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Archive for September 2009

Both candidates for Governor set to appear in Richmond Thursday

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Both Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell will take the stage at a major higher education forum taking place at the Richmond Convention Center Thursday morning. Deeds and McDonnell will be among a group of speakers brought in by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) to discuss the role higher education should play in an economic recovery.

VBHEC has created a special campaign called “Grow by Degrees“. The campaign boasts the support of a broad range of current and former statewide elected officials, from a variety of political stripes.

Tomorrow’s event will showcase the goals of the event and will provide both Deeds and McDonnell the opportunity to share their plans for higher education as well.

In addition to the candidates, the guests of the event will also hear from Gov. Tim Kaine and two different panel discussions featuring prominent politicians and business leaders.

Details from the event can be found after the jump…

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Written by Ryan Nobles

September 30, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Candidate forum Tuesday night in Henrico

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This year promises to be a hot year for a number of races in the House of Delegates. The power in the lower chamber currently belongs to Republicans, but Democrats are making an aggressive play, and that includes fierce challenges to a number of normally “safe” seats in the Richmond area.

But the GOP is not backing down either. Republicans have put up challengers of their own in a number of Democratic seats, meaning that this fall’s cycle could go either way.

If you are a political junkie, you do not want to miss tonight’s candidate forum put on by the Richmond Crusade for Voters and the Urban League Young Professionals. The event features almost every candidate running in House races that include Henrico County. I am going to stop in for a bit of the event and will have more tonight on NBC12 News at 11.

If you are interested, here are the details:

Henrico House of Delegate’s Candidates Forum

Where: September 29th- Dumbarton Library on Staples Mill Road. 6:30-8 P.M.

Who: Hosted by the Richmond Crusade for Voters, in conjunction with the Urban League Young Professionals. Media sponsor: The Henrico Citizen Moderator: The Honorable Frank Thornton

Candidates for Henrico House of Delegate Seats:
Delegate Joe Morrissey
Delegate John O’Bannon
Delegate Jennifer McClellan
Delegate Delores McQuinn
Dr. Thomas Shields
Mr. James Towey
Mr. Henry Otis Brown and Others…

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm

New poll confirms competitive race for Governor (updated)

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Yet another poll released today shows the race for Governor of Virginia has become tight. Public Policy Polling, which at one point had Republican Bob McDonnell with a lead of as much as 7 points, now has his lead shrunk to only 5 points. The survey gives McDonnell an advantage only slightly outside the margin of error.

While this poll confirms a promising trend for Democrat Creigh Deeds, there has yet to be a poll that shows him with a lead.  (The Real Clear Politics average shows McDonnell with a lead of little more than 4 points)

According to PPP, Deeds has room to grow. A large pool of undecided voters describe themselves as Democrats and there is evidence that a recently lackluster crowd of Dems are finally starting to warm up to the idea of voting for Deeds in November. On the flip side, McDonnell still enjoys a wide margin of support among Independent voters and female voters do not seemed to be impacted greatly by the revelation of the candidate’s master’s thesis.

The news is not as good for down ballot Democrats. Both Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon trail Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli,  respectively by margins consistent with what they have been over the course of the campaign.


Not long after PPP released the results of their poll, did Survey USA, and WDBJ-TV released a separate survey with dramatically different results. This poll shows Bob McDonnell, with a comfortable 14 point lead.  Not surprisingly, Republicans are pushing these results and finding problems with the PPP poll.

Here is the breakdown of the numbers of both polls, side by side:

Governor:                 PPP      SURVEY USA

Bob McDonnell (R)-  48%           55%
Creigh Deeds (D)-      43%             41%

Lt. Governor:

Bill Bolling (R)-          43%             54%

Jody Wagner (D)-     35%             41%

Attorney General:

Ken Cuccinelli (R)-     43%           53%

Steve Shannon (D)-    34%           42%

See the full results  of the PPP Poll here.

See the full results of the Survey USA Poll here.

Decision Virginia recognized by Washington Post’s “The Fix”

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A great day for us at NBC12. Chris Cillizza, the popular national political blogger at the Washington Post cited our work as among the “Best State-Based Political Reporters“.  We were among only two reporters in the state of Virginia recognized. (The AP’s Bob Lewis was the other)

Thanks to Chris and the Washington Post and most importantly, you our readers and viewers, who nominated us for the honor! We will keep working hard to live up to the accolade.

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 28, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Decision Virginia 2009

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Deeds campaign responds to Wilder decision not to endorse

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Jared Leopold, spokesperson for the Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds, released this statement in the wake of L. Douglas Wilder’s decision not to back a candidate for the race for Governor in 2009.

“We respect Governor Wilder’s decision. While Creigh and he may not agree on every issue, they share a fundamental commitment to keeping Virginia the best managed state in the nation, as Governor Wilder first made it in 1992. As governor, Creigh intends to seek Governor Wilder’s counsel often, and looks forward to working with him.”

-Jared Leopold

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Wilder will not endorse in VA Governor’s race

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Former Virginia Governor and Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder will not endorse a candidate in the race for Governor in 2009.

NBC12 is interviewing Mr. Wilder about his decision and will have more on TV later today.

Please see his entire statement below:


This is the statement that was shown in Virginia Tomorrow.

There may have been no period in our State’s history when the voters are more aware of what issues confront them in their choice for Governor. We have undergone the worst economic downturn since the Depression. I have previously set forth the things that I would look to see the next Governor address. (1) Who is best suited by temperament and training to govern in hard times? (2) Who has presented to the people realistic plans for Education, Transportation, Health Care, Public Safety and Social Services, etc.? (3) Who is strong enough to stand up for the state when tough calls have to be made? 4) Who has the vision that can inspire confidence and assure people that Virginia can still move forward, even while confronting difficult choices.

The overriding “issue” in this year’s Governor’s race will be the judgment the voters make about which candidate is most capable of managing tough times and establishing the right priorities for when the economy begins to recover.

Throughout my entire involvement with public service, I have tried to be a voice for those most often left out when decisions are being made which affect them in their everyday lives. As a state senator, I fought to get rid of the sales tax on food. As Lt. Governor, I fought to get rid of the sales tax on non-prescription drugs and opposed the increased sales taxes for transportation, because they are regressive taxes, meaning the poor pay at the same rate as the rich. I have lived long enough not to assume that these voiceless people can always count on someone articulating for them.

This is not the time in our Commonwealth to talk about any kind of tax increase, especially those that are fundamentally regressive and will hit hardest those who are struggling.

Rather, it is the time to put our fiscal house in order, strengthening the Commonwealth for the future.

Now is the time to replenish the “Rainy Day” fund which has bailed several administrations out of deficits, but will be all but depleted for future administrations to have at their avail. It is a time to do everything possible to let the public know that we are serious about getting a handle on spending and controlling it better. Re-examine the efficiency and effectiveness reports, previously administratively commissioned, draw from them, and make this reform agenda further known to the public. It is a time to return to the funding of “necessities” rather than “niceties”.

Furthermore, In my conversations with the people across the state, I have not encountered anyone who has listed as their priority the need for them to have more handguns. The present law permits anyone of sufficient age, who is not a felon, to be able to buy one gun a month; twelve a year, twenty four a year for couples etc..

Mr. Deeds thinks that’s not enough and signed a pledge to repeal that law.

This action would allow the truck loads of guns to come back in exchange for drugs from those Northeastern states where gun laws are more stringent. This law was put on the books by Democrats and Republicans because they had seen where those guns go to in our cities and suburban areas where the violence occurs. Partly because of that law, as Mayor, I was able to have the lowest crime rate in our capital city of Richmond in 30 years.

I do not see how endorsing a proposal to have more handguns brought into our cities and suburban areas qualifies as any type of urban renewal plan.

For this situation to exist and for Democrats who lead our party to say nothing is puzzling and inexplicable.

The requests, made of me, have been to endorse Mr. Deeds, the Democratic Candidate, for Governor. I refrain from doing so and will leave that choice to the voters.

This in no wise is intended to detract from Mr. Deeds in terms of character or commitment to the task of being Governor. I find that he, as well as Mr. McDonnell are fine and honorable men and well suited to that task. The question before me is whether I support the Democratic candidate’s position in addressing these issues. I have not thus far in the progress of the campaign, and as aforesaid refrain from so doing.

L. Douglas Wilder

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Wilder prepared to endorse in Governor’s race

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wilder Former Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond L. Douglas Wilder told me this afternoon that he knows who he plans to endorse in the race for his old position and is set to make that announcement “tomorrow or maybe the next day.”

Wilder told me that in this week alone he has had conversations with representatives from both the White House and Governor’s office.  Wilder also said that he has met, in person, with both candidates, Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds, as well.

Last night at a forum held at Virginia Union University, which specifically dealt with issues facing the African-American community, McDonnell mentioned his work with Wilder on multiple occasions. After his remarks McDonnell told me that he is still actively courting the former Governor’s support.  “I would be honored and delighted to get an endorsement or some sort of support from such a historic figure,” said McDonnell.

While Wilder, in his trademark fashion, has appeared to give McDonnell fainting hope that he may break party ranks, few believe that the nation’s first black governor will not stick with his fellow Democrat. Wilder has often reminded reporters that he has never endorsed a Republican in a race of this magnitude. His former close aide Paul Goldman recently told me that his former boss would not risk alienating his relationship with President Barack Obama, who has made it clear to Wilder who he would like him to support.

Wilder would not tip his hand during our conversation today, but perhaps provided some insight when I asked him if it was realistic to propose a transportation plan that does not include raising taxes.  The former Governor, who dealt with his own share of fiscal turmoil during his time in office, laughed and said, “that will be part of what I talk about when I share my endorsement.”  The transportation debate took an interesting turn today, when Senator Deeds revealed his plan in an editorial in the Washington Post and the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce endorsed McDonnell, based largely on his plan to deal with the issue.

Wilder did tell me that his announcement will not come in the form of a raucous rally or even a press conference. He said he plans to release a simple statement regarding his support. When I asked if his endorsement will include active campaigning or stumping for his chosen candidate, he simply said, “We will have to see, won’t we?”

Once again perhaps Richmond’s most prolific politician has us all waiting on the edge of our seats.

Below, find Bob McDonnell’s comments from last night’s forum at VUU.

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm

New feature: “Today on the trail”

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As we speed toward election day, both candidates for Governor have frenetic, jam packed schedules planned. They both will spend time crisscrossing the state every single day from now until November.

deeds_head_shot_bigger Creigh Deeds

mcdonnell_bigger Bob McDonnell

In order to keep track of where they are, and when they come to your neighborhood, I have started a new feature called “Today on the trail“. You can find it on the left side column of the blog. It will be updated every single day with each public stop the candidates plan to make.

So as if you didn’t already, now you have an incredibly good reason to log on to Decision Virginia every single day.

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 22, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Rhetoric heats up ahead of Deeds/McDonnell forum in Richmond

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With a race that is now officially competitive and a calendar that is slipping away, the two candidates for governor of Virginia will come to Richmond today against the backdrop of increasingly bitter rhetoric.  Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds will both appear at a forum hosted by Virginia Union University Tuesday night. The event itself has already brought with it, a little bit of controversy.

The McDonnell camp, which has been perpetually frustrated by the fact that the Deeds team has only agreed to a limited number of debates, claims that late Friday, the Democrat officially requested that appearances by both candidates be held at separate times. While this forum was never intended to be true debate, it was billed as a “joint appearance” by the candidates. The McDonnell campaign believed that meant both candidates would appear on stage together, but speak and take questions at different times.

The new format will now feature both candidates, but they will never share the stage together. McDonnell’s staff released a statement that said that the candidate agreed to the format change to ensure that the “long scheduled event would still take place.” I asked the Deeds campaign for their side of this story, but did not receive a response.

The Deeds campaign has a different perspective about the negotiations leading up to this evening’s event. According to spokesman Jared Leopold, while the forum itself was agreed to several weeks ago the specific format was not finalized until last Friday. He said that at no time did Deeds back away from a format that both campaigns had previously agreed to. Leopold said that Deeds is very much “looking forward to discussing the important issues that will be raised at the event.”


With this change to the schedule that leaves only two more opportunities where the candidates will appear at the same time. The two upcoming events are expected to be televised to a wide audience.  On October 12th there will be a debate in Richmond and there will be one final debate on October 20th  in Roanoke. In the days ahead, we will unveil some information about our special coverage plans for both debates.

But while the Deeds campaign is bobbing and weaving when it comes to public appearances, the Democratic campaign is going full board with an aggressive and direct media campaign that is specifically designed to tie Bob McDonnell’s legislative record to his controversial masters thesis. The Deeds team released three different television ads that make the effort to show that what McDonnell wrote is exactly what he believes.

Buoyed by polls that show the race a virtual tie, the democrats believe the paper is what has got them back into the race and they believe that momentum is only growing. On Monday they pointed reporters to this report yesterday by Washington Post, national political blogger Chris Cillizza who made the case that “54” was the most important number in politics.  What is 54? The percentage of Virginians who haven’t heard anything about the McDonnell paper. Cillizza and the Deeds team believe that indicates that they have shrunk the gap without a very large number of Virginians who have yet to even learn about McDonnell’s biggest liability.

Details on tonight’s event at Virginia Union University can be found after the jump…

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Written by Ryan Nobles

September 22, 2009 at 10:29 am

NFIB now gets behind Ken Cuccinelli

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The National Federation of Independent Businesses has finally released their endorsement in the race for Attorney General and they have “whole heartedly” gotten behind the campaign of republican Ken Cuccinelli.

NFIB released their endorsements for Governor and Lt. Governor a little less than a month ago and did not weigh in on the race for AG. At the same time, curiously, Steve Shannon released a statement “thanking” the organization for their consideration after learning he was not going to be endorsed.

Strangely, representatives from the NFIB could not tell me when and if they were going to endorse in the campaign. They basically responded by telling me that would put me on their mailing list for future announcements. Today that announcement came.

Ken Cuccinelli is their candidate and despite the delayed arrival of their support the organization has promised they will do “everything in their power” to help him win. .

You can read the full statement after the jump.

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Written by Ryan Nobles

September 18, 2009 at 10:57 am


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