George Allen

Dawn Of Election Day: Insights On Tim Kaine And Barack Obama

As we prepare to vote in the most consequential election of our lifetime and, perhaps, in many generations; an election that will transform America into a European-style social welfare state, or one that will restore the country to a dynamic economy with government's role properly limited; a country where distinctions no longer matter and anything goes, or one where the protection of life, marriage protected and defined, and religious liberty are safeguarded for us and future generations as the foundation of a free, prosperous and safe people. We will decide on a president and the composition of Congress, including one of the nation's highest profile Senate races which could determine the balance of power in that powerful chamber, and further accelerate which direction the country moves. Tim Kaine, once President Barack Obama's chief at the Democrat National Committee, and George Allen, once the Republican in charge of electing more Republican senators, seek the office.

There's no need to rehash the entire presidential and senate campaigns here. But as the president and Mr. Kaine have long been friends (Mr. Kaine was the first Democrat official elected to statewide office to endorse then-Senator Obama) and served as his primary defender as the chairman of the DNC, a couple of insights are in order from each that illuminate how their lack of capacity to lead honestly.

First, Mr. Kaine. It is well documented that he promised not to raise taxes in his campaign for governor and that he broke that promise in his first week in office. He introduced massive tax increases each of his four years in Capitol Square. He argued the need in order to fund Virginia's lagging transportation improvements.

What isn't so well documented (and a mystery as to why the Allen campaign has not used this against him) is that while Mr. Kaine hammered away at the need to grab more hard-earned income from Virginia families, is that he also refused each of his four years to audit VDOT. While House Republicans asked and asked, his reply was to demand tax increases. But the theory was that if we audit VDOT, perhaps we'll find some money there and we can see how much we really need to raise. Mr. Kaine flatly refused to acknowledge even the possibility. Nothing there, there, he'd say, and then demand the tax increase, even going so far as to launch robo calls into the districts of certain House members, telling their constituents that their delegates didn't want to fix Virginia's roads.

In 2010, in one of his first actions, Governor Bob McDonnell ordered the long sought VDOT audit. It turned up $1 billion in unused and wasted funds and funding opportunities. Mr. Kaine offered no apologies. It's one thing if the public truly needs to pay up to improve its community. It's another when a politician tries to pry away hard earned family income into government coffers when he was wasting what he had to begin with.

The insight into President Obama's character is quicker to arrive at. After all the snark, sarcasm, small and demeaning attacks, and vicious lies about his opponent, Mitt Romney, he runs this ad (see Ben Shapiro at Breitbart's Big Government).

One question: Would the president allow his daughter to see this? Is he really proud of this?

Whether it's unscrupulously fleecing taxpayers for his own political schemes or producing near-obscene ads, neither Tim Kaine nor Barack Obama offer the dignity to lead.

Primary Thoughts

Now that the dust has settled — not from the earthquake (another aftershock of 4.5 magnitude at 1:00 a.m. with possibly more in the offing) — but from Virginia's General Assembly primary season, some thoughts. First, although my prediction on Monday concerned the general election, it already has taken an embryonic form. It was an exceptional night for conservatives in numerous Republican Senate primaries, yet barely a whisper emanated from the mainstream media about this revolution. Throw in a previously held nomination contest in Hampton Roads as well as some conservatives who were unopposed. it's almost a lock that whether the GOP wins the Senate or not, its caucus, already trending to the right, may become nearly aligned with its House counterparts. But not all media are ignoring this trend or letting it slip them by. John Gizzi at Human Events recognizes it and is one of the few national columnists to trumpet the results.

If the GOP does win control of the Virginia Senate, not only will the caucus have a decidedly different philosophical bent from its past leaders, the likes of Ben Loyola, Jeff Frederick, Dick Black, Bill Carrico and Tom Garrett, among others, joining Mark Obenshain, Steve Martin, Jill Vogel and company, will create a dynamic not ever seen in Virginia history. The possibilities should jump start all ends of the conservative coalition, from social conservatives to limited government advocates, into a turbocharged grassroots effort this fall for an unprecedented opportunity — delivering both chambers of the General Assembly into conservative stewardship.

As for specific highlights: Turnout wasn't great, and there was the earthquake to deal with, but 10 percent turnout was not unexpected. What was shockingly appalling was the 2.5 percent turnout in the Southwestern 21st district. Delegate Dave Nutter took a late gamble by forsaking his safe House seat very late in the process (Roanoke Times), after denying he was interested, and jumped into the Senate race, defeating Tea Party backed Tripp Godsey. He will have to not only gain the Tea Party's enthusiastic backing, but energize a slew of activists to work hard for him to defeat entrenched liberal incumbent John Edwards. In what is still a blue district, Delegate Nutter now has even more work cut out for him.

Speaking of blue districts, now that he's won the 30th district Democrat primary, say hello to Senator Adam Ebbin. More reason than ever to turn the Senate conservative: As left as there is this side of Europe, Mr. Ebbin in the Senate majority will be able to advance every left-wing cause he advocated for in the House, but which met merciful deaths there.

In the hotly contested, newly drawn very red 22nd Senate district, where five Republicans went at it, Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett won. Some have asked whether it's a coincidence or irony that the 22nd was the epicenter of Tuesday's earthquake, as hard fought as it was. Bryan Rhode proved good looks, youth and a lot of money can't overcome among GOP voters a perceived slight to then-Attorney General Candidate Ken Cuccinelli (Lynchburg News & Advance).

Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Virginia establishment got crushed by the former state party chairman it ousted. Despite former U.S. Senator George Allen and other establishment Republicans endorsing opponent Tito Munoz, Jeff Frederick won the 36th district easily (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star). Lesson for the party royalty: Opposing Jeff Frederick typically leads to his success. He is the supremo at channeling establishment opposition into intense grassroots insurgencies that make said opposition look clueless.

Another loser — Bearing Drift. Perhaps the most influential and most read Virginia conservative political blog, and very dear friends, its endorsed candidates in the four highest profile and contested primaries took a beating — five if you consider the fact that it endorsed Rhode and Mark Peake in the 22nd, hedging its bets. The winner: Social and grassroots conservatives. In many races, all candidates had certified conservative bona fides and other factors came into play, notably, experience and electability. The latter taking in many considerations, such as residence and community involvement and name identification in the most populous portions of the district, for example.

What about the Tea Party? A surprise during the filing period was that the expected shoe did not drop on many GOP incumbents. Only one, caucus leader Tommy Norment of the 3rd district, received a challenge. Instead, Tea Party backed candidates (really, the old-line movement/grassroots conservatives) went another route, gunning instead for newly redistricted and open seats. By and large, they were successful.

Annual Pastors Day At The Capitol Is Tomorrow

The annual Pastors For Family Values Day at the Capitol is tomorrow and a large number of pastors from around Virginia have pre-registered, but it's not too late to attend. Pastors will hear speakers, get briefings on current legislation from The Family Foundation staff, meet with legislators, attend committee hearings, see floor debates and enjoy a complimentary lunch. If you are a pastor click here to register or call 804-343-0100; or, if you think your pastor would be interested, please forward this link to him.  Martin Brown, Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Social Services, is the event's keynote speaker. He has held several high profile positions in state government and had a key role in promoting Virginia's historic welfare reform under then-Governor George Allen. He also has had a successful business career, including serving as president of Providence Management Group, Inc.; and is a former executive director of The Family Foundation.

In addition, Pastor Dan Inghram, of National Capitol Bible Church, and Justin McClure, youth pastor at Beaverdam Baptist Church, will share outreach strategies for public school students, so youth and children's pastors are invited as well.

Tea Party Queen Radtke Files Paperwork To Run For U.S. Senate

As we speculated previously (here and here), Jamie Radtke, the organizer of the successful Virginia Tea Party convention in October, will run for office. Specifically, for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 Republican primary, eschewing a 2011 primary opportunity in the 10th Virginia Senate district against GOP incumbent John Watkins. At least, today, she filed the official paperwork to declare her candidacy for that office (see Anita Kumar at Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). In a statement, she said:

I am the mother of three young children, and my first priority is both to protect them today and protect their future. I truly worry about what the next five years holds for our children and the nation, given this climate of reckless and immoral spending. Someone must step into the gap so that our children and America are not crushed in the coming years under the weight of insurmountable debt and debilitating taxes. 

The front runner is former governor and senator George Allen, who lost the seat in 2006 to the incumbent, Democrat Jim Webb. Delegate Bob Marshall and Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart also are considering a run. Hampton Roads businessman Bert Mizusawa, who lost the GOP second district House nomination to now Representative-Elect Scott Rigell, also may throw his hat in the ring. However, former 11th district Representative Tom Davis seems to have taken himself out of consideration, preferring instead, "to have left Congress undefeated and unindicted. You like to keep it that way."

TEA Party Queen Looks Into Options

Is Jamie Radtke making moves that would confirm our pre-recent-election speculation that she is interested in running for office? It all started after her very successful Virginia TEA Party Convention (see Lynn Mitchell in the Washington Examiner) in October that prompted Virginia politics commentator Dr. Bob Holsworth to write on his Virginia Tomorrow blog that she would be a formidable candidate for office one day. But, we wondered, which office?  Then, late last week, she resigned as chairwoman of the Virginia TEA Party Patriots Federation, according to Anita Kumar at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog, in order to explore a possible a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Jim Webb. This followed her victory in a poll at Bearing Drift over more established and likely candidates, including the previous holder of that seat, George Allen, as well as Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart, and Delegate Bob Marshall.

According to the Post, Radtke, as we thought, was thinking of a Virginia Senate run. But after the success of the convention, she has been encouraged to think globally, as it were. Is it all a head fake, to build visibility for a 2011 state Senate GOP primary run after all? Could that also be said for Stewart's recent interest in the job, since he long has eyed the Lt. Governor's post? (See his provocative interview at tbd.com.) Then there's the possibility, as reported by the Post and Bearing Drift that former Congressman Tom Davis may seek the GOP nomination as well.

So, will Virginia join some states from this year's election and throw a Boston Tea Party in two years or settle for a traditional, genteel tea party, complete with appropriate china? For the junkie, 2012 can't get here soon enough. For some of us, can't we just get through the General Assembly and the 2011 elections, first?

Polls Show Virginia GOP Within Distance Of Sweeping Four Targeted House Seats

In 1994, a year after George Allen led a historic landslide Republican victory in the Old Dominion, Virginia was, for the most part, left out of the national limelight in the even more historic national Republican wave that won the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate for the first time in more than 40years. Oliver North lost a hotly contested Senate race to Chuck Robb and the GOP picked up only one House seat (the 11th, Tom Davis) while Republicans were winning in all corners of America. Was reason given by pundits at the time was that Virginians had gotten the protest out of their system in 1993. This year, following last year's more-impressive-than-1993 Bob McDonnell-led-landslide, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins has been fond of saying that to take back the House, the GOP needs to gain 40 seats; 10 percent of that is here in Virginia. Now, as Jim Geraghty of National Review's Campaign Spot blog writes today, polling information shows those victories may be within reach: Three Republican challengers in those four targeted districts are leading their Democrat incumbent rivals, with a fourth closing fast. Here's the breakdown:

» In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Scott Rigell leads Democrat Glenn Nye, 48.6 to 34.5 percent.

» In the 5th District, Republican Robert Hurt leads Democrat Tom Perriello, 51.1 to 34.7 percent.

» In the 11th District, Republican Keith Fimian leads Democrat Gerry Connolly, 42.2 percent to 36.7 percent.

» In the 9th District, Republican challenger Morgan Griffith is down to Democrat Rick Boucher only 42.6 to 39.7 percent. However, one poll had Boucher up by 20 points about a month back, then by only 8 points a couple of weeks ago. The recent fallout over Mr. Boucher buying a brand new Ford with campaign funds while Virginians in the Southwest part of the state are suffering particularly hard during this recession could easily factor into a quickly narrowing gap.

The rest of the respondents in each poll were undecided. Tellingly, though, the poll, conducted by ccAdvdertising, does not include independents or third parties. Although not a top tier polling outfit, the snapshot does provide a glimpse of what directions the campaigns are going and who has momentum.

Not all landslides are the same and electorates can swing back from whence they came in a very short time. But this year, Virginia Democrats have much going against them, much more so than in 1994. Many of the circumstances that drove people to the polls and to the GOP in Virginia and in blue New Jersey (and deep blue Massachusetts in January) last year are still around: Primarily, as in the case of Congressman Boucher, this:

This love is going to last, but that might not be a good thing.

And this:

He's doing fine, representing liberal special interests rather then his constituents.

George Allen, Ken Cuccinelli Speak At Recent Family Foundation Events

The Family Foundation is busy this summer traveling the commonwealth and meeting pro-family Virginians. We're encouraged by the new people we're meeting — there are an increasing number of citizens who believe in life and liberty affirming principles and who are anxious to get involved. On June 23, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined The Family Foundation for a luncheon at the Spotswood Country Club in Harrisonburg. The luncheon was hosted by area residents and Family Foundation Board members Mac Nichols and Dean Welty, and attended by roughly 70 pro-family citizens. After I touched on the highlights and our  2010 General Assembly accomplishments, Attorney General Cuccinelli spoke, affirming the work of The Family Foundation and stressing the significance and impact of pro-family efforts in our legislative system.

On July 13, former Governor George Allen joined us for a dinner at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, organized by area resident and Family Foundation Board member A.C. Wilson and his wife, Lucy. Supporters and elected officials mingled together for dinner and the chance to hear Governor Allen speak. He recalled fond memories of his time working with Family Foundation legends, such as Anne Kincaid, during his time in the Governor's mansion. In addition, Allen spoke boldly on behalf of The Family Foundation in regards to the work we do as well as our reliance on all forms of support, both financial and prayerful, from those who share our views and goals for our Commonwealth.

The evening ended with an invitation from The Family Foundation’s Chaplain, Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr. Known for being a gifted orator, Bishop Jackson moved the crowd to a standing ovation following his call to action. He closed with a reminder to not be discouraged by the work ahead, but instead to be confident, as we cling to the promises guaranteed to us, for as quoted by Bishop Jackson, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

The following day, Bishop Jackson met with a group of approximately 50 pastors from the Martinsville area. Motivating them to action, he reaffirmed The Family Foundation's commitment to educating and equipping pastors for our partnership with them in our work in the legislative arena.

The summer is nowhere near over and neither is The Family Foundation's summer travels. Stay tuned for where we'll be next.

Family Foundation's Bishop Earl Jackson To Address Freedom Fest 2010 This Sunday

If you have never had the opportunity to hear Family Foundation and Pastors For Family Values chaplain Bishop Earl Jackson speak, you are missing one of Virginia's great modern day speakers and thinkers. He is a wonderful addition to our team and is wowing people of all types all over the commonwealth. Bishop Jackson, a challenging and gifted orator, is quickly becoming an in-demand favorite at events and rallies around Virginia.   One such event is later this week, where Bishop Jackson will join former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former U.S. Senator George Allen and others at Freedom Fest 2010 in Norfolk. Billed as a "Tribute to our military and first responders," Freedom Fest 2010 will take place Sunday, June 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Old Dominion University's Convocation Center. Tickets start at $45, but you can enter the promotion code "church" when purchasing tickets and receive a 20 percent discount on the ticket price.

For more information and tickets go to freedom1650.com. To get a sample of Bishop Jackson, see the video below.

"We don't do politics. . . ." A small sample of Bishop Earl Jackson shows why he is one of the most in-demand public speakers in Virginia. 

Virginia News Stand: May 25, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations What's All The Fuss?

The Virginia media can't get over its preoccupation with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Now the big news is that he and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling are meeting regularly. The AG and Governor Bob McDonnell already are. So, what's the fuss about? There must be a conspiracy, a cabal or more involved. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro wrote not his first, nor his last, column on the perceived ever changing dynamics within Virginia GOP because of Mr. Cuccinelli: State Republicans can't live with him and they can't live without him seems to be the prevailing wisdom. Meanwhile, the AG continues to make news, last night doing a live interview on Fox News Channel's On The Record with Greta Van Susteran, not because of what he did, but because the feds finally replied to the health care lawsuit he filed. Not surprisingly, the Obama administration is asking for a dismissal. Hey, Mr. Prez: same question to you: What's the fuss?

News

U.S. seeks dismissal of Va. health-care challenge (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Feds seek dismissal of Va. health care suit (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Bolling, Cuccinelli keep each other informed (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Tea Partiers cry foul on local rally (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

McDonnell says he did not know about Malek’s past (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Fimian poll shows him leading Herrity in NoVa primary race (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Rigell's survey says he's the clear frontrunner in GOP race to face Rep. Nye (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell meets with legislative black caucus (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Has McDonnell's national rehabilitation begun? (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Del. Rust another victim of California thieves (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

House joins upcoming state furlough day, to tune of $35,000 savings (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

In George Allen’s book, sports is allegory for politics (Bob Lewis/AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Go west! Dems did, now fight to retain their gains (Kristen Wyatt/AP/GOPUSA.com)

A Senate Majority Comes Closer (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann/GOPUSA.com)

Cuccinelli forces GOP to adjust (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Left is right, Right is wrong: Street theatre and protesters in Perriello’s parking lot (Schilling Show Blog and News)

Daily Perriello: “Lefty” McNeill misreports liberal protest at Congressman’s office (Schilling Show Blog and News)

They're All Obama Liberals Now (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Financial Regulation Bill is Socialism (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann/GOPUSA.com)

A Plan to Save Europe and World Economic Recovery (Lawrence Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

Internet Freedom Challenged by Obama FCC (Floyd and Mary Beth Brown/GOPUSA.com)

Who's coming to your door from the census bureau? (Fresh Ink Blog GOPUSA.com)

Obama approval rating drops (Fresh Ink Blog GOPUSA.com)

Save The Date: The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala October 9!

Our Annual Gala this year will be a little more special than most years and we're excited about that. It will be extra special because it will be our 25th Anniversary Gala, and we're celebrating it on a Saturday evening instead of the typical weekday so more people can attend.

So, please save the date: October 9 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Befitting a silver anniversary event, we're planning activities throughout the day in addition to the dinner, which will make the Gala a fully rounded, lively and engaging celebration. It is certain to be a memorable event as we look back on a quarter century of defending our shared values and celebrate our many victories. We’ll also look ahead to the next 25 years as we advance our critical mission.

Okay, Okay . . . people hear that all the time and the word has been out for a bit, but people keep asking me who the keynote speaker is, or even if we have one lined up yet. The answer is, yes, we do a have a speaker and, just as with last year, when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee inspired a crowd of more than 1,250 guests, the keynoter this year will encourage, motivate and energize you for the future. In fact, we have a pretty good track record of Gala speakers: William Bennett, Tony Snow, former Senators Rick Santorum and George Allen, Gary Bauer, David Barton, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Steve Forbes, Maggie Gallagher, Eric Metaxas and former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, among them.

This year's speaker — named one of the "Top 20 Most Influential Conservatives in America" and a frequent national television guest — is a national leader for conservative principles and is certain to bring a powerful, engaging and inspiring message that you won't want to miss. In fact, you will be disappointed if you do. So, please get your tickets now to see. . . .

Stay tuned for the big reveal in the weeks to come. We will have exciting announcements and updates delivered to you in exciting ways, so sign up for our e-mails, return to this blog, join us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. Help us launch an exciting new era at The Family Foundation where we bring our traditional message to new audiences with modern techniques. 

The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m., preceded by a private reception for sponsors with the speaker. We hope you’ll reserve this date on your calendar.

Additional information on sponsorship packages, tickets and program advertisements will be provided this summer via email and online at www.familyfoundation.org/gala.htm. To receive the information by mail, please call us at (804) 343-0010 or e-mail Gala@FamilyFoundation.org.

Virginia News Stand: April 22, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Landmark Edition

A short edition today, which gives you no excuse for not reading every article. Leading the news is the landmark pro-life budget amendment passed last night by both chambers of the General Assembly. We're quoted and mentioned prominently in the lead link below. This may only be the start. Nationally, states are moving toward using a provision in the government health care takeover law that allows them to opt out of paying for abortion in health care. Ashley Horne of CitizenLink.org has an in-depth analysis of the hows and whys of federal government funding of abortion in this new law, despite the so-called prohibitive language in the legislation and President Obama's executive order supposedly prohibiting it. Speaking of executive orders, Peter Sprigg of FRCBlog explains the impact of the president's order allowing "same-sex partners" hospital visitation rights and such.  

While most of the ink is about yesterday's "Veto Session," the Richmond Times-Dispatch highlights yesterday's "Virginia Annual Political Rite of Spring," The Shad Planking in Wakefield. Former governor and senator George Allen was the keynote speaker and about 1,200 attended, less the 138 (two House seats are vacant) from the General Assembly. You'd think they could schedule it on a day when Virginia's princes and princesses could attend. On the other hand . . . maybe that's the point?

News

*Va. legislature votes to restrict abortion funding (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell bid to restrict abortion funding upheld (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Virginia legislature restricts abortion funding (Washington Post)

McDonnell cuts for broadcasting, at-risk children rebuffed (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

House rejects at-risk youth cuts, others by gov (The Daily Press)

Session finalizes budget matters (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

General Assembly veto session a mixed bag (Roanoke Times)

Former McDonnell brother-in-law addresses gay-rights rally (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Allen and about 1,200 turn out for Shad Planking (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Rep. Scott questions police procedures after hotel visit (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

States Opt Out of Paying for Abortion in Health Care (CitizenLink.org)

Analysis

Hospital Visit Horrors? Here’s the Rest of the Story (Peter Sprigg/FRCBlog.com)

How Exactly Will the Government Fund Abortion Under the New Health Care Law? (Ashley Horne/CitizenLink.org)

Quote Of The Weekend

Today's QOD comes from Saturday, actually — and, it doesn't come from the inauguration, either, nor from any of its many festivities. Instead, it come from the Americans For Prosperity Virginia Chapter's post swearing in Celebration of Freedom event at the Richmond Marriott, which honored the inauguration of Governor Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Interesting speakers and great food — when doesn't an AFP event go all out? — included former Lt. Governor Bolling, Governor George Allen (sounding like a candidate again), Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) and Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg). Perhaps the most dynamic, though, was Education Secretary Gerard Robinson. His speech was unapologeticly pro-education choice. Maybe he wasn't quite as in-your-face to the educrat establishment as was New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie (see here) last week, but this ain't bad — alluding to his ambitious agenda to reform education and provide education choice, he said of the educrat establishment:

I'm going to be accused of destroying public education. In some ways, it's already it's already taking care of that itself.

Amen to that! Secretary Robinson may not be looking for a fight, but he's certainly prepared for one. We don't blame him and we've got his back.

Virginia News Stand: November 10, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Houck Not Going Anywhere

The hot rumor going around was that Senator Edd Houck (D-17, Spottsylvania) would accept a job in the new McDonnell administration, thus opening up a potential re-take of the Senate by Republicans by winning that seat in a special election. Democrats hold a one seat majority in the chamber, but a tie would flip it back to the GOP because of the re-election of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. However, Senator Houck has dampened that speculation in today's Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

In other news, Senator Robert Hurt (R-19, Chatham) has hired Chris LaCivita as his consultant in the crowded 5th Congressional District Republican nomination campaign. LaCivita, formerly a consultant to former Governor George Allen, is most noted for running the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry, and is fresh off Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli's landslide victory. Those who hire LaCivita mean to win. Elsewhere, a Democrat big gun is brought in for the recount in the 21st House of Delegates district election (where Republican Ron Villanueva defeated incumbent Democrat Bobby Mathieson); the effect of the Liberty University student vote is looked at in the 23rd district campaign (where Republican Scott Garrett defeated incumbent Democrat Shannon Valentine); and Public Opinion Strategies offers insights into the Obama affect in the Virginia campaign. But mainly, we're happy to bring back editorial comics to the News Stand.  

News:

Houck: No plan to leave (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

McDonnell disagrees with study on trimming tax breaks (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Falwell says he's 'surprised' by election results (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Counting in disputed 21st District race to resume at noon (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Al Gore's Attorney helps Mathieson (BearingDrift.com)

Hurt signs up LaCivita (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Population, inflation fuel 10-year budget growth in Va. (Washington Post)

Analysis:

Don't Tell Anyone, But Obama Hurt Deeds in Virginia (Public Opinion Strategies/TQIA Blog)

Commentary:

Are Republicans too giddy? (Julian E. Zelizer/CNN.com)

Editorial Comics:

"Wahtchya doing?" (Eric Allie/Townhall.com)

"DrainO" (Nate Beeler/Townhall.com)

cartoon1cartoon2

Why You Need To Read This Blog: Wilder Impact, We Had It First

Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we're not bad. Pretty good, in fact. Yesterday, in our almost daily Virginia News Stand we commented that the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and Fraternal Order of Police endorsements, as well as former Governor Doug Wilder's non-endorsement of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds, had put momentum back on the side of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell Guess who confirms it today? The august editorial page writers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, whose lead editorial, "Election 2009: Wilder Rules," sees it as we do. 

As the T-D put it:

The only thing better for Republican Bob McDonnell would have been a formal endorsement. There is no way Democrat Creigh Deeds can put a happy face on this. ... his statement implicitly underscored the Republican's electoral strengths and the Democrat's electoral weaknesses. Wilder's criticism of Deeds' willingness — eagerness? — to hike taxes for transportation echoed one of McDonnell's themes. Wilder cited the regressive nature of most of the proposed revenue enhancements — such as higher gasoline taxes or higher sales taxes generally.

In 2006, it was perceived that Mr. Wilder was flirting with endorsing George Allen in his re-election bid to the U.S. Senate. When he endorsed Jim Webb, many thought it wasn't that he preferred Webb over Allen, but interpreted the political tea leaves correctly and wanted to be relevent to the election and his endorsement important. That's our Doug. So could this non-endorsement mean that this historic figure, who has some of the best political radar in the country, thinks Deeds is going down to defeat?

Let's put it another way. The former governor and first strong mayor of Richmond in 60 years is saying this: Creigh, you have no plan. What you do have is a raise-taxes-for-every-problem-approach. Attacking your opponent is not telling us what you would do. He even went so far as to say Deeds is offering no leadership! As anyone who knows Doug Wilder knows, he wants to know what you will do and knows those who don't say are normally doomed to defeat.

Is Sheila Johnson This Year's Patricia Cornwell?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell received a huge boost yesterday in the form of an endorsement from billionaire Sheila Johnson, a lifelong Democrat and media mogul (see Washington Times). She is the co-founder of BET and other cable networks, among other businesses, and a big financial backer of Governor Tim Kaine's 2005 campaign. At first, this surprise and enthusiastic endorsement truly gives cover to McDonnell's umbrella group of supporters, Virginians For McDonnell. When he announced its formation in June, many Mainstream Media types scrutinized it as only a shelter for prodigal Republicans who've danced with Senator Mark Warner, but not welcome back as full partners by GOP regulars, and a few legit independents. But without visible support from true Dems, analysts said, this was a gimmick, and no proof of McDonnell's success in gaining a cross-section of support and/or middle-of-the-road and independent voters. 

Boy, does this change that. This modern-day Maggie Walker said she "did her homework" and interviewed all the candidates for governor, going back to the Democrat primary. Further, she said, she's not changing parties. It remains to be seen if the McDonnell campaign maximizes this endorsement or if she will carry enough juice to have an impact at all. But one would think she will star for him in television ads at least — pretty ironic if she doesn't, eh? — not to mention her potential financial support. 

In 1993, Virginians saw something similar when mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell, another very wealthy Virginia celebrity, who typically endorsed Democrats and who had endorsed Mary Sue Terry for governor, flipped to George Allen. Her reasons never were nearly as well explained as Ms. Johnson's, but she made a famous television ad announcing her newfound enthusiasm for Allen. It perhaps was the turning point in the campaign, and there was no going back for Allen, who stormed past a 17-point polling deficit to win by about the same margin. 

At the least, this is a momentum builder for McDonnell. A big-time businesswoman, she must recognize how desparate the economy is now, and her credibilty there is huge. But will it have the impact and result of the Cornwell endorsement of George Allen in 1993?

This year's Patricia Cornwell? Sheila Johnson stars at a news conference yesterday for Bob McDonnell. But will she star for him in campaign ads? Is this a campaign turning point or a momentum builder for McDonnell?

Poll: What's The Most Embarrassing Loss?

It's official. We now have, thanks to Minnesota courts — which, similar to Iran's government, refused to investigate that there were more votes than voters in certain precincts — a "comedian" U.S. Senator in the person of know-nothing, erratic, hyper-liberal, Al Franken. Losing to a clown like Franken must be pretty embarrassing to former incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. After all, he was a successful mayor of St. Paul and a distinguished senator. It got me thinking, for the fun of it, this question:

These three jump out at us. Add your own answer and comment on any other U.S. Senate election result, or any campaign result you think is particularly embarrassing because of how, why or to whom the candidate lost.

Yesterday's News

There was barely enough time yesterday to post Thursday's News Stand, so I omitted the commentary. However, a few of the articles merit mention and further comment. Foremost was the Richmond Times-Dispatch article that quoted our president, Victoria Cobb, about the incredibly important ruling from the U.S. 4th  Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld Virginia's law banning partial birth infanticide. The Washington Post and Daily Press also reported on this most significant judicial decision.

The court's 6-5 vote puts into focus the maxim that elections matter. The 4th Circuit once was the country's most reliably conservative (i.e., constitutionally sound) court. But a retirement or two, a feel good appointment of liberal Judge Roger Gregory by President George W. Bush in the first days of his presidency (when he was all about "reaching out") — and enthusiastically supported by then-Senator George Allen — followed by his inability to overcome a liberal Senate blockade of subsequent appointments, has made for a closely divided court. Think President Obama will nominate a conservative to this court? Not a chance — and he will have plenty of them. The court has a few vacancies.

The one confirmation to the 4th Circuit won by President Bush was that of Judge Steven Agee. A former delegate and Virginia Supreme Court Justice, who once ran for the Republican nomination for attorney general as a "moderate," he was a compromise choice of Democrat Senator Jim Webb and President Bush after his original choices were shot down by the new Democrat majority in 2007. Thankfully, Judge Agee voted in the majority.

Here's the breakdown of the vote (click here for the opinions):

Majority: Judge Niemeyer, who wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Williams and Judges Wilkinson, Shedd, Duncan, and Agee joined. Judge Wilkinson wrote a separate concurring opinion (see exerpt here).

Minority: Judge Michael, who wrote the dissent, in which Judges Motz, Traxler, King, and Gregory joined.

In other news, a political shocker: Delegate Kristin Amundson (D-44, Fairfax) surprised everyone with a post-re-nomination withdrawal. Even though the 44th usually goes blue, Republican Jay McConnville is proving to be a solid candidate. Furthermore, a lefty independent is in the mix. With its success in recent Northern Virginia special elections, could this be a surprise GOP pickup?

Finally, the Washington Post, of all papers, has followed up on Republican complaints about Governor Tim Kaine's lack of travel and expenses transparency while working his second job as Democrat National Committee Chairman. While he initially said he would only perform those duties on nights and weekends, the Post uncovered that seven of nine days he has travelled, and reported, are weekdays. The governor also previously said anyone who wants to know where he's been only has to ask. People have, through FOIA requests, and no answers are forthcoming. Also, he now says the DNC will pick up the costs of his security detail. But why were we taxpayers ever paying for these political trips?

John Cook's Win Shows Anything's Possible . . . For Either Party

(Admin's note: This was posted under a different heading on March 12, but because of a technical glitch, we lost it. It is re-posted here in an edited form, but with basically the same content. Sorry for any confusion.) Early returns often are misleading, not to mention election results themselves so soon after a major campaign. However, there are some signs GOP candidates maybe running effective campaigns in Northern Virginia and elsewhere.

First, there was the skin-of-the-teeth, 16-vote-win by Democrat Charniele Herring over Republican Joe Murray to win the lock-stock Democrat 46th House of Delegates district seat in a January special election necessitated when Brian Moran resigned to run for governor full time. Not long after that, Democrat Sharon Bulova barely defeated Republican Patrick Herrity in a special election for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman.

Moral victories for Republicans, maybe, but then came an actual win: Last week,  Republican John Cook squeaked by Democrat Ilryong Moon in the Braddock district supervisor seat vacated by Bulova (see Washington Post here). It's a district that went 57 percent for Barack Obama. His win changes the Fairfax County Board from an 8-2 Democrat majority to a 7-3 majority. Cook's win shows Northern Virginia may still be competitive and just as Republicans may have taken central Virginia and Hampton Roads for granted in recent years, allowing Democrat candidates to gain significant vote totals there, perhaps Democrats have taken its base lightly as well.

Republican statewide candidates don't need to win Northern Virginia to win elections, but they must be competitive and not get blown out, as were George Allen and Jerry Kilgore. Holding Dem victories to small margins upstate will be the test of the GOP ticket this fall; restoring large margins the test for the Dems.

Nationally, the moribund House Republican Campaign Committee may finally win a special election of its own. One indicator that it was in trouble leading up to the 2006 and 2008 campaigns were its losses in special elections in districts that had been Republican for years, including the one held by former Speaker Dennis Hastert as well as one in Mississippi.

Now comes word the GOP may be favored to pick up the New York House seat vacated by former Representative Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. According to The Post's The Fix blog (click here), while the Democrats' House campaign kitty is more than $16 million in the red, the GOP has some money to spend. It's a district that typically votes Republican in presidential elections, but Gillibrand proved to be an effective campaigner. Pundits say victory here could create momentum for yet more fundraising, which could be directed here in Virginia, a win considered especially crucial if the national GOP has intentions of a full rebound.

Live From Roanoke! Jim Gilmore And Mark Warner In Senate Debate Tonight

We had some comments earlier this week on the vice presidential debate, such as posing questions we'd like to hear asked. We only had two. Alas, neither were asked. In just a few hours, live at 7:00 from Roanoke's new Taubman Museum, former governors Jim Gilmore, the Republican nominee, and Mark Warner, the Democrat nominee, will have their only live televised statewide debate in their campaign for Virginia's open U.S. Senate seat. (George Allen and Jim Webb even debated on NBC's Meet The Press.) It will be worth watching. Record it if you must. In some areas it will be replayed later and C-SPAN is televising it and may repeat it as well. Others are Web streaming it.

Since Jim Gilmore has repeatedly asked for several live debates, as is the Virginia tradition, and since Mark Warner bailed out of one and only agreed to this one late in the game, we'd like to hear any one of these questions to Mr. Warner:

1. Mr. Warner, you claimed at the time, and still do, that your record setting tax increase was necessary because you had cut state government spending as far you could and needed the state revenue to keep the budget in balance. If so, why does the State Department of Planning and Budget Web site (click here) show that state spending under your administration went from $12.1 billion in Fiscal Year '03 general fund spending to $12.4 billion in FY '04 and then to $13.8 billion in FY '05. What exactly did you cut before you burdened Virginia's families with higher taxes?

2. If you tax increases left Virginia in such great fiscal shape, why has Governor Tim Kaine felt it necessary to try to raise taxes still more every year since?

3. Mr. Warner, when you were governor, you vetoed a bill to allow off shore drilling in Virginia. Now you say you are for it. Why should we believe you are for meaningful off shore drilling that will create thousands of jobs and bring in millions in revenue for Virginia?

4. Mr. Warner, you say you are a "moderate" who is willing to reach out and be bi-partisan. Yet you have not shown one area of disagreement with Barack Obama, who was listed as the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate by the non-partisan National Journal (more liberal, even, than the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont). Please list some major policies where you disagree with Barack Obama and agree with John McCain.

5. To both: What year was Franklin Roosevelt elected president and when did he first go on television?

We're not expecting any of the questions to be asked, but the candidates are welcome to come here and respond.

Stations Showing The Debate Live Tonight Charlottesville: WVIR 29 NBC Johnson City, Tenn.: WJHL 11 CBS Harrisonburg: WHSV 3 ABC Norfolk: WVBT 43 Fox Norfolk: WHRO 15 PBS Richmond: WWBT 12 NBC

Richmond: WTVR Digital 6.2 CBS (Comcast Channel 206) Roanoke: WBRA PBS Roanoke: WSLS 10 NBC  National: C-SPAN Streaming live online at News8.net Streaming live online at NBC4.com

 Streaming live online at WTVR.com

Streaming live online at WJLA.com

Stations Re-Broadcasting The Debate Washington, D.C.: News Channel 8 at 11:00 p.m. Friday Washington, D.C.: WRC 4 NBC at 7:00 a.m. Sunday