no real interest in the future of Virginia's workers."
So what's the difference?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:08 PM ET, 08/25/2009
McDonnell's New TV Ad on "Green Jobs"
Republican Bob McDonnell will continue with his mantra of "jobs governor" with his new TV ad that will air in every market in the state except for pricey Northern Virginia starting tomorrow.
In the ad, McDonnell speaks about "green jobs" and new sources of energy -- a topic that should be familiar to all of us since he, Creigh Deeds and the former Democratic candidates have been talking about it since the race began.
Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 08/24/2009
Updated: GOP Leaders Ask Hamilton to Resign; He Refuses
We expected Democrats to call for GOP Del. Phillip A. Hamilton to resign in response to emails showing he sought a job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school. But now Republicans leaders are calling for his resignation too.
In extremely strong statements, gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Pat Mullins, chairman of the state GOP, all said tonight that Hamilton should resign.
"From what I have seen of published news accounts containing emails and admissions, it appears that Delegate Hamilton has violated the public trust,'' McDonnell said. "Based on this public information it would be in the best interests of his constituents for him to step down."
McDonnell and Mullins called for the resignation, but acknowedge that Hamilton has the right to defend himself in any investigations first if he chooses to do so.
Updated: Hamilton said in a statement late tonight that he was disappointed in the statements of the statewide candidates but "their collective opinions have not lessened my resolve to continue serving the people of the 93rd District."
"These gentlemen have cited the best interests of the people of the 93rd District as their
reason for calling on me to resign,'' he said. "Yet, it appears that only Governor Kaine and Senator Cuccinelli possess sufficient confidence in those voters to permit them the privilege of expressing their opinion at the ballot box. I share that view, have confidence in the fairness and judgment of the people I serve, and will continue to campaign for their support."
Read the full statements from Republican leaders and Hamlton below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:10 PM ET, 08/24/2009
McDonnell, GOP Hit the Airwaves
Get ready to see more political ads -- a lot more.
Democrat Creigh Deeds went on the air with his first TV ad of the general election a few days ago. Now, Republican Bob McDonnell has decided to go up on TV too.
McDonnell will begin airing ads Wednesday, and the the Republican Governors Association's PAC Virginia Common Sense is expected to start ads on his behalf Thursday. (You'll recall that the RGA formed the group only after criticizing the Democratic Governors Association for creating its own PAC called Common Sense Virginia. Don't you just love politics?)
No word on yet on what the ads will say, but with McDonnell leading in the polls you can expect his to be positive. The RGA's ad, on the other hand, will most likely be negative.
McDonnell aired a slew of TV ads in May before the general election began, and then another 10 days worth of ads on the economy in late June.
Posted at 6:00 PM ET, 08/24/2009
National HuckPAC Volunteers are Helping McDonnell
HuckPAC, the political action committee founded by former Arkansas governor, presidential hopeful and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee, has taken an early and intense interest in Bob McDonnell's run for governor.
Huckabee himself has campaigned for McDonnell in Virginia. In the latest show of support, volunteers from across the country made nearly 11,000 phone calls to Virginia voters on Saturday as part of a phone-banking effort organized by the group, talking up the Republican candidate's pro-life record, his support of gun rights and his efforts to create jobs and spur the economy.
"One of the things we learned during our campaign is that we're not going to be able to do much by way of money," said Sarah Huckabee, executive director of the organization and daughter of the former governor. "But one of ... our strengths is our grass roots, our ability to get ordinary people to make extraordinary sacrifices and roll up their sleeves and get to work."
Expect to hear more from this group and others like it as the November election approaches. Organizers aim to have at least one more telephone outreach effort, and hope to bus activists into the state to knock on doors and volunteer.
Posted at 3:31 PM ET, 08/24/2009
Deeds Highlights Small Business Initiatives
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds on Monday held a small business event in Charlottesville, where he picked up a theme from his Friday address at George Mason University: He would give every business that creates a job a tax credit.
"Create a job, get a tax credit," runs a new stump speech line he introduced Friday and repeated Monday. Expect to hear it many times again between now and November.
Under Deeds' proposal, any business that creates a new job will get a state tax credit equivalent to the increase in federal payroll taxes paid by the business on the new employee. McDonnell, meanwhile, has proposed a $1,000 per employee tax credit for any business that creates 50 new jobs anywhere in the state or 25 new jobs in economically depressed areas.
Other ideas for small businesses highlighted by Deeds include expanding state contracting with minority and women-owned small businesses, creation of a Rural Business Fund to make loans to small businesses expanding in rural or depressed areas, and incentives to help small businesses pool together to buy lower-cost health insurance for employees.
Posted at 1:37 PM ET, 08/24/2009
Democrats Issue Call for Hamilton's Resignation
All three Democrats running for statewide office have now called for powerful Newport News Republican Del. Phillip A. Hamilton to resign, in response to emails showing Hamilton sought at job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school to open a teaching center.
Attorney General candidate Steve Shannon was the first to call for Hamilton's resignation Sunday. Now gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and lieutenant governor candidate Creigh Deeds have hopped aboard too.
Democrats are clearly hoping the scandal will have legs. They hope it will tar Republicans with the whiff of possible corruption while also providing a helpful reminder to remind voters, who have been showing anxiety about elected officials of late, that Richmond in leadership is shared between the parties.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 08/22/2009
On The Record
Recently, we introduced you to On The Record , a new regular feature here on the Virginia Politics blog -- a funny, outrageous or otherwise memorable quote from someone in the state's political world. Have a quote you want to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now onto our latest installment:
"It shows [Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell] just doesn't understand the serious needs in Northern Virginia and the fact that it will take rational leadership based on good thoughtful public policy to solve these problems, not the kind gimmicks he's proposed," Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria), said in an interview with my colleague Roz Helderman.
Englin was responding to McDonnell's criticism of Gov. Tim Kaine for postoning construction on HOT lanes on interstates 395 and 95 even though private companies, not the state, are picking up the tab. McDonnell has proposed paying for transportation in part by privatizing the state's liquor stores, adding tolls on some highways and promoting public-private partnerships like the HOT lane project. Englin, whose district includes a large portion of the proposed project, said McDonnell is misreading a much-sought-after delay by some residents who want time to study the potential effect on their neighborhoods.
What do you think about Englin's quote? Share your thoughts with us below.
Posted at 9:58 AM ET, 08/22/2009
Get to Know Your Candidates
Happy weekend, Virginia!
As part of our continuing series "Get to Know Your Candidates," we are occasionally posing more personal and lighthearted questions to Virginia's gubernatorial candidates. Today's edition, inspired we'll admit by intriguing news from Maryland: How did you propose marriage to your wife?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:52 PM ET, 08/21/2009
Updated: Howell, McDonnell "Disappointed" in Hamilton
House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) said in a statement this afternoon that he was "deeply disappointed" to hear that Del. Phil Hamilton sought a job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school to open a teaching center.
"I believe he certainly did the right thing in resigning his position at ODU and is correct in accepting full personal responsibility for his role in this very unfortunate situation," Howell said.
Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, who served with Hamilton (R-Newport News) in the House of Delegates for 14 years and represented the same area of the state, said late today that he was "surprised and very disappointed" in his friend's actions.
"Elected officials must maintain the highest levels of integrity and accountability,'' McDonnell said. "I am both surprised and very disappointed in the actions taken by Delegate Hamilton in this matter. Delegate Hamilton was correct to immediately resign from his position at Old Dominion University, accept full responsibility for his actions and publicly apologize for his conduct."
Posted at 1:25 PM ET, 08/21/2009
Deeds Goes on the Offensive in Speech, Ad
Democrat Creigh Deeds worked to recharge his gubernatorial bid Friday with what his campaign billed as a major address at George Mason University and his first television ad of the general election campaign. You can watch the ad below and read more about the remarks here.
The speech contained little that's new in the way of policy proposals -- Deeds said as much to reporters afterward. But he did attempt to sharpen the message he will present throughout the fall. And what's that message? It's all about backwards-forwards. Republican Bob McDonnell will take the state back, Deeds will take it forward.
Deeds said he would govern in the bipartisan vein of former governor Mark Warner, recalling what he said was the pivotal 2004 tax fight when Deeds backed Warner's budget and McDonnell was opposed. Deeds said he would create opportunity by giving tax credits to job-creating businesses and expanding access to higher education.
Republicans blasted the speech as a backwards-looking stunt, trying to hit the "reset" button on a floundering campaign. "If Creigh Deeds thinks blowing the dust off an old political playbook amounts to a major new announcement, he doesn't get what the voters of Virginia are looking for in their next governor," said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin.
Here's the ad, going up in every state media market except Northern Virginia.
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 08/21/2009
Young Voters Split for the Moment
Does Creigh Deeds have a problem motivating voters in the Democratic base? It's one reason many have proposed for why his poll numbers are not looking so hot two months before Election Day. And given that conversation, this is an interesting figure to contemplate from The Washington Post's first poll of the race:
Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell are running about even with voters ages 18 to 34, with Deeds at 44 percent and McDonnell at 42 percent.
That's an age group that got particularly excited about President Obama last year. If Deeds is to pull a come-from-behind victory in November, he will probably need to find a way to wow younger voters far more than he has so far.
But Deeds might take comfort in some historical perspective.
Posted at 6:45 AM ET, 08/21/2009
First Click - Virginia
Happy Friday, here's what's happening in Virginia politics today.
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds goes on the offensive, making an 11 a.m. speech in Northern Virginia, where some Democrats say they aren't fired up about his candidacy. He follows the address with his first television ad of the general election and immediately plunges back into rural Virginia with a weekend spin through Harrisonburg, Salem, Roanoke, Christiansburg, Bland, Tazewell and Bristol.
McDonnell, meanwhile, continues his RV tour of the state, making stops in Lynchburg, Appomattox and Harrisonburg today. At recent events he has sought to deflect Deeds' attacks on his record opposing abortion, accusing the state senator of being the one who is overly focused on the issue.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 08/20/2009
Fact Check: More on McDonnell and Martinsville
Okay, politicos, gather around for another tour through Virginia's premiere sausage factory.
Last week, we rifled 10-year-old records of the Virginia General Assembly to shed light on the Democratic Party's claim that Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell ignored the plight of jobless textile workers in Martinsville.
It's a serious charge. The city has yet to recover from the collapse of the region's furniture and textile industries 10 years ago, as witnessed by an unemployment rate that hit 21.6 percent in June.
Fearlessly venturing into the Legislative Information System and the House Journal --which feels a little like making a study of sausage-making after it's already been through the disposal -- our Fact Check found that while McDonnell did vote against the emergency aid package for Martinsville's workers, the Democrats' charges also lacked some important context.
Now, Del. Robert D. Hull (D-Fairfax) wants you to know that there was another, little-noticed vote that also put McDonnell on record on the issue.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:58 AM ET, 08/20/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
The big news was yesterday's special legislative session in Richmond. The General Assembly yesterday voted to change a law governing breath tests in drunk driving cases in a mad dash to accommodate a recent Supreme Court ruling that would have made prosecutions in those cases more difficult.
Lawmakers also received a grim update on the budget. Gov. Kaine announced a $1.5 billion shortfall that will require significant cuts, which he'll announce in early September. They also decided to compensate a Norfolk man wrongly convicted of rape with a $633,000 settlement.
With the special session over, both men vying for Virginia governor turn their attention back to the campaign. Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, a state senator, participated in yesterday's session. He tries to give a boost to his campaign by spending the day in the Democratic-leaning Washington suburbs, where he will make a major campaign speech tomorrow.
Republican Robert F. McDonnell, the former attorney general who stepped down to focus on the campaign, kept it low-key yesterday as well but began his day at 5:30 this morning meeting workers at the Newport News Shipyard.
Posted at 4:59 PM ET, 08/19/2009
Special Session Wrap-Up
Lawmakers had a productive day in Richmond on Wednesday, successfully coming to agreement on two bills. Identical versions of the measures have unanimously passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate. One measure is designed to address the issue that brought the General Assembly to town on a blazing hot August day, a Supreme Court decision that requires live testimony from forensic analysts in DUI and drug cases.
The bill passed by the legislature allows prosecutors to use written testimony but requires them to alert defendants in advance that they will do so, providing time for objections. The House and Senate have also passed identical bills that would provide more than $600,000 in compensation to a Hampton Roads man who spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
While in Richmond, Democratic delegates and senators also report receiving a briefing during their closed-door caucus meetings from gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds's campaign manager, Joe Abbey.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:07 AM ET, 08/19/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning Virginia, here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
While state lawmakers meet in Richmond today to address a recent Supreme Court ruling that could throw a wrench into many prosecutions, one big piece of news out of the special session will be the additional cuts Gov. Kaine is expected to propose to the budget.
Among the attendees will be state senator and gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds (D) . He and GOP opponent Bob McDonnell each picked up a key endorsement yesterday, and today McDonnell spends the day in private meetings and visiting with businesses and law enforcement officials in Hampton Roads, a spokeswoman said this morning.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 08/18/2009
Realtors Back McDonnell; Black Caucus Favors Deeds
Gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell held back-to-back news conferences in Richmond on Tuesday to announce endorsements, neither of them of the too terribly shocking variety.
McDonnell picked up the support of the political action committee of the Virginia Association of Realtors, the state's largest professional organization. The group represents 33,000 Realtors and, after interviewing both candidates,
backed McDonnell as more likely to promote home ownership.
The support from the right-leaning business group is not a surprise, although it was also not assured: The group also endorsed Democrat Steve Shannon on Tuesday for attorney general, along with Republican Bill Bolling for reelection as lieutenant governor.
Even less surprising was Deeds's announcement that he had received the backing of the legislative black caucus.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:58 AM ET, 08/18/2009
First Click - Virginia
Good morning, here's what's happening in politics around the state.
Virginia lawmakers struggle with the reality that the piggy bank is empty for transportation. Gov. Kaine has decided to delay part of the HOT Lanes project, a decision that drew an instant rebuke from GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell.
The Post uses Virginia as a test case for the health care debate and finds broad skepticism.
State lawmakers have begun working on legislation to address a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that could make prosecuting criminals more difficult. The General Assembly meets tomorrow to consider the changes and will likely get some bad news about the state budget too, says the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:23 PM ET, 08/17/2009
Va. Northern Neck GOP Embraces Crabill - Again
Not only is Republican delegate candidate Catherine Crabill not stepping aside, as requested by the state GOP last week, but local party leaders are redoubling their support for her campaign in the Northern Neck against Democrat Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr.
Crabill's campaign Monday announced that the top Republican in the 99th legislative district, R. Allen Webb, will chair a grassroots steering committee for her campaign.
The announcement came just a few days after state GOP leaders, including all three candidates for statewide office, formally denounced Crabill over her comments last month that her supporters might have to "resort to the bullet box" if not successful at the ballot box. State party chairman Pat Mullins called on her to abandon her run for office.
"I'm happy to answer the call to help Catherine Crabill as the Republican Party's 99th District nominee," Webb said in a press release, urging party members to rally around Crabill. "Local Republicans made their views known overwhelmingly at our district convention earlier this year, and I will do all that I can to help Catherine succeed."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:24 AM ET, 08/17/2009
First Click - Virginia
Happy Monday, here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Bob McDonnell starts his week with good news: A Washington Post poll conducted last week shows the GOP gubernatorial hopeful with a clear advantage among registered voters, though lots of respondents acknowledged they don't know much about either candidate and Democrat Creigh Deeds still has more than two months to gain some ground, as the RTD points out. National Journal's Charlie Cook, however, argues that a Deeds victory at this point would be a "true upset."
The Post's editorial board today weighs in on McDonnell's record on abortion, which Deeds spent last week highlighting. Despite Deeds' efforts to show that the former attorney general is too conservative, the Post poll showed that more registered voters view Deeds as too liberal.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:27 AM ET, 08/16/2009
Fact Check: Did McDonnell Turn His Back on Unemployed?
To accuse a Virginian politician of turning his back on Martinsville, the beleagured Southside mill town whose unemployment rate hit 21.6 percent in June, is almost like a slur.
But that's what the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) did last week, saying that Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell "stood against the workers in the area when textile plants shut down and left nearly 3,000 workers jobless."
As a former delegate, McDonnell voted against "a bipartisan emergency relief package" that would have provided enhanced jobless benefits, including health insurance, for laid-off Martinsville textile workers, the Deeds campaign said.
The allegation is accurate--but also deserves some context.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:42 PM ET, 08/15/2009
McDonnell Talks Tourism
Republican Bob McDonnell rolled out a series of proposals today designed to boost Virginia's tourism, hospitality and film industries.
He made the announcement from Luray Caverns on what is dubbed Discovery Day, the annual celebration of its discovery in 1868.
The proposals include doubling the funding for the Virginia Tourism Corporation, convening a tourism summit, promoting Virginia wine and increasing money for the governor's motion picture fund by $2 million.
"There is no better state to visit, no better place to film,'' McDonnell said. "You seemingly can't throw a rock here without hitting a beautiful vacation spot, a former president's home, or a Civil War battlefield,'' McDonnell said.
Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 08/14/2009
Republican Chairman Wants Crabill to Step Aside
No, Bob McDonnell is not attending an upcoming fundraiser with Republican House of Delegates candidate Catherine Crabill. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling won't be there either. Attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli II also will not appear with Crabill.
In fact, the Republican Party of Virginia has formally decided it will be giving Crabill no support for her campaign against Del. Albert Pollard, and chairman Pat Mullins has sent word to Crabill that he would prefer that she step aside and not run for the seat.
Crabill, who is the Republican nominee running in Virginia's Northern Neck, has said the federal government might have played a role in the Oklahoma City bombing. She was caught on video recently advocating "resorting to the bullet box" if her supporters do not win at the "ballot box."
Top campaign aides for McDonnell opponent Creigh Deeds were asked during a press call today about a report, erroneous it turns out, that McDonnell and Bolling would soon be campaigning with Crabill.
Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 08/14/2009
Deeds Calls Relative of Virginia Tech Victim
Creigh Deeds is reaching out to families of the Virginia Tech shooting, some of whom actively opposed him in his three-way Democrat primary against Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe, because of his stance on guns.
This morning, he called Omar Samaha, whose sister, Reema, was killed in the April 2007 shootings.
"Creigh and Omar spoke this morning and had a good, friendly conversation,'' said Mo Elleithee, Deeds spokesman. "As with all the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy, Creigh intends to have an open door and continued dialogue with him."
Samaha and Colin Goddard, a victim who survived the shooting (and was in the room when shooter Seung Hui Cho killed himself), issued an open letter opposing Deeds hours before the polls opened in June.
Deeds has voted repeatedly against closing a loophole that allows some private vendors at gun shows to make sales without background checks -- a change in law that has been pushed by the Virginia Tech familes. But he later changed his mind, championing amendments to the bill to close the loophole that would weaken the legislation but, he believed, would secure enough votes to get it out of committee. The bill never passed.
Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 08/14/2009
On The Record
Last week, we introduced you to On The Record , a new regular feature here on the Virginia Politics blog -- a funny, outrageous or otherwise memorable quote from someone in the state's political world. Have a quote you want to share? Email me at email@example.com.
Now onto our second installment:
Today's quote: "All they've got to do is look at the birth certificate in Hawaii. To me that is convincing evidence...This is a distraction from discussion of real issues that do matter. I'm convinced he was born in United States, that he was duly elected president and he's proposing some really bad ideas for our country," George Allen said in an interview with my colleague Sandhya Somashekhar.
Allen, the former Republican senator and governor, was responding to a question about the so-called "birther movement" -- comprised of those who do not believe Barack Obama is a natural born citizen, a requirement to be president of the United States. Recent polls show that a majority of Republicans do not believe, or say they do not know, if Obama is a citizen. But Allen has made it crystal clear he does not fall in that category. Three years after he made an infamous political gaffe, a conciliatory Allen is stepping back into the spotlight in part by campaigning regularly for gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, prompting speculation of a comeback.
What do you think about Allen's quote? Share your thoughts with us below.
Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 08/14/2009
McDonnell Snags Farm Endorsement
In the end, it didn't matter that Creigh Deeds had performed surgery on farm animals.
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation's PAC endorsed Bob McDonnell today over Deeds in the governor's race.
Both candidates spoke a couple of weeks ago in front of the state's farmers at a candidates forum. Deeds grew up on a farm (and performed surgery on animals), but the group selected McDonnell because of his record on property rights as a legislator and attorney general. "Protecting the rights of property owners has been and continues to be a priority issue for the Virginia Farm Bureau," said Wayne F. Pryor, VFBF president and chairman of the Virginia AgPAC board of trustees.
The decision wasn't a total surprise. The group endorsed McDonnell over Deeds in the attorney general's race in 2005.
The group did not split its ticket. It also endorsed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli for attorney general, both Republicans.
Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 08/14/2009
The Kitchen Table: Interview With Pew's Scott Keeter
For this week's installment of "The Kitchen Table," a regular feature about Virginia voters, we asked Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center in Washington and one of the nation's prominent thinkers on the subject of voter behavior, some questions about what makes voters tick.
Keeter has authored and co-authored several books and papers, including "What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters," and "A New Engagement? Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen." A Virginia resident, he has been a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University.
The Post: Why do some people vote and others don't?
Keeter: Even though most people realize that their individual vote will probably not be the deciding factor in an election, most people realize that collectively their votes matter in determining the outcome. Still, many people don't vote, especially in off-year elections that don't have the high level of mobilization that presidential years do. Those who do vote tend to be older, better-educated and more affluent. That's true even in presidential elections, but is especially true in state races. The people who vote in elections like the Virginia or New Jersey gubernatorial and legislative elections tend to be perennially engaged in politics and better-informed than the average voter.
Posted at 8:19 AM ET, 08/14/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Aug. 14, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Republican Bob McDonnell heads home to Northern Virginia, where he will speak at the Republican National Hispanic Assembly's convention in Tysons Corner. Tomorrow the McDonnell RV takes a tour of Luray Caverns where he will roll out a policy proposal on -- what else? -- tourism.
He spent yesterday on the Eastern Shore talking about outer space. He toured the spaceport on Wallops Island and announced plans to make it the "top commercial spaceport in the country." Meanwhile back in Richmond, his campaign announced a newly-redesigned Web site.
Democrat Creigh Deeds will travel to Newport News today for a community day hosted by a mental health agency. Then he's off to Courtland for the Franklin-Southampton County Fair. Funnel cake, anyone?
He announced the creation of Nurses for Deeds yesterday in Portsmouth along with fellow state Sen. Louise Lucas, the best-dressed legislator in the General Assembly.
In other Deeds news, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato stands by his statements about the upheaval in the Deeds campaign. It turns out there have been some changes, but the message from the Deeds camp is that Joe Abbey remains on top.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:20 PM ET, 08/13/2009
Does Deeds Play Follow the Leader?
Both candidates for governor found themselves talking about kind of an obscure Virginia topic this week -- the spaceport on tiny Wallops Island.
Virginia is only so big, so both candidates are likely to end up in the same places, talking about the same issues some of the time. But McDonnell and the Republicans have been working hard to try to convince people that Deeds is following his lead. As part of the "Me too! campaign," the state GOP has tweaked Deeds for following McDonnell on several issues -- agency audits, charter schools and ABC privatization, just to name a few.
"Creigh Deeds is playing a grown up version of follow the leader,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said.
Not true, the Deeds campaign says. In fact, they say McDonnell may be following Deeds. Afterall, McDonnell unveiled his rural economic plan as Deeds wrapped up his "Deeds Country" to the rural parts of the state. "I could care less where Bob's taking his campaign,'' Deeds spokesman Mo Elleithee said. "I just want him to be honest about where he's taking Virginia."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 08/13/2009
Virginia Notebook: Where Is McDonnell From?
In campaign literature mailed recently to Northern Virginia residents, Robert F. McDonnell touts himself as a "governor that Fairfax County families can be proud to call their own." In another mailer sent to Hampton Roads residents, he touts himself as "a governor Virginia Beach can be proud to call our own."
But McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, doesn't live in Fairfax or Virginia Beach. He lives in Henrico County, just outside Richmond.
McDonnell grew up in Fairfax, represented Virginia Beach in the General Assembly for 14 years and then moved to Henrico when he was elected attorney general in 2005.
He has been campaigning aggressively in Virginia's suburban core, hoping his strong ties to the state's three most populous areas, and support from traditionally conservative rural areas, will give him enough votes to carry the state in November.
"I'm really the candidate who has really lived his whole life in suburbia," he said in a recent interview. "Fairfax and Virginia Beach, the two largest jurisdictions in the state, and now Henrico. I want to make sure that people know that's my background. I understand the problems of suburbia."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 08/13/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Aug. 13, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Democrat Creigh Deeds will continue his week-long push on abortion, access to birth control and other women's health issues at a news conference in Portsmouth. Later, he will tour a shellfish hatchery in Willis Wharf and then hitch a ride on a boat to help workers load clam seed.
It already has been a long week for Deeds. Criticism (largely conservative, of course) of his abortion strategy and a Confederate flag flap quickly have been replaced by talk of a shake-up at his campaign.
Republican Bob McDonnell will spend the day on Wallops and Tangier islands off Virginia's Eastern Shore. (He'll temporarily ditch his RV for a helicopter). He'll tour the spaceport and talk up his grand plan to make it the top commercial spaceport in the country.
The trip comes a day after McDonnell released a lengthy proposal designed to curb crime in Virginia, including lifetime monitoring for sexual predators through GPS. Deeds may not like it, but McDonnell continues to talk about federal issues ("Are you running for Congress?") by touting a new study that shows the federal cap-and-trade bill would hurt Virginia workers and families.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 08/12/2009
McDonnell Donates $300k to State GOP
Republican Bob McDonnell has donated $300,000 to the state GOP in recent months as the beleagured party struggles to reverse its recent problems with fundraising and leadership.
The Republican gubernatorial nominee gave the party $50,000 in May and another $250,000 in July, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign donations in Virginia. McDonnell is the party's largest donor in at least two years.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the campaign made the donation to help pay for the party's "victory" program, which is designed to help the entire ticket including the candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House of Delegates. The program includes get-out-the-vote efforts, canvassing, regional offices and signs.
"We have supported RPV's grassroots efforts because they are critical to our success statewide," Martin said..Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 08/12/2009
Both Campaigns Address Confederate Flag
The Confederate flag may be the third rail of Virginia politics.
Plenty of people are offended by it and think any candidate who fails to refute it entirely embraces Virginia's racist past. Plenty of people believe it's a symbol of their heritage and would disown any candidate who said otherwise.
The vociferousness of Bob McDonnell's campaign's reaction to the suggestion that his staffers flew the flag at their booth at a sportsman's show (Not our flag! We're appalled at the suggestion!) got us wondering: Does that mean McDonnell believes there's something wrong with the flag and believes it should not be flown?
Likewise, the tweet from Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey directing people to the photo had us wondering the same about Deeds, especially given that he told the House of Delegates in 1999 that he had a picture of the flag on his wall as a child.
We asked both campaigns Wednesday afternoon the same question: Does your candidate believe it is ever appropriate to fly the Confederate flag?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:18 PM ET, 08/11/2009
McDonnell: Not Our Flag -- With Update from Show Manager
In a posting on Twitter, the campaign manager for Democrat Creigh Deeds is encouraging people to look at a photograph posted on the left-leaning blog Not Larry Sabato that claims to show that Republican Bob McDonnell's campaign displayed a confederate flag in its booth at a sportsman show.
But McDonnell's campaign says the flag was not theirs.
"The flag was not in our booth,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. "However, there still is an actual story here. The fact that Creigh Deeds' campaign is actively pushing this falsehood demonstrates their desperation is greater than anyone expected. And it also will cost them a lot of credibility right as the campaign enters the home stretch. Not a good day for them."
"To misrepresent a photo for political gain is the worst kind of politics,'' Martin said.
Martin said the flag belonged to an adjacent booth, which was selling confederate flags and other paraphernalia, though the angle of the photo makes it appears as if the flag was McDonnell's. He said the campaign has spoken to the six people -- a combination of staff and volunteers -- who worked the Mechanicsville show last weekend and all denied that they displayed a flag.
Joe Abbey, Deeds campaign manager, sent out a tweet this afternoon: "BREAKING NEWS: MCDONNELL HAS CONFEDERATE FLAG POSTED IN HIS BOOTH AT GUN SHOW IN RICHMOND" linking to the blog story.
"It was Joe's personal retweet, not the campaign's,'' said Mo Elleithee, Deeds spokesman. "Today we're focused on drawing a contrast between Creigh's vision of moving Virginia forward and Bob McDonnell's record of hurting southside Virginia and his support of the Bush economic agenda. If the McDonnell campaign would like to answer for that, we're all ears."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 08/11/2009
Dems Attack McDonnell on Rural Va., Day 2
As Republican Bob McDonnell travels from South Boston to Virginia Beach on Route 58 today in his RV, Democrats are attacking him for repeatedly neglecting that same corridor as a member of the House of Delegates.
The state Democratic party accuses McDonnell of repeatedly voting against proposals that would boost economic development along Route 58. "While 2009 is full of rhetoric, McDonnell's record shows he opposed progress on Route 58, a key to bringing greater economic development to various areas across Virginia," the party stated in a release.
Here are some the votes Democrats cite: In 1999, he voted against $659 million in bonds to help Route 59 and Northern Virginia. In 2002, he voted to cut $10 million from the Route 58 Corridor Development Fund. Three times, in 2002 and 2004, he voted to trim $16 million from the governors opportunity fund, which is designed to lure businesses to the state.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin declined to respond to the attacks. "The theme continues: Bob talks about jobs, the Democrats attack," he said. "We aren't going to respond to gotcha vote-pulling on transportation from the party of a candidate who vows not to even have a transportation plan."
Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 08/11/2009
Deeds: Obama's Paying Attention to Virginia
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, who got to spend a little time with President Obama at a campaign rally last week (video), said the president's comments to him privately showed the leader of the free world had been reading up on the Virginia race -- or at least getting good staff briefings about it.
"He's paying more attention to this race than I would think," Deeds said Monday. "He is familiar with the details of the campaign, what's going on. He's familiar with the details of my biography. So he's paying a little attention."
Deeds was full of praise for the president, who revved up a ballroom of about 1,500 Deeds supporters last week.
"He's a really smart guy. Very thoughtful," Deeds said. "He asked a lot of questions. But mostly there was just banter about our families."
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 08/11/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Aug. 11, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Republican Bob McDonnell unveiled a plan yesterday in Southside to bring new jobs to rural Virginia. But Democrats quickly criticized him for what they call his new interest in the economically-distressed area, and said it comes after years of neglect as a legislator. You can always count on House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong for a good quote -- or two.
Today McDonnell heads to various events along Route 58 from South Boston to Virginia Beach (look for the blue McDonnell RV on the road), including visits to local newspapers in South Boston, Lawrenceville, Emporia, Franklin and Suffolk. Tonight he will stop by the Republican campaign offices in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.
Democrat Creigh Deeds began a week-long attack on McDonnell on abortion (video, pdf). Some newspapers criticized Deeds for talking about abortion instead of the all-important economy, while some bloggers accused him of bringing up social issues after he said only a few weeks ago he would not. Naturally opponents deemed the abortion move as risky and desperate, while supporters did not.
Deeds is taking a day off from public events today, but will be in Richmond tomorrow for a press conference. Will there be more talk about abortion or will he switch to another topic?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 08/10/2009
McDonnell Unveils Plan; Dems Criticize Him
Republican Bob McDonnell unveiled a proposal today in Henry County (unemployment rate 15.4 percent) that he said would bring new jobs to rural Virginia.
The plan calls for designating a deputy secretary to focus solely on rural economic development, forming a rural Virginia taskforce and providing a $1,000 tax credit per job to businesses that create 50 jobs or 25 jobs in economically distressed areas, among other things. Read the full plan here.
"From manufacturing to dairy farms, I know that rural Virginia will be a key part of the economic resurgence that we will create in the Commonwealth,'' McDonnell said.
It didn't take long for the Democrats to criticize McDonnell.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:30 PM ET, 08/10/2009
Deeds Campaigns with Women in NoVa
Democrat Creigh Deeds kicked off his Women for Deeds tour this morning at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, surrounded by more than 80 activists, most of them women. He insisted his week long push to highlight opponent Bob McDonnell's record on pushing for abortion isn't just about the divisive social issue. Instead, he said the discussion is one of priorities.
"My opponent's rhetoric can be confusing. One day, he says his campaign is about jobs, jobs, jobs. The next, he says elections are litmus tests on abortion. But throughout his career, his record and his priorities have been clear," Deeds said. "He's focused on a narrow ideological agenda rather than one that would move Virginia forward."
Among the notables in the crowd, Lynda Robb, wife of former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb, Democratic state Sens. Toddy Puller and Mary Margaret Whipple, as well as delegates Kristen J. Amundson, Charniele Herring, Margaret G. Vanderhye, Vivian E. Watts and Secretary for the Commonwealth Kate Hanley.
Republicans are pushing back hard against the new Deeds message, convinced it will work to their advantage if Deeds is seen as the one making abortion central to the campaign.
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 08/10/2009
First Click - Virginia
Aug. 10, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
It's Monday, the start of what promises to be a busy week on the campaign trail.
Democrat Creigh Deeds wrapped up his tour of the state's rural areas with a rare visit to his home county of Bath where he announced several proposals to improve government accountability.
Deeds is expected to roll out three other policy proposals this week. Today, he will talk about abortion in Northern Virginia as he tries to portray Republican Bob McDonnell as out of the mainstream. The effort is deemed desperate by some, mostly Republicans of course, and has led to a lot of chatter on conservative blogs. But Deeds hopes to energize his lackluster base, and the initial response shows it may be working.
McDonnell got a moment in the national spotlight when he delivered the response to President Obama's weekly radio address this weekend. (Okay, so it's not really a response). He kicked off his month-long "New Jobs, More Opportunities" tour at the Patrick County Peach Festival in Stuart. Check out the RV here.
McDonnell, too, plans to unveil four policy proposals this week. Today, he will hold a press conference to release his economic plan for rural Virginia in Martinsville before heading to Danville.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 08/ 8/2009
McDonnell's National Address
Republican Bob McDonnell's address to the nation this morning sounded a lot like other speeches he has given on the campaign trail -- with an emphasis on jobs, the economy and the federal cap-and-trade bill.
"As I travel throughout Virginia, I listen to our people who are concerned about the jobs they have, worried about finding the jobs they need, and concerned about what jobs will be available for their kids in the years ahead,'' he said. "As a father of five, I share those same concerns; that's why our main goal is to bring Virginians together to create jobs and more opportunities all across our state."
McDonnell also mentioned education (even praising President Obama on the issue), healthcare (opposing the Democrats plans on Capitol Hill), offshore oil drilling and, of course, this being Virginia, transportation.
U.S. House GOP leader John Boehner tapped McDonnell to deliver what is commonly referred to as the response to the president's radio address (though it never actually responds to that speech).
Read the full speech below:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:54 PM ET, 08/ 7/2009
McDonnell Hits the Road
Bob McDonnell will starting traveling the state in an RV tomorrow as part of his month-long "New Jobs, More Opportunities" tour.
The tour kicks off at the Patrick County Peach Festival in Stuart and ends on Labor Day at the Buena Vista Labor Day Parade.
In the first week, McDonnell plans to travel more than 1,500 miles and unveil four policy proposals. His wife, Maureen, will accompany him for about half the tour. "There isn't one region of Virginia we won't visit; there isn't one single vote we will write off,'' he said.
Posted at 3:13 PM ET, 08/ 7/2009
Dems Attack McDonnell on Sotomayor
Virginia Democrats tried to use yesterday's historic confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to bash Bob McDonnell today on his lack of support for the new Supreme Court justice.
McDonnell never said he was opposed to Sotomayor, but he never said he supported her either.
In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Emma Violand-Sanchez, an Arlington School Board Member and yes, a Democrat, said she was disappointed McDonnell did not take a position. Carlos del Toro, a business leader and yes, a Creigh Deeds supporter, said McDonnell is being hypocritical on issues important to the Latino community. "Bob McDonnell had an opportunity to come out of the partisan fray," he said.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:47 AM ET, 08/ 7/2009
The Kitchen Table
Welcome to a new weekly feature on the Virginia politics blog called "The Kitchen Table," which we hope will bring you interesting and illuminating glimpses into the lives of those regular folks who probably don't read this blog but dutifully embrace their democratic responsibilities when called upon to do so. We're talking about voters.
Our first installment takes us to the McLean Hilton, where President Obama made his first public appearance with Creigh Deeds (D) yesterday in support of the latter's run for governor. Earlier this week we told you about how some people's anxiety over Obama's domestic agenda could influence their vote for governor this fall, to Republican Bob McDonnell's advantage.
But the 1,500 who showed up for yesterday's rally proved that Obama's blessing was still a major plus for a lot of voters. Some, like Bonnae Powers, 43, a human resources director from Fairfax, were drawn by a chance to see Obama in the flesh but looked forward to "the opportunity to learn more about one of the candidates for Virginia governor." Others were already won over by the state senator from Bath County. Still others said they'd be voting for Deeds because he's a Democrat -- and that's reason enough.
Apologies for the shaky video to follow. I'll get better at this, I promise!
Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 08/ 7/2009
First Click - Virginia
Aug. 7, 2009
Good morning everyone. Here's what's happening in politics around the state today.
Lots of news coming out of Virginia. President Obama was here yesterday after all.
Obama tried to provide a boost to Creigh Deeds campaign, appearing before 1,500 cheering, sign-waving supporters at the McLean Hilton Tysons Corner. Obama talked up the Democratic nominee for governor, but used the opportunity to defend his own record too.
While Deeds was with Obama, Republican rival Bob McDonnell attended former Congresswoman Thelma Drake's annual party on the pier in Norfolk.
Deeds was endorsed by the Teamsters yesterday --- though he didn't tell anyone. Expect McDonnell and the Republicans to be more than willing to do it for him as they continued to attack him for being tied to big labor (and therefore anti-business).Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:19 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Pool Report for Deeds Fundraiser
We were the pooler for the Virginia press corps at the fundraiser with President Obama held just before tonight's rally. Here's the pool report we filed. More coverage of the full event will be posted at www.washingtonpost.com shortly.
About 200 top donors crowded an atrium at the Hilton Hotel in McLean, Va., just off the main ballroom, for a closed fundraiser preceding the main event in the room next door. There was a bar along the right-hand wall and a podium at the front of the room backed by a velvet blue curtain.
From the pool hold, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine could be heard introducing state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds.
"As governor and lieutenant governor, I had a chance to work with everyone in state government," he said. "I got to know Creigh very very well. In tough times, you've got to show you have a backbone, you've got a heart."
"I have to tell you, I don't know of a finer man in public service than Creigh Deeds."
Deeds got the task of introducing Obama, but told the group he knew he was not the main event. He was immediately interrupted by the whole group chanting, "We love Creigh."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Gov. Tim Kaine had three years and seven months to announce his decision to pardon the former sailors convicted of raping and killing a woman in 1997 in the infamous Norfolk 4 case.
But Kaine, the outgoing governor and DNC chairman, waited until today--when President Obama is in Virginia to campaign with Creigh Deeds.
Campaign staffers, political insiders and reporters were certainly scratching their heads about Kaine's motives.
No one really thought he was trying to take the spotlight away from Deeds and Obama, but it kind of worked out that way.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:49 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Ballroom Filling for Deeds Rally
So it's not exactly the Comcast Center on the eve of the Potomac Primary last February, when 20,000 people showed up in the bitter cold to hear then candidate Barack Obama.
But there's pretty serious energy going in the ballroom of the McLean Hilton, which is rapidly filling as we're about to hit the one-hour mark before the start of tonight's pre-rally. (We're two hours out from tonight's main event, featuring President Obama and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.)
(Editor's Note: Streaming video of the rally will not be available after all. Our apologies.)
The stage is set rally style, backed by an enormous American flag. A cash bar sits oh-so-close, yet oh-so-far from the roped off media section. Soft cocktail party music is playing. The roads on the way in were lined with Deeds/Wagner/Shannon signs, and the parking lot was full of cars with Obama stickers.
There's no sign of protesters here, but one car with a McDonnell sticker also featured a sticker that said "Where's the Birth Certificate?" It just had to be another attendee of this event that had gone with a pen, crossed out the last two words, and wrote in "My Brain."
We now have some early excepts from Deeds' remarks as prepared for delivery. Follow the jump to read.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:17 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009
McDonnell 51, Deeds 43
As we've explained before we don't trust all the polls that come out during the governor's race, but here's one that we can tell you about.
A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll on the governor's race shows that Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds among likely voters, 51 percent to 43 percent.
Back in mid-June, McDonnell had 45 percent and Deeds 44 percent. Check out the favorable numbers: McDonnell at 57 percent, Deeds at 46 percent.
The left-leaning Daily Kos tells us that undecided voters gradually have gotten behind McDonnell with gains coming primarily from independents and a handful of Democrats.
Posted at 1:26 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Deeds Takes Page from Obama; Stay Tuned for Rally Coverage
Creigh Deeds looks to be trying to use tonight's rally with President Obama to inject a little oomph into his campaign for governor.
He just announced a new "Join Deeds" effort to build grassroots support, complete with a revamped Web site (now featuring an enormous photo of Obama), a text messaging push (today's message welcomes Obama and tells recipients -- you guessed it -- "yes we can") and two new radio ads recorded by Gov. Tim Kaine.
One ad appears aimed at Latino voters -- it's in Spanish, after all.
The other talks about education and African-American unemployment rates.
Stay tuned to The Washington Post for full coverage of tonight's rally, including streaming video.
Posted at 7:13 AM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Aug. 6, 2009
Good morning. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today.
It's Obama day. Or rather the day of Obama evening. The president will appear at a rally with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds at the McLean Hilton this evening at 7 p.m. Just before, he'll address a smaller crowd at a closed fundraiser. For all the fretting lately about Obama's dropping approval numbers, the man did get 1.7 million votes in Virginia just eight months ago. This won't be his last trip to Virginia before November. (Did we say 1.7 million? Apologies. That should be *1.96* million votes.)
Republican Bob McDonnell will get a national stage on which to respond Saturday, as he delivers the response to Obama's weekly radio/youtube video address.
As the candidates make forays onto the national stage, some inconsistencies on both sides about how federal issues should play in the race. Deeds says the race is not about them, and then talks about George Bush. McDonnell says candidates should take stands on what's going on in Washington, but has now ducked a question about whether Judge Sotomayor should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Deeds thinks she should.
Posted at 4:29 PM ET, 08/ 5/2009
McDonnell to Deliver National Address
Here's just one more sign that the n