fairfax

Update: Winning Matters In The 37th Senate District Special Election

During the recent statewide campaign, we and our sister organization, TFF Action, ran an unprecedented — and massively successful — voter education campaign, Winning Matters. Although we anticipated a wind down after the election in November, Winning Matters remains in high gear for the crucial special election for the 37th district Virginia Senate seat (in Fairfax, January 12) vacated by Republican Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Winning Matters retained a staff of three (two field reps in Fairfax and a project manager) which has produced, and is distributing, thousands of paper and online voter guides in English, Spanish and Korean to churches, civic groups and area businesses. It also is providing absentee ballot applications for people not be able to vote in person on the 12th. Winning Matters also is working with churches to announce the election and/or put it in their bulletins as a reminder to their members to go out and vote.

If you are interested in helping Winning Matters with this crucial special election, between Republican Stephen Hunt and Democrat Dave Marsden, especially within your church, please contact Roger Pogge at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at roger@familyfoundation.org

Although the campaign is a short one, it has been hot for a while, probably because it is so crucial to the makeup of the Virginia Senate, which the Democrats currently control by one seat. Among the issues: Marsden now claims to be for lower taxes, despite his history of votes to raise them; the fact that he moved into a friend's house to be eligible to run for the seat; and, of course, it wouldn't be a campaign in Virginia if life and abortion weren't part of the (misleading) discussion. If Hunt wins for the GOP, it will remain within striking distance of winning crucial votes, with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling breaking ties. If Marsden pulls it out for the Dems, the left will have a little leeway with a second vote to spare. One seat might not sound like much, but whoever wins the election can change the dynamics of the entire Virginia Senate. Which is why winning matters.

Virginia News Stand: November 12, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Slow Time

It's a slow political news cycle this time of year, especially right after a gangbusters election, as things settle down. Soon, however, it will be special election time in Fairfax and Virginia Beach for two Virginia Senate seats (vacated by the elections of Ken Cuccinelli to attorney general and Ken Stolle to Virginia Beach Sheriff). It's becoming more likely that the new senator from Virginia Beach will be the Republican nominee since the Democrats can't seem to find a candidate. Bob McDonnell will show his bipartisan stripes and meet with House Democrats, while Ron Villanueva gains another vote in his bid to keep said Dems one seat fewer.

Nationally, the AP reports 10 states face looming budget disasters, while U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is seeking a huge tax increase to pay for the health care bill. Who thinks things will get better soon? Meanwhile, Walter E. Williams is on target as ever in his column about contempt for the constitution, Christopher Adamo offers the GOP lessons from the New York special Congressional election, and Bobby Eberle tells RNC Chairman Michael Steele to knock off the irresponsible racial talk.  

News:

McDonnell to meet with House Democratic Caucus (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Beach electoral board finds extra vote for Villanueva (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Two Republicans run for Stolle's seat; another Democrat out (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

'Jane Roe' honored at LU pro-life conference (Lynchburg News & Advance)

National News:

A Year Out, Widespread Anti-Incumbent Sentiment (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press)

Reid eyes payroll tax hike to pay for health care (AP/GOPUSA.com

Report: 10 states face looming budget disasters (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

History Is Calling — Will Obama Answer? (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Constitutional Contempt (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com)

We Win, They Lose (Lisa Fabrizio/GOPUSA.com)

Blind Diversity Equals Death (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Lessons Learned From New York District 23 (Christopher Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

Bridging the Racial Divide Takes a Bridge, not a Chainsaw (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

No More Career Politicians! (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: November 9, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Sunday Talk Shows And A Special Time Of Year

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell is still basking in the electoral landslide after glow, already a national figure, as he made the Sunday national talk show circuit yesterday. Meanwhile, the media is busy outlining what it thinks will be his challenges and goals starting in January. But . . . we're not done with campaigning, yet. Two major special elections are forthcoming: One, in Fairfax, to fill the seat of Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli, and one to fill the seat of Senator Ken Stolle, elected last week as Virginia Beach Sheriff. The Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog has much of the scoop on the former. 

While there are plenty of Republicans who are seeking the position, the Democrats can't find one. At least one who lives in the district. Party leaders leaned on Janet Oleszek, who bumblingly opposed Cuccinelli in 2007, not to run again. It looks like Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Fairfax) will run, but he doesn't live in the district, and it's not like he won so convincingly last week. Voter fatigue may be the biggest factor in both of the special elections.

News:

McDonnell opposes Va. participation in health-care bill's public option (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obstacles await McDonnell administration (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Governor-elect McDonnell: Putting his plan in motion (Roanoke Times)

McDonnell on Sunday morning talk shows (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell pegs his win to Va. issues, not national (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Va. unlikely to put charter schools on fast track (Washington Post)

GOP hopes to keep Cuccinelli's seat (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Oleszek and Bulova out for senate, Marsden possibly in for Cuccinelli seat (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Republicans still hard-pressed for minority support (Washington Post)

After bad fall, Democrats looking to bounce back (Washington Post)

Weakened Virginia Democrats seek strategy for comeback (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National:

Abortion an obstacle to health-care bill (Washington Post)

Commentary:

Governing with 2013 in mind (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Today's Celebration, Tomorrow's Work

Today, pro-family Virginians are celebrating yesterday’s election of candidates whom we believe hold to, and will govern by, values you and I share. After months of working hard either for candidates or organizations like The Family Foundation to educate voters, seeing the fruit of that labor is sweet indeed. Exit polling found that evangelicals made up more than one-third of voters yesterday and 83 percent of those voted for the pro-life, pro-family candidates. Those numbers surpass the high water mark of pro-family involvement in any Virginia election to date!

No one can question that our Winning Matters campaign had an incredible effect on voter turnout. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the campaign by donating financially, distributing Voter Guides, Report Cards, holding voter registration drives, and a multitude of other activities. Your efforts made a huge impact yesterday.

But now, the work begins.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as thrilled as you that Virginians sent a clear message to President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (not to mention Mark Warner, Jim Webb and the like) that we reject the debt riddled policies they are pushing. I’m excited that we have a Governor-elect, Lt. Governor-elect and Attorney General-elect who share our values. But I also know that we’ve been here before, in the days after elections, thinking that the work was done only to learn that it was far from over. We need to hold all of our newly elected officials to their promises.

Even with a larger conservative majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, the obstacle that our pro-family, pro-life agenda has faced for several years – the Virginia Senate – stands between us and our goals. While we hope members of that chamber also get the message of last night’s election results, they have two years before they face the voters. If history is any indication, they are hoping that you will have forgotten by then.

The first opportunities to affect the Senate will come with two special elections in the next few weeks. With Ken Cuccinelli’s victory last night, there will be an election to replace him in his Fairfax Senate seat. In addition, Senator Ken Stolle won election to sheriff of Virginia Beach, meaning that there will be an election for that seat as well.

Here is the commitment I’m asking you to make today: we will not stop, we will not rest, until the Senate of Virginia reflects our values! We will not stop working until that chamber joins the rest of our leaders in supporting common sense pro-life and pro-family proposals.

We have the opportunity in the upcoming session to give all 40 members of the Senate the chance to vote on legislation that reflects our values – and if they reject those values again, we have to make them pay the price at the ballot box in 2011.

I also encourage you to pray for all the newly elected candidates. In particular, over the next few months Governor-elect McDonnell will select key advisers, cabinet members and a multitude of officials on boards and commissions. Please pray that he appoints qualified, principled conservatives to those positions, the impact of which will go on well after he leaves office. It is often said that "personnel is policy," so selecting those he will take counsel from in the years ahead is crucial for the new governor.

But today, celebrate. Enjoy a hard fought victory. Then get ready to join The Family Foundation as we look only to the future.

Virginia News Stand: October 22, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Bell Sounds For Deeds

So much for Republicans for Deeds. Former Senator Brandon Bell, from the Roanoke area, originally, and surprisingly, signed on the Deeds campaign. Unlike three other liberal former senators who call themselves Republicans and announced their support for Senator Deeds earlier in the year, Bell's endorsement was puzzling. He even announced that he was backing Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for re-election and Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) for attorney general. Yesterday, however, whether he's reading the tea leaves, a bandwagon jumper, or finally read the Deeds platform, he reversed course and now is in the Bob McDonnell camp. The Roanoke Times has the details. Speaking of the Times, it really hit the nail on the head with this headline: "Contrasts sharp in attorney general race." On the ball, they are, at the Times.

On another note, the federal government can't get the Pig Flu vaccine in on time, and we're supposed to trust it with nationalized health care? Not a chance.

News:

McDonnell talks business with Lynchburg furniture maker (Lynchburg News & Advance)

McDonnell wins Bell's endorsement (Roanoke Times)

Contrasts sharp in attorney general race (Roanoke Times)

Deeds repeats closing debate remarks almost verbatim (Washington Times)

In this show, special guest stars speak for Deeds (Washington Post)

Bolling, Wagner frame campaign on mutually low job evaluations (Washington Post)

Neff mailing compares Bell to bad hubby (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

TAP's fatherhood program focuses on responsible fathers (Roanoke Times)

National News:

Web makers release tape of Philly ACORN visit (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP senator says Obama showing Nixonian tendencies (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama to slash bailout exec pay by 90 percent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Key senators may rebuff Obama on health care (AP/GOPUSA.com)

U.S. health care tab would grow under overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Education chief calls for teacher prep overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

CDC concedes vaccine production behind schedule (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Obama Bails Out When Asked About Fox News (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

The Real Flaw: Fox Is A No Fawn Zone (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Obama Hits Opponents With Chicago Brass Knuckles (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Justice Department: Blacks MUST Have Democrat Label To Know How To Vote (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Sabato's Crystal Ball In The Poll Vault

Over the last 24 hours two more polls were released, one by Democrat pollsters Public Policy Polling and the other by SurveyUSA for Roanoke television station WDBJ. Neither typically are considered top tier polls — not necessarily in the same league as Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen. But they have shown interesting, sometimes contradictory, results this campaign season. But now both show Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell with commanding double digit leads (14 and 19 points, respectively). Each also has the other two Republican candidates, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and attorney general nominee Senator Ken Cuccinelli (Fairfax), up by healthy double digit margins. Does the fact that these two newer polls to Virginia politics both show the same trend (though different margins) verify a trend? One who pretty much said so today was U.Va. political soothsayer Larry Sabato. On WRVA radio's Richmond's Morning News With Jimmy Barrett, he wouldn't go that far — yet. But he crept up to to the line, which, for Dr. Sabato, is saying a great deal. He said he would release his Crystal Ball's predictions next week.

Listen to Larry Sabato's interview (6:55) with Jimmy Barrett by clicking here.

Here is the analysis (including methodology) and internal numbers from the two polls, including from the polling organizations themselves:

Public Policy Polling 

McDonnell starting to pull away (PublicPolicyPolling.com)

Another Poll Suggests McDonnell Pulling Away From Deeds (CQPolitics Blog)

McDonnell up 12 pts. in new poll (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Both

McDonnell Opens Double-Digit Lead Over Deeds in Virginia (Politics Daily Poll Watch Blog)

SurveyUSA

Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #15927 (SurveyUSA.com)

SurveyUSA Shows McDonnell Clinging to a 59–40 Lead (National Review Online's The Campaign Spot Blog)

News7 Poll: Republicans hold comfortable leads in statewide contests (WDBJ7.com)

The Deeds Dodge: First The Marriage Amendment, Then Taxes, Now Government Run Health Care

It seems as if the fun at a Virginia gubernatorial debate isn't at or during the performance, but after it. We all remember Democrat Creigh Deeds' post debate performance in Fairfax, where it took him more than three minutes to zig-zag through enough contortions on the tax increase issue to make Plastic Man look rigid (see here). Prior to that, though not at a debate, Senator Deeds was incomprehensible in explaining what marriage meant (see here). But if you thought those were bad, wait to you hear Senator Deeds' response to a question on  government run health care, otherwise known as "the public option," after last night's debate at Roanoke College. It only took him 50 seconds to explain his position(s).

I'm not for a public option, but I'm for all options, I'm not for it, but I won't rule it out. Am I clear?

Virginia News Stand: October 20, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Polls, Debates And Third Party Ads

It's all about the race to Richmond now (except for a new twist on the Senator Norment situation). Even CBS News is jumping into the coverage. With two weeks left there's a bombardment of polls by every pollster this side of Minsk who wants to play Kreskin. Today, two more were released: One from Christopher Newport University and one from Clarus Research Group. In the campaign for governor, CNU has Republican Bob McDonnell up by 14 (not likely) but his running mate, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, up by just a few (even less likely), while Republican attorney general candidate, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), up by something more than a handful (we'll buy that; it's consistent with other polls). Clarus is more in line with the Mason-Dixon and the Washington Post polls: McDonnell up eight, Bolling up seven (still seems light) and Cuccinelli up eight, but with many more undecideds in the latter two races.

If there aren't enough polls for you, the third party ads are in high gear now: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the NRA have jumped in on McDonnell's behalf, though not likely offsetting the big labor putsch for Democrat Creigh Deeds. Debates are also in high gear as tonight's last gubernatorial version should be fun, especially since it is not on statewide television (embarrassing). Democrat Jody Wagner and Lt. Governor Bolling got into it last night. A math test for Ms. Wagner would've been more fun, though.

But will any of this matter? The Dems don't think so. Virginia Democrat Party Chairman Dickie Cranwell says his side's get-out-the-vote machinery will do the trick. That's why President Obama is coming in for Senator Deeds. Of course, the last three elections the Republicans bragged about their turnout operation as well. Ask Governor Kilgore. But if the Dems can confound the pollsters, it'll be because of their newfound and robust voter rolls and sheer force of numbers. Right now, it's their only chance. 

News:

McDonnell Pulls Away in Va. Gov. Race; Tie in N.J. (CBSNews.com)

CNU poll: McDonnell holds double-digit lead in Va. gov race (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell Expands Lead in Virginia Governor’s Race: GOP tops all three statewide elections in new Clarus Poll (ClarusRG.com)  

NRA's New Ad: McDonnell Protects You From "Them" (TheAtlantic.com)

Deeds campaign to focus on getting Obama supporters to polls (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds races to hook true-blue Democrats (Washington Post)

Deeds, McDonnell to debate for last time tonight (Washington Post)

Lieutenant governor hopefuls' debate becomes heated (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Lt. Gov. candidates spar over attendance (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

In Sept., Dems outspent GOP in Va. House contests (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Garrett and Valentine spar on taxes, transportation, tuition (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Economy, jobs key issues in 7th District (Roanoke Times)

Sen. Norment and Attorney General's office release opinion on W&M job (The Shad Plank Blog)

Virginia News Stand: October 19, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Which Is It?

As election day nears, the media starts to pay closer attention to the House of Delegates campaigns. Accordingly, we have articles on four of them today. Sounds like Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville), the House's top Democrat, is a bit rankled.

In a case study as to how people see the same object differently, the Washington Post claims Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) is bringing much more attention to the office (attorney general) that gets the least coverage every four years. On the other hand, The Daily Press offers the more traditional afterthought coverage. Which is it? The Post article is amazingly fair and perceptive. It does the senator right.

The Virginian-Pilot offers up a poll which shows Virginians decidedly againsta tax increase for transportation. Sorry, Creigh. Expect the aforementioned House (Democrat) candidates to sprint like Usain Bolt away from that proposition.

Speaking of the Post and The Daily Press, each endorsed a candidate this weekend. The Post predictably stuck with the guy it brung to the dance, Creigh Deeds, despite his attempts to avoid using the T word. Rumors are that he's buying up stickers to slap on yard signs in Northern Virginia that say, "Endorsed by Washington Post," just as he did in May shortly after it sponsored endorsed him in the Democrat primary. It was what gave him the edge then. The Daily Press, on the other hand, was not so predictable. It endorsed Tim Kaine four years ago, but now endorses Republican Bob McDonnell. It had no dog in the hunt it seems, and went with its best judgment.

Finally, the Post runs an opinion piece by a local teacher, Patrick Welsh, who offers common sense not often seen in those pages or in the D.C area: It's the parents, stupid, not the race.

News:

McDonnell, a poised presence, could lift the GOP (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell moored by conservative values (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell and Deeds: The men who would be Va. Governor (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Attorney general hopefuls offer stark contrast (The Daily Press)

Cuccinelli's bid puts focus on a job often off the radar (Washington Post)

Deeds seeks to beat the odds (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Deeds fights to hold Obama's Va. Coalition (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hopefuls Summon Spirit of '08 Race (Washington Post)

Va. Lt. Gov. candidates spar over job records (The Daily Press)

Lohr, Hart Spar On Social Issues (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

94th House District: A civil disagreement between Oder and West (The Daily Press)

A rocky path for 11th District candidates (The Roanoke Times)

Armstrong questions 10th District opponent (The Roanoke Times)

Analysis:

Poll: Fix roads, but don't raise taxes (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Commentary:

Editorial Page Endorsement: Mr. Deeds for Governor (Washington Post)

Editorial Page Edorsement: Budget discipline and executive experience make Bob McDonnell the right choice in difficult times (The Daily Press)

Making the Grade Isn't About Race. It's About Parents. (Patrick Welsh/Washington Post)

You May Want To Listen To This: AG Debate Link And Analysis

Last week, the candidates for attorney general, Republican Senator Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Delegate Steve Shannon, both of Fairfax, had only their second debate and the first that was broadcast — but only on Washington radio station WTOP-AM. (Democrat debate ducking has been taken to a whole new level this year.) What's particularly perplexing is the lack of coverage the media has affored the few debates that have taken place in any of the three statewide races, especially given the media's endless pontificating about elections and issues versus slick and negative advertising. (With only a handful of debates, it sure doesn't take a lot to cover them, either.) Yet, three candidates repeatedly refuse to debate (despite being well behind in the polls) and, when there is one, it is not on statewide television.

But we did have that one AG debate on WTOP's The Politics Program with Mark Plotkin (listen here). The highlight seems to be Delegate Shannon's "I am a pro-business, law and order centrist," comment when, in fact, he has a 100-percent AFL-CIO voting record (see AFL-CIO here) and has received nearly $150,000 in campaign contributions from big labor during his six years in the General Assembly — $120,000 of which has come during his attorney general run (see VPAP.org). 

What makes the statement even more astonishing is that Delegate Shannon attended a seminar in mid-September in Annapolis, Md., put on by the Democrat Attorneys General Association, that taught attorneys general how to sue companies into achieving liberal, extremist environmental policies not won through the legislative process. A suit-filing, job-killing AG. Now that's business friendly.

As if that wasn't enough, when it was Delegate Shannon's turn to ask the one question each candidate was allowed to ask of the other, he asked Senator Cuccinelli about global warming and "cap and trade." If this is so important, why do Delegate Shannon's television ads stress Internet predators?

Instead, he wants to sue employers into closing down, such as the MeadWestvaco plant in Creigh Deeds' own senate district. Read here what company Vice President Mark George wrote in an op-ed about the affect "cap and trade" would have on its Alleghany factory. It's liberal strategy to redefine terms (marriage comes to mind), but instead of coming down the middle, Delegate Shannon comes right down Leftist Lane. 

Virginia News Stand: October 5, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Dems Abandoning Deeds? Surprisingly Close House Race?

Articles of note in today's large News Stand: At the top of the News section, as well as at the top of the National News section, are articles in which leading national Democrats  sound as if Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is in the bottom of the ninth, with at least one out. New Jersey is the name of the game, now, they say (see this QOD if you haven't yet).

Meanwhile, Republican attorney general candidate, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), was the only one of the six statewide candidates to speak at the traditional Jefferson Assembly at Poplar Forest. (Virginia pols turning down a chance to appear Jeffersonian?) The Richmond Times-Dispatch looks at 10 House of Delegates races that may decide its control. Most interesting, it includes the 69th district race. The 69th is a majority-minority district and is overwhelmingly Democrat. But Republican Ernesto Sampson is giving Democrat Betsy Carr more than she wants.

Aside from campaigns, the Life issue continues to confound liberals, who don't seem to understand that people have a natural instinct to preserve it. First, a new Pew Research poll confirms a Gallup survey earlier this year — support for Life continues to rise. Those supporting abortion are stagnant or falling. See the Analysis section. Then, for all the stereotype of college students being pro-abortion, there are Students for Life groups springing up all over Virginia campuses and around the country. The James Madison University Dukes for Life are profiled in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record

News:

Schweitzer: Dems Have Better Shot in New Jersey (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Deeds: From Patching Fence to Straddling It (Washington Post)

McDonnell Tops Deeds On TV Ad Spending (Washington Post)

In cash race, businesses back Va. governor candidate McDonnell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

RPV Blasts Deeds for GOP-Backed Bill (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Deeds, McDonnell each claim endorsements (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

DNC giving Deeds additional $1 million (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Politicians stump at Poplar Forest event (Lynchburg News & Advance)

TV ad wars heat up in governor's race (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

House of Delegates control up for grabs (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gilbert Boosts War Chest With $19K Fundraiser (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Newcomers compete for Del. Kenneth Melvin's seat in 80th House district (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

JMU Group Joins Abortion Protest (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

High court rejects 'Choose Life' plates case (Washington Times)

National News:

Democrats see rise in New Jersey, fade in Va. governors' races (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot/Politico.com)

Same-sex marriage close to D.C. approval (Washington Times)

Analysis:

Support for abortion slips (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Poll Check: A Shift on Abortion? (Jon Cohen/Washington Post Behind The Numbers Blog)

Recent Polls

Two polls on Virginia's statewide campaigns were released within the last 48 hours: one, by the Democrat leaning polling firm, Public Policy Polling, and one by SurveyUSA for Roanoke television station WDBJ-TV. It is interesting to note that the PPP poll has received exponential media coverage, lasting well into the second day after it was released. The SurveyUSA/WDBJ poll was released last night but is hardly causing a blip on the Mainstream Media's radar screen. The most likely explanation is that the SurveyUSA/WDBJ poll seems out of whack when compared to other polls. While many have the governor's race in a four to seven point range, in favor of Republican Bob McDonnell, the SurveyUSA/WDBJ poll shows him up by double digits, as it does his running mates Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, running for re-election, and Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), running for attorney general. Still, that's never stopped the notoriously out of proportion Washington Post polls from getting top billing across the state. 

In what has gone practically unmentioned in the frenzy of the tightening of PPP's poll, however, is that it also shows Lt. Governor Bolling and Senator Cuccinelli leading by eight and nine points, respectively. So, we have a Mainstream Media cherry picking news even from the one poll on which it has focused. Not only that, but by its own admission, the PPP poll's "internals" do not show bad news for McDonnell. Among the fndings (see PPP Blog here):

52% of voters say they're very familiar with the thesis and McDonnell actually has a 55-41 {lead} with that group, reflecting the fact that Republicans are more engaged this year and following the campaign more closely. Deeds is up 56-41 with the 29% of voters who claim moderate knowledge of the thesis.

(Does this mean conservative voters are more informed, or just that they don't watch MSNBC?)

In another blog post,PPP's Tom Jensen writes that Democrat candidate Creigh Deeds leads among voters who were undecided a month ago by 35-32 percent, and lists this as an advantage for him. But it's within the margin of error and not enough to close the gap.

Back to SurveyUSA. Here's a link to its methodology and complete statistical breakdown. It survey 1,000 Virginians, 886 of them registered to vote, and filtered its responses to the 631 of them determined to be likely voters this November.

BREAKING: WDBJ/SurveyUSA Poll Shows GOP Ticket Up By Double Digits

A new statewide poll by SurveyUSA for Roanoke television station WDBJ (see here) released tonight shows Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell leading his Democrat opponent Creigh Deeds by a 55-41 percent margin. This is in keeping with all other recent polls that show McDonnell ahead, but differs significantly in its margin. Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, seeking re-election, leads his Democrat opponent Jody Wagner by a 54-41 margin, and Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) leads Delegate Steve Shannon (D-35, Fairfax) by 53-42 percent in the attorney general campaign. Four percent remain undecided in the governor's race while five percent are undecided in the other two.

Here's the WDBJ video report:

Wagner Ducks Debate With Bolling Over Rumored Math Portion?

A lot of nonsense has been recklessly thrown around in the discussion over the reason Democrat Lieutenant Governor candidate Jody Wagner bailed on a scheduled debate in Prince William County with incumbent Republican Lieutenent Governor Bill Bolling. Sure, there were disputes between the two camps over rules, format, moderator, etc., but all were worked out. However, we have heard on the deepest of deep background that the non-negotiable from Ms. Wagner was the math test portion of the debate. Especially troubling to her were the proposed old school word problems. You know, exercises such as:

If tax collections come in at Y in Year 1, but are scheduled to come at X in Year 2, and X is six billion dollars less than Y, how much money do you spend in Year 2? 

And . . .

If you forecast revenue at Y amount in Year 2 and it comes in even lower in Year 3, forcing your boss, the governor, to make more unpopular budget cuts, even though you were warned not to project so much revenue, how soon do you leave your job as Secretary of Finance and run for statewide office in Year 4?

And, of course . . .

How many days does it take to remove a news release with false information from your Web site, even after the organization issuing it admits its mistake?

All kidding aside, we're greatly disappointed the debate didn't come off — in reality because Ms. Wagner wouldn't agree to a stipulation banning video from future television ads, a normally agreement in campaigns, used most recently in the gubernatorial debate in Fairfax — because we'd like Ms. Wagner a chance to finally be "clear" about her positions (libs seem to use that word a lot) and to finally begin "to communicate with the public,"  opportunities she has previously claimed she has not had.

Which leads us to ask, If candidate Y is down in the polls by X amount, and down in fundraising by Z amount, how many debates does she duck?

Davis, Voinovich, Matthews: We're All A Bunch Of Dimwit Southern Redneck Hayseeds. Rings A Bell Doesn't?

I'd comment on this, but the idiocy of the conversation speaks for itself. Watch Chris Matthews and former U.S. Representative Tom Davis, a Republican from Fairfax, expound on the lunacy of a recent statement of U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Then, view the screen below it. Sound familiar?

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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?

Convention Quotes Of The Day

Going through my voluminous official convention bloggers notebook (i.e., a bunch of disparate pieces of scrap paper and the back of a grassroots training guide), I came across a couple of Quotes of the Day I wanted to post. Friday QOD:

From former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, chairman of Bob McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign, on Friday afternoon at a VIP briefing, talking about the liberal Congress and President Obama's desire to stick Americans with suffocating higher taxes:

"You know taxes are going to go up and if you don't pay them, President Obama is going to put you in one of two places: In jail — or in his cabinet."

On a serious note, during the briefing Gillespie said internal polling is good by name (McDonnell vs. any of the three Democrats). However, polling by party shows a close race. In other words, once the Democrat nominee emerges Tuesday night, it's likely he will be able to parlay that party brand into better numbers across the electorate.

By the way, it's amazing this lil' ol' Commonwealth is home to four recent or current national party chairmen, all of whom bring that experience to Virginia politics: Republicans Jim Gilmore and Gillespie and Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Governor Tim Kaine.

As you can imagine, on Saturday, with so many good speakers and speeches, there were some great quotes. I blogged this one live, from attorney general candidate Dave Foster:

Saturday's QOD:

"Growing up my parents told me anyone can grow up to become president of the United States. Last year, we proved that."

However, the blogger that I am, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins stole my heart with this, as I blogged live:

"I'd rather read conservative bloggers than the Washington Post!" 

Twice he mentioned Bloggers Row in his speech — the second time in recent months I've been in a recognized bloggers bunch. The first was while in the Senate gallery during Veto Session as part of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling'sAnnual Bloggers Day at the Capitol. Lt. Governor Bolling asked Senator — and now GOP attorney general nominee —Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) to make the morning hour introduction of us. (At the time I whispered to my colleagues if the LG was sending a signal as to his AG preference.) But whether you're in a high-tech convention setting or a stately capitol, it's always nice to take a bow.

A More Motley Crew Of Propagandists You'll Never Meet

I've been meaning to post this photo of the Right Wing Virginia Bloggers Cabal for a while now. Actually, this is a group photo of most of the bloggers in attendance at Lt. Governor Bill Bolling's Annual Bloggers Day At The Capitol, which was held the day of the Veto Session in April.

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Virginia's best and brightest bloggers with the Washington Equestrian Statue in Capitol Square as a backdrop. Majestically patriotic, huh? Can you pick out your friendly Admin?

It was a fantastic day complete with briefings from very informed sources, a superb Senate gallery introduction of us by Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), great networking, and a wonderful lunch by the Project Virginia guys and dinner with the LG's staff at night. A lot of what we learned was very useful background information on the campaigns and policy which will be, or has already been used, here. All part of the extraordinary lengths we go to keep you ahead of the curve. A big sweep of the hat to Rick Sincere for the photo.

Fred Thompson Endorses Cuccinelli

Today, former United States Senator, and former presidential candidate, Fred Thompson, endorsed Virginia Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) for the Republican nomination for attorney general. Previously, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckaby, who also ran for president in 2008, endorsed Cuccinelli. Interestingly, it was the Tennessean, Thompson, who harshly went after Huckabee when the latter first gained traction as an upper tier candidate early in the 2008 Republican presidential primary season. An excerpt from Thompson's statement:

 "...one candidate stands out as the person dedicated to the First Principles on which our nation was founded. That candidate, Ken Cuccinelli, is the best choice for all citizens of Virginia to serve as the chief legal authority for the coming four years.

"At a time in our nation when fundamental, Constitutional rights and protections are often ignored and twisted theories are contrived to circumvent the clear mandates of our founding documents, Virginia needs an Attorney General grounded in his faith and adherence to the core principles.  Ken Cuccinelli is the person best suited to accomplish this for Virginia.

"We at FredPAC strongly endorse Ken Cuccinelli for Attorney General and urge all Virginians, regardless of Party or political persuasion, who value individual liberty and constitutional government to support his campaign."

Former U.S. Attorney for Virginia's Western District John Brownlee and former Arlington School Board member Dave Foster also are seeking the Republican 2009 nomination for attorney general. Last week, former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore endorsed Brownlee, while former Bush Administration Solicitor General Ted Olson has endorsed Foster.

Update: Governor's Substitute Transparency Bill Accepted

Earlier today, during the General Assembly's veto session, the House and Senate concurred unanimously to accept Governor Tim Kaine's substitute version of HB 2285, a state spending transparency bill, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-25, Amherst). This substitute, at first look, and based on conversations with some legislators and staffers, appears to be even stronger than SB 936, patroned by Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), and signed last month by Governor Kaine. The language of the bills was identical when they reached his desk.  Although neither bill received one dissenting vote in several sub-committee, committee and floor votes in both chambers, and now today's veto session — after each got unceremoniously dumped last year in committee (Senate) and sub-committee (House) — it wasn't as easy as it sounds getting them passed and signed into law. Each had to deal with the dreaded fiscal impact statement, which many times attributes bogus costs to bills as an unassailable hurdle in the money committees, often to thwart reforms. In this case, each bill had duty in front on the money committees and HB 2285 even had to go to the Senate Rules Committee.

In essence, we started with two great bills last year and again this year, that changed form, but not function, though perhaps not as comprehensive as we might have liked after several amendments, and ultimately got something more than what we thought after the regular session ended. Not bad. What a difference an election year makes.

Now a huge window has opened up on state spending, with a massive spotlight to boot. Soon, citizens — be they media, grassroots activists, policy wonks or even (for Heaven's sake) bloggers — will be able to closely examine exactly how Virginia government spends the hard-earned tax money we send it, and with which vendors it contracts for services, as well as other open government features. It simply is not enough to say a department spends this much money; we need to know down to the line how much, on what and with whom. That, in turn, will let us know if the purpose was worthy or wasteful, duplicative or duplicitous. You get the picture.

Despite what would seem broad interest in government spending transparency, many self-proclaimed "open government" groups were noticeably absent form the debate. The  Mainstream Media, for example, which touts its annual "Sunshine Week" each March, was nowhere to be found. No doubt, however, in years to come, it will, as we all should, tout this new found access to the otherwise indecipherable bureaucratic nuances of state government.