Archive: Lieutenant Governor's Race

Posted at 9:09 PM ET, 11/ 3/2009

Say hello to the McBollinelli sweep broom

Yes, that's right.

During his election night speech, attorney general-elect Ken Cuccinelli brought out a broom to signify the Republican Party's sweep of the top three statewide posts.

The blue-colored broom (oddly not red) was emblazoned with the name amalgam: McBollinelli.

Minutes later, a "Don't Tread On Me" flag -- a frequent presence in Cuccinelli's campaign -- was unfurled. It's a symbol, Cuccinelli said, of a "limited government that respects constitutional boundaries." It also got the core conservative crowd hollering.

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Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 11/ 3/2009

Lieutenant Governor candidates vote

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling tallied at least one vote for himself, and probably two more, as he, his wife, Jean Ann, and his 26-year-old son Matt cast ballots about 10 a.m. in their hometown precinct in Mechanicsville, a suburb of Richmond.

Bolling, who is seeking a second term as lieutenant governor, voted at the Washington Henry Elementary School in the Shady Grove precinct, campaign spokeswoman Ibbie Hedrick said. She said the Bollings' other adult son, Kevin, 22, plans to vote after his classes end at James Madison Unversity.

Afterwards, Bolling began dialing for votes. Later this evening, Bolling will join his running mates -- Robert F. McDonnell, the former attorney general who is at the top of the ticket, and state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for Attorney General this year--at the Marriott in Richmond.

Farther east, Democratic challenger Jody M. Wagner went to the polls at 6:50 a.m. with her 20-year-old daughter Lizzie. Mother and daughter cast their ballots at the
Association for Research and Enlightenment building on Atlantic Avenue in the Cape Henry precinct of Virginia Beach, campaign spokesman Pete Kavanaugh said.

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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.

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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 what has to be one of the last polls before Election Day, Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds, 53 to 41, in a Mason Dixon poll released this weekend.

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.

Whoever wins the governor's mansion Tuesday will face continuing budget shortfalls and will have to figure out how to pay for ambitious campaign promises.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday, while Gov. Tim Kaine makes calls for Shannon.

The last newspaper endorsements came out Sunday, and now it's just up to sophisticated get-out-the-vote efforts to get Virginians to the polls.

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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."

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted at 7:07 PM ET, 10/29/2009

Shannon highlights endorsements in new ad

Steve Shannon, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, unveiled a new ad today designed to highlight endorsements he has received from newspapers, law enforcement groups and other nonpartisan organizations.

Take a look:

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Posted at 8:08 PM ET, 10/28/2009

Wagner and Bolling trade more attacks

The way Democrats reckon, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's attendance at the Virginia Military Advisory Council during his four-year term has been perfect--as in, a perfect zero.

In what has become the cornerstone of Jody Wagner's campaign for lieutenant goveror, the Democrat dinged her Republican opponent again this week for being a no-show. In a press release, the campaign accused Bolling of not showing up for Tuesday's meeting of the Virginia Military Advisory Council, one of a handful of boards and commissions to which the lieutenant governor is a member by law.

The Wagner camp also reiterated its assertion that Bolling has missed 64 of 68 meetings in the last four years, an attendance record of less than 6 percent. "Either Bill still doesn't understand the role of the Lieutenant Governor, or he's too busy devoting his time to being a health insurance executive to care," the campaign said. What was not clear at first was whether the campaign had someone at the VMAC to watch the door. (They did, a campaign spokesman said.)

But Bolling took the attack in stride as another shot from a candidate whose team is sliding in the polls. His campaign also took a shot in return, once more reprising its charge that as a top finance official in Virginia, Wagner blew key revenue projections that have aggravated the state's ability to cope with massive budget gaps.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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Posted at 1:03 PM ET, 10/26/2009

Bolling Unveils New Ad on Record

A week before Election Day, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling released a positive new TV ad today highlighting Bolling's accomplishments.

The ad mentions Virginia's Children's Health Insurance Program, securing funding for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, expanding the Governor's Opportunity Fund in economically depressed areas of the state and his opposition to higher taxes.

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Posted at 9:29 AM ET, 10/26/2009

UPDATED: New Wagner ad for NoVa, elsewhere

Privately, a lot of Democrats are saying they think Jody Wagner's campaign to knock of incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is showing signs of life, even while their hopes dim about a win at the top of the ticket. Given those sentiments, it would not be surprising to see Wagner take in some last minute money that will help her air more ads like this one.

Today's spot, released this morning, hits what has become a central theme in her campaign--that Bolling was a no-show at state boards and commissions on which he sits. Bolling has said Wagner's math is unfair, for instance, not accounting for meetings missed due to presiding over the state senate.

There are three very similar versions--the one for Northern Virginia mentions Wagner's endorsement by the Post editorial board. One in Hampton Roads calls Wagner "Virginia Beach's own" and mentions her endorsement by the Pilot editorial page. A third version, posted below, includes no reference to newspapers and is airing in Richmond, Charlottesville and Roanoke.

UPDATE: A correction. The Hampton Roads version of this ad does NOT say Wagner has been endorsed by the Pilot--which has not yet made an endorsement in the lieutenant governor's race. It merely says that Pilot has said that Wagner has "proven herself." Our apologies.

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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.

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Posted at 4:23 PM ET, 10/23/2009

RNC sends money to downticket candidates

Just how excited is the Republican National Committee about Virginia this year?

Today, the RNC transferred $300,000 to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli and House Speaker Bill Howell on behalf of his members.

"From the Virginia delegate races all the way to the Governor's mansion it is the top priority of the Republican National Committee to help Virginia Republicans win again,'' RNC Chairman Michael Steele told us in a statement this afternoon. "All of our efforts are focused on rebuilding our Republican majority and we see Virginia as the first step in achieving that goal."

The RNC has made an unprecedented committment to Virginia -- nearly $8 million -- that is being directly given to candidates and being spent on getting voters to the polls Nov. 3.

The RNC and the state GOP together coordinate the state's get-out-of-the vote efforts with 30 offices and 40 staffers across the state.

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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.

Deeds announced that Obama would campaign with him next Tuesday at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Deeds also launched a new TV ad featuring Obama campaigning for him in Tysons Corner.

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.

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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.

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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.

Democrat Creigh Deeds says he's still got plenty of time, and that his campaign will now focus on drawing out supporters of President Obama and core Democrats generally.

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!

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Posted at 10:21 PM ET, 10/19/2009

Va. lieutenant governor candidates duke it out

By Fredrick Kunkle

Virginia's candidates for lieutenant governor duked it out in their one and only face-to-face debate in Salem Monday night with feisty and sometimes personal exchanges over taxes, jobs, education and each other's competence.

In a one-hour debate hosted by Roanoke College, Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling repeatedly blamed Democratic challenger Jody M. Wagner for making poor decisions as a top finance official that complicated Virginia's efforts to cope with the recession.

Bolling said Wagner, who served as secretary of finance under Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, had muffed important revenue forecasts while preparing the current two-year budget, forcing the governor to cut jobs and take other drastic measures to keep the books balanced.

"We're in this mess because four years ago we adopted a budget that was based on a totally unrealistic fiscal foundation," Bolling said. He also accused Wagner of wanting to raise taxes at every turn.

But Wagner, 54, who owns a small confectionary business and also served as treasurer for former Gov. Mark Warner, argued that her record as a financial steward had left Virginia in a better place than most other states. And she used almost every question as another opportunity to zing Bolling for not coming to work.

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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).

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Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 10/15/2009

Updated: Wagner, Bolling Report Fundraising

September finance reports are due to the state board of elections today at 5 p.m., but we now have our first numbers directly from a campaign.

They're from Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner and they're impressive. According to Wagner's campaign, she raised more than $465,000 in September, leaving her with $875,800 in cash on end at the end of the month to fund the remainder of her effort.

We've just heard that Republican Bill Bolling raised $476,144 in September. He had $1.2 million cash on hand -- also a very impressive number going into the final full month of the campaign.

"Our fundraising success is a testament to the broad support my campaign has received from every part of Virginia," Bolling said. "Raising nearly $500,000 from almost 2,000 donors in just one month speaks to the momentum and excitement behind our campaign."

Wagner had double the cash on hand on Oct. 1 that Bolling had when he ran for the office four years ago. Wagner has raised $2.46 million in total for her effort, about half a million more than Bolling in the last go around. We're waiting to hear from Bolling about where he stands with his reelection effort and will bring it to you as soon as we do.

"Despite the difficult economic climate, thousands of Virginians have generously shown their desire to continue moving the commonwealth forward. We're well above the historic threshold for fundraising for the lieutenant governor's race, and are confident that we have the resources we need to communicate Jody's positive message to Virginians of creating new jobs, investing in education and fixing transportation," said Wagner campaign manager Elisabeth Pearson.


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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.

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Posted at 7:08 PM ET, 10/13/2009

Jody Wagner Campaigns in Fairfax

At the Democratic Club meeting in Fairfax County's Greenspring Village retirement community, there was no hemming and hawing Tuesday about whether Virginia should boost the gas tax to fix Northern Virginia's roads.

From the mouths of lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, fellow Democrat Del. Vivian E. Watts, and several folks in the audience, the message was: Bring it on.

"I drive the roads, and I don't like sitting in long lines, so I don't mind paying more, because I'm using it," a man asked from the back of the room during the Q&A. "Why can't we add 10 cents more? Would that do it?"

The man noted that Virginia ranks among the lowest in the U.S. for its gas tax.

Wagner, after noting that it took her more than an hour to drive about six miles from a hotel in Herndon to a meeting in Tysons Corner, did not explicitly endorse raising the gas tax. But the thrust of her remarks suggested that she believes not only that higher gas taxes must be part of a long-term solution, but that other new revenues might also be necessary.

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Posted at 11:04 AM ET, 10/13/2009

Wagner Rips Bolling's Attendance in Second TV Ad

Jody Wagner, the Democratic challenger running for lieutenant governor, unveiled her second television ad of the fall this morning and it's a negative one.

The 30-second spot called "Work," which is airing in Richmond, Charlottesville and Norfolk and on cable in Northern Virginia, follows a line of attack Wagner has been pursuing about Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's (R) attendance record on the boards and commissions to which he has been appointed. It also points out Bolling's second job in the private sector as an insurance industry executive, and concludes: "Virginia has full-time challenges. We can't afford a lieutenant governor like Bill Bolling, who's never there."

Full script after the jump.

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Posted at 2:49 PM ET, 10/ 9/2009

Two Lt. Gov. Candidates, Same Endorsement

On Wednesday morning, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling issued a press release proudly announcing an endorsement from the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce political action committee.

On Thursday afternoon, his Democrat rival Jody Wagner also issued a press release proudly announcing her endorsement from the very same PAC.

Did one of the candidates make a mistake? Or did the group change its mind?

Actually, it's neither. It turns out the chamber endorsed both candidates for lieutenant governor.

Do they know that's not how it works? And that if you endorse both candidates, it's not really .... well, an endorsement.

"I understand,'' said Ira Agricola, chamber senior vice president. "It would not be my personal preference."

The PAC's 12-member board voted to endorse both candidates for the first time in its history -- clearly split between the incumbent who has campaigned on business issues and the challenger who hails from the region and worked on the state finances.

Check out the statements from the chamber for Bolling and Wagner below:

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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.

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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.

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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 ?

Gov. Tim Kaine, his party's national chairman, talks about Deeds's need to sell himself. McDonnell continues to woo Redskins fans.

The Washington Business Journal talks energy, and the Washington Post talks traffic.

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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 10/ 6/2009

Bolling Airs Wagner Attack Ad

Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling began a new statewide TV ad today -- and his first one attacking his Democratic opponent, Jody Wagner.

What's the attack? Taxes, taxes, taxes. We saw that one coming.

Bolling accuses Wagner, the former state treasurer and secretary of finance, of supporting "every major tax increase proposed over the last eight years."

"During a time of record unemployment and significant economic decline, Virginians should be very concerned about Jody Wagner's consistent support of job-killing tax increases," said Matt Wells, Bolling campaign manager.

"Bolling and his campaign once again proved they just do not understand the state's finances if their chosen line of attack is to degrade Jody Wagner's fiscal record -- a record that includes balanced budgets, the two largest investments in education in Virginia history, two 'Best Managed State' awards, eight 'Best State for Business' awards, and maintaining our AAA credit rating," said Elisabeth Pearson, Wagner campaign manager.

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

First Click -- Virginia

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted at 2:05 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009

Wagner Goes Up On Air

Jody Wagner, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, began airing her first TV ads of the general election today in Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke.

The positive ad highlights Wagner's role as treasurer and secretary of finance for Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and touts her role in cutting billions of dollars to balance the budget during the worst national recession in decades.

Her Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, has been on the air for several weeks.

The script is below:

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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."

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Posted at 6:45 PM ET, 09/29/2009

Updated: Police Group Backs Bolling

Four years ago, the Virginia Police Benevolent Association endorsed Democrat Leslie Byrne over Republican Bill Bolling for lieutenant governor. This year, the group is going with Bolling.

The PBA, which represents more than 2,000 law enforcement officers in the state, endorsed Bolling today.

"Lt. Governor Bolling has demonstrated his support for the issues that are important to law enforcement,'' PBA President Jason Knorowski said. "The Virginia PBA encourages all Virginians to support strong, effective law enforcement by re-electing Bill Bolling as our Lieutenant Governor."

The group cited Bolling's support of efforts to increase the number of state-funded local law enforcement positions, increased retirement benefits for law enforcement officers and funding for a task force on internet sexual predators.

In his press release, Bolling again criticizes his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of Finance Jody Wagner, for "mismanaging" the state's finances to the point that $150 million has had to be cut from the budget in the last two two years.

Update: Wagner's campaign responds. "Jody Wagner has won accolades from Democrats and Republicans alike for her fiscal stewardship of Virginia -- its why we've been named the 'Best State for Business' seven times in the last four years -- not to mention the 'Best Managed State' twice,' '' said Elisabeth Pearson, Wagner campaign manager.

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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.

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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.

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Posted at 1:20 PM ET, 09/24/2009

New Ad From Bolling

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) debuted his second television ad of the campaign this week, making use of the ample financial advantage over Democratic challenger Jody Wagner he reported in recent fundraising disclosure forms.

In the ad, titled "Plan," Bolling promises to act as the state's first "jobs creation officer," to "continue" creating incentives to attract jobs to Virginia, to "root out" wasteful government spending and to oppose "job-killing" tax increases.

"These are challenging times," Bolling says. "We have to do more to create jobs and help families."

In Bolling's first ad, "Lessons," the lieutenant governor took credit for writing legislation extending health care to lower-income children, and he promised to increase teacher pay and send more money to classrooms (without raising taxes). "Lessons" has been on the air for two weeks, but the campaign boosted the ad's airtime on Tuesday, so now it is airing everywhere (except pricey Northern Virginia, where it appears on cable only).

According to the Virginia Public Access report, Bolling had $1.3 milllion in the bank on Aug. 30, compared to Wagner's $600,000.

Watch "Plan" below, and "Lessons" below that:

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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.

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Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 09/22/2009

GOP Candidates Press Dems on Taxes

Last week, Democrat Creigh Deeds said he would consider raising taxes for much-needed road improvements (though he had a little trouble actually saying it) -- something Republican Bob McDonnell has pledged not to do.

Now, McDonnell's running mates, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general hopeful Ken Cuccinelli, are trying to to pin down their Democratic opponents, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon, on the sticky issue of taxes and whether they agree with the man at the top of their ticket.

"Today I am asking Jody Wagner to state in clear terms to the people of Virginia whether or not she supports Creigh Deeds' plan to raise taxes to pay for transportation," Bolling said. "The voters deserve a simple 'yes or no' to this fundamental question."

"Will he or won't he stand with Creigh Deeds in support of higher taxes?" Cuccinelli said..

Bolling and Cuccinelli are touting their "strong" records of opposing tax hikes, including the one Virginia politicos can't seem to stop talking about -- former Gov. Mark Warner's 2004 increase.

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Posted at 4:44 PM ET, 09/21/2009

Lt. Gov. Debate Canceled Following Rules Dispute

One of only two debates in the race for lieutenant governor this year has been canceled after campaigns for incumbent Republican Bill Bolling and challenger Democrat Jody Wagner could not agree over debate rules.

No shock here: The Wagner camp is blaming Bolling, the Bolling camp is blaming Wagner, and organizers with host group the Prince William 100 say both campaigns were very good to work with and that they think neither is to blame.

Here's what happened, according to Prince William 100 program chairwoman Michelle Trenum. The two campaigns agreed some time ago to participate in a debate this Thursday. Since then, there have been a variety of discussions and negotiations over the debate's format and rules. About a week or two ago, the Bolling campaign came forward to ask that the debate rules include what is known as a "no-use" agreement, which bars both campaigns from using video of the debate on their websites and in ads.

The Wagner campaign did not want a "no-use" clause. Negotiations broke down over the weekend and the two campaigns, first Wagner, then Bolling, put out press releases insisting the other was responsible for the demise of the debate. Says Trenum: "It's just one of those things. They could not resolve their differences."

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Posted at 3:06 PM ET, 09/18/2009

Questions About Questionnaires Plague Candidates

It looks like bungling the answer to questions about collective bargaining on organizational questionnaires is contagious. Republicans hit Democrat Creigh Deeds this week when he blamed a staffer for incorrectly filling out a Fraternal Order of Police questionnaire on the topic.

But look who did much the same thing. Republican Lt. Gov Bill Bolling, who told the business group Virginia Free that he "strongly supports" collective bargaining for public employees. In a statement, Bolling spokesman Matt Wells said Bolling "misread the question in an online survey." He notes that though Bolling checked a box indicating his support for binding arbitration, collective bargaining and meet and confer rights, he went on to explain that he "also strongly opposes card check legislation currently pending before Congress."

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Posted at 4:08 PM ET, 09/16/2009

Forbes, Gingrich, Cantor Help Bolling Raise $165,000

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling may have raised less money than his Democratic rival in the most recent fundraising period, but he already has a good start on the next report with several events with a slew of high-profile Republicans this month.

Today, Bolling expects to raise $50,000 at a fundraiser headlined by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at the Northern Virginia home of U.S. Rep. Tom Davis. About 160 people are expected to attend.

He raised another $75,000 at a fundraiser attended by 180 people yesterday in Richmond with Steve Forbes, publishing tycoon and former presidential candidate.

Two weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor helped him raise another $40,000 at a Sept. 2 event attended by 90 people in Newport News.

And on Friday morning, he will appear with Mitt Romney -- former Massachusetts governor and possible presidential hopeful -- at the home of Fran and Gant Redmon in Alexandria. About 75 people are expected to attend.

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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 09/15/2009

Money Game: Lieutenant Governor Candidates

Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is running for re-election, raised a little more than $546,000 from 3,225 donors in the two-month period ending Aug. 31, according to his campaign.

Bolling has $1.3 million in the bank.

Jody Wagner, his Democratic opponent, outraised her better-known opponent. She raised $636,074 and has $593,067 cash on hand, according to her campaign.

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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.

Deeds and McDonnell spoke about business issues -- many of them federal -- in a candidate's forum yesterday in McLean.

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?)

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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).

Deeds unveiled a series of education proposals yesterday, including a college scholarship program for students who agree to spend two years in public service, and a new attack ad on TV.

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.

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Posted at 6:08 PM ET, 09/ 9/2009

Bolling Airs First TV Ad

Today, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling became the first statewide candidate in one of the downticket races to air TV ads.

The positive ad is airing solely in Hampton Roads -- the home base of his Democratic opponent Jody Wagner -- and focuses on children and education.

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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.

(See a gallery of The Post's photos from the parade.)

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.)

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 08/26/2009

On The Record

Recently, we introduced you to On The Record , a 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? E-mail me at kumaranita@washpost.com.

Now on to our latest installment:

"It used to be that the Republican plan was that you'd run in Northern Virginia and hope you didn't lose too badly. Now you have to run and you have to run strong up here or you will lose. It's why we've lost all these races in the past," Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) said.

"For the Democrat, you need to win big. For the Republican, you have to hang in there and do respectfully and not get blown out. It's a critical battleground," Sen. J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (D-Fairfax) said.

The pair of Fairfax legislators were speaking to my colleague Roz Helderman about the importance of their region -- home to 27 percent of Virginia voters and an increasingly liberal area. Several recent statewide Democrats owe their wins to Northern Virginia, which has turned the once-reliably Republican state into a contested battleground. Both Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell have been campaigning heavily in Northern Virginia, where a recent Washington Post poll shows the two men virtually tied.

What do you think about their quotes? Share your thoughts with us below.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Posted at 4:01 PM ET, 07/ 2/2009

GOP Ramps Up

While Democrats spent their spring preoccupied with a grueling, three-way primary for governor, Republicans quietly started opening field offices around the state to get ready for the November election.

The so-called "victory" offices -- a joint venture of the Republican Party of Virginia and the Republican National Committee -- will number 20 by the end of this week.

So far, about 30 staffers have been hired to identify voters, promote the Republican ticket (three statewide offices and House of Delegates) and eventually work to get people to the polls in all corners of the state. In Northern Virginia, offices are located in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties.

By comparison, Democrats -- who were waiting on a nominee for the top of the ticket -- have about five coordinated campaign offices in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond.

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Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 06/12/2009

Deeds, Dems On Tour

The royal family of Virginia Democratic politics are busy this week crowning the man they hope is their heir apparent.

On Wednesday, newly anointed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds appeared with his former rivals and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine at a big unity event in Richmond. Today's he's with former governor and now Sen. Mark Warner in Arlington. And tomorrow brings a family conclave--Deeds, Kaine, Warner and U.S. Sen. Jim Webb in Williamsburg, along with Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Jody Wagner and attorney general nominee Steve Shannon.

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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 06/12/2009

Wagner Challenges Bolling to Debates

Jody Wagner sure hit the ground running after her landslide victory in Tuesday's primary.

This morning, Wagner, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, challenged Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) to a series of monthly debates across the state.

That's a lot of debates -- more than we will likely see in any of the three statewide races.

"I believe it's important that voters have a clear understanding of both candidates, including our records, priorities, and visions for the future,'' Wagner wrote to Bolling in a letter. "I believe voters throughout the commonwealth deserve to hear from both of us, so they're able to make informed decisions in November about the direction they believe is best for Virginia."

Matt Wells, Bolling's campaign manager, said he looks forward to a "vigorous discussion of the candidate's qualifications, their records and their vision for the future of Virginia,'' but would not commit to a certain number of debates. "I'm confident there will be opportunities for debates during the course of the campaign," he said.

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Posted at 12:21 PM ET, 06/ 9/2009

Where's the Buzz?

Nov. 4, 2008, this is not.

Just one campaign volunteer stood at a Fairfax City polling place off University Avenue this morning. She was a recent high school grad who was working for Mike Signer, one of the two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. She was prepared: She had her glossies all at the ready, ready to draw in case a curious voter came a-knockin', looking for info on the L.G. race.

"It's been like this all morning," she said.

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Posted at 9:18 AM ET, 06/ 8/2009

Election Day Forecast: Muggy, Afternoon Storms

The Capital Weather Gang reports that Tuesday isn't looking amenable to high turnout at the polls, particularly for those voters who wait until late in the day. The day is expected to be warm and humid with sporadically intense thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening.

See the full forecast at the Capital Weather Gang blog, and watch for updates Monday and Tuesday.

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

Felons' Rights

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

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

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

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

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

Dampening Turnout

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's a Good Democrat To Do?

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

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

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

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

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

Updated: The Money Game

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


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

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

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

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

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Posted at 3:52 PM ET, 05/30/2009

Bolling, Cuccinelli, Mullins Win at GOP Convention

The votes have been tallied at the Republican Party of Virginia convention in Richmond.

Incumbent Bill Bolling is the party's nominee for lieutenant governor, while Fairfax State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli held off two challengers to win the right to represent the party in the attorney general race.

Louisa County chairman Pat Mullins, who had served as interim party chair since Prince Williams delegate Jeffrey Frederick was pushed out earlier this year, officially won the job, beating grassroots-backed social conservative Bill Stanley, the Franklin County Chairman. Prior to moving to Louisa County, Mullins for many years had been a party leader in Fairfax County.

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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/30/2009

LIVE: The GOP Convention

The state Republican convention will kick off shortly at the Richmond Coliseum (where people are not allowed to bring in bottled water, but they are allowed to bring in guns).

More than 10,000 delegates have gathered here for an event that seems a lot like a national political convention complete with colorful political signs, campaign literature covering seats, cardboard cutouts of Mitt Romney, campaign buttons that declare "No Bama."

Bob McDonnell, the former attorney general, will officially accept his party's nomination for governor this morning. Delegates will pick Republican candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general, and chose a new party chairman.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling faces Alexandria lawyer Patrick Muldoon. Former federal prosecutor John Brownlee, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II of Fairfax and David M. Foster, former chairman of the Arlington County School Board, are running for attorney general. Pat Mullins, a longtime Fairfax County GOP leader tapped by the party's governing board to serve as interim state leader, faces Bill Stanley, the Franklin County party chairman.

We'll be offering occasionally updates as the day progresses. Check out the latest below:

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

Veterans Plan by Moran, Open Government by McDonnell

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

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Posted at 8:25 PM ET, 05/16/2009

Bowerbank: I Didn't Want to Go Negative

Jon Bowerbank, the Russell County supervisor who surprised many Democrats yesterday by dropping out of the race for the lieutenant governor nomination, was as upbeat and cheerful as ever last night at the Arlington County Democratic Committee's Jefferson Jackson dinner in Ballston.

Bowerbank was happy to talk about his decision, and he cited two reasons for it. First, he was on track to lose (his exact phrase: "The business model wasn't working.") And second, to change that fact, Bowerbank would have had to resort to a negative campaign against Jody Wagner, the presumed front-runner in a contest that also features Mike Signer.

"I just didn't want to do that," Bowerbank said.

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Posted at 4:14 PM ET, 05/15/2009

Deeds, Signer Discuss Their Campaigns

Democratic primary candidates Creigh Deeds (governor's race) and Mike Signer (lieutenant governor's race stopped by The Post's offices today and took questions from Post reporter Rosalind Helderman about their resumes, campaigns and plans if elected.

Watch the videos after the jump.

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Posted at 4:01 PM ET, 05/15/2009

Bowerbank Ends LG Campaign

Jon Bowerbank, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, announced today that he is suspending his campaign less than four weeks before the June 9 primary.

Bowerbank, a member of the Russell County Board of Supervisors, said he wanted to spend more time with his family and his employees at his company in southwest Virginia.

"I believe Virginia and the Democratic Party need someone who can devote their full attention and energy to the job of being the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor," he said in a statement.

Bowerbank endorsed former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner. She will compete against Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner.

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Posted at 1:42 PM ET, 04/27/2009

GOP Energy Plans

Under a Bob McDonnell adminstration, Virginia would be the first state on the eastern seaboard to drill for oil and natural gas 50 miles off the coast, when the feds allow it starting in 2011.

The Commonwealth would also be the first in the country to build a nuclear reactor in more than a decade, a facility that will go to Lake Anna.

The state would promote its coal industry, plus pursue renewable resources like wind and chicken manure as energy sources.

It's all a part of the more is more energy strategy unveiled today by Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

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Posted at 9:47 AM ET, 04/15/2009

Signer Petitions in Question

About 400 of the 13,354 signatures provided to the Virginia State Board of Elections by lieutenant governor candidate Michael Signer are missing required information, according to state and Democratic party officials.

If the 4,000 signatures are thrown out, his name would not appear on the ballot.

The state requires candidates to submit at least 10,000 signatures, including those of least 400 registered voters in each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts, to be on the June 9 Democratic primary ballot.

The state board of elections determined that the notary used by Signer made an error when he did not ensure the addresses of those collecting the signatures were included on the paperwork.

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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 04/14/2009

Wagner Raises $375,000

Former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner (D) raised $375,000 for her campaign for lieutenant governor in the three-month period that ended last month, campaign officials announced today.

Wagner, who has more than $410,000 in the bank, boasted that she had raised more than Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who collected more than $300,000 in the same period, though he was barred by law for raising money during the 45-day legislative session.

"I'm grateful to have the support of so many grassroots volunteers, elected officials, and party leaders, and I know we all look forward to a common goal of defeating Bill Bolling in November," Wagner said.

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

Bolling Raises $300,000

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) raised more than $300,000 from 404 contributors in the three-month period that ended last month, campaign officials announced today.

Bolling, who was barred from raising money during the 45-day legislative session, has $735,000 in the bank. Since he kicked off his re-election campaign in March 2008, he has raised $1.3 million.

"I am honored that hundreds of hard working Virginians have invested more than $300,000 in my reelection campaign in just a few short weeks," Bolling said. "I know that times are tough and people are worried about their budgets and jobs. That makes me appreciate even more the generous support that I have received from so many people."

Bolling will face lawyer Patrick Muldoon for the Republican nomination next month.

Three Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner and former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner. Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board, withdrew from the race last week.

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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 04/ 8/2009

Armstrong Endorses Wager

Former finance secretary Jody Wagner picked up the endorsement of the highest ranking Democrat in the House of Delegates, Ward L. Armstrong, in her bid for lieutenant governor.

Armstrong, the House minority leader, cited Wagner's experience as a member of Timothy M. Kaine and Mark R. Warner's administrations.

"Having seen firsthand the work she did in the Warner and Kaine administrations to help fix the state's fiscal problems...I know she has the right experience to balance our budget and maintain Virginia as the best managed state and best state for business,'' Armstrong said. "As an elected official, and more importantly as a Virginian, I trust Jody Wagner to keep Virginia moving forward."

Three other Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board and Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner.

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Posted at 6:09 PM ET, 04/ 6/2009

Signer Launches LG Campaign

Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner, officially launched his campaign for lieutenant governor today in Arlington.

Signer began a statewide tour of every region of Virginia, which will include more than 20 stops.

"Mike is quickly emerging as the net-roots and grassroots candidate," his spokesman Christian Rickers said. "The number of investors in his campaign represents the strength of his organization and the power of his message."

Signer of Arlington was a senior strategist to U.S. Rep Tom Perriello and a deputy counselor to Warner. He is currently a senior national security policy fellow at the think tank Third Way and a principal of the Truman National Security Project.

Three other Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board and former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner.

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Posted at 2:16 PM ET, 04/ 3/2009

Wagner's Adds to Endorsement List

Former secretary of finance Jody Wager announced 60 more endorsements today from elected officials and local leaders in her campaign for lieutenant governor.

They include Del. Delores L. McQuinn (D-Richmond) Del. Paul F. Nichols (D-Prince William), Lynchbug Mayor Joan Foster, Covington Mayor Mayor Stephanie R. Clark, Charlottesville Mayor David Norris and Quantico Mayor Iris Tharp.

Wagner now has the support of 45 members of the General Assembly, 14 Mayors and hundreds of grassroots activists and volunteers.

The remainder of the endorsements from today are below:

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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 03/30/2009

Romney, Hannity Headline GOP Convention

Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, will speak at the state Republican convention in May.

Romney will headline the Commonwealth Gala at the Richmond Downtown Marriott on May 29. Talk show host Sean Hannity will speak the next day at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

About 8,000 to 10,000 activists are expected to attend the convention.

Former state attorney general Robert F. McDonnell has already been certified the GOP nominee for governor. But delegates will chose their nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

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Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 03/27/2009

Gingrich Headlines Bolling Kickoff

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will headline Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's campaign kickoff gala in Richmond on April 17.

Gingrich, who served as speaker from 1995 to 1999, co-authored the 1994 Contract with America, a detailed plan of action for Congress, and helped end four decades of Democratic majorities in the House.

Bolling will face lawyer Patrick Muldoon for the Republican nomination.

Four Democrats are running: Jon Bowerbank, a businessman from Russell County, Pat Edmonson, a member of the Virginia Beach School Board, Michael Signer, an attorney who worked for former governor Mark R. Warner and former Finance Secretary Jody Wagner.

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

McAuliffe Is First to Submit Petitions, May Get Top Spot

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

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

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

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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 03/16/2009

Connolly St. Patrick's Day Straw Poll Tuesday

U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) will hold his annual St. Patrick's Day party Tuesday at the Kena Temple in Fairfax featuring the usual fare of corned beef, cabbage and a Democratic straw poll.

Connolly is expecting upwards of 500 guests. The straw poll will measure support for candidates in this year's contested Democratic primaries for governor and lieutenant governor.

Most Democratic statewide candidates are expected to attend, organizers said. For tickets, contact Donald Brownlee at 703-267-6888. The event will run from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in the ballroom of the Kena Temple, 9001 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax.

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