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Stewart gets jump on unsettled 2013 field

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Despite being in the midst of a contentious and serious battle for the 2012 federal elections. Virginia politicos are preparing for what could be an incredibly competitive 2013. Several candidates on both sides are either publicly or quietly mulling a run for statewide office. At this point the most of the conversations are speculative and the large field that currently exists will certainly be widdled down by the time voters are actually forced to make decisions. However with the active and ambitious crop being discussed heated primaries and/or state party conventions are almost certain.

Republicans are already dealing with a holy war at the top of their ticket between Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. The Bolling- Cuccinelli feud may be only part of what the GOP will be dealing with. A number of candidates are considering runs for Lt. Governor and Attorney General that if they hold it could mean competitive nominating contests on all levels.

A particularly interesting battle is setting up in the republican Lt. Governor’s race. Wednesday, the ambitious Chair of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors Corey Stewart formally entered the race. Stewart is well-known in political circles, in part because of the numerous times he has tossed his name into prospective statewide races only to back away. Most recently Stewart seriously considering running for the open U.S. Senate seat. He even went as far to say some pretty critical things about former Senator George Allen, who he later endorsed.

On First at 4, Stewart told me that the timing was right for him to run statewide this time.

“We’ve been able to reduce taxes, we’ve cut spending by more than $143 million dollars (in Prince William County) instituted some good budgetary reforms while still putting a lot more money into transportation, and I’d like to do the same thing for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said.

Stewart won’t be alone in the race for the state’s second spot. Pete Snyder, the wealthy technology entrepreneur and ally of Governor Bob McDonnell is also mulling a run. Snyder is getting quite a bit of face time in his role as the Virginia GOP’s chief fundraiser. He appeared on First at 4 a couple of weeks ago.

The republicans also have several candidates considering a run for Attorney General, the most prominent, Harrisonburg Senator Mark Obenshain and Charlottesville Delegate Rob Bell.

But too many candidates for not enough positions is not a problem exclusive to republicans. multiple candidates are lining up on the democratic side. State Senator Chap Petersen has already set up a PAC and has said he plans a gubernatorial run. Former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe is widely expected to make another run. This is of course if the long running rumor that Senator Mark Warner would like to come back to Richmond, turns out to be just a rumor.

The lower parts of the ticket aren’t quite lined up as orderly as their counterparts on the republican side, but prominent democrats are being floated in those positions as well. Among them, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring and former Delegate Ward Armstrong. Update: Friends of Loudon Democratic Senator Mark Herring emailed to remind me that he has officially begun exploring a run for Attorney General.

There are other names being whispered as well. Former candidate for Lt. Governor Michael Signer and his close friend former Rep. Tom Perriello both have been suggested as statewide candidates. Henrico Sen. Don McEachin ran for Attorney General before and could be thrown into the mix and a new rising start, Alexandria Del. Charniele Herring hasn’t formally talked about running statewide, but was a key voice in the battle over abortion in this year’s General Assembly session and might be a name brought up in the future.

So much of this talk is just that talk. Names thrown into the air to see what the reception is to gauge the possibility of investing, time, energy and quite a bit of money into running statewide. That is what make’s the Stewart announcement so significant. He is all in. More than a year before anyone will be forced to make a decision about who they would like as their nominee.

Will getting out first pay off? Stewart is betting it will. It is a question we won’t know the answer to, until we get through the first brutal election still in front of us.

Our full interview with Chairman Stewart can be found below:

Stewart’s full announcement can be found after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

McAuliffe hammers GOP General Assembly

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Terry McAuliffe joined the chorus of democratic leaders hammering the General Assembly’s action on social issues in 2012.

See our full interview from NBC12 below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

February 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Cuccinelli and Bolling still haven’t talked about potential primary

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It is something that many saw coming as soon as Ken Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling stood along side Bob McDonnell at the Republican convention of 2009. What would happen if both the Attorney General and Lt. Governor decided they wanted to be the next governor? That speculation is now a reality and earlier than anyone imagined that it could’ve come to be. 

Today, for the first time since the Washington Post broke the story that Cuccinelli was planning a bid for governor, the Attorney General spoke. NBC4′s Julie Carey talked one on one with Cuccinelli. Here is my story on their interview for NBC12:

RICHMOND (WWBT)- Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is speaking out about what led to his decision to announce his plans to run for governor in 2013.Cuccinelli’s original plan was to wait until after the Virginia legislative session, but the Washington post got the jump on his plans. That meant he had to reveal his intentions, before he got a chance to talk to Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.

Now, just short of two years before voters go to the polls to elect a new governor, a potentially difficult political storm is brewing.

“The decision I was put to was, do we just try to put the genie back in the bottle or do we run with it?” said Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli was forced to make a move after the Post broke the story. He reacted by informing his staff and then the press, but not his potential primary opponent, Lt. Governor Bolling.

“He wouldn’t return my calls on Friday,” Cuccinelli said of Bolling. “It makes it kind of hard to talk to somebody when that’s happened.”

…read and see the full story on NBC12.com

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Cuccinelli informs staff of his intention to run for governor

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In an email to the staff of the Office of the Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli confirmed reports that he will indeed run for governor.

Cuccinelli promised the staff that he would serve until the last day of his current term and said that the AG’s position is the “best job of his life”. He also said that he would formally announce his intentions to the media shortly after they recieved the email.

While Cuccinelli begins the process to mount a campaign for governor, the man who he hopes to replace is sticking with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling Bob McDonnell‘s staff said today that while he has an incredible amount of respect for Cuccinelli, he will continue to support Bolling, who McDonnell brokered a deal with to avoid a primary in 2009. Bolling has remained firm in his plan to run for governor, meaning the scenario the GOP avoided in 2009 appears to be invetiable in 2013. 

Here is the full transcript of the Cuccinelli email to staff:

 OAG colleagues,

You have likely heard in the media the many rumors about an announcement of a run for governor.  While I wanted to wait to announce a candidacy until after the General Assembly session, as the rumors swirl, I find it necessary to put them to rest. 

After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to run for governor in 2013.  I have always intended to let you know before the media.  Shortly after you receive this email, I will be sending a statement to the media announcing my candidacy.

Being attorney general is the best job of my life, and working with so many bright and dedicated professionals in this office has made it a true joy.

We have protected vulnerable citizens from fraud, worked to get gangs off the streets through intervention as well as prosecution, saved taxpayers from millions in Medicaid fraud, fought for fair utility prices for consumers, provided our clients with official legal opinions that have never been overruled by any court, and stood up to the federal government when it broke the law and infringed on the sovereignty of Virginia and the liberty of her people.

We will continue this work together until the last day of my term.  Just as I had intended not to resign as attorney general to run for a second term, I will not resign as attorney general to run for governor.  The people of Virginia trusted me to be their attorney general, and I intend to give them their full four years.  I also think it is important to see these lawsuits against the federal government all the way through, as they are unprecedented battles for liberty in our lifetimes.

I am committed to you and to the citizens of this commonwealth to leading this office and making this job my priority.  I have no right to ask the voters for a promotion if I cannot continue to do my current job well.

I know many of you are wondering why I decided to run for governor instead of for re-election.  As so many former attorneys general know from being legal counsel to every agency of state government, this job gives you tremendous insight and perspective on the inner workings of state government that no other job can provide.

Being governor of the commonwealth and all its agencies is truly a massive task, and with only four years to do it, there is little time for on-the-job training.  That is especially true when Virginia and the entire country are facing unprecedented economic challenges, a bullying federal government, and financially strapped citizens who are demanding that we ensure every dollar taken from their families to pay for government is a dollar that is spent wisely.  When Governor McDonnell finishes his successful term, I am convinced his successor needs to hit the ground running to keep the momentum moving forward in the face of federal and economic challenges.

I hope you have known me long enough to know that I do this out of my love for our commonwealth and to further the principles on which this country was founded.  Although I originally expected to serve as attorney general for another term, my job is that of public servant, and I feel that two years from now, I can best serve the people of Virginia from the governor’s office.

Thank you for your dedication to this office and to the people we serve.  I look forward to our continued work together and our successes during the remaining two years of my term.

 Ken

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Cuccinelli set to announce run for governor

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The Washington Post’s Anita Kumar first broke the story Wednesday night.  Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will soon announce his plans to run for Governor of Virginia. Here is an excerpt from her story:

Cuccinelli, a tea party hero who garnered national attention for suing the federal government over the new health-care law, expects to make a formal announcement after the legislative session in the spring, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could speak freely about his plans.

..the full story.. here.

NBC12 has independently confirmed the Post’s story with sources close to the Attorney General. His political spokesman Noah Wall did not return inquiries for comment.

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who stepped aside to allow then Attorney General Bob McDonnell to run for governor, has been planning a run in 2013 for some time. Tonight his aide, Randy Marcus said they have not heard anything about Cuccinelli’s plans but what he decides to do or not do, will not impact the Lt. Governor.

Here is his full statement:

“Obviously, we don’t know what Ken Cuccinelli’s intentions are.  Lieutenant Governor Bolling has made clear that he intends to run for Governor in 2013 and we hope that Ken will be a part of our ticket.  We think that would be best for the Republican Party.

 “In 2009 Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling gave the Republican Party a blueprint for victory and it all started with Bill’s willingness to set aside his personal ambition and join with Bob McDonnell to form a united ticket.  That worked well in 2009 and its the right approach in 2013.” – Randy Marcus,  Aide to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Democrats to field candidate in Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Race

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What a difference a few weeks can make.

It had a been a forgone conclusion since about the middle of 2009 that the next Commonwealth’s Attorney in Henrico would be a republican. In fact the party already had a candidate, almost two years before the election, Matt Geary. No one really paid any attention to the race for the county’s top prosecutor.

That was of course before the middle of August,  just three weeks before the candidates hoping to appear on the ballot needed to be accounted for.  Geary quickly fell out of favor with party leaders, Del. Bill Janis announced his plans to run as an independent and now on the last opportunity for candidates to file, the democrats have decided to get involved.

Today,  former Richmond Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon L. Taylor announced her intention to run for Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney. Taylor is UVA undergrad, and University of Richmond School of Law alum.  She has worked for 12 years as a prosecutor, 8 of them in Richmond. She currently is a defense attorney with the local firm Boone and Beale. In addition to her time in the Richmond Commonwealths Attorney office, Taylor also worked as the Special Counsel for the Richmond Metropolitan Multi-Jurisdiction Grand Jury.

Taylor’s entry creates an interesting field in a race that is rarely, if ever, competitive. Despite the republican electoral dominance in Henrico, there is evidence that the county is more deep purple than scarlet red.  While the GOP has an incredibly effective local political machine that has led to easy wins in local elections, statewide and national votes are much different. Henrico tends to be much more of a bellweather county. While they followed the rest of the state in electing republican Governor Bob McDonnell, Henrico voters also overwhelming chose President Barack Obama and Senator Mark Warner, both democrats.

Could the GOP streak change now that this race is competitive and is getting far more media coverage than it ever has in the past?

In what has turned out to be an incredibly unpredictable campaign, anything is possible.

Cuccinelli isn’t thinking about 2013, but won’t rule out run for governor

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Contrary to popular belief, there are many reasons why Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli may not run for governor of Virginia in 2013.

The controversial, but popular, GOP Attorney General has many options before him, prior to the next statewide election.

He could decide to run for re-election. He could decide to run for something else. His decision, which doesn’t need to come for some time, is something that is being watched closely by the Virginia political class.

But while many are watching his every move and interpreting them as clues to his future intentions, Cuccinelli is not concerned with 2013. He is far more worried about the challenges he currently has in front of him.

Here is my story on Cuccinelli’s future for NBC12:

He is a lightning rod who draws strong opinions from people who like and dislike him.

This week Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was the subject of a poll that shows him in a strong position if he decided to run for the republican nomination for governor of Virginia.

The question is, will he run?

“Are you even thinking about 2103?” I asked, during a one on one interview on Friday.

“No,” Cuccinelli replied. “That is the short answer, no”

No, Ken Cuccinelli is not as worried as the rest of the Virginia political class when it comes to what he will run for in 2013. But that doesn’t mean he has ruled anything out

The attorney general is darling of the right wing. He is praised for his aggressive confrontation of the Obama administration over the new health care law and his crusade for many other conservative causes.

“Given my affinity for first principles, the timing of my arrival (in the Attorney General’s office) has been quite fortuitous,” he said.

You can read and see the full story on NBC12.com

An extended clip of Attorney General Cuccinelli’s remarks on 2013 can be seen below:

A spokesperson for Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Ibbie Hendrick sent along the following statement in response to our story:

“The poll shows that the lieutenant governor and attorney general are well thought of by Virginia Republicans, and that’s good news for everyone.  As far as 2013 is concerned, the lieutenant governor has made no secret about the fact that he intends to run for governor and he looks forward to running on a united ticket with Ken Cuccinelli, just like Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling did in 2009. That would be our strongest ticket and a winning ticket.”

Written by Ryan Nobles

August 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm

New poll provides first look at upcoming GOP primaries

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It may not tell us too much. One of the votes won’t happen for 10 months, the other is almost two years away, but 2012 and 2013 could be extremely competitive in the Virginia Republican world, and even though the elections are far away we are getting our first sense of the mood of the Grand Old Party.

Public Policy Polling, a respected automated polling firm out of North Carolina, conducted the poll of republican primary voters and put statistics behind most observers conventional wisdom. The 1st take away: the Senate GOP primary is not very competitive, and the 2nd point: if Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants to run for governor, there is little to stop him.

First the senate primary, which is first on the docket according to the calendar. The results are stark and provide little hope to the potential challengers to front-runner George Allen. Here are the numbers:

George Allen: 68%

Jamie Radtke: 8%

Tim Donner: 2%

E.W. Jackson: 2%

David McCormick: 0%

Undecided: 22%

Even if all the challengers joined forces and brought the undecideds with them, they would still fall short of even making Allen sweat. It is early, but I have to imagine this group was hoping for something a bit more encouraging.

The race for governor is not until 2013, but the whispers about the potential Cuccinelli vs. Bolling showdown began not long after both posted convincing wins on election night 2009. Cuccinelli has effectively used his AG bully pulpit to endear himself to the very primary voters that decide who goes on to the general election. Bolling hasn’t hurt himself and has certainly made the most of his position as the Commonwealth’s “Chief Job’s Czar” at a time when jobs and the economy are the top issue.

This poll, however, shows that Cuccinelli’s crusades against the Obama Administration and on behalf of other conservative causes, have served him well.

Here are the numbers:

Cuccinelli: 45%

Bolling: 21%

Undecided: 34%

Unlike the senate poll, the pool of undecideds is significant here, and if you look at beyond the numbers both Cuccinelli and Bolling are very much liked by republican voters. It is not that republicans don’t like Bill Bolling, they just happen to like Ken Cuccinelli a lot more.

Further proof that when the dust settles on the 2012 race, Cuccinelli will more than likely be in the driver’s seat. If he wants a crack at the Executive Mansion, he will get that chance. The question is.. will he want it or is he interested in something else?

The full breakdown of the PPP poll, which includes a lot of interesting data on favorability ratings and Virginia’s view of the GOP presidential field can be found here.

Ball “angry” suggestive photos were posted on the internet

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Not much attention has been given to the race for congress in Virginia’s 1st district. Upstart Democrat, Krystal Ball has a run a spirited campaign, marked by her traveling around the district with a cardboard cutout of Rep. Rob Wittman, her opponent.  (A statement because Wittman won’t agree to a debate)

While Ball has been aggressive, her race has not garnered enough attention to be considered a real threat to Wittman, a Republican in a district that has been GOP since the 70′s.

Ball has tried hard to get the attention of the media in district that the Richmond, Washington, D.C. and Hampton Roads TV markets largely ignore because it is sandwiched between them.  Ball is now getting that media attention she craves, albeit not for the reasons she had hoped. A series of Republican blogs posted photos of her from a party where she is posing suggestively with a sex toy.

The photos, which we won’t link directly to, (some of which can be seen in our story that aired Tuesday night on NBC12), have already gone viral.  Ball’s story is set to go national. She is scheduled to appear on the Today Show later this week.

Before she makes the rounds across the country, Ball first spoke to NBC12.

She admitted the pictures are of her. They were taken at a private “gag” party with a small group of people right after she graduated from college. Also pictured are her ex-husband and her best friend.

Here is an extended clip from our conversation where she explains where the photos came from:

Ball said the photos, while embarrassing, were never meant to be posted on the internet. She said they were taken long before she ever thought about running for Congress.  But she also went on the attack. Saying the photos made her “angry” and she believes if she were a man they wouldn’t be getting nearly the attention:

As for her opponent, Rob Wittman stayed as far away from the fray as possible. Privately, he reached out specifically to Republican bloggers that he has worked with in the past and asked them not to post the photos. His campaign manager Casey Werderman provided me with the following statement:

“From the beginning our campaign has been focused on jobs and the economy, reigning in the out of control spending, supporting our military and cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.  These issues are clearly plenty to keep us busy without talking about these pictures.  Rob is adamantly opposed to their display and we have asked that they be removed so that we can continue to discuss the issues important to the folks in the first district.”

This is probably just the beginning of this photos being splashed all over television and the internet. We will see if this controversy makes the race in Virginia’s 1st District any more interesting.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 5, 2010 at 11:51 pm

The other side of the media scrum

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It became one of the most watched videos of the campaign for Governor. A YouTube clip posted by the Republican Party of Virginia in the moments after the second debate between Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell. At that time the polls were tight and the race was on the verge of going one way or the other.

Sen. Deeds was being pressed on if a tax increase was going to have to be a part of his transportation plan, when this happened:

The clip got more than 60,000 views on YouTube and was used repeatedly by the RPV in ads online and on television to portray Deeds as bound and determined to raise taxes.

The video popping up constantly, became somewhat of a joke, for my friend and photographer Matt Neese. Matt and I were in Fairfax that day and were a little late to the “media scrum” party. You can see both Matt and me pop up behind Sen. Deeds looking for an angle to gather some of what the Democrat had to say. Often times one of the commercials would pop up on a television in the newsroom, with Matt’s or my head in the background, causing more than a few laughs among our colleagues.

But the commercials and web videos were only part of the story. The RPV also put out print and internet still pictures of the fracas that would regularly find Matt or me in the background. Pictures like this one:

(That’s me to the left of Sen. Deed’s head)

Every time we’d see the video, Matt said that we was going to put together a piece for the popular NBC12 Photog blog on his side of that experience. He finished the project and posted it today.

Check it out here.

Also Congrats to Matt and his beautiful wife Jessica on the birth of their twins, Alaina and Ryan. (Great names huh?)

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm

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