Special Election Set For 91st District House SeatJan. 04, 2011
Governor Bob McDonnell today set March 8 as the date for the special election to fill the 91st district House of Delegates seat suddenly vacated last week when Delegate Tom Gear (R-Hampton) resigned for health reasons. Delegate Gear's multiple sclerosis is worsening and his wife and sister both have cancer (see Rosalind Helderman at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog). That date ensures that 91st district voters will not be represented in the House of Delegates this 46-day session. The earliest the election could have been set, by law, was 45 days after Delegate Gear's resignation. We will miss Delegate Gear. Quick witted and always genial, his great sense of humor frequently was on display, especially in the small chat world of General Assembly Building elevators and waiting areas, and often timely to relieve certain stress over upcoming committee votes those elevators were taking us to. An unwavering conservative, he is a public servant committed to principle. We wish him and his loved ones well and the restoration of their health.
Of course, just because he resigned doesn't mean he's gone inactive. There are three Republicans running to succeed him in a largely GOP district (no word on whether the Democrats will field a candidate) and he's already thrown his endorsement to Teresa Vanasse Schmidt, a day-care assistant director from Hampton, calling her "a rock-solid conservative. She's pro-life. She's big on the Second Amendment. And she doesn't believe in raising taxes" (see the Post).
Also running are Hampton City Councilman Chris Stuart, who owns a security company, and attorney Chad Green, the second vice-chairman of the York County Republican Committee. Stuart today released a statement announcing that he is the first of the three to sign the Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" which states that a candidate will never vote for a tax increase.
Blogosphere Exclusive: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's Post-Hearing News Conference!Jul. 01, 2010
It's been a full day, not the type you plan for when trying to ease into a holiday weekend. First, it was two hours in a federal courthouse waiting for, and then sitting through, arguments by the Department of Justice and the Office of Attorney General as to why Virginia's lawsuit against the federal health care law should be, respectively, dismissed and go forward to trial (see the Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog). More on that later (lots of legalese to sort through before a long weekend). But we wanted to be the first (and perhaps only) blog (or any media) in Virginia to provide video of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's entire post-hearing news conference (see AG's news center for news release). At least we didn't see any other bloggers with cameras in attendance and television stations typically don't post entire events online. By the way, there was a fairly large contingent of media assembled for this. At the time of this post, there are 200-plus articles on it per a Google search (state and national publications), highly unusual for a hearing on a motion to dismiss. Imagine what it will be like in October of the case proceeds. Judge Henry Hudson (who presided over the Michael Vick dog fighting trial)said in court today that his decision on that matter will come within 30 days.
Because of YouTube criteria, we broke the news conference into three parts (see our YouTube channel). Please share it with others (it can be viewed on mobile devices as well). The attorney general opens with a statement outlining the constitutional principles behind the lawsuit and summarizes the arguments from both sides at the hearing. He then takes questions from the media about three minutes into part 2.
Part 1 (9:25):
This lawsuit is not about health care. It is about liberty. ... Today we were protecting the U.S. Constitution and Virginia statutes as my oath of office calls for.
Part 2 (9:37):
Since 1819. ... A penalty for inaction is not a tax of any kind known in our constitutional history.
Part 3 (8:53)
The state is a separate sovereign entity in our constitutional system. It was set up by The Founders to the benefit of all our citizens. I was very clear in my campaign that if the federal government overstepped it's proper boundaries that Virginia would fight back.
Post: O'Bannon And Hugo Vying For GOP Caucus ChairmanshipMar. 29, 2010
According to Anita Kumar of the Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog, Delegates Tim Hugo (R-40, Fairfax) and John O'Bannon (R-73, Henrico), are running to fill the House Republican Caucus chairmanship, vacated by the soon-t0-resign Delegate Sam Nixon (R-27, Chesterfield), who is leaving the House to become the new director of the troubled Virginia Information Technology Agency. She reports that Majority Whip Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) is supporting Hugo, while Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg) and Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem) are neutral. The vote, among Republican members of the House of Delegates, will take place April 21, before the General Assembly reconvenes for its veto session.
Change Of Mind (Twice): Cranwell To Seek Another Term As DPV Chair (Where'd All The Talent Go?)Mar. 11, 2009
While the GOP insists on internal strife with a chairman who won the position overwhelmingly at a state convention only nine months ago, the Virginia Democrats have had stability within its party apparatus. Former House Majority Leader Dickie Cranwell assumed the chairmanship in 2005 when then party chair Kerry Donley stepped down not even one year into a four-year term. Now he seeks a four-year term of his own as reported by the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog (here). With all the success he's overseen the last four years — the election of a governor, two U.S. senators, the takeover of the Virginia Senate, gains in the House of Delegates and winning a majority of Virginia's House Congressional delegation (6-5) — there's no doubt he'll retain the chair and deserves it. However . . . there's always a "however," if not a "but," and here it is: He made it pretty clear he was getting out when he could. He wanted to leave after Tim Kaine won the governorship and let him appoint his own man (Cranwell came in at the request of then-Governor Mark Warner). But he stayed on because the new governor asked him to, although he said he would serve no longer than the unexpired term, which ended in 2009. So this marks not one, but two, changes of mind.
Coincidentally, we had him for an exclussive two-part interview about 10 months ago (here). Our first question to him was:
You've had a distinguished career as an attorney, legislator — the House Majority Leader, in fact — and party chairman. With the Democrats making so many gains in Virginia over the last few years, why retire as party chairman now?
His answer was emphatic:
I never sought the position of Chair of the Democratic Party. Governor Warner asked me to fill the unexpired term of Kerry Donley. I agreed to serve until a new Governor was elected. Governor Tim Kaine's vision for restructuring the Democratic Party agreed with mine so I agreed to stay on until Donley's term expires in 2009. Hopefully the changes in the Democratic Party which have occurred during my tenure have made the party stronger and more candidate friendly. ...
The party is in good shape and I have boys, ages 8 and 10, so there is a lot of baseball and soccer to occupy my time. I am just stepping down. I am not retiring from the field of battle. There is a wealth of talented people in the party who can carry on the work of the Chair. I look forward to those folks' continued success.
Not that people can't change their mind, but lost in all this is that he has changed his mind. Probably not many in the Mainstream Media will report this. Not only that, but will they ask where all those talented people are who could step in? Could there be some tie-in with Kaine's ascension to the DNC chairmanship — maybe he needs his guy to guide the campaign apparatus and millions in cash the DNC will pour into Virginia this fall? (Just as President Obama needs Kaine, maybe Kaine needs Cranwell.) Regardless of how the Mainstream Media treats the story, or other bloggers for that matter, we had it first then and have it first now, and each time we had it on good authority — directly from the source himself.