Archive: Rosalind Helderman
Posted at 2:57 PM ET, 11/10/2009
In the category of 'not interested': Wagner, Northam
A few tidbits from the last few days...There had been rumors that Democrats might be encouraging former lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner to run for Ken Stolle's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat in Virginia Beach. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) will call a special election to fill the seat after Stolle submits his letter of resignation, made necessary by his election last week as sheriff of Virginia Beach.
Wagner was thought to be a good candidate for a fairly Republican district because she is well-known in the district, owner of a well-established business and her name recognition was boosted by her recent run for statewide office. But, a spokesman said a few days ago, she's not interested. Wants to spend time with her family, and all that.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:14 PM ET, 11/10/2009
Attorney General Mims to private sector
Attorney General Bill Mims, a close ally to Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell, will become a partner at Richmond law firm Hunton & Williams at the end of his term in office in January. Mims took over the AG's office from McDonnell after McDonnell resigned to run for governor. He had preivously been McDonnell's deputy and is now serving as co-chair of the gov-elect's transition.
Per a release, Mims is joining the firm in Washington and Richmond in the administrative law group, government relations practice. The new gig means Mims will not become McDonnell's chief of staff or counsel, as had been one rumor for his landing place after Inauguration day.
It would not preclude him from an appointment to the Virginia Supreme Court, replacing Barbara Keenan, who has been nominated by President Obama for the federal bench and awaits confirmation by the Senate, Mims' other rumored landing pad.
"I am pleased to be joining Hunton & Williams," said Mims in a release from the firm. "I look forward to serving clients in Virginia, Washington, and nationwide. The firm's core values of excellence, integrity, and public service provide an excellent work culture."
"We are privileged to have someone of Bill's caliber join our firm," said Wally Martinez, the firm's managing partner, also in a release. "Bill will be representing clients whose interests are affected by the legislative and executive branches of various state governments and the federal government, particularly in health care, competition, consumer protection, and energy."
Posted at 5:02 PM ET, 11/ 6/2009
McDonnell staffs up
Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell is filling out his transition team, largely moving key campaign personnel into similar jobs preparing the way for his January Inauguration.
Campaign chief operations officer Janet Polarek was named deputy director of personnel and administration.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 11/ 6/2009
TWICE UPDATED: Oleszek and Bulova out for senate, Marsden possibly in
On Thursday, we told you about the Republicans interested in the soon to be vacated senate seat of attorney general-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Now some news on the Democrats.
Janet Oleszek, the former Fairfax School Board member who challenged Cuccinelli for the seat in 2007, said this morning that Democratic leadership has asked her not to run for the seat and, in the interest of party unity, she has agreed. She didn't sound terribly happy about it but said she is a loyal Democrat who would not challenge the wishes of her party's top dogs.
"I actually think I am the best candidate for this seat, having won in that district for School Board handily, having come within 101 votes to winning in 2007," she said. "I've been working very hard for this. But in the interest of solidarity, I have to step aside so we can unite behind their choice."
And who is their choice? Oleszek said she was uncertain, but here's one possibility: Del. David Marsden, who was just reelected Tuesday and whose district includes 10 of the senate seat's 14 precincts. He said Friday that he's interested in the seat and will make a final decision about whether to seek it next week.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 11/ 4/2009
Discuss last night's results with Post reporters
Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman, who spent the past several months trailing the Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds campaigns, will be online at 10 a.m. today to take your questions and comments about McDonnell's resounding gubernatorial victory and the rest of Tuesday night's results. Send in your questions now and watch the discussion at 10 a.m. or read the transcript afterward.
You might also want to check out Post columnist Robert McCartney's lengthy live session from Tuesday night. Here's a review sent to McCartney from a reader:
Vienna, Va.: No this is not your Dad or Mom -- you've been at this for four hours, and even though I don't agree with many of the opinions you express in your column, tonight's chat has been civil and interesting. Thanks to you and the Post for the back-and-forth. Kudos.
Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 11/ 3/2009
No. 21: Deeds votes at tiny Bath precinct
An area that will likely see high turnout today is rural Bath County, the home of Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds. Still, as the second most sparsely populated county in Virginia, that will end up translating to only a couple thousand votes at most.
But we've got word from Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold that Deeds cast his own ballot this morning at 6:25 a.m. at the Millboro Ruritan Club.
He was voter number 21.
Voters 22 through 25 were wife Pam Deeds and children Gus, Amanda and Rebecca Deeds. Deeds's youngest daughter Susannah is 17. Afterward, the family hosted an outdoors reception for Bath residents. Biscuits were served.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 11/ 3/2009
Deeds poll coverage lags?
Are we in for a stunner of unexpected Democratic turnout? Not if the Internets are to be believed, where Democrats and Republicans are taking to blogs and Twitter to note what feels to them like low turnout in strongly Democratic precincts and poor poll coverage by candidate Creigh Deeds and other Democrats.
@Joseph_Taylor Not a single deeds poll worker in nokesville.
@AmayaNSugar Not a single Creigh Deeds sign or worker in my area of Hampton Roads either.
@npry 2 precincts in Portsmouth (70% Obama) no Deeds signs or volunteers
Feld at 6:22 a.m., after looking at a tweet indicating no lines in Arlington: After this tweet, I'm almost tempted to call the election for McDonnell/Bolling/Cooch. There should be LONG LINES IN ARLINGTON on a gubernatorial election day. No lines at all a few minutes after polls open? Horrible.
And Tribbett from Twitter: Hearing @CreighDeeds has the worst Dem poll coverage in a Virginia election since reconstruction
Posted at 4:29 PM ET, 11/ 2/2009
Sensing big gains, Republicans make late donations
From the Virginia Public Access Project comes some fascinating new numbers that show Republicans are making a late play for some seats in the House of Delegates where they were once thought to have little chance for pick-ups.
The late donations, from Republican Party of Virginia, Dominion Leadership Trust and
candidate committees for Speaker William Howell and Del. Morgan Griffith, is a sign that Republicans are hoping a tidal wave of a win Tuesday could pull even more delegate candidates into the winner's column than they had once thought.
It's a stunning turnaround in a year when Democrats had once talked about regaining control of the House for the first time since 1999.
Per VPAP, here are late donations from Republican to House candidates just since Friday:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:59 PM ET, 11/ 1/2009
McDonnell's money lead grows and grows
It is now not out of the realm of possibility that by Tuesday's election day, Republican Bob McDonnell will have received a three times as much a Democrat Creigh Deeds in late big-dollar donations.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, as of 5 p.m. on Saturday, McDonnell had collected $1.34 million in big contributions since Oct. 21, when the candidates began having to report gifts of $5,000 or more within 24 hours. Deeds had collected only $549,000 in big donations since then.
Those numbers included gifts through Oct. 30 and they showed that donations to McDonnell have been snowballing in recent days as poll after poll has shown him with big leads and contributors perhaps look to provide some late help to the candidate they perceive as the likely victor.
On Friday alone, McDonnell collected $184,310 in such gifts. Deeds received only $40,000.
Posted at 1:27 PM ET, 11/ 1/2009
One more poll puts McDonnell way up
A final Mason-Dixon poll in the Virginia race shows Republican Bob McDonnell continues to lead big over Democrat Creigh Deeds going into Tuesday's election. The survey, funded by the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Virginian Pilot and other state media outlets, showed McDonnell with a 12-point lead, while his ticketmates Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli led opponents Jody Wagner and Del. Steve Shannon by 13 points and 14 points respectively.
What must be most encouraging for McDonnell about all these late polls that have shown with strong, double-digit leads is that they have provided no indication that core Democratic groups are showing late enthusiasm for Deeds. His campaign is insisting it is running an aggressive effort to reach out to voters who helped elect President Obama last year.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:55 PM ET, 10/31/2009
With Scozzafava out, McDonnell might be sharing limelight Tuesday
It had appeared increasingly possible that Virginia Republican Bob McDonnell could be the only GOP victory Tuesday, despite all the talk about the national mood turning the party's direction one year after President Obama's election.
That's because Republican Chris Christie is locked in a head heat with Democrat Jon Corzine in the race for New Jersey governor. And it had been because it looked like Democrats might pick up a seat in Congress in a special election in New York, where a deep split had erupted in the GOP between supporters of the party's nominee and a third party conservative.
But, no longer.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:41 PM ET, 10/31/2009
Get a mop? Va. GOP says get a broom
Republicans rallying this morning in Springfield had a new prop: A broom that read "McBolliNelli" on the handle.
The Republican ticket is stumping throughout the state Saturday but began with a traditional GOP pep rally at Interstate Van Lines in Springfield. Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell was joined by ticket mates Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, attorney general candidate Sen. Ken Cuccinelli and a variety for Republican luminaries, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
It was Cuccinelli-- introduced to the crowd as Ken "Don't Tread on Me" Cuccinelli -- who held up the broom, which he had been handed as he made his way to the load dock that served as a stage.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 10/30/2009
Deeds campaign urges Obama backers to send a message
We've gotten to take a look at the final mailers going out from the Democratic Party and the campaign of Democrat Creigh Deeds, as well as doorhangers that volunteers will be leaving at houses through Election Day. And the message of them is clear: Your president needs you.
There are a bunch of different versions, but what they all have in common are pictures of Deeds and President Obama together, Obama campaign font (if you were awake in America in 2008, you know what we mean), and a strong message that a vote for Deeds is a vote for the same kind of politics Democrats elected last year. This is all in an effort to get voters who backed Obama last year but don't typically vote in off-year elections out for Deeds and the Democratic ticket Tuesday.
Read the least subtle version of this mailer here. It begins, "Time to Fight Back!"
And then goes on:
"When he was elected, they hoped he would fail. When he worked to fix the economy, they stood against him. When he fought for health reform, they stalled. We can send them a message on Nov. 3. Stand with President Obama to elect Creigh Deeds governor."
Other versions are more like this one, which simply say "we have more to do." Or there is this version, presumably designed to be handed out to churchgoers, that ask people to "Pray for our President. Vote to move Virginia forward."
Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 10/29/2009
Obama push for Deeds continues
Ever receive a letter from the president of the United States? About 330,000 Virginians are about to get one, as the Democratic Party of Virginia puts a letter in the snail mail from President Obama to voters identified as part of the "surge" who came out to the polls to elect Obama last year and are now seen as critical to closing the gap between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell.
The letterhead includes a nifty presidential symbol with the words, "A special message from President Barack Obama." In the letter, Obama writes, "To make real changes in this country, it will take more than just my presidency - it requires your continued vigilance in the cause of progress. To move this country forward, I need the support and partnership of good governors who are ready to help lay the foundations of change. And this November 3rd is your opportunity to help Virginia do just that."
You can read the whole letter here.
The party says this letter will be its last mailer to Virginia voters on Deeds' behalf.
Posted at 5:08 PM ET, 10/28/2009
Deeds airs closing argument
Democrat Creigh Deeds has now released his positive, final days television ad. The spot talks about Deeds' endorsement by three of the state's four largest papers and implores voters to elect "substance over style."
The campaign says the ad will air statewide. The question in these closing days for the Deeds campaign will be one of money.
Chances are, no matter where you live in Virginia, you'll be seeing the new spot released by Republican Bob McDonnell a heck of a lot more frequently than this new Deeds ad. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, McDonnell had a cash advantage on Oct. 21 that's only grown since then. Since that day, McDonnell has taken in more than $850,000 in donations of $5,000 or more. Deeds has received only $367,000 in big dollar gifts.
Posted at 4:27 PM ET, 10/27/2009
Gibbs: Virginia as 'purple as it can get'
Speaking to reporters on board Air Force One en route to this afternoon's rally in Norfolk, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Obama will not be returning to Virginia for Creigh Deeds after today.
"Not that I'm aware of," he said, before noting that he will be returning for a day of stops for Democratic governor Jon S. Corzine (N.J.).
"Look, certainly at a federal level, I mean, we were happy to see the progress in the commonwealth, but also understanding that Barack Obama was the first Democratic candidate to carry that state since 1964," Gibbs said, according to a transcript of the gaggle, explaining why Deeds is not doing better in the polls against Republican Bob McDonnell. "So I think everybody understands that it was -- you know, Virginia is a -- is probably as purple as it can get, certainly among a presidential state, given the fact that it's been in the red column for so long."
He rejected the idea that Deeds has been adversely impacted by perceptions of Obama, specifically citing this morning's Washington Post poll that showed that 70 percent of likely voters said their views of Obama will play no role in their vote. Of the 3 in 10 who said the president will play a role, half said they will be voting to express support for him rather than opposition.
"Obviously I think any number of factors go into what has happened in each state, and I think one of the factors that goes into Virginia is a Democrat that's been outspent," Gibbs said.
He said the White House is "very comfortable" with the level of support it has provided Deeds, noting Obama's role and Vice President Biden's two fundraisers, as well as help from the Democratic National Committee.
Posted at 3:04 PM ET, 10/27/2009
VPAP crunches finance numbers, with fascinating results
The Virginia Public Access Project has been working hard to slice and dice finance reports submitted by the campaigns yesterday and has already reported some very interesting findings.
For instance, there are 87 people and organizations who contributed a total of almost $504,000 to Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine in 2005, who this year have given to Republican Bob McDonnell instead, to the tune of almost $494,000. By contrast, there are only 50 such people and groups who gave to Republican Jerry Kilgore four years ago and who have contributed to Democrat Creigh Deeds this year. They have given Deeds a total of just under $150,000. We'll be looking through the list of donor switchers for interesting names and stories.
VPAP also shows us that of the $16.95 million Deeds has raised for his campaign committee, he has taken in $9.4 million from Virginians and $7.4 million from outside the state. Broken down by industry, outside of political committees, Deeds has received the most money from organized labor, followed by the legal industry and then real estate and construction.
McDonnell has raised far more than Deeds -- $22.4 million. It breaks down to $13.8 from in-state and $8.6 million from outside Virginia. After political committees, the top industry for McDonnell has been real estate/construction followed by retail and service businesses, then the finance and insurance industries.
Posted at 1:58 PM ET, 10/27/2009
Obama wants his 'friends' to come out for Deeds
As if there was any doubt that in these closing days, the strategy for Democrat Creigh Deeds is AAO (all about Obama), the Democratic National Committee today releases a new highly targeted Facebook ad touting the president's support for Deeds. The ad will appear only on pages of Virginia Facebook fans of Obama, people who live within 50 miles of Norfolk, Richmond or Fairfax and students of Virginia colleges and universities.
The goal here is to reach voters who backed Obama last year but may not be inclined to vote in a state election. Such voters, particularly young ones, are notoriously hard to reach through traditional means. (It is assumed that they are probably not reading this blog, for instance.) But Facebook is one way to find them.
The exclamation point on the effort, of course, comes this afternoon with the Norfolk rally for Deeds, which Obama is headlining. Stay tuned for more coverage of the event.
Posted at 9:58 AM ET, 10/26/2009
New Post poll coming today
With just a little more than a week to go until Election Day, the Post will release the results of its final poll in the Virginia governor's race later today.
Among other key findings, the poll will reveal whether perceptions about President Obama are a factor among likely voters, whether Creigh Deeds has managed to convince core Democrats to vote and whether it appears that Republican Bob McDonnell's arguments on taxes have been effective.
And, of course, the poll will tell us who's ahead and by how much.
Check it all out later today.
Posted at 9:29 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.
Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 10/25/2009
Big endorsements arrive on morning stoop
The remaining big Virginia newspapers made their endorsements this morning in the race for governor. No big surprises in the bunch, as papers' editorials boards largely went with the candidate's from the parties that best represented their well known policy stands.
That last editorial provided the only moment of intrigue for the moment. For one, choosing Deeds meant going against hometown candidate McDonnell. But, for the other, the endorsement is marked by a lack of enthusiasm for the chosen candidate. The paper's board chose Deeds as the better bet to fix transportation and manage state finances. But they called his campaign "chaotic" and generally slammed sophistication of the arguments advanced by both sides.
Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 10/23/2009
More ads on cap-and-trade in Southwest
Democrat Creigh Deeds is out with a new ad--we're at that point in the campaign where that's going to be the story, for both sides, pretty much every day. This one's on jobs and is running in southwest Virginia and Harrisonburg. It features just folks calling on Republican Bob McDonnell to "knock off the lies" about Deeds and the cap-and-trade bill. Deeds has said he supports efforts to reduce global warming but opposes the cap-and-trade bill now pending in Congress.
You can watch the ad here:
Posted at 9:08 AM ET, 10/23/2009
Deeds meets with IP workers
In campaign world, Thursday was the day Democrats in Washington began preparing for a loss by Creigh Deeds in the Virginia governor's race by blaming him for running a poor campaign.
In the real world, it was the day International Paper announced they were closing their paper mill in Franklin County, resulting in the loss of 1,100 Virginia jobs. Both campaigns put out statements expressing sympathy to the workers, as did Gov. Tim Kaine. From twitters, we see that Deeds made a detour from his campaign schedule to meet with workers at the gate last night.
Late last night, he tweeted:
Shook hands at IP gate. Devestating. Met employees of 41, 36, 31 years. We have much to do to restore hope
We're told he was with workers until almost midnight, then got up to do the early morning shift today as well.
Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 10/22/2009
A second Deeds ad on The Post endorsement
We noted that a Northern Virginia ad that Democrat Creigh Deeds released several days about Deeds's endorsement by The Washington Post featured only lines praising Deeds -- and none of the endorsement's criticism of Republican Bob McDonnell.
It turned out, the Deeds campaign was saving those tidbits of the piece for a second ad, this one all about McDonnell. The ad began running Thursday morning and features pretty much nothing but quotes from The Post ed board about McDonnell, against a white background.
Watch it here.
Posted at 7:15 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Deeds takes heat online over public option comments
Left-leaning blogs and Democratic twitters are giving Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds a hard time over his comment at Tuesday night's final debate in Salem, indicating that he would consider opting out of a public health insurance option if Congress extended that possibility to the states. Daily Kos has run some items taking Deeds to task over his wishy-washy support for the public option, for instance. That's not to mention Virginia bloggers Ben Tribbett and Lowell Feld.
After the debate, Deeds tried to explain to reporters that he believed the public option might help reduce health care costs and expand coverage, but he is not certain it is the best way to achieve those goals. "It may be one way, it might not be the best way," he said.
(His campaign also circulated a statement today about the issue saying that "if the public option proves to be the best way" to reduce costs and expand coverage, "he'd support having Virginia participate. He'll examine all of the proposals on the table and choose the option than provides Virginians with the most affordable and quality coverage.")
But his attempt to clarify his position has now been turned into a new Republican video that is making the rounds, much like the Fairfax Count post-debate scrum.
And now it appears Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner is embracing the public option more vigorously, at least slightly, than Deeds.
It's hard to know whether the online world will filter into the rest of the world on this issue. But it's clear Deeds needs to energize committed Democrats behind his efforts--and some of them were not at all impressed with his answer on health care.
Just check out some of the tweets.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:58 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Excerpts: Post reporters discuss election
Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner of The Post were online earlier today to answer questions about the governor's race and the down-ballot campaigns. Read the full discussion transcript. Excerpts follow.
Richmond, Va.: You've reported several times that Deeds is having a tough time energizing Democrats and Obama voters and that was something he was going to emphasize over the next two weeks. However, last night he waffled on his support for the public option. Combined with his distancing himself from many of Obama and Congressional Democrat policies, is Deeds contradicting his proclaimed path to victory?
Amy Gardner: Great question. I think this speaks to the heart of Deeds's challenge -- the fact that he is a conservative Democrat, many of whose positions are to the right of President Obama, but who is seeking election in a year when the clear path to victory for a Democrat is to rally Obama voters. I don't know if Deeds has "waffled," but certainly he has wobbled a little bit trying to explain his views on health care reform and cap and trade legislation without sounding like he is contradicting Obama and without alienating those who support the president.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:58 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Obama signs email for Deeds
More signs that Democrat Creigh Deeds has made a late turn to Obama Democrats, in hopes of revving up the Democratic base behind his candidacy for governor: An email went out Wednesday to supporters of Organizing for America in Virginia, Obama's political organization. Unlike last week's missive that come out under the hand of the group's executive director, this email was signed by the man himself.
"We've worked too hard and come too far to let Virginia slip back. Creigh Deeds has embraced the movement you started by speaking directly and honestly to Virginians about the challenges ahead and the ideas that will move us forward," writes President Obama in the email.
OFA sent out in an email in Obama's name once before, the day after Deeds won the Democratic primary. Click through to read today's email in full.
Posted at 1:12 PM ET, 10/21/2009
Questions about the race? We'll answer them today.
Post reporters Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner will be online at 2 p.m. to discuss their stories today on the debate and Bill Clinton's Virginia visit, as well as any other aspect of the Virginia governor's race. Submit questions now or read the full discussion.
Earlier today, Post editorial board member Lee Hockstader took questions about the board's decision to endorse Deeds in the race -- read some excerpts from that discussion after the jump.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:57 PM ET, 10/20/2009
Moderator Proves Tough in Salem
Moderator Jay Warren is tough on both guys tonight. Here's a rough exchange he had with Democrat Creigh Deeds, pushing him on his transportation plan.
Warren: "What tax would you see increase under creigh deeds?"
"What tax would you see increase under creigh deeds?" Deeds asked incredulously.
"I can answer that," McDonnell said, as the crowd laughed.
"No you can't," Deeds responded.
"What I've said is that anything that has a nexus to transportation," Deeds began.
"What does that mean? Sales tax on cigarettes? Alcohol?" Warren asked.
"Anything that has a nexus to transportation. Anything that involves all the people who use the transportation system, both people who live in state and out of state."
Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 10/20/2009
Roanoke College Prepares for Final Debate
Greetings from the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Va., where Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds are 9 minutes from taking the stage for their final debate before the Nov. 3 election. Both candidates have enthusiastic supporters outside and went out and visited with their people before the kickoff. We'll give you a couple live updates as the debate progresses.
Posted at 7:24 PM ET, 10/19/2009
Another polls shows a big McDonnell lead
A new poll out this evening from the Virginian-Pilot, WVEC television, the ABC affiliate in the Hampton Roads area and Christopher Newport University shows Republican Bob McDonnell with a hefty lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor.
The poll is out this evening but involved interviews with 506 likely voters from Oct. 8 to 13. It showed McDonnell with a 14 point lead over Deeds, leading the Democrat by 44 to 30 percent. But the poll also showed that 22 percent of likely voters were undecided, a figure that would mean the race remains far from decided. And it's worth recalling that the poll is now a week old.
CNU professor Quentin Kidd told the television station that one reason the poll indicates so many undecided voters is that the results do not included so-called "leaners," people who told the pollsters that they their decision was not entirely set but they were leaning one way or the other.
"Anyone who counts Deeds out at this point is crazy," said Kidd, the poll's director.
The poll also indicated that two-thirds of likely voters said that McDonnell's controversial 1989 master's thesis wouldn't affect their vote.
Posted at 7:10 PM ET, 10/19/2009
New ad pushes Deeds as hometown choice
Another new ad from the Deeds campaign today, this one for the Bristol and Harrisonburg markets. The spot is designed to get votes for Deeds as the hometown kid. It features footage of Deeds with a shotgun and notes his A rating from the NRA; it does not mention that the NRA has endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell this year.
"For too long...our part of Virginia has been forgotten. Forgotten by Richmond when it comes to jobs, roads and schools. But this election we have a chance to change all that by voting for Creigh Deeds," the narrator says.
It's a message that Deeds has hit hard before and that could go over well in rural Virginia where many people do feel forgotten. It may not be as well received in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, where many voters think too few of their tax dollars stay in their regions already.
The ad concludes, "Creigh is from here...and has never left," a notion that has already earned him some mocking from the Republican Party of Virginia. Deeds' Bath County home is definitely on the state's rural end. But it's 85 miles from Harrisonburg and a full 240 miles to Bristol.
Watch the ad here:
Posted at 11:24 AM ET, 10/19/2009
One day later, Deeds gets Post nod in ad
That didn't take long. Democrat Creigh Deeds will begin airing a television ad today in Northern Virginia using lines from Sunday's endorsement by The Post editorial board, praising Deeds on education, transportation and the economy. It worked to spark momentum for the Deeds campaign during the Democratic primary -- Deeds hopes it can do the same this time.
The ad is all positive, including only lines from the editorial that support Deeds and resisting the temptation to use some of the choice language the ed board had for opponent Republican Bob McDonnell.
Watch the ad here.
Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 10/19/2009
Get to know a candidate: Hair edition
Welcome to Get to Know a Candidate, an occasional Virginia Politics blog feature about the the more light-hearted personal side of the gubernatorial candidates. Today, we consider the topic of the two men's hair. There are probably some metaphors to be drawn about the campaign from the topic. The coif of Republican Bob McDonnell, who has run a largely smooth and disciplined campaign, appears unshakable, with never a hair out of place. Democrat Creigh Deeds sometimes does television interviews with his hair still mussed from the wind.
This item was inspired by Julian Walker's profile of McDonnell in Saturday's Virginian-Pilot, where Walker took on directly the issue of whether the Republican dyes his hair.
"McDonnell laughed when asked whether he uses dye to conceal the silver strands in his never-out-of-place head of hair. He insists that he doesn't apply color; wife Maureen said a combination of natural extracts like chamomile and green tea and the summer sun have altered the hue of his hair," Walker wrote.
This intrigued us. Chamomile? Green tea? Was McDonnell's wife referring to some kind of hair product? Or is there actual brewing going on in the McDonnell household?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:43 PM ET, 10/18/2009
McAuliffe tells Fairfax Dems: Don't count out Creigh
So if former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is betting Gov. Jon Corzine takes New Jersey by seven, what about his former opponent Creigh Deeds in Virginia?
"Deeds by two," McAuliffe said this evening at the Fall Festival of the Dranesville Democratic Committee, at his McLean home.
Dozens of longtime Democrats were greeted by an enormous plastic pumpkin in front of the home before heading inside for the fundraiser and general pep rally. They crowded into the McAuliffe's kitchen to hear from Del. Margi Vanderhye and Del. Jim Scott, lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, McAuliffe and Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey. A laminated copy of this morning's Washington Post endorsement of Deeds was propped up on the kitchen table.
Posted at 2:36 PM ET, 10/18/2009
On Fox, McAuliffe and Rove Wager $5 on Va., N.J.
Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe appeared this afternoon on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, along with Karl Rove, mostly to discuss recent charges by the White House that Fox's news coverage is slanted. But as the interview concluded, the two got into a brief but spirited debate over the outcomes of the Virginia and New Jersey races.
It started as Wallace was wrapping up the piece, with McAuliffe shouting out, "Democrats big win, Virginia and New Jersey, coming up!" That prompted Rove to pull out a folder he had brought for the occasion and hold up a print-out of a story from the Richmond Times Dispatch that ran just before the June 9 primary between McAuliffe, Brian Moran and now Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds.
"I agree with Terry McAuliffe," Karl Rove said.
"I said Deeds can win. Of course he can win. He's gonna win," said McAuliffe.
Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 10/18/2009
In the Morning Papers, Endorsements Start Arriving
The editorial boards of Virginia's newspapers are starting to make their endorsements for governor.
The Daily Press this morning backed Republican Bob McDonnell. So did Inside Nova, which includes both the Manassas News-Messenger and the Potomac News. Also endorsing McDonnell this weekend were the Winchester Star and the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record.
The Washington Post's editorial board endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning.
Do newspaper endorsements matter?
Posted at 5:17 PM ET, 10/17/2009
College Dems Bus in For Deeds
The Wolverines have arrived for Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Among about 100 canvassers who rallied with Deeds at the Mason District Park amphitheater in Annandale on this rainy afternoon were 30 students from the college Democrats at the University of Michigan. The group is spending their fall break knocking doors for Deeds.
A recent Washington Post poll showed that young voters appeared likely to make up a smaller portion of the electorate this year than in last year's presidential election, when they comprised 20 percent of the electorate. But Sam Marvin, 21, a senior at the University of Michigan, said his group hopes to help get Obama voters engaged for Deeds.
"It's about mobilizing those people. They would vote for him. I don't think there's anyone out there who would vote for Obama and not vote for Mr. Deeds. But it's about making sure they understand this is an important race too," said Marvin, who grew up in Fredericksburg before moving with his family to Kalamazoo.
Posted at 6:44 PM ET, 10/16/2009
Obama to Return to Va. for Deeds on Oct. 27
The date is set: President Obama is returning to Virginia to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds on Oct. 27.
The Deeds campaign surely hopes the visit, confirmed by the White House and the campaign, will motivate core Democratic voters inspired by Obama's effort last year. It should also put to rest some of the chattering about whether the White House was backing off Deeds' effort, with polls showing him trailing.
We'll bring you details when we have them.
UPDATE: The Deeds campaign has put out a formal release about the Obama rally. "Further details will be announced in coming days," according the release.
Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 10/16/2009
The Goracle Lands in Virginia
We learned today that if you bring Al Gore into a state to campaign, you're headed for a discussion about the politics of climate change.
Gore, the former vice president (and almost, but not quite president), who won an Oscar for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth and Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming, is attending a fundraiser dinner tonight with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds at a McLean home. (Tickets are $5,000).
Republicans accused Deeds and Democrats of supporting a "devastating" cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Democrats accused Republican Bob McDonnell and the rest of his ticket of failing to believe in the concept of global warming.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 10/16/2009
Clinton to Campaign for Deeds
The President's coming to Virginia for Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Former President Bill Clinton, that is. Clinton will hold a rally with Deeds somewhere inside the Beltway in Northern Virginia on Tuesday, the Deeds campaign confirms. Also in attendance will be Clinton buddy and Deeds's rival during the primary campaign, Terry McAuliffe.
Clinton did several appearances for McAuliffe before the June 9 primary. His work for Deeds comes as national Democrats swing into action to try to rev up a party base that polls have shown is unenthusiastic about Deeds's candidacy. This evening, Deeds holds a fundraiser with former vice president Al Gore.
Posted at 6:57 PM ET, 10/15/2009
Obama "Will Be Back," Says Deeds
For the second time in week, Democrat Creigh Deeds has virtually promised that President Obama will be back to campaign for him before the Nov. 3 election, even though no date for such an event has been set.
In an interview with Ryan Nobles of Richmond's NBC12, Deeds said, "President Obama will be back in Virginia." Nobles asked the candidate, "Within the next 19 days, we will see you and Barack Obama, standing on a stage in Virginia?" And Deeds answered, "You will, yes."
Deeds told Mark Plotkin something similar last week on WTOP. Yet, Obama has announced a rally for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and so far, no such love for Deeds.
Deeds also tried to explain why he called himself a "Creigh Deeds Democrat" when asked at a recent debate whether he was a "Barack Obama Democrat." Was he trying to distance himself from the president?
"You know, I support the President, but I will not visit my sins upon anyone else. I support the President, I think he is doing a good job, I worked hard for his election last year, I want him to be successful. It is in the interest of every single American citizen that he be successful as President of the United States, But I speak for myself, I am my own kind of Democrat and I have always been a Creigh Deeds Democrat," he said, according to Nobles transcript of the interview.
You can watch the interview here:
Posted at 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.
Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 10/15/2009
National Democratic Jewish Group Makes Push in Virginia
The National Jewish Democratic Council launched a major push Thursday in Virginia, its largest ever in the commonwealth, the organization said. The group will send at least three paid organizers to the state, including one based at the University of Virginia focusing on students, and is also organizing a Virginia Volunteer Corps. There will also be literature drops, phone calls and other grass-roots canvassing.
NJDC Political Director Linda Berg said the group's members were excited by Virginia's turning blue last year and determined to keep the state in the Democratic column this year -- particularly given the national attention on Virginia as harbinger of the 2010 midterm elections.
Posted at 9:10 AM ET, 10/15/2009
UPDATED: Gaffe or No, McDonnell Puts Johnson in Ad
Here's how much Republican Bob McDonnell thinks of calls for him to distance himself from businesswoman Sheila Johnson, after video surfaced of Johnson mocking opponent Deeds' speaking style: McDonnell's latest campaign ad features Johnson.
In the spot, airing as of this morning on Northern Virginia television, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and prominent supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine looks straight into the camera and says, "I'm Sheila Johnson, a Democrat business woman. I know what it takes to start and grow successful businesses and create jobs. That's why I support Bob McDonnell for governor."
She goes on to list some of McDonnell's resume before concluding, "That's why this Democrat strongly supports Bob McDonnell for governor."
Johnson apologized for her comments at a McDonnell event in which she adopted a faux stutter in mocking the way Deeds speaks. Her joke drew condemnation from the National Stuttering Association and others in the disability community and the Deeds campaign had called on McDonnell to apologize as well.
UPDATE: Here's the ad video:
Posted at 5:54 PM ET, 10/14/2009
Obama Commits to Corzine, but No Word on Deeds
President Obama has not yet agreed to campaign again for Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds--but he's made time for the nation's other Democratic gubernatorial candidate. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's campaign announced today that Obama will be holding a rally for his reelection effort at Fairleigh Dickinson University next Wednesday.
The news comes as Corzine's effort has pulled even with Republican Chris Christie, even as Deeds trails Republican Bob McDonnell by nine points in a recent Washington Post poll.
Obama did visit Virginia today, to tout the impact of the federal stimulus package at the Fairfax County Parkway extension construction project, the largest project of its kind in Virginia and a federal highway project partially funded by stimulus dollars.
But the event was not a campaign stop and Deeds was not present. Also not on site: Democratic Governor and Obama ally Timothy M. Kaine, who stood at the very same project with Obama in February to push for the stimulus' passage in Congress, citing the Fairfax County Parkway as a possible benefactor.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:19 AM ET, 10/14/2009
Obama in Virginia, But Not For Deeds
President Obama is in Fairfax County today.
But not to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
Instead, Obama visits the Fairfax County Parkway extension today with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to talk about federal stimulus spending.
After days of very public discussions about whether Obama will choose to visit Virginia again on Deeds behalf before Nov. 3 and whether the president is trying to limit his exposure in the swing state in anticipation of a possible Deeds loss, that's got to hurt.
The campaign points out that it's not unusual for Obama to make quick hops across the Potomac to talk about how federal policy is affecting people in the states. And that it would be rare to co-mingle a political event with a policy event. And Jake Tapper of ABC twittered yesterday the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said time is being carved out for the president to campaign in Virginia, New Jersey and New York before election day. (Tapper soon added, however, that Gibbs did not specify "if and whom" Obama would campaign for.)
Plus, you heard it here first, Vice President Al Gore will be doing an event for Deeds--a private fundraiser Friday night in McLean at the home of Al and Claire Dwoskin.
"The White House has been very clear that the Virginia governor's race is a huge priority for them. We've been thrilled with their commitment so far. I think it would not have been appropriate to mix a political event with a visit in his official capacity, and I think people will appreciate that. There's still plenty of time for him to help, and the White House has been remarkably helpful," said Deeds's senior adviser Mo Elleithee.
But if the president has time for Virginia, it's hard to argue he would not have time for Deeds. Maybe Obama will say something about Deeds and transportation while he's talking about the topic in Fairfax? Event starts at 2:05 p.m. and we'll all be listening carefully.
UPDATE: Elleithee has something additional to note--he calls the $177 million Fairfax County Parkway Extension that Obama will tout "incredibly important" to Northern Virginia and says that if Republican Bob McDonnell had had his way on federal stimulus money, the project would not be underway. He said McDonnell tonight holds a fundraiser with House Minority Leader John Boehner, who opposed the stimulus package. McDonnell has said he did not oppose the bulk of the stimulus package--but did oppose a $125 million portion of the package for unemployment benefits in Virginia.
Posted at 3:20 PM ET, 10/12/2009
Johnson's Apology Complete, McDonnell to Campaign Again With Her
Republican Bob McDonnell holds a rally for women tomorrow with Sheila Johnson, a top endorser who apologized last week after video of her surfaced at a previous campaign stop mocking Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style.
"We need someone who can really communicate," said Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. "And Bob McDonnell can communicate. The other people that I talk to, especially his o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-opponent ... could not articulate what needed to be done."
McDonnell declined opportunities last week to apologize for sitting quietly while Johnson poked fun at Deeds. And he clearly does not think the incident made her persona non grata for his campaign, despite condemnation from the National Stuttering Association and others in the disabilities community. He rallies with Johnson and other women supporting his effort at the Tysons Corner Marriott tomorrow. Johnson was a top supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine but endorsed McDonnell, arguing that he would do a better job handling the state's economy. Oh yes, and communicating his ideas for the future.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 10/12/2009
Deeds Ad Suggests McDonnell is Robertson's, Not Fairfax's Own
Democrat Creigh Deeds is not backing off negative campaign ads against Republican Bob McDonnell, at least in the Northern Virginia area.
The campaign this morning releases a new spot already airing in the Washington area, which attacks McDonnell's claim, featured on many campaign signs, that he is "Fairfax's Own" because of his Northern Virginia childhood.
"Bob McDonnell says he's from Fairfax County," the narrator says. "But that was before he attended Pat Robertson's law school. And served on its board." Before, the narrator continues, he wrote that working women are detrimental to the family, he introduced 35 bills on abortion or voted against equal pay for women.
"So no matter what McDonnell claims, all signs say he's not from around here...anymore," it concludes.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:59 PM ET, 10/11/2009
New Deeds Ad on Education
Democrat Creigh Deeds is out with a new ad, a spot that does not mention his Republican opponent at all and instead focuses on Deeds' education proposals. The ad particularly highlights Deeds' Virginia Forward scholarship proposal, in which Deeds has said he would offer a 50 percent scholarship to any Virginia student at a Virginia public college who maintains a B average and commits to spending two years in public service after graduation.
The ad begins airing now in Richmond and will expand to other markets next week--no word yet on which.
Watch it here.
Posted at 3:11 PM ET, 10/11/2009
Cuccinelli Calls Obama's Nobel "A Joke"
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell may have been "delighted" that President Obama was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize, but his ticket-mate, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, feels a little differently.
"Well, it's official, the Nobel Peace Prize is officially meaningless," Cuccinelli opened his Cuccinelli Compass newsletter to supporters Friday. He went on to quote commentator John Podhoretz about what Cuccinelli termed the "Nobel hilarity." Podhoretz argued that the win is not surprising because Obama represents the Nobel committee's highest ideals because he is "an American President queasy about the projection of American power."
"I suspect that whoever nominated him actually did it as a joke. And how about that, it really did turn out to be a joke," Cuccinelli concluded on the subject.
Posted at 10:57 AM ET, 10/11/2009
Mason-Dixon Shows McDonnell by 8
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which like the Post does live interviews and not automated robocalls, is out with a poll in the Virginia governor's race. And it shows a similar spread to the Post poll last week--Republican Robert F. McDonnell over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds by eight percentage points.
Like the Post, Mason-Dixon, which was funded by the Richmond Times Dispatch and other Virginia press outlets, has McDonnell way up with independents, which will be encouraging to his campaign. The new poll shows him ahead by 15 with that group--a striking lead though not quite the 21 point gap the Post showed last week.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:18 PM ET, 10/ 9/2009
McDonnell "Delighted" Obama Won Nobel
Don't include Virginia gubernatorial candidate Republican Bob McDonnell among those conservatives who are deriding the Nobel Committee for awarding its Peace Prize to President Obama less than a year after he took office.
"I'm delighted to see the President of the United States bring honor to our country by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize," McDonnell said this afternoon. His Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds issued a statement early this morning praising the committee for its selection.
McDonnell said that he's been on the road and has not extensively read the committee's reasoning for the award, other than that it had to do with Obama's diplomatic efforts. But he said he was pleased with anything that "brings accolades to the United States." And then he repeated, "I'm delighted to see him win the award."
McDonnell's answer stands in stark contrast to others in in his party, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele, who said it was "unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights."
McDonnell has a habit of offering praise for Obama, a way of signaling that he is a moderate willing to work across party lines. He frequently praises Obama's support for charter schools and the president's work to strengthen fatherhood.
UPDATE: Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee responds: "It's nice to see Bob McDonnell join us in celebrating the President's Nobel Prize. I just wonder where this 'delight' was when he said the President shouldn't receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame because he was pro-choice."
Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 10/ 9/2009
Deeds on Obama: 'Yes, He Will.'
Will President Obama be back in Virginia before the Nov. 3 election? The Deeds campaign has spent days saying that they would love to see the president and believe he and the Democratic National Committee will be helpful in the final weeks of the governor's race. But everyone's been careful not to say that Obama will definitely be back, with no date yet offered by the White House.
Until this morning. Asked by Mark Plotkin on WTOP if President Obama will campaign for him, Deeds responded, "Yes, he will." Plotkin then asked where Obama will appear and Deeds answered, "I don't know that yet. I know he will be back in Virginia before Nov. 3."
Posted at 9:54 AM ET, 10/ 9/2009
Sagging in Northern Virginia, Deeds Introduces New Rural Ads
New poll results suggest that Democrat Creigh Deeds do more to sell himself to Northern Virginians, including the traditionally left-leaning inner Washington suburbs, and that voters believe his campaign has become largely negative.
Today we get positive ads from Deeds ... aimed at convincing rural Virginians that he's fighting for them to get their "fair share" from Richmond. And that Deeds will fight for "small towns." And that he understands "your part of the state." And that he's "From Here. For Here." There's a new "Hope and Opportunity" tour in the Shenandoah Valley and Southside. This is all going to give the political pundits something to chew on.
His campaign did make a nod at healing tensions with the White House and energizing Obama Democrats with a statement praising the Nobel Committee for awarding their Peace Prize to the president. "I join the Nobel Committee in standing by President Obama as he continues to spread his message of hope throughout the world," the statement reads in part.
Here's the new TV version:
UPDATE: We're being reminded that Deeds did begin airing a new ad on transportation in Northern Virginia on Thursday. You can watch that ad elsewhere on the blog.
Posted at 3:49 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009
Excerpts: Post Reporters, Bob Holsworth on Gov. Race
Earlier today, Post reporters Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman -- who are assigned to the McDonnell and Deeds campaigns respectively -- and former VCU professor Bob Holsworth (now blogging at Virginia Tomorrow) answered readers questions about the Virginia governor's race. Some excerpts follow. Read the entire discussion here.
And come back next Wednesday for another chat with Post reporters, who will be joined by fundraising watcher David Poole of the Virginia Public Access Project.
Alexandria, Va.: I want to like Deeds but feel he is taking NoVA for granted because it generally skews highly democratic. Does he have any plans for flyers, ads, appearances in the area that would help him convey his stances on the issues or plans for Virginia? So far, he hasn't done that at all (at least as far as I have noticed). He really needs to step up his game and come out with some real details if he wants to do well here.
Rosalind Helderman: Deeds was in Northern Virginia yesterday, attending a forum at the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce in Leesburg. He's doing the Mark Plotkin show on Friday. He also has a variety of television ads up in the area and is sending mail home to voters. Having said that, certainly plenty of Northern Virginians have suggested he has not done enough to explain who he is in this region.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:10 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009
National Democrats Step Up Effort for Deeds
National Democrats are stepping up efforts to demonstrate they remain fully supportive of Virginia candidate Creigh Deeds. A new email is going out today from President Obama's Organizing for America to 500,000 Virginia voters urging them to help Deeds and check out Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis. It ties Deeds directly to the president, opening:
"As President Obama said, Creigh Deeds' pragmatic and bipartisan approach to politics "has an ability to bring people together, build consensus and deliver results."
There are also new ads going up on Facebook today urging voters to look into the thesis.
You can read the full OFA email after the jump.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:52 AM ET, 10/ 7/2009
Will Obama Be Back?
Will he or won't he?
Will President Obama be campaigning in Virginia again for Democrat R. Creigh Deeds?
It's the question of the moment as a story appears in this morning's Wall Street Journal citing a source who says the White House is backing off support for Deeds, and Gov. Brian Schweitzer, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, is quoted over the weekend suggesting that the Dems' chances in the New Jersey race are stronger than in Virginia.
No event has yet been announced, and the Deeds campaign continues to say only that they hope one will occur and they are working closely with the White House.
They also insist that all is well with the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, as the three groups hold daily conference calls and coordinate closely. The DGA pumped $250,000 into the campaign last week, and Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee said a $1 million contribution from the DNC announced Monday was not a pledge. It was a check -- wired directly into the Deeds account.
Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 10/ 6/2009
McDonnell Responds to Johnson Flap
Leaving a forum this morning hosted by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, Republican Bob McDonnell was asked what responsibility he bears for Sheila Johnson's videotaped comments mocking Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style and whether he would apologize for it. McDonnell did not apologize. Instead, he said that he knew that Johnson had issued a statement "she believed was appropriate." He went on to try to explain what he thought Johnson was trying to express in her comments.
"Listen," he told reporters. "Senator Deeds hasn't had any problem for the last two months viciously attacking me on any number of things that misrepresented my position. So I think he's a very good spokesman for his cause. ... The reason she's supporting me, that she said at the announcement speech, is that she believes I've got the best ideas on jobs, the economy and economic development."
"What she was saying, is what I understood her to say ... is that Senator Deeds hasn't been able to put together a comprehensive plan, a positive vision about where he's going to take Virginia. Now that's what I understood from Sheila's statement."
Posted at 8:34 AM ET, 10/ 6/2009
Live Blog: Loudoun Chamber Forum
Good morning. Greetings from Lansdowne, Va., and the National Conference Center in Loudoun County. We'll be live-blogging today's candidates forum, sponsored by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce. Our Internet connection is a bit weak, so bear with us here. But the introductions are getting started and both candidates are in the room so we'll get going shortly.
This is an area we know well. In 2005, we did a series of stories all about the voting precinct that includes the National Conference Center. It was a place where just about every residence had been built in the four years since the 2001 election. In '05, this precinct went for Democrat Tim Kaine. Kaine won Loudoun and won the election. Ever since, this has been a pretty Democratic-leaning area -- President Barack Obama won it last year. We'd note, however, on an organizational level, that Republican Bob McDonnell blanketed the area with signs all the way to the door. Democrat Creigh Deeds had just a few signs right outside the conference center's entry. More striking, a small clot of McDonnell volunteers is holding signs and greeting people outside. Deeds? Not so much. Our questioning panel is now getting introduced.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:46 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Sheila Johnson Apologizes for Deeds Remark
We just received the following statement from Sheila Johnson, about the video clip of her appearing to mock Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style:
"Two weeks ago I made reference to Creigh Deeds' inability to clearly communicate effective solutions to the serious problems facing Virginia. I shouldn't have done it in the manner in which I did and for that I apologize for any offense he, or others, may have taken," she said.
Does that end this campaign kerfuffle? We'll see.
Posted at 4:06 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Does Creigh Deeds Have a Stutter?
As the National Stuttering Association releases a statement condemning comments made recently by McDonnell supporter Sheila Johnson, in which she mocked Democrat Creigh Deeds's speaking style, his consultants fielded question after question this afternoon about whether the Democrat, in fact, has a stutter.
"It's something he's dealt with his whole life," said senior adviser Mo Elleithee in a call with reporters. "He's never sought any type of medical attention for it."
So does he have a stutter? "He sometimes stumbles over his words. He's spoken that way his entire life. He's never sought medical attention for it. There are people out there who have much worse problems. Many of them stutter," Elleithee went on to say.
Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Moran Advises Deeds: Give People a Reason to Vote for You
U.S. Rep. Jim Moran says Democrat Creigh Deeds is very much in a position to win his campaign for governor, but says he counseled his party's nominee last night that he needs to push back against consultant advice to run negative ads, and run positive spots instead.
Moran said Deeds is being supported by an anti-McDonnell vote but now must give voters a reason to vote for him instead of against the other guy.
"We had a conversation last night," Moran said. "I said: 'All your consultants are going to tell you to go negative, just like they told my brother. And spend all your money on negative because positive ads don't move anything.' ... I said: 'You've got to go with your instinct. You're a genuine guy. People relate to you.' "
"That's how Creigh won the primary and I think that's how he'll win the general, by showing that he's very decent guy," Moran continued. "People know about the thesis -- the people who care about the thesis, they're in Northern Virginia and they read The Post and they know. But there's got to be more. He's got to give people a reason to vote for Creigh."
Posted at 2:16 PM ET, 10/ 5/2009
Sheila Johnson on Deeds's Speaking Style
This video clip of Sheila Johnson, a supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine now backing Republican Bob McDonnell for governor, has been making its way around the Internet, starting on Ben Tribbett's blog.
In the clip, Johnson, who co-founded BET, talks about her feeling that Democrat Creigh Deeds has trouble articulating his views for Virginia and seems to mock his stammering speaking style. Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee called Johnson's imitation of the rural senator a "petty personal attack."
Deeds himself said at a campaign stop today that he was "disappointed" in Johnson's comments.
"I'm disappointed and I'll be honest. If it's about being smooth or being a slick communicator, I'm never going to win that discussion. But I work as hard as I can to be honest and forthright and tell people what I think and I'm going to continue to work toward creating opportunity and hope and prosperity in every corner of Virginia. I think I've laid out my vision very well," Deeds said.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 10/ 5/2009
McAuliffe BBQ Nets $100,000 for House Dems
Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is following through on a promise made in the spring to raise money for Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates, yesterday hosting a barbecue at his McLean home for House caucus chair Ken Plum's political action committee.
It may not be the millions he was rumored to have pledged to candidates if he were the nominee -- though Del. Plum insists the two had never talked numbers -- but Plum said the event netted about $100,000 for his Invest in Virginia committee. That's a pretty sizable figure given that Plum, who had endorsed McAuliffe, says the fund likely will raise $400,000 to $500,000 total this campaign season. And Plum said most attendees at the event were friends of McAuliffe who might not have given to the PAC otherwise.
"I never had an expectation he would necessarily do anything if he didn't get the nomination, so I'm very appreciative," Plum said. "I think he still has the potential for being a force in Virginia politics to keep us looking ahead and being progressive and working hard."
Is nominee Creigh Deeds being as supportive to House candidates? Plum said Deeds is doing what he can, but everyone recognizes he's got a tough campaign of his own to concentrate on. "There's an understanding that while Creigh Deeds is fully supportive and recognizes the need to win the House, he's got a race on his hands," Plum said.
Posted at 7:11 AM ET, 10/ 5/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Monday, Oct. 5, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
One month and counting until Virginia voters go to the polls. Have you registered to vote yet? Today's the deadline!
This may be a critical week in the campaign, as pretty much everyone who is going to vote is starting to pay real attention to the governor's race, even these highly sought late-deciders.
Is the national Democratic party doubling-down on Sen. Creigh Deeds in attempt to close the gap with Republican Bob McDonnell? The DNC will give him $1 million more to spend on his effort. But meanwhile national Democrats begin to say quietly they think they may have better chance in New Jersey than Virginia. Those doing the talking, very diplomatically include Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, head of the Democratic Governors Association.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:34 PM ET, 10/ 4/2009
Warner to Campaign for Deeds Again
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D), who recent polls have suggested may not be just Virginia's most popular sitting politician but perhaps it's more popular in decades, is stepping up his efforts on behalf of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds as Election Day approaches.
Already, Warner is featured in a television ad airing around the state. Monday, he campaigns with Deeds in Northern Virginia. Warner will greet the lunch crowd with Deeds at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington.
Also there to lend a hand will be the Moran brothers, U.S. Rep. Jim, as well as former delegate and contender for the gubernatorial nomination Brian, and state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple.
Posted at 3:40 PM ET, 10/ 3/2009
A McCain-McDonnell Event on the Horizon?
Will Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain be headlining a rally for gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell sometime soon? Maybe.
While shaking hands at a fall festival in Manassas today, McDonnell told a voter that McCain would be holding a veteran's rally for him.
But asked about McCain shortly after, McDonnell sounded less certain. He said McCain, who held a fundraiser for McDonnell back in March, told him months ago he was interested in holding an rally for veterans, likely in Hampton Roads, but there is no date.
"I know we were working on that," he said. He promised his staff would be back in touch to provide the "straight scoop" on any event.
"I must have misspoken on that," he added.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 10/ 2/2009
New Deeds Ad: Elections Matter"
Democrat Creigh Deeds has been the star of the most recent Republican ads in the governor's race. Now Deeds is making Republican Bob McDonnell the star of his most recent spot.
This ad is designed to the be exclamation point on the Deeds argument that social issues have been the driving force in McDonnell's public career, using footage of McDonnell telling the National Right to Life Committee last year that elections are important because they determine whether pro-life lawmakers reach office. The Deeds campaign says it will air statewide from now until Nov. 3.
Watch the ad here:
Posted at 7:06 AM ET, 10/ 2/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Fri., Oct. 2, 2009
Happy Friday! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
With a new push in Northern Virginia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and his friends at the Republican Governors Association are now airing twice as many ads than Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, even counting ads run by the Virginia Education Association.
The Democratic Governors Association spent millions in the spring trying to tarnish McDonnell while the Dems were fighting it out before the June primary. Was that a mistake? Will Gov. Tim Kaine let his DNC be outspent by the RNC? Will President Obama let that happen? Talk to us Nov. 4.
At a forum attended by a who's who of Virginia politics, both Deeds and McDonnell endorsed awarding tens of thousands of new college degrees in future years. Neither said much about how they would pay for that.
Posted at 5:41 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
RPV Blasts Deeds for GOP-Backed Bill
The Republican Party of Virginia held a conference call this afternoon with physicians Del. John O'Bannon and delegate candidate Chris Stolle, as well several other doctors, to slam Democrat Creigh Deeds for sponsoring a 1999 bill that would have raised Virginia's cap on medical malpractice settlements from $1 million to $3 million.
"During our last real malpractice crisis, to triple the cap is just real bad judgment," O'Bannon said.
But here's something kind of interesting about that bill: Though co-sponsored by Deeds and then-delegate, now Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman C. Richard Cranwell, its chief sponsor was Republican Del. Terry Kilgore, brother of the GOP's last gubernatorial nominee, and himself a possible future Republican candidate for Congress.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:55 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
Environmental Groups Back Deeds
Put this one into the rather large and growing file of not-very-surprising endorsements: the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters joined today to endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor.
They noted Deeds has received an 86 percent on the LCV's legislative scorecard; Republican Bob McDonnell got an 18 percent. They praised Deeds for his work preserving rural land in Virginia and said they believed he was better-positioned to help Virginia become a leader in alternative energy technologies. And they slammed McDonnell's transportation as relying on a "false promise" of future oil drilling revenues.
"Creigh Deeds is going to work for a common sense solution on that rather than offering false promises that do nothing but dig us in deeper," said Lisa Guthrie, executive director of the Virginia LCV.
Posted at 2:29 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
Biden to Headline Deeds Fundraiser
Details are starting to emerge about Vice President Joe Biden's work for Creigh Deeds on Oct. 8. Biden will be headlining a Deeds fundraiser at a private home in Alexandria that morning.
According to an invitation for the event, tickets for a special host reception go for $2,400 a person, and general reception tickets will cost $1,000 a head.
The event will be held at the home of Shaista and Rafat Mahmood. Rafat Mahmood's an investor who originally supported Brian Moran for the Democratic nomination.
Biden previously hosted a Deeds fundraiser at a Richmond home.
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009
GOP Governors Group Features Deeds in New Ad
It's never a good thing for a candidate when he is the star of the video clips used in campaign ads by the other side. But as soon as the media scrum concluded after the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debate, it was pretty obvious that Republicans would be using footage of Creigh Deeds's bumbling answer on taxes for transportation in an ad sometime soon. And now they have.
The Republican Governors Association will spend $1.7 million over the next three weeks to air "Deeds Uncut" in Northern Virginia. Also featured prominently in the ad is our colleague Bob McCartney, pressing Deeds on taxes.
Watch the ad here.
Posted at 7:06 AM ET, 10/ 1/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
We hope everyone really lurves those campaign ads. For those of us in Northern Virginia, the pace is picking up significantly today, as a big three-week, $1.7 million blitz by the Republican Governors Association for Bob McDonnell hits the airwaves.
McDonnell joins Democrat Creigh Deeds, Gov. Tim Kaine and others today at a forum to discuss higher education organized by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council. Post columnist Bob McCartney thinks neither gubernatorial candidate has said enough about how they would pay for their ambitious higher ed proposals.
Sometime afterward, Deeds heads to North Carolina, where will attend a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Bev Perdue and former longtime Gov. Jim Hunt in downtown Raleigh. McDonnell will tour a charter school in Richmond.
Have we mentioned before our reservations about polls that perform automated robo-calling? Right, they still exist. Another such poll came out yesterday--Rasmussen Reports showed McDonnell up by a wide margin.
Both candidates were pretty quiet yesterday, as they raced to meet the September 30 fundraiser deadline. Deeds got a boost from AFSCME, which donated $400,000 to his effort this week.
At least 75 people also crowded into a newly opened Deeds campaign office in downtown Falls Church Wednesday night, where Deeds was joined by local political luminaries and former rival Brian Moran.
Here's a special First Click report on the event: It was Moran's second appearance with Deeds in as many days, the continuation of his reappearance since his defeat to Deeds in the Democratic primary in June. But after a long summer in Maine with his family, Moran is back.
He was a bit late, but it made for good speechifying in his home territory: He got stuck in traffic. After bounding up onto the dais and grabbing the microphone, Moran led the crowd in a spirited pep talk on why Deeds is the only choice for Virginia, and began with a story about Falls Church's top-rated schools and how Republican Bob McDonnell's plan to improve roads with general fund growth could harm those schools.
"I hear this fellow from Virginia Beach telling me about Northern Virginia traffic," Moran said. "He's coming to Northern Virginia, telling me, 'We have to do something about the roads in Northern Virginia.' You don't have to tell me about the roads in Northern Virginia! It's a frustration. It's a daily frustration. But we in Northern Virginia, especially here in Falls Church, understand that we will not fix our roads at the expense of our school children."
After the event, Moran and Deeds left for a fundraiser hosted by Moran.
Posted at 5:03 PM ET, 09/30/2009
New Deeds Radio Ad for Northern Virginia
Democrat Creigh Deeds has a new radio ad, versions of which will play in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Both are about jobs, education and transportation, slamming Bob McDonnell's plans on the topic and then transitioning to praise for Deeds's proposals. It opens by trying to make McDonnell regret accepting that Chris Wallace invitation to appear on Fox News last weekend.
The ad's got a woman and man talking to each other. "So this Bob McDonnell is not all he's cracked up to be..." the woman says to the man.
"I know, Fox News just said his jobs and transportation plan just doesn't add up," the man says.
And she responds: "Fox News?"
Take a listen to the Nova version here:
Posted at 1:31 PM ET, 09/30/2009
AFSCME Drops Another $400K on Deeds
This will brighten Democrat Creigh Deeds fund-raising report for the month: the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees yesterday donated another $400,000 to Deeds' campaign.
The national union was already one of Deeds' largest donors, along with the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, giving him $500,000 in June.
The Republicans will surely use the donation to continue a campaign against Deeds for accepting money from big national unions. But $400,000 is nothing to sneeze at--it almost buys you a week on television in pricey Northern Virginia.
Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 09/30/2009
VPBA Endorses Deeds, Four Years After Backing McDonnell
The Virginia Police Benevolent Association has endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds for governor. The group's announcement comes on the heels of the Fraternal Order of Police's endorsement of Republican Bob McDonnell last week. But the FOP also endorsed McDonnell in 2005 when the two ran against each other for attorney general.
The VPBA, on the other hand, is switching teams -- after endorsing McDonnell in 2005, this time the group has gone with Deeds. And, to put an exclamation point on their bipartisan nods, the same group is also backing incumbent Republican Bill Bolling for reelection as lieutenant governor.
Deeds Country helpfully notes that McDonnell called the VPBA's endorsement one of the "most important endorsements that a candidate can have" when he received it in 2005. (Full context: McDonnell's quote referred both to the VPBA and the FOP nods in 2005. "These are the most important endorsements that a candidate can have," McDonnell told The Post. "I think they show that I've received the support from the law and order community.")
Group president Jason Knorowski said Deeds won the group's backing by demonstrating "his support for issues that are important to law enforcement and keeping our neighborhoods safe."
Posted at 7:03 AM ET, 09/30/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Wed., Sept. 30, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Remember soccer moms? And security moms? The Virginia election this year is shaping up to be a battle for working moms--and other women--as Democrat Creigh Deeds senses opportunity and makes an explicit appeal to the group that make up 54 percent of registered voters and Republican Bob McDonnell works to defend ground with the group.
In the category of the not very surprising, Gov. Linwood Holton, Virginia's first Republican chief executive since reconstruction and, oh yes, Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law, endorses Deeds. McDonnell joins Republican attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli to talk mental health.
Posted at 3:51 PM ET, 09/29/2009
New Deeds Ad: 'Detrimental'
Democrat Creigh Deeds has a new McDonnell thesis-related ad going up in television markets statewide. The new ad begins, "What kind of person writes a thesis calling working women 'detrimental to the family' ... then lies about his opponent to cover up his own record?"
I don't think we're supposed to conclude a very good one!
As this race gets nastier and nastier, the ad relies heavily on newspaper clips to slam Republican Bob McDonnell as a guy running a deceptive campaign. (In that regards, it's similar to a McDonnell ad that went up last week that makes the same claims about Deeds.)
You can watch the new spot here:
Posted at 3:22 PM ET, 09/29/2009
Fairfax Chamber Splits Ticket, Endorses Shannon
Democratic candidate for attorney general Steve Shannon said Tuesday that he couldn't say why he picked up the endorsement of the political action committee of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce when fellow Democrat, gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, did not.
Chamber leadership said Shannon won out over opponent Ken Cuccinelli in a vote that required approval of 60 percent of the group's trustees. Shannon was cited as a "go-to" delegate on business issues.
"We recognize his hard work in promoting and protecting the interests of our members," said Fran Fisher, chairwoman of the NOVABizPAC.
Shannon said he could not answer why such groups are backing his effort but not his ticket mates' and could only say that they have backed him because he's been a "reliable advocate in the House of Delegates."
Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 09/29/2009
Former Gov. Holton Endorses Deeds
Former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, who in the 1960s became the first Republican elected to statewide office since Reconstruction, endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds this morning.
The nod was not exactly a surprise -- Holton is Gov. Tim Kaine's father-in-law and has been backing Democrats for office for a while now. Holton lives in Richmond, but the campaign chose the Clarendon Metro stop as the location for a press conference on the announcement -- all the better to get on D.C. area television to talk about, what else, transportation.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:28 PM ET, 09/24/2009
Ad Watch: 'Why Did You?'
Democratic candidate for governor R. Creigh Deeds unveiled two new ads this week hitting Republican Robert F. McDonnell over issues related to McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis. One is entitled "Why Did You?"
Woman: Bob McDonnell, we know what you wrote about working women ...
Woman: ... and we've seen all your ads and heard your excuses.
Woman: But your RECORD troubles me.
Woman: ... 35 bills restricting a woman's choice
Woman: And you opposed birth control for married adults.
Woman: Mr. McDonnell: We've read your words ...
Woman: We've checked your record.
Woman: Why did you vote that way?
Each line is spoken sternly by a different woman, looking straight into the camera. They are diverse in age and race and are featured in different settings--one in what looks like an office, another in front of a house. The Deeds campaign says the women are Virginia residents--not actors. They include Phyllis Randall, who ran for supervisor as a Democrat in Loudoun, and party activist Chrisi West. The campaign refused to release a full list.
Keep reading for an analysuis
Posted at 7:08 AM ET, 09/24/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
For the fourth year in a row, Forbes.com has ranked Virginia the best place in the country to do business. It's good news for the state, coming on the heels of word that the unemployment rate has dipped and the Commonwealth now has the lowest rate of people out of work of any large state.
It's also good news for Democratic candidates for office, who have used the Forbes accolade as proof that Democratic leadership has been good for the state's economy and the candidates took little time to crow.
Not persuaded: The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, which Wednesday endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. The chamber says they believe McDonnell would be more likely to spark private sector growth. The Chamber slammed Deeds for not putting forward a specific funding proposal for transportation.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:46 PM ET, 09/23/2009
Virginia Notebook: Young Women, Meet Young Bob McDonnell
If you live in Virginia and you're planning to vote for governor in November, if you happen to be between ages 18 and 44 and you also just happen to be a woman, gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds has something he'd like to talk to you about.
It has to do with a certain graduate school thesis written by Deeds's opponent, Robert F. McDonnell, in 1989. In the document, McDonnell wrote about how to use public policy to strengthen the traditional family and said that working women and feminism were "detrimental" to the family.
McDonnell has said that some of his views have changed since he wrote the paper and cited his working wife and daughters as proof that he does, indeed, support women in the workforce. But Deeds launched an ad blitz this week to publicize the issue, some featuring Virginia women looking straight into the camera and insisting that McDonnell's record as a lawmaker shows otherwise.
A Washington Post poll released Sunday showed that the thesis has had some impact on the race already, and that there is quite a bit of room left for Deeds to run with the issue.
Take a look at some pretty striking numbers about younger voters, those between the ages of 18 to 44, and that reality seems clear.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 09/23/2009
Moran to Hit the Trail for Deeds
On the day after the June Democratic primary, gubernatorial nominee also-rans Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran both promised to do whatever they could to get victor Creigh Deeds elected in November. McAuliffe's activities have been clear in recent weeks -- he's been sending his supporters a series of e-mails and personally donated $25,000 to Deeds. And Moran? After a summer spent resting and recovering in Maine, expect to see him on the trail starting Friday, when he will appear on Deeds's behalf.
Moran will serve as Deeds's surrogate at the 8th Congressional District's Kennedy/King Dinner, as the Deeds campaign begins to lean on Moran to help boost turnout in the Democratic strongholds of Arlington and Alexandria.
Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 09/23/2009
Move Over Oprah -- It's the Deeds Book Club
Next week, Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds is asking supporters to organize "book clubs" around the state. The book under discussion? You've got it. Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis.
In an e-mail being sent to supporters today, lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner asks that supporters get together in homes around the state with a full copy of the thesis. (You can read it here.)
"The Deeds campaign is getting the word out on TV, but that's no substitute for real person-to-person interaction within your own communities," Wagner writes. "Bring along a friend or co-worker who has heard the attacks being thrown towards Creigh on TV and has questions about this race. Each party will include full copies of Bob's thesis so that you can read for yourself exactly what he wrote."
House parties are a tried and true method of using word-of-mouth, neighbor-to-neighbor connections to drive up excitement for a campaign. The book club -- a particularly popular activity among women, we'd note -- is a new twist. It's likely driven by experiences with focus groups that show that women who sit around talking about McDonnell's thesis for a while leave saying they are far more likely to vote for Deeds.
Posted at 5:50 PM ET, 09/22/2009
Rep. Joe Wilson Helps Va. GOP. No Lie!
It turns out U.S. Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson has some interest in Virginia politics. Wilson e-mailed a fundraiser appeal Tuesday on behalf of the Dominion Leadership Trust political action committee, the PAC organized by House Speaker Bill Howell in 2002 to support Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates.
The South Carolina congressman encourages recipients to contribute to the PAC to keep a Republican majority in the House, to counter union money and national support from liberal groups including ACORN and to "send a message to the national Democrats -- Americans won't put up with your big government agenda."
It's worth noting that Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell has condemned Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress, citing it as an example of the lack of civility now invading public life.
UPDATE: Eric Dell, Wilson's chief of staff, says the congressman sent the e-mail after Howell's office called and asked for his help. "They contacted us on this. The congressman said he'd be happy to help," Dell said.
You can read Wilson's whole e-mail after the jump.
Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 09/22/2009
Updated: Wilder Watch on Deeds Endorsement Goes On
As promised, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds did indeed meet with former governor L. Douglas Wilder yesterday, meeting with him for more than an hour to discuss the gubernatorial race in what Wilder termed "a very nice conversation."
Unlike during a previous such confab, Wilder says this time Deeds did, formally, ask if he would endorse his candidacy for governor. And Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), chairman of the national Democratic party, called shortly after the meeting to appeal for the same thing, adding his voice to that of the president of the United States.
Posted at 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."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:34 AM ET, 09/21/2009
Wilder: Obama Made a Pitch for Deeds
Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder says he received a call directly from President Obama about three weeks ago to discuss a variety of issues, but, top among them, was the Virginia governor's race.
Wilder said the call was confidential and he would not reveal his exact back and forth with the president, whom Wilder strongly supported last year. But, he said, Obama made clear that he would like the former Democratic governor to get off the fence and endorse Democrat Creigh Deeds.
"I'll just say he called and made his position known and made it clear, he's a Democrat, Mr. Deeds is a Democrat and obviously, the president would like to see a Democratic victory," Wilder said.
Posted at 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."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 09/17/2009
Live Blog: The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce Debate
Greetings from the glass-and-concrete fortress that is the Capitol One headquarters in Tysons Corner. We'll be live-blogging today's debate between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell. The debate will be kicking off shortly and so will we. Follow to the jump to read along.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 09/17/2009
The Post's Virginia politics team is gearing up to bring you extensive coverage of today's key gubernatorial debate between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell hosted by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.
We'll be live-blogging the event beginning shortly before the 11 a.m. debate start time. There will also be streaming video from the venue. And we'll be fact-checking some of the candidates' claims and promises live during the debate and bringing you full coverage of the event after it ends. So join us at 11, and be sure to check back later as well.
For now, let us know what you're looking for out of this debate. What questions would you want asked?
Posted at 7:22 PM ET, 09/15/2009
McDonnell Responds on Energy
Republican Bob McDonnell is hitting back at Democrat Creigh Deeds over energy prices.
His campaign announced a new ad this evening, running in the same markets where Deeds put up a spot last week that claimed McDonnell had approved energy rate hikes as attorney general. (Read more about that claim here.) In McDonnell's ad, he takes credit for saving consumers money on energy and slams Deeds over the national Democrat's green house emissions bill that would include a cap-and-trade provision for energy companies. (Deeds has said he opposes the cap-and-trade as it is now written though he believes that action needs to be taken to address global warming.)
Watch the ad here.
Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold responded: "With tightening polls Bob McDonnell is starting to resort to false attacks. Bob McDonnell was sitting in the room last week when Creigh Deeds said again that he doesn't support the House cap and trade bill. Anyone in Virginia can tell you, energy rates are going up and Bob McDonnell could have done something about it. Why won't he ever take responsibility for his record?"
Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 09/15/2009
Deeds: $3.5 Million in July and August
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has beaten Republican Bob McDonnell to the punch in getting out his fundraising numbers for the July and August period. According to the campaign, Deeds raised $3.48 million, including from 2,284 new donors. They say 90 percent of his donors were from Virginia and 68 percent of them gave $200 or less.
According to the campaign, that haul exceeds fundraising totals for gubernatorial candidates of both parties over July and August in both 2001 and 2005. Campaign officials say he had $4.38 million on hand as of Aug. 31.
They say his top individual donations included $37,500 from Washington Capitals and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis and $25,000 from Northern Virginia real estate executive Robert H. Smith.
We'll be taking a closer look at these numbers and bringing you our findings, as well as reporting McDonnell's haul, today and tomorrow.
Posted at 4:27 PM ET, 09/14/2009
Brady Campaign Responds to NRA
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has issued a statement responding to the National Rifle Association's endorsement of Bob McDonnell for governor. According to Helmke, the "one critical issue" that separates Virginia's candidates for governor on gun rights is the tightening of rules for buying weapons at gun shows--the so-called gun show loophole.
"Creigh Deeds agrees with the families of the victims of Virginia Tech that the most dangerous people, prohibited by law from purchasing guns from federally licensed gun dealers, shouldn't be able to get around those laws by buying them from non-licensed gun sellers at weapons bazaars," Helmke said in his statement. "Bob McDonnell, who now refuses to acknowledge that this gaping loophole in Virginia gun laws even exists, appears eager to do whatever the gun lobby wants him to. That's playing politics with public safety, and the voters should judge the candidates accordingly."
Posted at 2:45 PM ET, 09/14/2009
NRA Backs McDonnell
What a difference four years makes.
When Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell ran against each other for attorney general in 2005, the National Rifle Association's political action committee took the unusual step of endorsing Deeds, the rural Democrat, over McDonnell.
Not this year.
Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, announced this afternoon that the group has endorsed McDonnell for governor and will urge the NRA's 120,000 Virginia members to vote for the Republican.
Cox told reporters in a conference call that the group was impressed by an amicus brief McDonnell filed in 2008 along with 30 other state attorney generals urging the Supreme Court to strike down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban. He also praised McDonnell for standing against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has contended that criminals buy guns in Virginia because of its less restrictive laws and take them to New York.
Cox, meanwhile, declared that NRA members have been "shocked and disappointed" at Deeds because of his support in recent years for closing the so-called gun show loophole, which allows private individuals to sell weapons at shows without conducting the background checks required of weapons dealers. Deeds once opposed changing the law but has changed his position, he says in response to requests from family members of victims of the Virginia Tech shooting.
"Obviously a lot has changed in the last four years," Cox said. "Two things that haven't changed is the NRA and Bob McDonnell. The one thing that did change was Creigh Deeds."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:50 PM ET, 09/11/2009
Yet More Deeds Ads
To finish out this week of new ads, we get three -- count 'em, three -- new ads from Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds. They're all the same theme --taxes and fees that Republican Bob McDonnell has backed while in the House of Delegates. These ads come as the Republican Governors Association is running spots slamming Deeds for voting to increase the gas tax. Two are radio ads. One is a television ad, airing in the Roanoke, Tri Cities and Harrisonburg media markets.
It can be viewed here.
Posted at 1:54 PM ET, 09/11/2009
UPDATED: Deeds on Gay Rights
Does Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Creigh Deeds support gay rights? His top campaign advisers were asked the question in a conference call with reporters today, in reference to a quote a Deeds' spokesman gave to the Staunton Daily News Leader during his 1999 campaign for the House of Delegates:
"Mr. Deeds does not support gay rights," spokesman Brian Worthy told the paper, in pretty clear language.
The issue, of course, is whether Deeds once held a more conservative position on gay rights than he now advertises to the progressive Democrats he is trying to energize. Deeds has already acknowledged shifting positions on the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which he voted to put on the ballot but then campaigned against. Through the Democratic primary campaign, he would often refer to himself as "a work in progress" on the issue.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/11/2009
Get to Know Your Candidates: Archive Edition
Get to Know Your Candidates--when we pose off-the wall and lighter questions to the gubernatorial candidates, to help you get to know them better as people instead of politicians. Today's question: Can the candidates sing? Answer: Absolutely! Can they sing well? We'll let you be the judge.
In 2006, a raging debate consumed the General Assembly. At issue, should Virginia delcare "Shenandoah" its official state song, replacing "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," which had been declared the song emeritus some years earlier because of lyrics deemed racist. At the time, this blog was in its infancy. Lawmakers did not yet know to avoid us. We recorded a series of clips of lawmakers and others singing a few bars of Shenandoah, including demo tapes from Sen. Creigh Deeds and then-Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell.
After noticing that the song talks a lot about the Missouri River, which doesn't exactly flow through Virginia, the "Shenandoah" proposal failed. But the recordings live on. Enjoy.
Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 09/10/2009
Live Blog: The Potomac Officers Club Forum
Greetings from the ritzy Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, where a forum hosted by the Potomac Officers Club with gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell is about to kick off. The two men won't be sharing the same stage. We understand they are even attending two separate VIP events before the main event. But they'll appear consecutively on the same stage to answer questions from the critical business community. We'll be live-blogging the event when it kicks off, assuming our trusty wireless card holds out here in the hotel ballroom. Follow to the jump to read.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:32 AM ET, 09/10/2009
Deeds Weighs in on Obama Speech
Among the many statements and releases flying around today about President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress was a release from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
Putting out a statement was an interesting choice for Deeds, who has resisted Republican calls to make federal issues a major part of the Virginia campaign. But staying silent on health care, with his party's president in the fight of his political life on the issue, likely was not an appealing option either.
Deeds seems to have settled on putting out remarks that are amorphously supportive of Obama but not exactly controversial in their substance. He wrote that rising health care costs must be solved and said he hoped Congress would reform the system "so businesses remain competitive and families get the medical care they deserve."
Here's the full statement: "The President challenged all of us to help solve America's health care crisis. I think Democrats and Republicans all agree that rising health care costs are a problem that must be solved. Like all Virginians, I hope our Congressional leadership will reform the system so our businesses stay competitive and families get the medical care they deserve. And as Governor, I will continue to fight to make health care affordable and accessible to all."
Posted at 3:12 PM ET, 09/ 9/2009
UPDATED: DNC to Pawlenty: Do You Agree With McDonnell?
How radioactive would the Democratic National Committee like to make Virginia's Republican candidate? So hot that simply standing next to him will raise the rad count of other Republican politicians.
In a call with reporters today, DNC press secretary Hari Sevugan said that any elected official who campaigns in Virginia is "tainted by Bob McDonnell's extremist positions."
"At the very least, they should be willing and ready to answer whether they agree with Bob McDonnell's far-right positions on women in the workforce, on choice, on contraception, on public education," he said in a call designed to ask Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to do just that.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 09/ 9/2009
Deeds Pushes College Scholarship Program
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds joined college students at Virginia Union University in Richmond this morning to unveil a series of new education proposals, including a new college scholarship program for students who agree to spend two years after school in public service.
Under the Virginia Forward plan, any student who got a B average or higher and committed to spend two years as a teacher, nurse, police officer or in "other needed fields" would receive up to 50 percent of their college tuition paid at public universities in Virginia.
Here's the cost breakdown on the program, a natural question as Gov. Tim Kaine announced big cuts to higher ed budgets Tuesday.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:44 PM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Deeds Knocks Down Pr. William Office Rumor
Has Creigh Deeds closed up shop in Prince William County?
That was the claim on some blogs this morning that lean to the right, featuring a photo of a Deeds office in the county with a "for lease" sign in the window and the suggestion that perhaps Deeds is pulling out of Northern Virginia to concentrate on rural areas instead.
Hogwash, said Deeds's campaign manager Joe Abbey. According to Abbey, the campaign has two offices up and running in the county, one in Dumfries and one in Woodbridge. The office in the photo is in Manassas and, rather than closing it up, the campaign is about to open there.
"Prince William County plays a critical role in our Election Day strategy," Abbey said. He said the campaign believes that after voters compare Deeds's record with that of Republican Bob McDonnell, Deeds will win Prince William and the rest of Northern Virginia "convincingly."
Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 09/ 8/2009
Deeds, McDonnell on Air in NoVa
It's no joke that Labor Day is when the fall campaign season starts in earnest. Here's one good bit of evidence: Both Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell aired their first television ads in Northern Virginia since right around the time of the June 9 primary Tuesday morning.
Television advertising in the D.C. market is one of the biggest expenditures for any Virginia campaign. It costs about half a million dollars a week to run enough ads in Northern Virginia that people are actually likely to see them. And campaigns know much of that money is wasted on nonvoting television watchers in the District and suburban Maryland.
But with about a third of the voting population in Northern Virginia, persuading the region's voters is critical and so, sure enough, both campaigns were on air as of the Today show Tuesday morning. Ads for both are versions of spots that have run during the campaign. Watch Deeds's ad here:
McDonnell's is called "Leadership." You can see a version here, although in Northern Virginia, this ad is tweaked slightly to note that McDonnell grew up in Fairfax.
Posted at 5:09 PM ET, 09/ 4/2009
Deeds' California Dreaming Part II
Democrat Creigh Deeds was strangely quiet at the beginning of this week, out of state and raising money for his effort in California.
Wondering who he met with on the west coast?
Turns out, they included top entertainment executives and some pretty well known Democrats.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:13 AM ET, 09/ 4/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Fri., Sept. 4, 2009
Happy Friday, Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
At a press conference otherwise designed to keep Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis at the center of the gubernatorial campaign, Democrat Creigh Deeds told reporters Thursday that he, too, has changed some of his views over the past 20 years. You wouldn't know it from new Democratic radio ads, but that's the what McDonnell has said about the document, that it represents views he has changed since he wrote it two decades ago.
In particular, Deeds has called himself a "work in progress" regarding the state's gay marriage amendment, which he voted to put on the 2006 ballot but then campaigned against.
McDonnell has a new ad out as well, called "Positive Leadership." It emphasizes his middle-class roots, his training in the army, his happy family -- including his army vet daughter -- and, oh yes, his working mother.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 09/ 3/2009
First Deeds Thesis Ad Airing in Northern Virginia
Democrat Creigh Deeds is running his first ads in Northern Virginia since his June primary victory. He's putting up radio ads only for now, which are of course far cheaper than television commercials. And guess what the ads are about? Righto! Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis. Or rather, in the words of the ad, McDonnell's "plan to take us back to the dark ages."
Hear the ad here:
The ad of course does not mention that McDonnell has said he no longer believes key portions of his thesis, particularly the parts that form the thrust of the ad -- comments in the thesis about women in the workplace. Also, interestingly, the ad is thethe first mention of Pat Robertson's name by the Deeds camp in this year's campaign.
Posted at 8:17 AM ET, 09/ 3/2009
Deeds' Law Review Articles
Over the past few days, a number of people have asked a very reasonable question: So what did Democrat Creigh Deeds write his thesis about?
The answer: He didn't write a thesis. That's what he said in an interview Wednesday, and it matches what we found some days ago when we searched the library collections of Concord College in West Virginia, where he got his undergrad degree, and Wake Forest University, where he attended law school.
Deeds did write two articles published in the Wake Forest Law Review in 1983 and 1984, posted here for your reading pleasure.
Having had that exciting task, we must say it's hard to imagine either getting anyone's hearts beating.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:20 AM ET, 09/ 3/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Thurs., Sept. 3, 2009
Good Morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Back from raising big dollars from California muckety-mucks, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is working hard to extend discussions of his opponent's 1989 master's thesis. On Wednesday he spoke about the issue for the first time. Not surprisingly, Deeds thinks it's relevant. Today he holds a press conference in Richmond with Women for Deeds, as both campaigns look to capture the female votes.
McDonnell, meanwhile, told the editorial board of the Washington Examiner that Deeds is running backward-looking campaign obsessed with social issues. He continues to face questions about the thesis however. Post local columnist Bob McCartney writes that two of five questions put to McDonnell by Rotarians in Fredericksburg early Wednesday morning were about the document. Today he will greet voters at a cafe in Midlothian.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:33 PM ET, 09/ 2/2009
Deeds on McDonnell Thesis: It's Relevant
Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis is a relevant topic for the Virginia governor's campaign that helps shed light on McDonnell's record in public life, opponent Creigh Deeds said this afternoon in his first public comments since the publication of the thesis in the Post on Sunday.
"The thesis explains the social agenda that has apparently driven his legislative agenda during the years," Deeds said. "If anything, this ensures people understand there are very clear differences between me and the other guy in terms of our record. Records are important."
Deeds said he was not entirely surprised by some of the ideas expressed in the thesis, noting that McDonnell sponsored legislation to establish covenant marriage in Virginia four times, backed numerous bills restricting access to abortions and voted in 2001 against a resolution that urged equal pay for men and women.
He said the thesis explains the ideas McDonnell pursued once elected to the legislature, a "social crusade" that did not include the economic development the Republican has now made the center of his campaign. Deeds said his own record has focused on improving education and creating economic opportunity.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said, "It's good to see Creigh has come back from California and wants to talk about records. We will be happy to talk about his lifetime 94 percent rating from big unions, his championing of greater government spending, and his strong support for 3.5 billion in tax hikes in just the last 5 years.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 09/ 2/2009
McDonnell Camp Declines TV Questions on Thesis
How anxious is Republican Bob McDonnell to change the subject from the thesis he wrote 20 years ago, at age 34, that's been consuming the campaign all week?
So much that his staffers have been declining to make surrogates available to defend their candidate on television about the issue.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:15 AM ET, 09/ 2/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Wed., Sept. 2, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Will Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's thesis be an issue that causes his campaign a few bruising days before attention turns to other things? Or will it become part of a narrative about his worldview from now until Nov. 3?
Both campaigns are engaged in classic crisis-management mode at the moment, trying to shape the answer. For McDonnell, that means trying to change the subject -- yesterday by rolling out a plan to send more state education dollars to the classroom -- and relying on women supporters like Sheila Johnson to vouch for him.
For Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, that means looking for ways to keep the story in the news for days. Tuesday it was with Republicans who served in the General Assembly with McDonnell coming forward to say the 1989 master's thesis represents the Bob they knew.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:04 AM ET, 09/ 2/2009
Matthews Plays Hardball with McDonnell
It looks like the national media is still learning about Virginia's race for governor.
On Chris Matthews's show "Hardball" this evening, Matthews began an almost 8-minute-long segment on the impact of Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis on the governor's race by telling us he was hoping to be joined by Mo Elleithee, spokesman for the Democrat in the race, Creigh Davis. (Per Elleithee's twitter feed, technical difficulties kept him off the air.)
Watch the whole clip after the jump.
Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 09/ 1/2009
Excerpts: Live Discussion With Post Reporters
Anita Kumar and Rosalind Helderman were online earlier today to answer readers' questions about the Virginia governor's race, and Bob McDonnell's graduate school thesis specifically. Excerpts follow.
Arlington, Va.: Thank you for taking my question. I want to know if McDonnell is still a practicing Catholic.
His controversial thesis from Regent University has really opened my eyes. As a Catholic I am extremely offended by the anti-Catholic rhetoric of Pat Robertson and his ilk over at Regent University. This thesis has opened up a whole new angle to the gubernatorial race that I am very concerned about.
washingtonpost.com: Governor's Race Erupts Over McDonnell's Past Views (Post, Sept. 1)
Anita Kumar: Thanks for the question. Yes, McDonnell is a practicing Catholic and talks frequents about how important his faith is to him. He attends church weekly. At Regent University, he was sole Catholic in his graduating class. He would the state's second Catholic governor, if elected, after Gov. Tim Kaine.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:12 AM ET, 09/ 1/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009
Good morning Virginia! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth.
The story has now gone viral, appearing in pretty much every Virginia publication this morning and on more than 100 blogs across the country as of this morning. Much of today's coverage focuses on Monday's 90-minute McDonnell press call, in which he repudiated some of the views he had expressed as a 34-year-old student. Gov. Kaine, head of the DNC, elevated the issue by saying he thinks the thesis well represents the McDonnell he knows.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:11 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Shannon Jumps In on McDonnell Thesis
Remember the Sesame Street song "One of These Things is Not Like the Other?"
It might have seemed a little odd when Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon's campaign declined to comment on Bob McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis, just as the rest of the Democratic establishment was racing to condemn McDonnell for the work.
Apparently, that wasn't where the Shannon campaign wanted to end up on the story of the day, so spokesman Brian Coy put out a new statement on the issue late this afternoon:Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:40 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Va. Democratic Party Video on Thesis: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
Is Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis scary? That's sure what the Democratic Party of Virginia wants people to conclude with the following video, distributed today. Of course, clips of puppies playing in a meadow would be frightening if set to the music used in this video. Is it over the top? Certainly, Republicans will conclude so. What do you think? Tell us in the comments.
Posted at 3:03 PM ET, 08/31/2009
Downticket Dems Take Different Paths on McDonnell Thesis
Might Bob McDonnell's 20-year-old thesis, already the talk of the governor's race, also affect the races for attorney general and lieutenant governor?
It's hard to say, especially since the two Democratic campaigns are taking such different positions on the issue. Pete Kavanaugh, an advisor to lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, said that as a working mother of four, she was particularly disturbed by McDonnell's writing. Wagner is the only woman on either party's statewide ticket.
"She proves how successful working women can be," Kavanaugh said. "Our question right now for [Lt. Gov. Bill] Bolling is is this really what he believes? Will he stand with McDonnell through this?"
Meanwhile, Brian Coy, a spokesman for Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon, declined to comment.
"Steve Shannon is proud to be running with Creigh Deeds and thinks he is the right choice to be next Governor. Steve is running for Attorney General to make Virginia safer by cracking down on gangs, drunk drivers and internet predators who target our kids," he said.
Posted at 12:26 PM ET, 08/31/2009
McDonnell: Women Support Me
We hear Bob McDonnell's response to the story about his thesis is coming soon. It will feature quotes from women who back his efforts, who talk about how supportive he has been of working women...
UPDATE: You can find this release here.
The women defending McDonnell include Judy Wason Ford, head of Virginians for McDonnell and formerly head of Virginians for (Mark) Warner. "Bob has always respected and supported working women and will continue to do so. Virginians are worried about the future, not a decades-old academic paper," writes Wason, who identifies herself as a pro-choice woman.
Other women include Janet Polarek, a top McDonnell aide who managed his 2005 attorney general's campaign, commonwealth attorneys, a deputy attorney general, and business leaders.
Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 08/31/2009
Deeds Camp: Our Phones Are Ringing Off the Hook
Bob McDonnell's graduate school thesis has the "potential to really change the dynamics of this race."
That's the claim (and hope) of Creigh Deeds's communications director, Mike Gehrke, and senior adviser Mo Elleithee, who just held a media call to talk about how they think the thesis is relevant to the race. Is there interest in the story? Judging by the media list who listened in to the call, which included everyone from CNN to Amy Walter of Hotline, absolutely.
"Our phones are ringing off the hook," Elleithee said. "Our e-mail box is filing up. People are wanting to know how they can get more engaged in the race. People are coming up to the campaign office and our canvassers and the candidate and asking how they can help because the stakes are too high."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:45 AM ET, 08/31/2009
Monday, Aug. 31, 2009
Good morning, Virginia! Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today.
How much impact will this weekend's Post story about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis have on the race for governor? It's the big political question of the moment as the week begins. Articles about the thesis have appeared in pretty much every Virginia newspaper now, so the story's gotten plenty of statewide attention and it's now time to watch how the campaigns respond.
A lot of Republicans are dismissing the writings as an ancient academic exercise that will count for little on Nov. 3. The McDonnell campaign did not make their candidate available to answer questions about the thesis to the Associated Press on Sunday. So far they instead have stuck to a statement on the issue composed before The Post's story appeared. But expect McDonnell to face lots of questions about the thesis this week.
Posted at 5:07 PM ET, 08/27/2009
Deeds Ad Hits McDonnell on Bush
The governor's race ads are getting tougher. First, the Republican Governor's Association hit Creigh Deeds on spending. Now, Deeds has put out a variant of the happy, shiny ad he first aired last week. It addresses similar themes as his first spot--Deeds will govern like Warner, offer tax credits to businesses that create jobs, audit state agencies.
But this time around, instead of merely mentioning that he won't govern like George Bush, Deeds makes the link between Republican Bob McDonnell and Bush explicit.
The Deeds camp says the ad will be airing in all Virginia media markets except pricey NoVa.
Posted at 3:02 PM ET, 08/27/2009
Virginia Democratic Party to Donate Donation
Creigh Deeds has taken no money from indicted New York financier Hassan Nemazee. But it turns out the Democratic Party of Virginia received a $25,000 check from Nemazee last September.
According to Allison Jaslow, the party plans to give the donation to charity. Top Democrats have been racing to distance themselves from Nemazee, indicted for lying about his assets to get a $74 million loan from Citibank.
"We found out and decided we'd do the right thing and give it to charity," she said. "We wanted everyone to know that we know."
Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 08/27/2009
What Might Have Been
Here's one headache Virginia Democrats must be relieved they do not have to face.
A top national Democratic financier has been charged with lying about his assets to get a $74 million loan from Citibank and leading Democrats have been racing to return his donations. Hassan Nemazee, son of an Iranian shipping tycoon and CEO of Nemazee Capital, served as co-chair of fundraising efforts for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year. And who was Clinton's campaign chairman? Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:39 PM ET, 08/26/2009
Deeds Ad: "Grass Stains"
How can we tell it's almost Labor Day? The campaigns are putting out new ads left and right. Here's the latest radio spot from Creigh Deeds, featuring the two most politically attuned people ever to attend a junior high school football practice.
On the sidelines of football field, a man and woman talk about the campaign and Republican Bob McDonnell's comments praising George Bush economic policy.
"What I can't figure is why this Bob McDonnell wants to do it JUST LIKE Bush," the guy says.
Together, the conclude that Deeds is "that underdog guy" and "a little more Mark Warner, a lot less George Bush."
And current Gov. Tim Kaine? Once again for a Deeds ad, he doesn't come up on the sidelines.
Listen to the ad here.
Posted at 5:35 PM ET, 08/26/2009
Virginia Notebook: Regional Differences Challenge Candidates
Do Northern Virginians look at the world differently from residents of the rest of the state?
It's been a sensitive question in the commonwealth's recent electoral history, one that has gone hand in hand with an occasional suggestion that those who live north of the Rappahannock River don't hold the same views as those in "real Virginia."
When The Washington Post last week published an article featuring the voices of Northern Virginians who had taken part in a recent Post poll, respondents said gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds's rural roots made them anxious about whether he could understand their lives. Some readers said that the story reinforced stereotypes about differences between Washington area suburbanites and Virginians who live in other parts of the state.
But drill down further into the survey's results, and this much becomes clear: There are real distinctions between how voters in the northern counties view issues and candidates and how Virginians elsewhere in the state look at them.
Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 08/26/2009
Ad Watch: "This Election"
As the ads begin running in the governor's race, we'll be analyzing the commercials, picking apart claims made by the campaigns and analyzing messages they are intending to send. First up, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, whose first ad of the general election campaign began airing Friday.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:51 AM ET, 08/25/2009
Deeds Brings Out Big Gun
Poll numbers show that President Obama's approval numbers are slipping. But conventional wisdom suggests the Democratic base, where Obama remains wildly popular, is lethargic and not yet jazzed about Virginia's fall election.
What's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds to do? We got part of the answer when Obama came to Virginia to campaign with Deeds earlier this month, appearing in Northern Virginia, where the president's word could do wonders for Deeds with Democratic leaning voters.
Today we get another piece of the answer, as Deeds releases his first radio ad featuring the president's voice. The ad will air on African-American radio stations in Richmond, Roanoke and Hampton Roads and includes clips of Obama's speech at the Tysons event, where the president praised Deeds as a family man cut from the same cloth as Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Listen to the ad here.
Posted at 3:31 PM ET, 08/24/2009
Deeds Highlights Small Business Initiatives
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds on Monday held a small business event in Charlottesville, where he picked up a theme from his Friday address at George Mason University: He would give every business that creates a job a tax credit.
"Create a job, get a tax credit," runs a new stump speech line he introduced Friday and repeated Monday. Expect to hear it many times again between now and November.
Under Deeds' proposal, any business that creates a new job will get a state tax credit equivalent to the increase in federal payroll taxes paid by the business on the new employee. McDonnell, meanwhile, has proposed a $1,000 per employee tax credit for any business that creates 50 new jobs anywhere in the state or 25 new jobs in economically depressed areas.
Other ideas for small businesses highlighted by Deeds include expanding state contracting with minority and women-owned small businesses, creation of a Rural Business Fund to make loans to small businesses expanding in rural or depressed areas, and incentives to help small businesses pool together to buy lower-cost health insurance for employees.
Posted at 1:37 PM ET, 08/24/2009
Democrats Issue Call for Hamilton's Resignation
All three Democrats running for statewide office have now called for powerful Newport News Republican Del. Phillip A. Hamilton to resign, in response to emails showing Hamilton sought at job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school to open a teaching center.
Attorney General candidate Steve Shannon was the first to call for Hamilton's resignation Sunday. Now gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and lieutenant governor candidate Creigh Deeds have hopped aboard too.
Democrats are clearly hoping the scandal will have legs. They hope it will tar Republicans with the whiff of possible corruption while also providing a helpful reminder to remind voters, who have been showing anxiety about elected officials of late, that Richmond in leadership is shared between the parties.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:58 AM ET, 08/22/2009
Get to Know Your Candidates
Happy weekend, Virginia!
As part of our continuing series "Get to Know Your Candidates," we are occasionally posing more personal and lighthearted questions to Virginia's gubernatorial candidates. Today's edition, inspired we'll admit by intriguing news from Maryland: How did you propose marriage to your wife?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:25 PM ET, 08/21/2009
Deeds Goes on the Offensive in Speech, Ad
Democrat Creigh Deeds worked to recharge his gubernatorial bid Friday with what his campaign billed as a major address at George Mason University and his first television ad of the general election campaign. You can watch the ad below and read more about the remarks here.
The speech contained little that's new in the way of policy proposals -- Deeds said as much to reporters afterward. But he did attempt to sharpen the message he will present throughout the fall. And what's that message? It's all about backwards-forwards. Republican Bob McDonnell will take the state back, Deeds will take it forward.
Deeds said he would govern in the bipartisan vein of former governor Mark Warner, recalling what he said was the pivotal 2004 tax fight when Deeds backed Warner's budget and McDonnell was opposed. Deeds said he would create opportunity by giving tax credits to job-creating businesses and expanding access to higher education.
Republicans blasted the speech as a backwards-looking stunt, trying to hit the "reset" button on a floundering campaign. "If Creigh Deeds thinks blowing the dust off an old political playbook amounts to a major new announcement, he doesn't get what the voters of Virginia are looking for in their next governor," said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin.
Here's the ad, going up in every state media market except Northern Virginia.
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 08/21/2009
Young Voters Split for the Moment
Does Creigh Deeds have a problem motivating voters in the Democratic base? It's one reason many have proposed for why his poll numbers are not looking so hot two months before Election Day. And given that conversation, this is an interesting figure to contemplate from The Washington Post's first poll of the race:
Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell are running about even with voters ages 18 to 34, with Deeds at 44 percent and McDonnell at 42 percent.
That's an age group that got particularly excited about President Obama last year. If Deeds is to pull a come-from-behind victory in November, he will probably need to find a way to wow younger voters far more than he has so far.
But Deeds might take comfort in some historical perspective.
Posted at 4:59 PM ET, 08/19/2009
Special Session Wrap-Up
Lawmakers had a productive day in Richmond on Wednesday, successfully coming to agreement on two bills. Identical versions of the measures have unanimously passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate. One measure is designed to address the issue that brought the General Assembly to town on a blazing hot August day, a Supreme Court decision that requires live testimony from forensic analysts in DUI and drug cases.
The bill passed by the legislature allows prosecutors to use written testimony but requires them to alert defendants in advance that they will do so, providing time for objections. The House and Senate have also passed identical bills that would provide more than $600,000 in compensation to a Hampton Roads man who spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
While in Richmond, Democratic delegates and senators also report receiving a briefing during their closed-door caucus meetings from gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds's campaign manager, Joe Abbey.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:41 PM ET, 08/19/2009
Special Session Starts With Stop and Go
It's hot outside as Virginia lawmakers cool their heels inside the state Capitol in what has so far been a classic stop-and-go, one-day special session.
The House of Delegates and Senate gaveled into session Wednesday at noon, as planned. They have both adopted procedural resolutions that bar consideration of unexpected topics -- fending of rumblings of an effort by a group of lawmakers to bring up the issue of highway rest stops shuttered because of to budget cuts.
Both chambers also sent a delegation trooping up to the third floor of the Capitol building to inform Gov. Timothy M. Kaine that they were meeting for business, a bit of required Virginia pomp and circumstance. Kaine had a brief back-and-forth with lawmakers, in which delegates and senators agreed that they were working out some technical differences between bills that they were considering on the subject of the day -- responding to a Supreme Court decision that requires forensic analysts to appear in court rather than submit written testimony.
"Well, I'll be waiting up here in case anyone wants someone who used to practice law to come down and muddy things up," Kaine joked to legislators.
Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 08/18/2009
Realtors Back McDonnell; Black Caucus Favors Deeds
Gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell held back-to-back news conferences in Richmond on Tuesday to announce endorsements, neither of them of the too terribly shocking variety.
McDonnell picked up the support of the political action committee of the Virginia Association of Realtors, the state's largest professional organization. The group represents 33,000 Realtors and, after interviewing both candidates,
backed McDonnell as more likely to promote home ownership.
The support from the right-leaning business group is not a surprise, although it was also not assured: The group also endorsed Democrat Steve Shannon on Tuesday for attorney general, along with Republican Bill Bolling for reelection as lieutenant governor.
Even less surprising was Deeds's announcement that he had received the backing of the legislative black caucus.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:23 PM ET, 08/17/2009
Va. Northern Neck GOP Embraces Crabill - Again
Not only is Republican delegate candidate Catherine Crabill not stepping aside, as requested by the state GOP last week, but local party leaders are redoubling their support for her campaign in the Northern Neck against Democrat Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr.
Crabill's campaign Monday announced that the top Republican in the 99th legislative district, R. Allen Webb, will chair a grassroots steering committee for her campaign.
The announcement came just a few days after state GOP leaders, including all three candidates for statewide office, formally denounced Crabill over her comments last month that her supporters might have to "resort to the bullet box" if not successful at the ballot box. State party chairman Pat Mullins called on her to abandon her run for office.
"I'm happy to answer the call to help Catherine Crabill as the Republican Party's 99th District nominee," Webb said in a press release, urging party members to rally around Crabill. "Local Republicans made their views known overwhelmingly at our district convention earlier this year, and I will do all that I can to help Catherine succeed."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 08/14/2009
Republican Chairman Wants Crabill to Step Aside
No, Bob McDonnell is not attending an upcoming fundraiser with Republican House of Delegates candidate Catherine Crabill. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling won't be there either. Attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli II also will not appear with Crabill.
In fact, the Republican Party of Virginia has formally decided it will be giving Crabill no support for her campaign against Del. Albert Pollard, and chairman Pat Mullins has sent word to Crabill that he would prefer that she step aside and not run for the seat.
Crabill, who is the Republican nominee running in Virginia's Northern Neck, has said the federal government might have played a role in the Oklahoma City bombing. She was caught on video recently advocating "resorting to the bullet box" if her supporters do not win at the "ballot box."
Top campaign aides for McDonnell opponent Creigh Deeds were asked during a press call today about a report, erroneous it turns out, that McDonnell and Bolling would soon be campaigning with Crabill.
Posted at 3:48 PM ET, 08/13/2009
Shake-up or Not, Deeds Campaign is Changing
University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato is standing by his story, circulated yesterday, that Deeds Campaign Manager Joe Abbey will retain his formal title but is no longer steering the ship in Deeds Country.
And the Deeds campaign is sticking to their statements from yesterday on this topic, when they said Abbey remains in charge. Monica Dixon, cited by Sabato as the campaign's new real power, said unequivocally that she works for Abbey.
The campaign's response could be all spin to protect Abbey and deflect story lines that suggest they think things are going so badly they need a major overhaul. But this much seems clear:
Posted at 5:04 PM ET, 08/12/2009
'Yes, I Will Sign that Bill'
That's what Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds told our friend Jim Nolan of the Richmond Times-Dispatch during an online chat today when asked if, as governor, he would sign a bill that raised money for transportation if it included a tax increase.
As he has been saying since before the June 9 primary, Deeds told Nolan that improving Virginia's road network is the key to economic development and promised to bring lawmakers to Richmond for a special session in his first year in office to forge consensus about how to raise new money for roads. And, yes, he agreed that if a consensus, bipartisan bill passed with a tax increase, he'd support it.
Here was the full exchange:
What I will do and what I'll commit to do right now is work with whomever is in the General Assembly after January. Because we've got to get past the obstructionist viewpoints that have blocked progress on the issue of transportation. What I will do is work with Democrats and Republicans to build consensus around a series of ideas that allow us to fund transportation, and yes, I will sign that bill.Continue reading this post »
I'll sign a bill that funds transportation. I won't take money away from existing priorities. I won't take money away from education.
Posted at 4:06 PM ET, 08/12/2009
Deeds Campaign: Abbey Still on Top
The Deeds gubernatorial campaign is shooting down a report by University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato that campaign manager Joe Abbey is keeping his title but is being supplanted by Monica Dixon, who headed Mark Warner's political action committee and has been serving as a senior advisor to the campaign since around the time of the primary.
"Joe Abbey is the campaign manager, and I work for him," Dixon said this afternoon.
A staff shake up might indicate the campaign is nervous about the direction of the race and looking for change. But communications director Mike Gehrke said the only change at the campaign in recent days has been the addition of Mo Elleithee, a Virginia veteran, as an advisor. The campaign announced that change Monday.
"Joe is in charge. He's the fearless leader. When he walks by, we salute," Gehrke said.
Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 08/12/2009
Both Campaigns Address Confederate Flag
The Confederate flag may be the third rail of Virginia politics.
Plenty of people are offended by it and think any candidate who fails to refute it entirely embraces Virginia's racist past. Plenty of people believe it's a symbol of their heritage and would disown any candidate who said otherwise.
The vociferousness of Bob McDonnell's campaign's reaction to the suggestion that his staffers flew the flag at their booth at a sportsman's show (Not our flag! We're appalled at the suggestion!) got us wondering: Does that mean McDonnell believes there's something wrong with the flag and believes it should not be flown?
Likewise, the tweet from Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey directing people to the photo had us wondering the same about Deeds, especially given that he told the House of Delegates in 1999 that he had a picture of the flag on his wall as a child.
We asked both campaigns Wednesday afternoon the same question: Does your candidate believe it is ever appropriate to fly the Confederate flag?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:13 AM ET, 08/12/2009
First Click -- Virginia
Aug. 12, 2009
Good morning. Here's what's happening in politics across the commonwealth today.
Republican Bob McDonnell will be in Newport News to roll out initiatives on public safety with GOP attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Watch for the Democratic trackers to be out in force for that one, since many Dems are convinced just standing next to the conservative Fairfax senator undermines McDonnell's efforts to run as a moderate. But McDonnell will use the same event to show he's focused on public policy, while Democrat Creigh Deeds is talking about...
...abortion. Which Deeds will apparently discuss during a 12:45 p.m. online appearance at the Richmond Times Dispatch. Both sides are saying this debate is all about priorities. Deeds says he wants to talk about it because it shows where McDonnell has been in all his years in public office. But Republicans are arguing the campaign push shows it is Deeds who is making the touchy issue part of the campaign.
Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 08/11/2009
Deeds: Obama's Paying Attention to Virginia
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, who got to spend a little time with President Obama at a campaign rally last week (video), said the president's comments to him privately showed the leader of the free world had been reading up on the Virginia race -- or at least getting good staff briefings about it.
"He's paying more attention to this race than I would think," Deeds said Monday. "He is familiar with the details of the campaign, what's going on. He's familiar with the details of my biography. So he's paying a little attention."
Deeds was full of praise for the president, who revved up a ballroom of about 1,500 Deeds supporters last week.
"He's a really smart guy. Very thoughtful," Deeds said. "He asked a lot of questions. But mostly there was just banter about our families."
Posted at 2:30 PM ET, 08/10/2009
Deeds Campaigns with Women in NoVa
Democrat Creigh Deeds kicked off his Women for Deeds tour this morning at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, surrounded by more than 80 activists, most of them women. He insisted his week long push to highlight opponent Bob McDonnell's record on pushing for abortion isn't just about the divisive social issue. Instead, he said the discussion is one of priorities.
"My opponent's rhetoric can be confusing. One day, he says his campaign is about jobs, jobs, jobs. The next, he says elections are litmus tests on abortion. But throughout his career, his record and his priorities have been clear," Deeds said. "He's focused on a narrow ideological agenda rather than one that would move Virginia forward."
Among the notables in the crowd, Lynda Robb, wife of former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb, Democratic state Sens. Toddy Puller and Mary Margaret Whipple, as well as delegates Kristen J. Amundson, Charniele Herring, Margaret G. Vanderhye, Vivian E. Watts and Secretary for the Commonwealth Kate Hanley.
Republicans are pushing back hard against the new Deeds message, convinced it will work to their advantage if Deeds is seen as the one making abortion central to the campaign.
Posted at 1:18 AM ET, 08/ 7/2009
President Tells His Backers To Get 'Fired Up' for Deeds
The first Democratic president to win Virginia in more than four decades encouraged his supporters Thursday night to return to the polls in November and elect Democrat R. Creigh Deeds governor.
President Obama met first with about 200 of Deeds's top donors and then rallied with about 1,500 cheering, sign-waving Deeds supporters in a ballroom at the McLean Hilton Tysons Corner.
Obama said Sen. Mark Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, both Democrats, had created a tradition of pragmatic, bipartisan leadership that helped the state weather the economic recession better than others.
"That's not just a stroke of good luck here in the state of Virginia," the president told the crowd. "It's because you stood up and chose that kind of politics. . . . Now you've got the chance to keep moving forward with someone who's cut from the same cloth, somebody who has that same vision for the commonwealth: Creigh Deeds."
Posted at 4:49 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Ballroom Filling for Deeds Rally
So it's not exactly the Comcast Center on the eve of the Potomac Primary last February, when 20,000 people showed up in the bitter cold to hear then candidate Barack Obama.
But there's pretty serious energy going in the ballroom of the McLean Hilton, which is rapidly filling as we're about to hit the one-hour mark before the start of tonight's pre-rally. (We're two hours out from tonight's main event, featuring President Obama and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.)
(Editor's Note: Streaming video of the rally will not be available after all. Our apologies.)
The stage is set rally style, backed by an enormous American flag. A cash bar sits oh-so-close, yet oh-so-far from the roped off media section. Soft cocktail party music is playing. The roads on the way in were lined with Deeds/Wagner/Shannon signs, and the parking lot was full of cars with Obama stickers.
There's no sign of protesters here, but one car with a McDonnell sticker also featured a sticker that said "Where's the Birth Certificate?" It just had to be another attendee of this event that had gone with a pen, crossed out the last two words, and wrote in "My Brain."
We now have some early excepts from Deeds' remarks as prepared for delivery. Follow the jump to read.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:26 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Deeds Takes Page from Obama; Stay Tuned for Rally Coverage
Creigh Deeds looks to be trying to use tonight's rally with President Obama to inject a little oomph into his campaign for governor.
He just announced a new "Join Deeds" effort to build grassroots support, complete with a revamped Web site (now featuring an enormous photo of Obama), a text messaging push (today's message welcomes Obama and tells recipients -- you guessed it -- "yes we can") and two new radio ads recorded by Gov. Tim Kaine.
One ad appears aimed at Latino voters -- it's in Spanish, after all.
The other talks about education and African-American unemployment rates.
Stay tuned to The Washington Post for full coverage of tonight's rally, including streaming video.
Posted at 7:13 AM ET, 08/ 6/2009
Aug. 6, 2009
Good morning. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today.
It's Obama day. Or rather the day of Obama evening. The president will appear at a rally with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds at the McLean Hilton this evening at 7 p.m. Just before, he'll address a smaller crowd at a closed fundraiser. For all the fretting lately about Obama's dropping approval numbers, the man did get 1.7 million votes in Virginia just eight months ago. This won't be his last trip to Virginia before November. (Did we say 1.7 million? Apologies. That should be *1.96* million votes.)
Republican Bob McDonnell will get a national stage on which to respond Saturday, as he delivers the response to Obama's weekly radio/youtube video address.
As the candidates make forays onto the national stage, some inconsistencies on both sides about how federal issues should play in the race. Deeds says the race is not about them, and then talks about George Bush. McDonnell says candidates should take stands on what's going on in Washington, but has now ducked a question about whether Judge Sotomayor should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Deeds thinks she should.
Posted at 4:23 PM ET, 08/ 5/2009
Terry McAuliffe has made his first entry into the gubernatorial race since embracing Creigh Deeds after losing to him in the June 9 primary.
In an email to supporters today, McAuliffe encourages people to sign a Deeds petition calling on Republican Bob McDonnell to apologize for Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins' remark that some college students in Wise County "preferred welfare to work."
"It's clear that Bob McDonnell has totally lost touch with what Virginians are going through, and we need to put the pressure on him," McAuliffe wrote.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 08/ 5/2009
Virginia Notebook: Tour Shows Deeds is a Little Bit Country
One thing about "Deeds Country," as the swath of rural Virginia extending through the Shenandoah Valley and down into southwest where state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds has been touring this week has been dubbed by his campaign: It apparently isn't Obama Country.
Outside stops in the more urban settings of Charlottesville, Danville and Blacksburg, many of the 20 visits Deeds is making on a nine-day campaign swing that begun Sunday are in places where President Barack Obama was beaten handily by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Appomattox, Hillsville, Tazewell, Floyd. All are areas where Obama did not break 35 percent of the vote.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:11 AM ET, 08/ 5/2009
Daily Virginia Roundup
Aug 5, 2009
Good morning. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today.
The Creigh Deeds team prepares for their big rally with President Obama tomorrow. This as polls show Obama's popularity slipping and some independents in Virginia start to get impatient at the pace of Obama change. All ears will be on the speeches Thursday to see whether Obama plays ball on the Deeds "all Virginia" strategy. Deeds gets to write his own speech. Not so much the president's.
Remember those tv ads slamming the Virginia GOP for rejecting unemployment insurance dollars from the stimulus package? Deeds does too. It seemed to be an economic winner for Dems. Deeds says the General Assembly should take up the issue next year.
Republican Bob McDonnell is pushing again for more debates, this time seven. Deeds communications director Mike Gehrke says, nah, we're good. (Actually: "As far we're concerned, we've got what we're going to do." And, "Frankly, there are a couple of debates and forums we proposed that we're still waiting for them to accept." And, "The whole thing is just a distraction."
Posted at 7:15 AM ET, 08/ 4/2009
Daily Virginia Roundup
Aug. 4, 2009
Good morning. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today.
Federal prosecutors in Virginia are quietly but vigorously lobbying for the chance to try big name terror suspects in Alexandria. Bob McDonnell says no thanks. No word yet from Gov. Tim Kaine, who has previously said he has faith in President Obama's handling of the issue or from Creigh Deeds, who has in the past called Gitmo prisoners in Virginia a "bad idea." That's one to watch.
Deeds, conveniently still on his tour of rural "Deeds Country," says McDonnell "doesn't get" rural Virginia because of a comment by McDonnell's party chairman Pat Mullins that some college students in Wise preferred welfare to work. Also because he supports Bush economic policies. The GOP says Deeds doesn't get rural Virginia because he supports Obama economic policy.
Give this to the folks at Public Policy Poll. They do a good job at building excitement before they release their polls. From PPP teases, we know today's--out at 11 a.m.--will show McDonnell with a big lead over Deeds. (PPP conducts its polling using recorded voice interviewing, meaning respondents puch their answers into their phones and do not speak with a live interviewer. This methodology is the subject of much controversy in the survey research field so take their results with a large grain of salt).
McDonnell today speaks at an education conference in Richmond and does an online video chat with the RTD.
Kaine has turned down a request from families of Va Tech victims to reconvene the investigatory panel that reviewed the incident. His response is gentle and he has assured families corrections they seek are being made to the report produced by the panel. But it's a tough spot to be on the opposite side of Tech families.
Today Kaine holds a news conference about infant mortality. His office has hinted he'll be announcing good news so, given the topic, it's good to assume the rate is likely down.
Republican former Sen. John Warner had kind words for sitting Democratic Sen. Jim Webb at a ceremony at GMU yesterday as Webb's updated GI Bill took effect. President Obama was on hand as well.
Posted at 1:40 PM ET, 08/ 3/2009
Deeds, Cranwell: Mullins Comment Just Like Bush
The great thing about party chairmen is they can say all the hard edged partisan things that rev up the base but probably shouldn't come out of the mouth of a political candidate running as a pragmatic moderate.
The difficult thing about party chairmen is they say all the hard edged partisan things that probably shouldn't be said anywhere in the vicinity of a political candidate trying to run as a pragmatic moderate.
Democratic Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and Democratic state party chairman Richard Cranwell held a conference call this morning to blast a comment made recently by Cranwell's counterpart, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins.
At a recent speech in Monterey, Mullins told a story about insurance office forced to close in Wise, not because of the economy but because they couldn't recruit needed employees, even at a local college.
"They preferred to be on welfare," Mullins said.
Cue up the conference call.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:05 AM ET, 08/ 3/2009
Daily Virginia Roundup
Aug. 3, 2009
Good morning, Virginia. Here's what's doing in politics across the Commonwealth today.
It's a big week for the Creigh Deeds campaign. Thursday will find Deeds trying to jazz supporters at the side of the popular President of the United States in McLean. He's hoping that will put to an end discussions like this one suggesting he wants Obama's donors and excitement, but not his policies.But what will they talk about? We're betting not health care, if Deeds had his druthers. Maybe George Bush instead?
Before and after the NoVa Obama rally, Deeds travels through newly dubbed Deeds Country, southwest and western Virginia, kicked off yesterday in Charlottesville. Mark Warner won the state in part by making a credible play in such communities, long lost to Democrats, edging up in his numbers there and weakening the Republican base.
Of course, the last two Democrats to win state office have done so by concentrating on swing suburbs, areas that have only become more Democratic and populous since 2001. Does Deeds risk alienating the NoVa voters he desperately needs by a kick-off that suggests it is rural Shenandoah Valley that is Deeds country? Dem bloggers are concerned maybe yes. Campaign Manager Joe Abbey answers, via twitter, nope.
Bob McDonnell did some classic retail politics over the weekend. He'll have a hard time getting ink or links this week with Obama coming to town but is planning to start traveling the state soon in a Winnebago. People love a Winnebago.
Both camps keep getting bad press from state opinion writers about their transportation plans, but Deeds somewhat more so.
A new Public Policy Poll is out this week. The group's teasing tweets suggest it'll have the GOP up in Virginia.
Gov. Kaine was in Martha's Vineyard over the weekend for DNC business, but this morning sees Virginia National Guard troops off to Iraq in Virginia Beach, then meets with state budget officers in Norfolk and talks campus security in Richmond.
Sen. Webb and Warner join President Obama at George Mason this morning to sign Webb's new G.I. Bill for vets in a post Sept. 11 world.
Unemployment insurance is running out across the country. Can Dems use these numbers to restart the debate over benefits in Virginia?
Posted at 5:40 PM ET, 07/31/2009
Connolly on Health Care
Is this a YouTube friendly speaking aide or what?
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly took to the floor of the House of Representatives today to push for health care reform, accompanied by a sign featuring Sen. Jim Demint's now famous Obama-Waterloo quote. And that baby is bright.
Take a look at Connolly's speech here.
Posted at 2:52 PM ET, 07/30/2009
Get to Know Your Candidates
Today we introduce the first installment of what will be a regular though occasional feature here on the blog, where we pose light-hearted, personal questions to Virginia's two gubernatorial candidates to help you better know them.
Today's question: If you were invited to share a beer with the President of the United States, what kind of beer would you request and why?
Creigh Deeds campaign spokesman Jared Leopold put the question to his guy and came back with this answer: "Creigh would drink what he always drinks, Budweiser," he said. "He's a consistent guy."
From Bob McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin we learn the Republican would ask for a Coors Light, also his regular beer selection.
Both campaigns declined to provide any memorable stories involving their candidates consumption of their beverage of choice. "Any good stories he has are locked away until after Election Day," Martin joked.
We welcome your suggestions for future Get to Know Your Candidates questions!
Posted at 1:50 PM ET, 07/30/2009
Dems: Stim Bill Pulled Economy from Brink
The RNC gave us Jerry Kilgore yesterday. Today the DNC presents Rep. Gerald Connolly and Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Richard Cranwell, slamming Rep. Eric Cantor and Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell for not supporting President Obama's stimulus package. Or the recovery bill, as they call it.
Cantor, they say, has touted jobs that will be created through building high speed rail in Virginia, funded with stiumulus money. McDonnell has recently spoken flatteringly of the impact of tax cuts pushed by George Bush.
"You can't have it both ways. You can't on the national stage say this is a bad bill...but when it comes to my district I want a big chunk of that money. I want to be there with all four paws and snout in the trough," Connolly said.
It's the start of a hot August of efforts by the national parties to target politicians they believe may be vulnerable at home. The DNC today launches TV and radio ads against several Republican congressional leaders, including Cantor, accusing them of supporting Bush polices that wrecked the economy. "They broke it. Now they refuse to fix it," the tv ad says.
Meanwhile, the RNC likewise last week launched a new $1 million ad campaign targeting 60 Democrats, including Virginians Reps. Tom Perriello, Glenn Nye and Rick Boucher.
UPDATE: And there's response from the RNC, where spokeswoman Katie Wright said the bill "wastes Virginians tax dollars and has done nothing to stimulate the economy." Noting rising unemployment since Obama's inauguration, she said "it is hard to see how this massive spending experiment can be billed as a success."
Posted at 2:12 PM ET, 07/29/2009
Residents of Bristol, Va. should be feeling pretty popular these days.
The small city on the Tennessee border is the place President Obama came to kick off his general election campaign last June. Then Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele made a special stop there in May to campaign with Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. And today Obama is returning to Bristol, to hold a town hall meeting to push health care reform.
Bristol, a place with high unemployment and easy access to the tri-city media market, is a good place for politicians looking to address the issues of depressed rural communities. For today, it's also conveniently close to Raleigh, North Carolina where Obama was making an earlier stop to pitch his reform package as a way to protect Americans from corporate insurance companies.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:52 AM ET, 07/29/2009
Stolle Appears Victorious
Word from Gov. Tim Kaine's Office this morning is that the governor would "not object" to a bill dealing with compensation for Arthur Whitfield, who spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) had been pushing the issue and wanted it addressed at the Aug. 19 special session.
And it looks like the retiring senator will likely get his way. With possible objections from Kaine cleared, not to mention gubernatorial candidates Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell both backing the idea, seems likely the bill will get taken up. Next question: What other worthy causes will lawmakers believe deserve similar consideration?
Here's what Kaine spokeswoman Lynda Tran had to say on the issue via email this morning: "Governor Kaine's top priority is to ensure the Special Session addresses the public safety issues raised by the recent decision in the Melendez-Diaz case. However Governor Kaine, who pardoned Mr. Whitfield earlier this year, is clearly sympathetic to his circumstances and would not object to a claims bill being considered as part of a session that is otherwise focused on public safety."
Posted at 5:53 PM ET, 07/28/2009
Stolle Threatens Special Session Filibuster
There are some interesting politics developing around what had been assumed likely to be a routine and quickie special legislative session scheduled for next month. The session was called by Gov. Tim Kaine to make legislative fixes in response to a recent Supreme Court decision that requires live testimony, rather than written reports, in court cases that use certain scientific evidence. Without the fixes, Kaine has said some DUI and other offenders would walk on technicalities.
When Kaine announced he was calling, he said he did so with the agreement of both parties that the session would last one day and legislators would consider only bills on this one topic, likely with legislative language agreed upon in advance.
Enter retiring and respected Republican Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach).Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:24 AM ET, 07/28/2009
Kaine Zings Palin
Democrats can do two jobs at once, Republicans can't even handle one.
That seemed to be the message from Gov. Tim Kaine, speaking on the monthly Ask the Governor program on WTOP today. Queried by reporter Mark Plotkin about whether he would resign as governor or resign as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as demanded by the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, Kaine shot back.
"Heck no!" he said. "People elected me to be governor and I'm doing it every day."
Then, he added a little dig at former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
"Now, I know Republicans seem to like this governor resigning thing. I think a prominent Republican governor resigned the other day. I'm keeping my four-year commitment to the Virginia voters who put me in office."
Posted at 2:47 PM ET, 07/27/2009
Goode Out, But Count On Stiff Challenge to Perriello
The GOP clearly believes Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello is vulnerable -- but the man Perriello beat for the job won't be the guy carrying the Republican flag in 2010.
The Martinsville Bulletin reports that former Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. says he doesn't plan to run for the seat in 2010.
But someone's clearly going to do so. That's the clear signal from new Republican National Committee radio ads running in Perriello's district, hitting him on health care.
It's part of a $1 million, multiweek effort by the RNC targeting 60 Democratic representatives in swing districts. Also on the list in Virginia: Reps. Glenn Nye and Rick Boucher. The ads instruct listeners to call the targeted lawmakers and tell them "to say no to this dangerous experiment."
Dems aren't taking such efforts lying down. President Obama will hold a town hall to push health care reform in Bristol later this week.
Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 07/27/2009
McDonnell Shift on One-Gun-a-Month
Maybe Creigh Deeds' campaign should send a copy of this story by my colleague Freddy Kunkle, filed this weekend from Virginia's biggest gun show, to former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.
Because in the story, Republican Bob McDonnell says his position on Virginia's law limiting handgun purchases to one a month has changed. He voted for it in the legislature; now he says it should be repealed.
That law was a signature achievement of Wilder's. That Deeds opposed it--and McDonnell supported it--was one reason Wilder withheld his endorsement from Deeds during the 2005 race for attorney general between the two.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:57 AM ET, 07/25/2009
Live Blog: The Virginia Bar Association Debate
We come to you live from the historic Homestead, where Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell will be debating today live. The ballroom is full. The TV cameras are lined up. Follow to the jump for our live analysis as the event unfolds.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:30 AM ET, 07/25/2009
Race Takes Shape
What had been a pretty sleepy campaign for governor woke up this week, with a number of important developments culminating in Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell's first debate this morning at the Homestead in rural Bath County.
The week saw some big endorsements--and non-endorsements. First, Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine's second biggest donor announced she was supporting Republican McDonnell. Deeds countered with the support of some moderate Republicans and the less surprising news that the Virginia Education Association is backing him. Good feeling from those nods was erased at week's end by news that former Democratic Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said he remains neutral, White House pressure or no.
We also saw some major policy roll outs--a jobs plan from Deeds, a transportation plan from McDonnell.
All of this will be grist for what should be a vigorous engagement between the two candidates in front of the Virginia Bar Association. The event gives both candidates their first clear opportunity to fight for the title of the race's moderate, to compare and contrast their plans and to personally size one another up, four years after the two battled to the closest finish in Virginia history in the 2005 race for attorney general.
Stay tuned at this site for live coverage of the debate starting at 11 a.m., including live analysis as the debate unfolds and streaming video of the event.
Posted at 1:33 PM ET, 07/24/2009
Wilder: Deeds Has Not Yet Asked
In an interview this afternoon, former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder expanded on earlier comments about his meeting this week with White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard, as well as his decision to rebuff the White House's request for him to get on board for Democrat Creigh Deeds.
Among other things, Wilder says Deeds hasn't really yet asked for his endorsement. He said the two last sat down in the fall, when Deeds specifically told him he had not come seeking support but merely to talk about the race. The two now have a meeting scheduled for August, but have not spoken since Deeds won the June 9 primary.
"Suppose the last thing you hear him say is 'I'm not asking for your support, I'm just coming to be here.' And then you don't hear anything else. How would you feel?" he said.
In contrast, Republican Bob McDonnell has come calling several times, Wilder said, including as recently as a few weeks ago. And he's asked outright for Wilder's support.
Wilder said he has a number of unresolved concerns that he would like to hear more about from Deeds. They include "financial stewardship" of the state, Deeds' gun control position and his position on abortion rights. Wilder said he disagreed with Gov. Tim Kaine's decision to save state money by closing highway rest stops and would have liked to hear Deeds forcefully part ways with his party's leader on the issue.
"The question is leadership. Where is your mantle of leadership?" Wilder said. "I have not seen it."
Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 07/24/2009
Wilder's Nod Remains Elusive
So what exactly was the White House thinking?
Sending a top envoy to pressure former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder to endorse Creigh Deeds three full months before Election Day, in a week when it would look particularly badly for Deeds if news of such a meeting leaked and wasn't followed quickly by an endorsement?
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Virginia politics and Wilder's role in them knows Wilder likes nothing more than withholding his nod, forcing months of personal wooing and press reports about his intentions. That's not to mention the fact that he has a history of tension with Deeds, whose candidacy for attorney general in 2005 Wilder declined to back because of the rural Democrat's strong support of gun rights.
And yet still there is news this morning, first reported by Politico, that the White House sent political director Patrick Gaspard to Richmond on Wednesday to meet with Wilder for two hours and encourage him to jump in.
Posted at 5:30 AM ET, 07/24/2009
Deeds and McDonnell Prep for Saturday
With just a day left before their first debate, gubernatorial candidates R. Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell are huddled with aides practicing and prepping for battle.
It's not the first time the two men have clashed. They took part in a series of skirmishes in 2005 when the two were running for attorney general, so they have a pretty good idea of one another's temperament.
Helping them get ready--debate sparring partners. For the Deeds camp, David Hallock Jr., former deputy counsel to Gov. Mark Warner, is playing the part of McDonnell. Pretending to be a Republican should come easy to Hallock. He played Jerry Kilgore when Gov. Tim Kaine was prepping for debates in 2005 and then acted as Jim Gilmore for Warner when the two were running last year for the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, McDonnell's got several helpers. One person who has been serving as his Deeds: campaign chairman and former Republican National Committee chief Ed Gillespie.
Posted at 10:31 AM ET, 07/23/2009
What Would You Ask at Governor's Race Debate?
Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell will meet for their first debate on Saturday morning. What's on the agenda? That's up to the Virginia Bar Association, which is hosting the meeting, as well as the men themselves. They'll have an opportunity to lob a few questions at one another.
We're curious in hearing McDonnell and Deeds engage directly about how to break the impasse on transportation funding. And these are lawyers doing the asking--we'd like to know how the candidates, lawyers themselves, propose to deal with a Supreme Court decision requiring live testimony in DUI and drug cases.
What would you like to hear answered? Let us know in the comments section.
Posted at 3:17 PM ET, 07/22/2009
Kaine Discusses Travel Records
At a morning press conference chock full of news, Gov. Tim Kaine rejected Republican accusations that he is spending too much time working as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Kaine released records yesterday that track his whereabouts since he took on the second job. He promised to release a similar summary monthly from now on, after weeks of resisting calls to be more open about his DNC travels.
Kaine said he works on state business all the time, even when he is traveling for the DNC. Republicans, he said, would have complained if his records showed he was working one hour a week for the DNC. But he said he is comfortable with his division of labor.
"I am working pretty much all the time. I never am anywhere where I'm not working on state business. I'm taking material with me, on the cell phone, on the BlackBerry, looking at the computer," he said. "While I understand that people might say what they want from a political standpoint. I'm not running into any people who are questioning the amount of work I'm doing in the state and I think the results we're showing as a state government in very very tough times demonstrate that."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:56 PM ET, 07/22/2009
GOP Lawmakers Back Deeds
First Democrat Sheila Johnson endorses Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. Now, Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds had countered with some Republicans of his own.
Deeds announced today he has the backing of eight former senators and delegates, seven of them Republicans and one a former Republican who then ran for the House as an independent. Most are familiar names--Republicans who grew disenchanted with their party's leadership and had previously formed coalitions with Democrats, including former Gov. Mark Warner.
Two--former Sen. Brandon Bell (R-Roanoke) and former Sen. Marty Williams (R-Newport News)--have not before endorsed Democrats in statewide races. Read more about the endorsers and get a full list here.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:52 PM ET, 07/21/2009
Kaine Concedes on Travel Data
View Kaine's Travel Adventures in a larger map. KEY: Blue markers are DNC trips, red markers are official state trips, and purple markers included a mix of both or are unclear at this time.
Late breaking news today from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office. In a statement, his spokeswoman said he will from now on issue a monthly report indicating where he has spent each day of the previous month. The information will indicate how much traveling the governor is doing in his part-time job as head of the Democratic National Committee.
The concession comes after weeks of pressure from media organizations and state Republicans. It also comes on the day the Virginia State Police were legally required to respond to public information requests about the travel of Kaine's security detail. The governor's office released information about his whereabouts since January 1. Stay tuned for more information about what it shows.
Posted at 1:57 PM ET, 07/21/2009
Debate Dance Part II
3, 4, 10...How many times should Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds debate?
The McDonnell camp has now put out its full statement on this morning's announcement by Deeds that he would be attending 10 forums and debates. McDonnell's side says the events include only four debates. He has renewed his call for 10 full scale debates.
"We hope the Deeds campaign will agree to a schedule of ten real debates available live to the public. We look forward to sitting down with them to put together this schedule," said McDonnell spokeswoman Crystal Cameron in a statement.
Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 07/21/2009
Debate Dance Goes On
Okay, so we know Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds will debate on Saturday at the Homestead, at an event sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association. Where and when and how else will they meet? The campaigns continue to spar.
The Deeds' camp today released a list of 10 forums and debates he will participate in and challenged McDonnell to appear as well. This comes after earlier this month McDonnell asked Deeds to participate in 10 events and then criticized him for not immediately agreeing.
This seems a pretty smart strategy by Deeds. He essentially takes up the McDonnell challenge but insists on choosing the times and places of their meetings. Which is exactly what Deeds' people had said they would do when they declined to immediately agree to the McDonnell request earlier this month.
Will McDonnell agree to appear at these events? We'll let you know. Details of the Deeds' events appear after the jump.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 07/ 3/2009
GOP Visits Bath
An interesting dispatch from Bath County, the home of gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
Just a few days after Deeds' June 9 primary victory, a stranger showed up at the Bath County Courthouse, asking to review Deeds personal and legal records.
Bath is the Virginia's second least populated county. There aren't a lot of strangers there. So the young man attracted a bit of attention from the clerks at the courthouse and then from Chris Singleton, Bath's part-time Commonwealth Attorney, who just happens to be Deeds' former law partner.
Who was he? He was Republican operative Jared Wheeler, and he spent a couple solid days sifting through records in the county courthouse. Though he attracted attention, the folks in Bath said they were careful to give Wheeler everything he asked for and be as helpful as they could.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:14 PM ET, 07/ 2/2009
Caps Owner Leonsis Shoots for Deeds
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds snagged a big name to head his "Business for Deeds" group today, joining Sen. Mark Warner on a perch overlooking the Capitals ice skating rink in Ballston to announce that Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis has agreed to take the job.
Leonsis, a former AOL top executive who is also majority owner of the Washington Mystics is tight with Warner and has donated to both Democrats and Republicans (though, per the Virginia Public Access Project, more to Ds than to Rs). But as Warner joked at the event, Leonsis couldn't be persuaded to take on the same role for Warner's campaign, so it is something of a coup.
But Leonsis said he had met with Deeds and determined him he'd be good for business in the state, providing necessary improvements for education and transportation.
"He's someone who's listening and will follow the tradition that Mark and Tim [Kaine] laid out for us where this is a pro-business state," Leonsis said. "We know without jobs, without a strong economy none of the great programs that define the state are possible. I've agreed to chair this group, and we'll bring together a very broad base of people with lots of opinions."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:07 PM ET, 07/ 1/2009
Obama in Annandale, Deeds in Hampton Roads
President Obama came calling in Virginia today, hosting a forum on health care at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale. Gov. Tim Kaine was on stage for a portion of the event, and tons of Virginia Democratic luminaries were in the crowd, from Sen. Mark Warner to U.S. Reps Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott and Jim Moran.
But Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds was not around. Was he invited?
Deeds says yes. In an interview this afternoon, Deeds said he would have liked to be at the health care forum but had already agreed to address secondary school principals in Williamsburg this morning and then had other appointments in the Hampton Roads area.
Posted at 4:48 PM ET, 06/30/2009
Va. Democratic Party Hit With Fine
The Democratic Party of Virginia has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission, related to deficiencies in the party's financial disclosure forms dating to 2006.
The FEC reports that they found problems with DPV's financial disclosure forms through routine reviews of their filings. The FEC said it sent DPV 31 different requests for additional information related to its 2006 filings, of which the party failed to respond, responded inadequately or responded late to 16. Problems included mathematical discrepancies and some excessive or impermissible contributions.
Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 06/30/2009
Moran Bags It--For a Good Cause
Attention on aisle 3: Yes, Safeway shoppers, that is U.S. Rep. James P. Moran.
Moran is bagging groceries today at the Safeway at the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria from noon to 1. Why? Well, because who doesn't enjoy having a powerful person bag their groceries? Also, to help out Safeway's annual campaign to fight prostate cancer.
The company raises money each year to aide prostate cancer research--it's raised almost $42 million over the last nine years. Appearances like Moran's raise awareness and encourage giving.
Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 06/27/2009
Experts Weigh in on Keys to November Victory
The Post's editorial staff surveyed some of the top names in Virginia politics and punditry, asking what it will take for Creigh Deeds or Bob McDonnell to win the governor's mansion in the fall.
The results range the spectrum. Gov. Tim Kaine thinks the election is about continuing the governing approach advanced by he and former Gov. Mark Warner. So does top Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee. But analyst and blogger Bob Holsworth warns Deeds not to tie himself too closely to Warner and Kaine in an uncertain times; voters will want to see Deeds be his own man.
Author Garrett Epps and Republican strategist J. Kenneth Klinge agree the race will likely be won in the suburbs. Republican Del. H. Morgan Griffith says both candidates should master the policy details because voters are itching for substance.
The selections all make for some very interesting reading. They'll be published in tomorrow's paper, but you can get a sneak peak here.
Posted at 9:24 PM ET, 06/25/2009
DPV Gets Interim Director
Democratic Party Chairman Dick Cranwell has alerted state Democrats that the party has named an interim executive director.
Leigh Anne Collier will fill the job through November. Collier served as deputy executive director for finance and operations from March 2008 until February. Collier replaces Levar Stoney, who left the party to work as political director for state Sen. Creigh Deeds' campaign for governor.
Posted at 6:22 PM ET, 06/24/2009
McDonnell: No Money Directly from Sanford
It looks like Bob McDonnell has not received any donations from Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who today acknowledged an affair with a woman in Argentina was to explain for his recent mysterious disappearance from the state he leads. McDonnell must be breathing a sigh of relief not to have the Republican governor's name on his donor rolls.
McDonnell has taken money--lots and lots of money--from the Republican Governor's Association while it was chaired by Sanford, however. (Sanford announced today he was resigning the RGA's top post.) That means there are photos of the two together. Do the pics say much about anything? Not really. But they're mildly embarrassing to McDonnell, so they're getting posted about on the blogs.
Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 06/24/2009
McDonnell Returns to Airwaves
The television ads are returning.
After just a couple of weeks of politics-free airwaves, a spokeswoman for Bob McDonnell confirms he will begin airing ads again at the end of this week. Ads will go up in downstate markets--Bristol, Richmond, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville--all will receive McDonnell ads.
We don't yet know what the ads will be about, but they've already made their way into a fundraising appeal for McDonnell rival Creigh Deeds. "I wanted you to be the first to know: I just learned that Bob McDonnell will begin running ads across Virginia starting in the next 48 hours," Deeds campaign manager Joe Abbey wrote in an email to supporters. Abbey goes on to say that Deeds hopes to raise $100,000 online by June 30.
UPDATE: Here's the first one, "Resurgence":
Posted at 4:05 PM ET, 06/23/2009
Kaine on Travel
Gov. Tim Kaine said today that the Democratic National Committee has agreed to reimburse Virginia for the travel costs for his security detail when he travels for the DNC. The DNC also reimburses the costs of Kaine's own travel.
"The idea is no state costs for out-of-state trips," he said, noting that similar reimbursement has not occurred with previous governors--hint, hint, former Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Gilmore.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:50 PM ET, 06/19/2009
AG's Debate Going Forward
The first debate between attorney general candidates Ken Cuccinelli and Steve Shannon is going forward as planned tomorrow, despite some squabbling between the campaigns about debate rules that had threatened to derail the event.
Shannon's camp had wanted Cuccinelli to agree to a "no use" clause that would prohibit both sides from using video of the event on their websites or in campaign ads. Cuccinelli's camp didn't want to make that kind of deal.
We're told the candidates themselves stepped in and hammered out the deal: Both sides can post the debate on their sites and use clips from the debate, provided whole answers are used. No 3-second snippets allowed.
What's the upshot? Both sides will video the debate and post it quickly on their websites tomorrow. Good news for those unable to make it down to the 9:45 a.m. event.
UPDATE: Roman Levit of the Shannon campaign has called in to say their side never objected to posting the debate online--only to the use of debate snippets in campaign ads.
Posted at 12:46 PM ET, 06/19/2009
First Gov Debate is On
The traditional has now become the official.
The Virginia Bar Association announced today that Sen. Creigh Deeds and former Attorney General Bob McDonnell have agreed to allow the association to host the two men's first debate. The VBA has been hosting debates early in the election season for decades and everyone had already been assuming they'd do so again this year.
The Deeds/McDonnell showdown has been set for 11 a.m. on July 25 at the Homestead, giving Deeds a bit of home field advantage. Dean Rodney Smolla of Washington & Lee School of Law will moderate.
Posted at 3:39 PM ET, 06/18/2009
Deeds, McDonnell in Tight Race Already
Another day, another new poll suggesting that the general election campaign kicks off with two pretty evenly matched opponents.
Today's numbers come from Daily Kos/Research 2000 and, like other polls the Post typically blogs about, used live callers to interview voters. Their sample was 600 and they called from June 15 to 17, so definitely after the primary.
What did they come up with? Bob McDonnell 45 percent, Creigh Deeds 44 percent. That's about as tied as polls come, particularly given that this one comes with a 4 percent margin of error.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 8:00 PM ET, 06/17/2009
Felan, Hall, Leopold: Deeds Campaign Goes A'Hiring
Lots of new hires over in Deeds land, as the campaign bulks up for the general election. And the names are a familiar sprinkling of known Democratic operatives from past Virginia campaigns.
Take Matt Felan, who served as the executive director of Gov. Tim Kaine's political action committee Moving Virginia Forward, as well as deputy national finance director for Hillary Clinton. Deeds has brought on Felan to serve as his finance director. Other new hires include Mark Giangreco as policy director--Giangreco last worked for Terry McAuliffe's campaign. Also on board, Mike Gehrke as director of communications--Gehrke's worked for two presidential campaigns.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 1:37 PM ET, 06/17/2009
Deeds Camp Picks Up Dems Chief
Guess how soon-to-be Creigh Deeds' political director and soon-to-be-former executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia Levar Stoney got his start in politics?
He was an intern in college for former Terry McAuliffe campaign manager Mike Henry. It's kind of a theme on the Deeds campaign, where lots of top staffers credit Henry, a Virginia campaign veteran, with introducing them to the opportunities of being a full-time political operative.
"I think he taught a lot of us that you can be serious about politics, but you can have fun as well," Stoney said.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:58 PM ET, 06/16/2009
Kaine Visits the Windy City
Didn't know Gov. Tim Kaine out of Virginia recently and in Chicago instead? We wouldn't either, if it weren't for our colleague Peter Slevin, who happened to spot him last week in the Windy City, where Kaine was doing some fundraising and outreach to Democratic volunteers who had been active in the Obama campaign.
That's because Kaine does not release a full schedule of his travels and activities, citing security and privacy concerns. Instead, his governor's office puts out only a bare bones public gubernatorial schedule. It includes official trips he takes as governor but no private travel nor expeditions he makes in his role as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
See Gov. Kaine out and about or hear about another of his unscheduled stops? E-mail me.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:49 PM ET, 06/16/2009
DGA Puts Out Virginia Poll
Maybe the most interesting thing about the poll released today about the Democratic Governor's Association is that the national group is already paying good coin to poll the Virginia race. And this poll couldn't have been cheap--unlike a lot of polls that use robocalling to reach voters, this one involved live phone interviews with 600 Virginia voters. (We have great hesitancy about polls that use the other method to survey voters, as explained by Post polling director Jon Cohen a while back.)
It makes sense that the DGA would poll Virginia--the group has already spent $3 million on anti-Bob McDonnell advertising and they want to see if they're getting their money worth. They wouldn't have released the results if it didn't show their guy, Creigh Deeds, leading McDonnell.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:17 PM ET, 06/15/2009
State Revenues Fall Short of Even the Lowered Projections
Virginia budget numbers continue to erode as tax revenue falls in the down economy. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) announced yesterday that state revenue collections have dropped 9.3 percent this year, eclipsing an estimated drop of 7.3 percent.
Revenue that feeds the state's general fund declined 15.6 percent compared with May 2008. The decline has come as individual and corporate income tax collections by the state have dropped dramatically, as have recordation tax collections. Other sources of state revenue have also been declining, including sales tax and lottery revenue.
The General Assembly this year passed a two-year, $77 billion budget that closed a $3.7 billion shortfall, in part by employing $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money. The legislature also agreed to make deep cuts to services, and 379 state employees were laid off between July 1 and March 31. Kaine said the continued revenue drop means the state might have to make further cuts.
-- Rosalind Helderman
Posted at 4:58 PM ET, 06/15/2009
Obama Pens Email for Deeds
It looks like President Barack Obama wasn't kidding when he told Creigh Deeds last week that he plans to help in his election effort. Today went out the first of what we can only imagine will be several--or many--emails to Virginians signed by the president.
In an email sent to the Virginia email list of the Democratic National Committee and the DNC's Obama project Organizing for America, Obama encouraged Democrats to "get involved" in Deeds election effort. We assume that means, among other things, to donate to Deeds.
"I know a thing or two about tough primaries, and I know a thing or two about running tough races in Virginia. Creigh Deeds' victory once again shows the power of people at the grassroots to win elections and bring about lasting change -- and he will be a better candidate this fall because of his hard work to win the nomination," Obama writes.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:37 PM ET, 06/15/2009
McDonnell: The Next Mark Warner?
So, which gubernatorial candidate is most like Mark Warner? Mark Warner would tell you it's fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds. But, increasingly, Bob McDonnell, with his business degree and his roots in Northern Virginia, would have you believe it's him.
Today, he rolls out another piece of his strategy to overtake Deeds' claim to the Warner legacy: Endorsements from a group of former elected officials, business leaders and other activists who have been Warner supporters.
Posted at 3:10 PM ET, 06/14/2009
Kaine: House Obstructing Transpo Solution
Gov. Tim Kaine picks up the pen today as Virginia's columnist-in-chief, addressing transportation in this morning's Washington Post. Check it out.
Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 06/13/2009
McDonnell Walks Door to Door
Republican gubernatorial nominee spent the morning walking a small suburban neighborhood in the Stonewall voting precinct of Manassas, knocking on doors and greeting drivers of cars as they passed along the quiet street with local Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R).
Stonewall is ground zero for what McDonnell hopes will be the resurgence of Republican voting in Virginia. It went heavily for McDonnell over Creigh Deeds in the 2005 attorney general's race, giving him 57 percent of votes. But last year the precinct backed President Obama.
McDonnell said he believed that election was fought on federal issues like the Iraq war. He said November will be about local issues like schools, state energy policy, taxes and roads.
Again and again, he reminded voters of his childhood in Fairfax County, a contrast from the rural Deeds. But, in a neighborhood that has undergone dramatic demographic shifts in recent years, many of the voters he greeted were not Northern Virginia natives. One couple was moving from Pennsylvania and looking at buying a house in the neighborhood. Others were immigrants.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:04 PM ET, 06/12/2009
Moran, McAuliffe Supporters Glad At Least Its Deeds
An observation from this afternoon's event at the Silver Diner in Arlington featuring new Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and attended by quite a number of people who had been supporting Deeds' opponents in the primary battle.
Supporters of both Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe said they were finding it easier to get on board for Deeds than they imagined they would have had their man lost to the other guy.Continue reading this post »
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.
Posted at 11:21 AM ET, 06/10/2009
Deeds Talks to the President
We hear new Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds just finished up a phone call with President Barack Obama. Obama called to congratulate on his stunning victory in the primary yesterday.
Deeds and Obama will need each other come November. Obama needs Deeds to bring home victory in Virginia since his fate will be widely perceived nationally as a referendum on the president's popularity in a very purple state. And Deeds will need Obama to make that happen, particularly in the urban Tidewater area where Deeds underperformed other successful statewide Democratic candidates in his 2005 race for attorney general against Bob McDonnell.
Deeds was holding this morning's big unity press conference with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and former rivals Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe when his staff learned the call would be coming shortly. They ended the event early, natch.
Posted at 11:52 AM ET, 06/ 8/2009
Puller Endorses Deeds
One of Northern Virginia's last remaining neutral voices has decided to make an endorsement in the waning hours before polls open tomorrow: State Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-Fairfax), who said late last week that all three campaigns had called in recent days to ask for her support, has decided to endorse fellow Sen. Creigh Deeds.
Puller noted that she and Deeds were elected to the House of Delegates on the same day and have been deskmates in both the House and Senate chambers. She said she believed Deeds' rural roots would help him beat Repulican Bob McDonnell in the fall.
"I also admire Brian Moran, but I think Creigh is the one who now has the momentum," she said. "I think he has a good chance to win the primary--and I think he's our best hope to beat Bob McDonnell in the fall"
She said she believes Deeds' has his priorities straight--pledging to fix transportation in his first year in office.
Posted at 10:03 AM ET, 06/ 8/2009
Predictions of Low Turnout Continue
Here's more grist for the churning discussions about likely turnout for tomorrow's primary election.
Fairfax County Elections Registrar Rokey W. Suleman II is officially predicting it'll be low in his neck of the woods. Suleman said that as of Saturday night, voters had mailed 1,679 absentee ballots, of which, 759 had been returned to the office. An additional 754 Fairfax residents had voted early in person as of Saturday night, an option available since May 18.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:09 PM ET, 06/ 7/2009
Scott: Yes, I Voted for Terry McAuliffe
There's been a lot of talk in recent days about whether U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott has actually endorsed Terry McAuliffe, since he's featured prominently in a McAuliffe mailer.
Here's an answer, straight from the congressman's lips: "I haven't made a formal endorsement, but I voted on Saturday," he said in an interview. "Yes, I voted for Terry McAuliffe."
Scott said he was attracted to McAuliffe's promise to create new jobs, his interest in energy policy and his plans to bolster early childhood education.
"He's run a very aggressive race," Scott said. "The fact that he's doing as well as he's doing is a testament to the strength of his campaign."
Posted at 10:34 AM ET, 06/ 7/2009
Ground Games: Who Has the Edge?
Two hundred thousand.
That's the astounding number of phone calls Terry McAuliffe's campaign says volunteers made on his behalf yesterday, as we reach the final hours before polls open for the Democratic primary Tuesday.
For weeks, McAuliffe strategists have insisted they were building a massive get-out-the- vote network they would activate in the final days before the election. Now, they say it's up and running. And, despite tightening in the polls, they have remained confident their ability to reach out and touch potential voters, including those who voted for president last year but don't typically take part in local elections, is far beyond anything Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds can muster.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:51 AM ET, 06/ 6/2009
Last Minute Donations Pour In
So this might help explain the number of Creigh Deeds ads those of us who live in the expensive Washington media market have been seeing in the last day or so.
Deeds' campaign has taken in more than $276,000 in new donations since May 27, the cut-off deadline for inclusion in his last big June 1 fundraising report, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
That figure is dwarfed by the more than $500,000 Terry McAuliffe has raised in the same time period -- we've been seeing his ads too -- but we always knew McAuliffe would bring in more money than both his rivals. Deeds success here at the end -- he reported bringing in almost $115,000 of that figure on June 3 and 4 alone -- has buoyed the signs of life his campaign has been showing in its final days.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 06/ 5/2009
McAuliffe Picks Up Congressman's Support
So it looks like, at long last and after weeks of close ties and kind words, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott has essentially endorsed Terry McAuliffe.
We haven't yet heard him use the "e" word, but a McAuliffe mailer that hit yesterday features a photo of the two of them and quotes praising McAuliffe as representing "hope for Virginia." McAuliffe is far too careful a politician to send out a mailer like that without Scott's approval.
Scott's nod could be a key bit of support in his Hampton Roads district, helping to bring out black voters who could be critical to a possible McAuliffe victory. McAuliffe has also received the endorsements of the state's black newspapers.
You can read the mailer here.
Posted at 6:03 PM ET, 06/ 4/2009
Moran Mailer Targets Deeds
We're not sure what to make of the recent polls that seem to show some kind of movement by Creigh Deeds in the governor's race. As our polling director Jon Cohen has explained, we think some of them are unreliable. And we think polling is exceptionally difficult in a three-way primary in which turnout is expected to be low.
But, for what it's worth, we can add this bit of evidence to a growing picture of possible momentum: The other campaigns seems to be a bit anxious of the guy from Bath.
After weeks of taking on Terry McAuliffe in mailings, radio and tv ads, trying to suggest his record as a businessman is not what he has claimed, Brian Moran has a new target in a flier hitting mailboxes today: Deeds.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 7:54 PM ET, 06/ 3/2009
Live Blog: WJLA/Politico Special
Good evening! We're sitting down to watch tonight's WJLA/Politico news special on the governor's race. We're betting many of our readers are doing the same. So join us as we share thoughts and observations live during the special.
This is not airing live and it's not a debate, so there's unlikely to be a lot of unpredictable going on and there will be no back and forth between the candidates. Still, this is an uninterrupted hour on prime time television. So it's certainly worth a watch.
We'll get going momentarily.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:25 PM ET, 06/ 3/2009
McAuliffe Consoles, Campaigns at GM Plant
From the annals of smart campaigning... Terry McAuliffe made a stop this afternoon at the GM plant in Fredericksburg that the company announced Monday it is shuttering as part of its bankruptcy filing.
Not a bad move for the candidate who has made job creation the centerpiece of his run for the governor's mansion. McAuliffe took a tour of the plant, which is scheduled to close in 2010, as a guest of local UAW leaders and Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors Chairman Henry "Hap" Connors Jr, whose endorsed his campaign.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:18 AM ET, 06/ 1/2009
Final Countdown Begins
The home stretch, the final spring, the last gasp. Welcome to it folks.
We're now eight days from primary Election Day, with Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran making their final arguments that they deserve the Democratic nomination for governor.
Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/30/2009
The Last Chapter on the McAuliffe Business Plan
With a week and half left before the primary election, Terry McAuliffe has put out the last chapter of his oft-referenced "Business Plan for Virginia." Chapter Six is entitled "Paying for the Business Plan" and was posted to the campaign's website yesterday, without the accompanying news release that came with chapters one through five.
In the chapter, McAuliffe puts price tags on some of the proposal's he's been touting, identifies some areas of possible cost savings for the state, and prioritizes some of his ideas onto an immediate "to do" list and others onto a "let's get to this when the recession ends" list.
You can read it here.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:46 PM ET, 05/29/2009
An Ad Scorecard
So how dramatically is Brian Moran now being outspent on television ads by both Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe? As of May 27, Moran had aired a mere $43,000 worth of spots in Norfolk and Richmond. Meanwhile, McAuliffe had spent $900,000, in every Virginia market except the D.C. suburbs and Deeds had spent almost $400,000.
Those figures come from Evan Tracey, who tracks such things for the Campaign Media Analysis Group. Tracey says the gap between McAuliffe and Deeds has been narrowing. He says all of Deeds money has come within the last 30 days; McAuliffe's has spent about $535,000 in that time. And over the last two weeks, McAuliffe has outspent Deeds only $280,000 to $200,000.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:15 PM ET, 05/29/2009
New McAuliffe Ad Features Clinton
After picking up the endorsement of Virginia's largest black newspaper yesterday and the civil rights group the Crusade for Voters last week, Terry McAuliffe today is pressing his advantage in the African American community with a radio ad in Richmond and Norfolk noting the endorsements and featuring President Bill Clinton saying McAuliffe is "made for this moment in history."
McAuliffe clearly is confident that any resentments sparked during last year's presidential primary campaign, when Clinton's heated rhetoric leading to the South Carolina primary upset many black voters, are now long past. After all, Hillary Clinton and Obama appear close.
Assuming McAuliffe is right, the ads not only could draw votes from a key constituency but could help boost his friend Clinton's image as well, suggesting that last year's unpleasantness has not permanently damaged his once-stellar reputation in the black community.
Hear the ad here:
Posted at 5:30 AM ET, 05/29/2009
Common Sense Virginia Hits McDonnell Again
For the moment, at least, it seems the Democratic political action committee Common Sense Virginia, and its patron saint, the Democratic Governor's Association, has virtually endless money to spend softening the ground for whichever Democrat the party nominates in the June 9 primary.
Yesterday, the group announced yet another huge ad buy in Northern Virginia, a significant six-figure expenditure for another week of commercials slamming Republican Bob McDonnell.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/28/2009
Camelot on Display for Moran
There are quite a number of Terry McAuliffe signs along the roadways of tony McLean leading to to Ethel Kennedy's famed Hickory Hill estate, but behind the door of the stately white mansion--complete with Barack Obama sticker on its open glass door--it was all about Brian Moran last night, as we wrote in this morning's Post.
Well, Brian Moran and, of course, always the Kennedys. The home is absolutely full of Kennedy mementos, on every wall, on every graceful table and mantle, which guests at the Moran fundraiser last night soaked in with abandon. Paintings and etchings and drawings of Ethel Kennedy's husband Robert and, of course, his brother President John, all got snapped with camera phones, as guests munched on shrimp skewers and tiny rolls of roast beef.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 05/27/2009
Ticketmate Byrne Backs Deeds
Suddenly, it seems as like state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds is all about Fairfax. It's a message reinforced by an endorsement today by former congresswoman Leslie Byrne.
After RSVP-ing "no" to yesterday's Virginia FREE luncheon in Tyson's, Deeds made a last minute switch and attended. He was with the Fairfax Democratic Committee last night and will meet with county teachers on Thursday. And today, he's joining Leslie Byrne, who was the first woman elected to Congress from Virginia, representing--yes, that's right--Fairfax.
Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 05/26/2009
Live Blog: Virginia FREE Luncheon
Good Afternoon. Today we come to you live from the Ritz-Carlton Tyson's Corner, where all four men seeking the governor's mansion in Virginia are about to begin addressing a roomful of business leaders and electeds for the Virginia Free lunch. The room is packed. Folks are now munching on salad. And Clayton Roberts is now reading the lengthy list of influential folks in the audience. We'll get started with a live blog in just a couple minutes, when the speechifying begins and keep with it as long as our technology holds out.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 05/25/2009
How Much Pie Can One Man Eat?
It's a good question for political candidates on Memorial Day weekend two weeks before an election, as they cram in as many barbecues and parades and festivals and fish fries as they can stomach, engaging in classic retail politics before voters go to the polls.
In the case of Brian Moran this weekend, it was a quite literal question. Moran took part in a pie eating contest at the Strawberry Festival in Virginia Beach on Saturday, where he endeavored to eat as much of a strawberry pie (natch) as he could in 90 seconds. He came in third. Of five.
We caught up with Moran today, a full 48 hours later, at the Viva Vienna festival in Fairfax, where he was still sporting a scrape on his nose from the pie tin.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/23/2009
Deeds Bobbles Minimum Wage Question
Okay, so it couldn't be a perfect day for Creigh Deeds.
Yesterday morning, he snagged some momentum with the endorsement of our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post. But not long after, he had a little flub on the Politics Hour with Mark Plotkin on WTOP that's got the bloggers twittering.
In response to a question about the minimum wage, it sure sounded like Deeds didn't know what the the minimum wage currently is in Virginia. Price of milk anyone?Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:53 PM ET, 05/22/2009
Awww, Cute: Baby News for Steve Shannon
Democratic AG candidate Steve Shannon's campaign manager just announced that Shannon's wife Abby gave birth to the couple's third child today.
Baby Owen was born at 8 pound, 5 ounces. Mom and baby are doing well and manager Roman Levit wrote in an email to supporters that Shannon his wife feel blessed by their new arrival.
Posted at 8:02 AM ET, 05/22/2009
Post Ed Board Endorses Deeds
It's got to be a particularly sunny day in Charlottesville at the headquarters of Creigh Deeds. That's because our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post endorsed Deeds this morning for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Just to be clear, the ed board operates entirely separately from those of us on the news side. We provided no input for their decision; we got our first look at the editorial, like everyone else, over our morning coffee. (Or, rather, on our laptops last night just after midnight.)
But this still seems a potentially important development in the race worth examining.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:19 PM ET, 05/21/2009
Moran, Deeds Question McDonnell on Redistricting
Well, that didn't take long.
Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are already scoffing at Bob McDonnell's endorsement today of some kind of bipartisan commission on legislative redistricting. They both note that McDonnell has a long history of opposition to the idea when it's been advanced by Democrats in the state legislature.
Not that McDonnell said anything else in his conference call with reporters this afternoon. He was noted his past opposition but said he had come to believe the parties should work together to redraw legislative lines.Continue reading this post »
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.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 05/19/2009
Live Blog: From the Washington Post Debate, Part II
Still with us? We're live in Annandale at the Washington Post debate.
2:57 p.m.: And that's it folks. Thanks for joining us.
2:56 p.m.: This debate it's Deeds with a more negative closing. Virginians don't want a governor who stands with Donald Trump and Wall Street (that's Terry) or a governor who stands with lobbyists under federal investigation. (that's moran)
2:53p.m.: Moran thanks the Washington Post. No, Brian, thank you. His closing is about his record--he's got a record of working to help people and that's what he would bring to the governor's mansion. This is a very different closing than his one at the last debate hosted by Virginia bloggers--much more about himself, much less about McAuliffe. (Maybe he's already hit those points in a debate that's focused a lot on McAuliffe.)
2:52 p.m.: Closing statements. McAuliffe says read his business plan. He's a candidate who will shake things up.
2:50 p.m.: McAuliffe says other states do these things. A good line from McAuliffe: You shoot for the moon. John Kennedy didn't say we're taking the rocket halfway to the moon.
2:48 p.m.: Deeds puts on his glasses to question McAuliffe. Can you afford all the promises you've made--you've promised teacher's car loans, student loans, home loans. You've promised to make Virginia the film capital of the country. You've promised Martinsville a new high school gym. And those are just the promises you've made in public. (Ouch.) Can you afford this?
2:45 p.m.: Harshest line of the debate: Moran to McAuliffe--"I don't have time to teach you the legislative process and Virginians don't have time for you to learn." This is about pay day lending and a 2002 bill that Moran voted for to regulate pay day lending that ended up allowing them to flourish. Line draws groans from the crowds.
2:43 p.m. Now each candidate gets to ask each other a question. Moran is questioning McAuliffe's job creating record. 100,000s of jobs? What about global crossing? How can you say you're running a credible campaign on this? McAuliffe says that's a personal attack and he lets his record stand. This has been a running debate on the trail for the last few weeks. Not sure we're coming to a conclusion on it today.
2:41 p.m.: A real substantive difference between our candidates! Deeds reiterates he thinks we can drill for oil, if we can find a way to protect water tourism. He says we can't take anything off the table--noting alternative energy solutions are a way off.
2:39 p.m.: We're talking oil drill--Deeds says he could be for it if Virginia gets royalties--a big process--and if it could be made environmentally sound. Moran says he's opposed. McAuliffe says he supports drilling for natural gas but not oil.
Posted at 2:34 PM ET, 05/19/2009
Live Blog: The Washington Post Debate
Greetings from the Ernst Community Cultural Center on the lovely Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. Our moderators for this afternoon's shindig are Chris Cillizza and News Channel 8's Bruce DePuyt. On my left, is Anita Kumar, on my right Amy Gardner. Just call us the Angels of Washington Post Virginia coverage. (Hello Charlie -- I do mean you, editor Matt Mosk.)
I'll be live blogging this debate beginning at 2 p.m. Hit refresh frequently starting then to get the latest.
1:58: Okay, we're about to begin. The candidates have taken the stage. We've got Moran on the left, Deeds in the middle (seems to always happen at these debates) and McAuliffe on our far right. Let's get ready to rumble.
2:00 p.m. We're going right to questions. No opening statements at this baby. First question, posed by Chris Cillizza: What would you do differently to get sustained transportation solution?
2:03: Deeds says there's a reason Sens. Whipple, Howell, Saslaw are supporting him. They're all in the senate together? No, that's not it. It's that they know he'll get a sustained transportation solution in 2010.
2:05: McAuliffe frets about the state's ability to get federal matching funds for roads and ptiches high speed rail.
2:06 p.m.: Cilizza is following up with Moran--what would you do differently than Kaine? He's going to his record. Bingo, first hit of a major candidate campaign theme. Moran's gonna want to talk about his long time in the Assembly as much as possible.
2:07: Chris now at McAuliffe -- is it reasonable to think you can change Richmond without experience there. McAuliffe's answer: Yes.
Posted at 10:41 AM ET, 05/19/2009
Showdown in Annandale
The stakes couldn't be higher for today's Democratic gubernatorial debate, sponsored by the Washington Post.
The debate, which will be held in front of a live audience of Northern Virginia Community College students and others at the Annandale campus of the school, will offer all three candidates a final chance to distinguish themselves on issues--and an opportunity to speak directly to Northern Virginians.
There may be more Democrats up here than in anywhere else in the state, but because the television market is so expensive, voters hear directly from the candidates far less often than in RoVa. You'll be able to watch the debate live here starting at 2 p.m. It will also air this evening at 8 p.m. on News Channel 8.
Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 05/19/2009
Kenny Alexander Did Not Approve This Ad
Del. Kenneth Cooper Alexander (D-Norfolk), chair of the legislative black caucus, asked Brian Moran to take his name off those radio ads blasting Terry McAuliffe for opposing Barack Obama in the presidential primary campaign, which we wrote about this morning.
The Moran camp confirms they removed Alexander's name from the ads, an original version of which was to air with a tag in Hampton Roads that told voters that Alexander "urges you to vote for Brian Moran for Governor."
Alexander said he still supports Moran for govenor but asked that his name be taken off after he learned that the ad included profanity--it notes that McAuliffe once joked that Obama could "kiss my ass" (a line that came on the Daily Show, it should be noted.) But the delegate said, beyond the profanity, he also didn't want to be associated with the ad's negative tone.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:29 AM ET, 05/17/2009
Kaine Takes on Steele
Should Gov. Tim Kaine become a Republican?
So says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, with whom Kaine clashed for the first time on a Sunday morning talk show this morning. Wearing his hat as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Kaine appeared on NBC's Meet the Press alongside Steele to discuss national issues like health care, torture and abortion.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:12 PM ET, 05/15/2009
A Bit More on Finances
The Republican State Leadership Committee says it too has now resolved its issues with the State Board of Elections. The committee received a letter from the board yesterday warning it that it's recent financial disclosure forms might be incomplete since they showed expenditures but no donations of more than $2,500 during the period May 1 to 5.
Out-of-state groups are required by law to report the donations. Once they have received the board's letter, they have 10 days to respond or face an automatic fine. Carrie Cantrell, a spokeswoman for the group, said they have now responded--assuring the board that they did not, in fact, receive any donations more than $2,500 during those days. Cantrell said the group will face no fine.
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.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 05/15/2009
Deeds on the Radio
First Creigh Deeds followed Terry McAuliffe onto television--now he's looking to match-up on the radio dial as well. Deeds' new radio ad, airing on urban radio stations in Hampton Roads and Richmond, is designed to counter McAuliffe's ads calling for an end to payday lending in Virginia.
Payday lenders prey on the disadvantaged and are particularly despised in African-American communities, a key Democratic constituency. McAuliffe's ads named no names but criticized the General Assembly for passing a 2002 law that made payday lending possible and for delaying on cracking down. Both Deeds and Brian Moran were in the legislature at the time and voted for the measure, which it was thought at the time would actually impose new regulations on the lenders.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:29 AM ET, 05/15/2009
Moran Snags A Kennedy
Another Kennedy is announcing support for Brian Moran's campaign for governor. Already, Ethel Kennedy, Robert F.'s widow, has announced she will host a Moran fundraiser later this month. Now, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy is backing the Massachusetts-born former delegate as well.
In a statement, Kennedy said that Moran is the one candidate in the race that "represents the same values, the same principles, and the same ideals that I have stood and fought for throughout my career in public service."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:42 PM ET, 05/14/2009
SBE Sends More Disclosure Letters
The State Board of Election promised to take a closer look at the financial disclosures forms of the big out-of-state groups pouring money into the Virginia gubernatorial race, after discussing the Democratic Governor's Association's forms were incomplete. And now it has.
After examining submissions, Elections Secretary Nancy Rodrigues said today that the board sent letters today to three organizations, warning them that their submissions might be incomplete. Rodrigues said one of those groups, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has already satisfied the board that its submission is, in fact, complete.
The board is waiting to hear back from the other two, she said, the Presidential Coalition LLC, which supports conservative candidates including Bob McDonnell, and the Republican Party Leadership Committee.
Posted at 4:02 PM ET, 05/14/2009
Live Blog: Greensprings Democratic Club--Now Complete
Greetings from Springfield, where all three men running for the Democratic nomination for governor in Virginia are participating in a forum hosted by the Democratic Club of the Greensprings Retirement Community. We're trying something new here today--a live blog of the forum.
2:13 p.m.: The director of the community just welcomed us, noting that there is a precinct located right here at Greensprings, with the highest turnout of any precinct in Virginia. "Every person you meet here is a registered voter, and every person is going to vote," he said.
2:16 p.m.: The head of the club is now explaining the rules for this forum--each candidate will first speak. Then there will be a question and answer period with questions submitted by the audience. The candidates agreed they will not speak about their opponents or their positions--only themselves.
2:20: McAuliffe's up first. He starts by noting he was in Norfolk with former President Clinton this morning. He says he's been asked why he didn't bring Clinton with him today--jokes the president hadn't been invited. Maybe next time.
2:22: Now McAuliffe is onto the economy--he says he doesn't plan to raise taxes in a down economy but wants to grow the budget by creating new jobs. He's providing his history--first job at 14, long history in business, rebuilding the DNC. "I've been very involved in politics, I've been very involved in politics. Now I want to come in and shake things up," he says.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 05/14/2009
Here's one word you won't here in Bob McDonnell's new ad, featuring cameos by his wife and five children, nor in his earlier ad about his experience: Republican.
Not once does the former attorney general mention that he's seeking the governor's mansion as the GOP's soon-to-be nominee.
It used to be Democrats in Virginia who played that game, running for statewide office without mentioning their party affiliation. That it's now the Republican says a lot about how purple the state has become--and how much the GOP may be worried theirs is a damaged brand, particularly in liberal Northern Virginia.
Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 05/14/2009
On NoVa TV, It's All About McDonnell
The big political race of the moment might be the Democratic primary for governor, but for Northern Virginia television watchers, it feels more like September. That's because none of the three men seeking the Democratic nomination have yet gone on air in the expensive D.C. television market, but, as of today, Bob McDonnell is up and running.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the Republican's buy is a significant foray onto both cable and broadcast. He's got two ads running, one a variation of the "experience" ad running elsewhere in the state, but with a specific note of what McDonnell learned growing up in Fairfax. The other is a light-hearted positive spot focused on McDonnell's family--a little reminiscent of the Gov. Tim Kaine's spot with his kids four years ago.
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 9:50 AM ET, 05/12/2009
Deeds in Minor Car Crash
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. R. Creigh Deeds was involved a minor car accident Saturday evening in Louisa County that sent two passengers of a car he rear-ended to the hospital for minor medical attention.
According to a statement released by his campaign this morning, Deeds was alone in his vehicle and driving himself home to Bath County at the time. He was driving westward on Route 22 after a Fredericksburg campaign event when he hit a passenger vehicle. The two passengers of the other car were taken to a Charlottesville-area hospital for precautionary medical attention and released that evening, his campaign said. Deeds was uninjured.
His campaign confirmed that Deeds was issued a $30 ticket for following the vehicle too closely. His spokeswoman said he was not on his cell phone at the time. In fact, she said that when Deeds went to call 911 to report the accident, he could not immediately get through because there was no cell phone service in the area.
UPDATE: So the accident took place on Saturday. And the statement from the campaign came out this morning, more than 48 hours later. Why the delay?
Deeds' spokeswoman Brooke Borkenhagen said he wanted to speak with the passengers in the other vehicle before releasing information, a conversation that took place on Sunday. The Louisa residents were doing well, she said. Borkenhagen said the statement was prepared yesterday but was not released because the campaign got "sidetracked with other things."
"We're not trying to hide anything," she said. "The guy got into a minor crash when he was headed home to see his family. There was a ticket issued and minor injuries. That's all that this is."
Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/12/2009
will.i.am in Arlington
Though local media reported underwhelming turnout at some of Terry McAuliffe's daytime events with singer will.i.am yesterday, McAuliffe got an enthusiastic crowd of around 350 at the singer's final event at the Clarendon Ballroom last night.
"I could be doing a lot of things with my time--making songs for my colleagues in the height of Boom-Boom Pow," the singer told media before taking the stage. That'd be will.i.am's latest single, currently ranked one in the country. "I could be in Hollywood trying to get a new film. But it's improtant that I'm here with Terry McAuliffe, because I really believe it's going to take us all to turn America around."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:43 PM ET, 05/11/2009
McAuliffe Fundraiser Revives Union Issue
A fundraising event for Terry McAuliffe in North Carolina last month has thrust into public view a bit political history McAuliffe might not want revived during his run for governor: His one-time role in the reelection of a Teamsters union president.
The 1996 union campaign resulted in a criminal conviction for a Teamsters official over illegal fundraising practices.
McAuliffe, who at the time was a top fundraiser for President Clinton, was never charged in connection with the incident. But Richard Sullivan, then finance director for the Democratic National Committee testified at a five-week federal trial of Teamsters official William W. Hamilton Jr. that McAuliffe had encouraged him to find a Democratic donor to contribute to Teamsters' president Ron Carey's reelection campaign in exchange for Teamsters' contributions to the party. No such donor swap, which would have been illegal, took place.
There is apparently no bad blood between McAuliffe and Sullivan. As first reported by the Washington Examiner, Sullivan held a fundraiser for McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign last month.
Posted at 2:22 PM ET, 05/11/2009
McDonnell on TV
Bob McDonnell has now hit the airwaves, buying broadcast and cable ads on stations in Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Harrisonburg-Charlottesville and the tri-cities area. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the campaign has spent more than $200,000 on the buy, a significant figure, though far less than a Democratic political action committee has spent recently on ads attacking him.
Posted at 12:07 PM ET, 05/11/2009
You Say He's Just A...
First Bill Clinton does robocalls for Arlington Democratic candidate Adam Parkhomenko.
Now hip-hop star Biz Markie is wading into the Virginia governor's race. That's right, Biz, who will perform tonight at the Clarendon Ballroom along with rapper will.i.am for Terry McAuliffe, recorded a phone call for McAuliffe to advertise the events.
Biz Markie gets down with the Rev. Al Sharpton in Boston on the eve of the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Click the player below to hear Markie's robocall for the 2009 Terry McAuliffe Campaign for Virginia Governor
According to an Arlington resident who received the call, the hip-hop star best known for the '80s hit "You Say He's Just a Friend," introduced himself as the "diabolical Biz Markie" and then invited recipients to attend.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:25 PM ET, 05/ 8/2009
Two Fronts Against McAuliffe
Campaigns for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds are pursuing a two-front effort to push back today against Terry McAuliffe, as he airs new radio ads and opens new campaign offices. It's hard to say if public polls out showing McAuliffe ahead are accurate, but both Moran and Deeds are spending considerable time mounting an offense against him.
For Deeds, the subject is new McAuliffe ads airing in urban radio markets that say McAuliffe is the only candidate to call for an end to payday lending in Virginia and blasts the General Assembly for a 2002 law that made the high-interest lending easier in the state.
Both Moran and Deeds were in the legislature at the time, but Deeds' campaign is crying foul, noting that all three candidates have now called to end the unpopular lending.
"It's inaccurate to say he's the only one wants to get payday out of the state," said Deeds spokesman Brooke Borkenhagen.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:14 PM ET, 05/ 6/2009
Leaky Tweets Sink...
Are there no secrets anymore?
One of the mysteries of the Virginia gubernatorial campaign thus far has been when Republican Bob McDonnell will take to the television airwaves, particularly now that a Democratic political action committee has bought $550,000 in commercial time to slam him statewide.
We may now have a piece of the answer--thanks to a 23-year old film production assistant in Boston.Yesterday, one Jonathan Paula twittered the following to his roughly 1,000 followers:
I work 45 hours a week as an assistant editor in Boston editing political campaign commercials. Right now: Bob McDonnell for VA Gov
Continue reading this post »
Posted at 5:59 PM ET, 05/ 5/2009
Farm Team Asks Moran to Alter Ad
Brian Moran's campaign has been slapped on the wrist by the organizers of the recent Farm Team debate in Williamsburg, for using video from the event in a You Tube campaign spot in violation of the debate's rules.
Campaigns had agreed they would not use video or audio from the event and Susan Platt, a Farm Team founder, emailed Moran today to complain. Jesse Ferguson, a Moran spokesman, said this evening that the video used only a short clip from the event and it will be removed.
"It's not fair for one campaign to break the rules when the other two have abided by them," Platt said in an interview.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:24 PM ET, 05/ 4/2009
Yes, McAuliffe, Can?
First Bill Clinton, now will.I.am.
The Terry McAuliffe camp has announced that musician, actor, Fergie-friend and all-around-cool guy will.I.am will campaign with McAuliffe campaign at a series of events on May 11.
Singer will.i.am performs at the Neighborhood Inaugural
Ball in Washington on Jan. 20. (AP Photo)
Singer will.i.am performs at the Neighborhood Inaugural
Besides once again adding a sheen of celeb excitement to the campaign, the will.i.am appearances may be designed to innocolate McAuliffe against charges that he was not sufficiently supportive of President Obama, given McAuliffe's role as Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:24 PM ET, 05/ 1/2009
More on Moran's Gay Marriage Voting Record
Increasingly, former Del. Brian Moran has been trying to portray himself as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate most friendly on gay rights. It's a strategy we explored in depth a few days ago. But at Wednesday night's debate, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds highlighted a bit of Moran's record that doesn't seem to quite fit the strategy.
In 2004, Moran cast a vote in favor of a resolution sponsored by now Republican nominee Bob McDonnell that encouraged the U.S. Congress to adopt an amendment to the federal constitution banning both gay marriages and civil unions. The voting history on the resolution, a companion to a senate resolution sponsored by now attorney general candidate Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, is complex.
Moran had three opportunities to vote on the issue during the 2004 legislative session. Once, the General Assembly's records showed that he did not vote. Next, he voted against the resolution. But on the last vote, on March 10, 2004, he voted for the idea.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 05/ 1/2009
Kaine on Supreme News
Gov. Tim Kaine promised this morning that the DNC will work to help get President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court confirmed, whoever that person may be. Confirmation of a nominee to the high court is always one of the highest tests of the political skills of a White House and as head of the Democratic party, Kaine will certainly play a role.
"He's a former constitutional law professor," Kaine said of Obama, reacting to this morning's news that Justice David H. Souter is planning retirement. "He is somebody who has a unqiue capacity to try pick the right person for this job. And it is certainly the case that when he does, we'll be out there, trying being supportive."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:06 PM ET, 04/30/2009
There were lots of interesting moments at last night's blogger-hosted debate near Virginia Tech. Perhaps the question that seemed to surprise the candidates most came from Fire Dog Lake's Jane Hamsher, who asked the men whether they had ever taken money from Virginia's Smithfield Foods.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 04/30/2009
A Recessional Debate
Positions are hardening between Virginia's political parties over the issue of $125 million in federal unemployment dollars rejected by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates last month.
Today, Democrats launch a weeklong tour to "support Virginia's unemployed," with events at the closed Tultex sweat shirt headquarters in Martinsville and the Danville Workforce Center featuring delegates and delegate candidates signing a petition on the issue. Every Democrat in the state will be highlighting this vote for months to come, convinced voters in a depressed economy will see the decision to turnback federal funds for the unemployed as heartless and out of touch.
But Republicans have hardly ceded the issue. Federal bailouts are not exactly universally popular at the moment, and they see the unemployment dollars as an example of federal overreach.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 6:23 PM ET, 04/29/2009
McAuliffe's Number One Fan
Terry McAuliffe: He's not just the president of the Terry McAuliffe fan club, he's also a member.
This morning we wrote about attempts by the gubernatorial campaigns to make use of Internet tools like Twitter and Facebook to build grassroots networks and keep supporters up to date.
Right on cue, a blast went out today encouraging people to join the Terry McAuliffe fan group on Facebook. But, the email is already generating some giggles for the self-referential wording.
"Terry became a fan of Terry McAuliffe on Facebook and suggested you become a fan too," the email says.
It's good to know he's got that vote locked down.
Posted at 6:00 PM ET, 04/28/2009
Kaine Congratulates Specter
Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is crowing about the newest member of his team.
In a statement, Kaine said he welcomes longtime Republican Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic party "with open arms." Specter announced today that after three decades as a Republican, he had come to believe the party has moved too far to the right and will run for reelection in 2010 as a Democrat.
You can read Kaine's full statement, in which he takes Specter's defection as a sign that the Republican party has "lost touch with the American people" here.
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.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 04/27/2009
A Non-Endorsement Endorsement
So has Terry McAuliffe locked up an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott, Virginia's only African-American congressman?
It would sure seem so from this photo making its way around the blogs, including Blue Virginia. Taken at the opening of McAuliffe's new Virginia Beach office yesterday, it shows McAuliffe with his arm on Scott's back, the two men smiling broadly. Scott is sporting a McAuliffe sticker.
But Joni Ivey, Scott's chief of staff, says not so fast. She said the office opening was one of five events Scott attended yesterday, and insisted the congressman has made no formal endorsement in the race.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 4:37 PM ET, 04/24/2009
Moran Raises Failed Company
Waiting to see the first time Terry McAuliffe's investment in failed telecommunications giant Global Crossing would pop up on the campaign trail? Last night was your night.
In an otherwise fairly placid debate on education, Brian Moran brought the company up in response to a question about teacher pensions.
Moran never mentioned McAuliffe by name and the reference likely went over the heads of most of the 700 teachers in the audience. But it was clearly a veiled slam at the former DNC head and millionaire entrepreneur.
Posted at 3:38 PM ET, 04/24/2009
All politicians make promises, and that is no different in the Virginia governor's race.
But the state's teachers discovered at last night's debate, Terry McAuliffe's pledges are particularly soaring.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 04/23/2009
Republicans Fight Back on Unemployment Dollars
Facing a growing tide of Democratic attacks, House Republicans today defended their decision to reject $125 million in federal unemployment money, arguing the dollars came with strings that would have been costly to Virginia business and cost jobs.
The April 8 vote is becoming a marquee issue on the campaign trail, as all three Democratic gubernatorial and other Democratic leaders looking to win back the Virginia House sense an opportunity to paint Republicans as sympathetic to the troubles of the state's unemployed. Democrats have said they will target Republicans who voted to turn back the money.
Joined by the heads of four small businesses, House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and House Majority Caucus Chairman Samuel A. "Sam" Nixon Jr. (R-Chesterfield) insisted that federal rules meant accepting the money required changing Virginia's unemployment insurance program in a way could hurt job-creating businesses.Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 04/22/2009
Moran Responds to Clinton Visit
Brian Moran's been touting his long list of endorsements for some time, but no one on his list has quite the star power of a former president of the United States.
Standing next to a Henrico County school board member and a Richmond area delegate at an event to talk about education this afternoon, Moran was asked about the news that President Bill Clinton will be coming to Virginia next week to campaign for longtime friend Terry McAuliffe.
He smiled broadly.
"This race will be won with Virginia voters," he said. Then, he went through his familiar recitation of his long years of service as a prosecutor and delegate in Virginia. "That's what will win this primary," he said.
But McAuliffe said today that Clinton can offer Virginia voters his thoughts as a former governor from another southern state.
"If people are focused on jobs, I don't think anyone has the credibility to talk about job creation better than Bill Clinton," he said.
Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 04/22/2009
McAuliffe: Virginia Can Do Better on Job Creation
At an appearance last night before the civil rights organization the Richmond Crusade for Voters, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe had harsh words for Virginia's recent efforts to lure new business to the state.
"Why are we losing all this business to six southern states?" he asked, then mentioned several examples -- a Dutch company manufacturing crystals for solar panels in Tennessee, another company that has opened a plant to build turbines and towers for wind farms in Arkansas.
"Why did we not bid on that here in Virginia?" he asked. "We should be bidding on every project."Continue reading this post »
Posted at 3:32 PM ET, 04/21/2009
Virginia Partisans Back Moran
Brian Moran (D) continued to work to separate himself from his Democratic rivals for governor today by touting his endorsement by the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club. The nod came today partly in recognition of Moran's stand in Sunday's debate, where he was the only one of the three candidates who pledged to work to rescind Virginia's constitutional amendment against gay marriage.
Opponents Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds both said they opposed the amendment but begged off promising the two-year legislative battle plus ballot effort needed to overturn it.
Moran is gambling that Democratic primary voters will reward his willingness to vocally support gay rights, elsewhere a more mainstream party position. He says he opposes gay marriage but believes the constitutional amendment makes even contract agreements between same-sex partners illegal. But the stance will surely follow him if he wins his party nomination, where the position may be more risky.
The group's president acknowledged as much in making the endorsement. "Throughout his career, he's fought alongside us- not just in his voting record, but also in the leadership positions he has taken in support of equality," said President Charley Conrad said. "And even now, during this campaign, he continues to push pro-equality positions, despite any potential political risk. The LGBT community is standing firmly with Brian because he has always stood up for us."
Posted at 2:50 PM ET, 04/20/2009
This is my first posting on the Virginia Politics blog, so I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I'm Roz Helderman and today I replace Tim Craig as one of the Post's two reporters covering politics and government statewide in Virginia. I am joining Anita Kumar on the beat immediately and will soon be joining her in our Richmond office as well.
I've been in exile since 2006, working for the Post across the Potomac. In Maryland, I covered politics and government in Prince George's County, including following a campaign for county executive and a congressional primary that resulted in the ouster of an eight-term incumbent.
But really, this is something of a homecoming for me. I spent my first five years at the Washington Post in Virginia. I worked first as a summer intern in our Loudoun County bureau, then covered education in that fast-growing county and beyond. My last Virginia assignment had me covering the 60-day legislative session in 2006, which unexpectedly turned into a six-month assignment when legislators had one of their now nearly annual feuds over transportation funding.
I am excited to be taking on the beat at such an important and fascinating time for the commonwealth. I'll be working to get up to speed as quickly as possible--please don't hesitate to get in touch if you can help.