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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:

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Republican clean sweep Bolling, Cuccinelli win as well

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(AP) 11-03-09 20:19,,

1,392 of 2,516 precincts – 55 percent

x-Robert McDonnell, GOP 594,174 – 62 percent
R. Creigh Deeds, Dem 370,399 – 38 percent

Lieutenant Governor

1,382 of 2,516 precincts – 55 percent

x-Bill Bolling, GOP (i) 570,454 – 60 percent
Jody Wagner, Dem 381,206 – 40 percent

Attorney General

1,378 of 2,516 precincts – 55 percent

x-Ken Cuccinelli, GOP 573,499 – 61 percent
Stephen Shannon, Dem 366,913 – 39 percent

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-11-03-09 2019EST

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm

NBC12 comprehensive election day coverage

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We are very excited about what we have planned for tonight on NBC12. I truly believe that we will have the most comprehensive coverage of this important election, of any media outlet in Virginia.

It started this morning on 12 News Today. Our Call 12 lines were staffed by members of the League of Women Voters. They answered your questions about the voting process, who was on the ballot, if you are registered and where to go to cast your vote.

Today starting on First at 4, we will have a complete look at the election scene. We’ll show you pictures of both candidates voting in their home precints, have updates from polling locations and anaylsis from our political expert Dan Palazzolo.

Then at 7pm, right as the polls close, we will have an Election special, hosted by Curt Autry and Sabrina Squire. We will have live reports from both campaign headquarters. Tara Morgan will be with the Republicans and Bob McDonnell, Andy Jenks with the Democrats and Creigh Deeds. We will also have reporters covering the races for Lt. Governor and Attorney General as well as Rachel DePompa who will keep a close eye on the City Council election in Richmond.

Also at 7, I will moderate an in-depth discussion on what the race means with Dan Palazzolo and two of Virginia’s most influential political bloggers, Ben Tribbett of NotLarrySabato and Norm Leahy of Tertium Quids.

We will also begin a liveblog at 7 on NBC12.com – that I will moderate, and be joined by Ben, Norm and Dan with your comments on the action.


From 8pm on we will go back to regular programming, but will break back in, should a winner be declared or a victory/concession speech is about to be made.

Finally at 11pm- We will have a complete wrap of the day’s events and preview what Virginia can expect from it’s new elected leaders.

Plus, I will have frequent updates right here on DecisionVirginia.com

It should be a great day. Go and Vote!



Written by Ryan Nobles

November 3, 2009 at 11:12 am

McDonnell and Deeds make closing arguments in Richmond stops

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It was the kind of day you would expect from the two men hoping to be Virginia’s next Governor. Both Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds put together a blistering schedule that took them to all across Virginia. Both pulled out all the stops, with the hopes of grabbing every last second vote until the polls close Tuesday at 7.

McDonnell final richmond rallyMcDonnell made 7 stops across Virginia, alongside Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Team McDonnell started near his childhood home in Northern Virginia and finished in Virginia Beach, where he served in the House of Delegates. (McDonnell currently lives in Henrico county)

McDonnell’s second to last stop was here in Richmond where he played to a crowd of a few hundred supporters at a hanger at Richmond International Airport. McDonnell staffers were hoping of a crowd of as many as one thousand people, but  it didn’t get quite that big. McDonnell, who still had one more speech to give and will have a speech of some sort to give tomorrow night was starting to sound a bit hoarse. Something to be expected from the amount of speech the candidate has given over the past few weeks.

deeds final vcu rallyCreigh Deeds made 4 stops across the Commonwealth, starting in Roanoke and concluding in Northern Virginia, where he hopes he gets a huge turnout tomorrow.

Deeds stop in Richmond was a perfect example of the Democrat’s strategy in the final weeks of the campaign. He rallied a group of college students at VCU, along with his ticketmates Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon.  Deeds spoke specifically about how that group of voters played an important role in Tuesday’s election and that an unpredictable surge in turnout could make all the polls taken leading up to tomorrow irrelevant.  He repeated his familiar line “The only poll that matters is the one that is taken on Tuesday.”

Now that the closing arguments have been made, the get out the vote effort begins.  McDonnell bragged today on the trail that the Republicans have already made hundreds of thousands of phone calls and knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors. Deeds said that they have had a plan in place that just needs to be kicked into gear. All the effort that has been built upon over the 12 plus past months all comes down to tomorrow.


On the final day of the campaign both candidates make stops in Richmond

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Only one more day for both Bob McDonnell, Creigh Deeds and their fellow statewide candidates to make the case to voters, before the polls open Tuesday morning.

Both the Republican and Democratic tickets will play to major rallies in Richmond on Monday, giving you one final shot to hear the pitch from both teams before you cast your ballot.

Here is where they will be:



2:30 PM IN RICHMOND – STUDENT GET OUT THE VOTE RALLY. Sen. Deeds will join Governor Tim Kaine, candidate for Lieutenant Governor Jody Wagner, candidate for Attorney General Steve Shannon and students for a campaign event on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. Sen. Deeds will speak to students about the youth vote that will be key to victory on Tuesday, November 3rd.

When: 2:30 PM

Where: VCU Student Commons
907 Floyd Avenue
Richmond, VA


McDonnell Campaign’s Final Day of “New Jobs, More Opportunities: It Starts Now!” Statewide Tour

With just one day to go before Virginians head to the polls, Bob McDonnell, Republican gubernatorial nominee and former Attorney General of Virginia, will spend tomorrow, Monday, November 2nd, the final day of his 2009 gubernatorial campaigning, sprinting across the Commonwealth, visiting seven major regions of the state in one day alone. McDonnell will begin the day just miles from his childhood home in the Mount Vernon section of Fairfax County with a rally in Alexandria and later that morning will visit Prince William County for a rally in Bristow. He will then head southwest for rallies in Charlottesville, Roanoke and Abingdon. In the evening McDonnell will hold a rally in Richmond where he has lived the last three and a half years while serving as Virginia’s Attorney General.

McDonnell will formally conclude his 2009 campaign with a 7:00 p.m. rally in Virginia Beach, where he lived and raised his family for 21 years.

All seven events will feature Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, and State Senator Ken Cuccinelli, Republican candidate for Attorney General.

5:30pm           Rally at the Richmond Airport

The Hanger at MartinAir

5733 Huntsman Road


Written by Ryan Nobles

November 2, 2009 at 3:01 am

McDonnell draws more than 300 at Chesterfield rally

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mcdonnell in chesterfieldRepublican candidate for Governor, Bob McDonnell and his GOP ticketmates drew a crowd of more than 300 people at an event in Chesterfield County today (Saturday).

The event was part of the Republican “New Jobs, More Opportunities: It Starts Now!” Statewide Tour. McDonnell and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Sen. Ken Cuccinelli all addressed the crowd, encouraging them to continue to keep up their efforts through election day and to not rest on the confidence of polls that show the ticket up by wide margins.

Later tonight, Sen. Creigh Deeds the Democratic nominee will host a similar rally with Attorney General nominee, Steve Shannon at the Democratic Coordinated Campaign office in Richmond.

The crowd was excited to greet McDonnell as his “New Jobs, New Opportunities” RV rolled into the parking lot and remained enthusiastic throughout all the speeches given by the candidates. McDonnell’s speech didn’t reveal much new information, instead just sticking to his traditional campaign talking points, as well as dishing up some key red state rhetoric, for the clearly Republican crowd.

Here is an example of what McDonnell talked about to get the crowd fired up:

Note the excitement McDonnell created when he hammered the federal government and proposed the idea of drilling offshore for oil.

McDonnell will stump in a number of different corners of the state tomorrow and won’t return to the Richmond area until Monday, where his team is promising the biggest rally of the campaign that is expected to be held at an airport hanger at Richmond International Airport.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 31, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Bolling not concerned about reports that the race for Lt. Governor is close

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romney with gop ticketIt is a classic line from a politician, and like clockwork, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling found the perfect opportunity to deliver it, as reports emerge that of the three statewide races in Virgina, his might be the most competitive.

During an event today in Richmond with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his Republican ticketmates, Bolling told our Tara Morgan that the only poll he is concerned about is the “final poll” that will take place on Election Day.

With more and more evidence that the chances that Creigh Deeds will pull off an amazing 11th hour comeback are unlikely, frisky Democrats are looking at their down ballot races hoping that Jody Wagner or Steve Shannon might be able to benefit from Virginia’s history of splitting tickets in statewide races.  Their hunger has left them pointing to a little read private poll from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that shows the race for Lt. Governor between Wagner and Bolling within a couple of points of each other.

Despite that fact that virtually every public poll has shown Bolling with as close to a comfortable lead as McDonnell has at the top of the ticket, many on the left are holding on to hope that voters have not taken the time to closely look at the LG’s race and that perhaps, in an effort to balance the ticket they will choose Wagner. Democrats took heart in a recent transfer of $25,000 from the McDonnell to the Bolling campaign as evidence that Republicans were getting nervous.  (McDonnell has since transferred another $10,000 and Bolling has also received more than $130,000 from the RPV and another $54,000 from the Republican Leadership Committee) Bolling told us today that, he is working hard up until the last day, but hasn’t seen this mysterious poll and he wouldn’t put much stock in it anyway.

Here are his remarks:

As for the Democrats, Wagner stated to me emphatically last week that she is not distancing herself from the Deeds campaign, despite the fact that she reached out to a liberal blogger, looking to clarify where she stands on the public option portion of the proposed health care reform plan. (A stance that even now still seems a bit murky) She continues to be advertising heavily on television and spoke at the rally on Tuesday featuring President Obama.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Wagner defends Deeds on Public Option

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Ryan Nobles – bio | email

From almost the moment the words came out of Sen. Creigh Deeds‘ mouth last night during the final gubernatorial debate, a cry went out across cyberspace from Democrats angry that their candidate would even consider opting out of the public option, if it were to pass in Washington.

The public option is a very controversial aspect of the Obama administration’s efforts to reform health care, but for some hard core Democrats, who have been waiting for the opportunity to enact what they view as real health care reform, it is an “all or nothing” proposition. Last night, Deeds clearly indicated that he was not among those who view the public option as the only avenue to real health care reform and left open the possibility that if the plan passes and raises costs for Virginians he would consider finding a way for the state to “opt out”.

I spoke today to Jody Wagner, the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor and the wife of a physician. Wagner told me that she did not see Sen. Deeds’ comments and did not have the chance to talk to him about the issue, but she is sure that her views are not far from her ticket-mate.  “If the public option passes and the President signs it, I think that we should take part,” said Wagner, but then she added,  “as long as it doesn’t result in higher taxes for Virginians and is revenue neutral.”

Wagner said that it is difficult to agree to a “public option only” platform, because there is no clear definition as to what exactly what the public option is. She said though that she couldn’t imagine a scenario where the Barack Obama led Federal Government would pass a health care reform package that included a public option, that wasn’t good for Virginia. However, she left open the possibility that if for some reason they did, Virginia could back out.

“Asking me to say, I categorically under all circumstances, would support it is tough because It depends on whether it is going to cost Virginia taxpayers more, whether it is going to be affordable for the state, whether it accomplishes the goals of increasing access,” said Wagner.  “It is sort of theoretical.”  Her comments to me, seem a bit different from what she told liberal blogger Ben Tribbett, according to a post on his popular NotLarrySabato blog, where Tribbett claims that she committed “unequivocally that she would fight any attempt to “opt out” of a federal health insurance option.”

Despite the parsing of her exact stance on the public option, Wagner pointed out that where she and Sen. Deeds stand is a far cry from where her opponent Bill Bolling and his ticket-mate Bob McDonnell stand.  Wagner accused the incumbent Bolling of being a pawn of the insurance industry, not interested in doing anything to help drive down the cost of health care.  (Bolling works in the insurance industry, but is not a licensed to sell health insurance.  The position of Lt. Governor is only a part time job.)

“Bill Bolling is a health insurance executive and he comes at this entirely differently than I do, he comes at it from the perspective of protecting insurance companies,” Wagner said.  “He spent his legislative career doing that. If you look at his Senate votes he voted against the patient’s bill of rights which meant voting in favor of requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions, against requiring access to a specialist against allowing someone who is very ill having a specialist as their primary care physician and against being able to sue an insurance company for negligence if you know, they cause harm to a patient.”

The Bolling campaign responded to the Wagner charges in this prepared statement from Campaign Manager Matt Wells:

“Lieutenant Governor Bolling disagrees strongly with Ms. Wagner on the so called Public Option. He does not support turning our health care delivery system over to the federal government because he knows this will lead to higher taxes and take health care decisions out of the hands of patients and turn them over to federal bureaucrats. It is unfortunate that Ms. Wagner has chosen to turn her back on the people of Virginia on this very important issue to stand with Nancy Pelosi and other high-tax, big-spending Washington liberals, but that doesn’t surprise us a bit.

As far as Ms. Wagner’s other comments are concerned, they are just more of the same kind of lies that Ms. Wagner has been telling about Lieutenant Governor Bolling throughout this entire campaign. Lieutenant Governor Bolling is not a health insurance executive and he is not employed by a health insurance company. The Lieutenant Governor is not even licensed to sell health insurance. He is an independent insurance agent who sells property and casualty insurance, not health insurance. He represents his clients and protects their interests, not insurance companies. Ms. Wagner just can’t seem to get any of the facts in this campaign right.”


Audio clips from conversation with Jody Wagner can be found below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm

McDonnell/GOP Ticket opens wide lead in new poll

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While much fodder has been made over a series of polls taken in the race for Governor most of them have been open to skepticism because of their method for gathering the information. Many of these polls were conducted via automated means, which is still widely debated as an appropriate statistical gathering mechanism.

Often times, reputable national mainstream media outlets would report on the polling in the race and would use a caveat when describing the numbers, because of the use of that method. It would lead them back to the last Washington Post poll conducted last month that showed the race as a virtual tie.

That survey will no longer matter, as today the Post released another phone survey, of more than 1,000 Virginia residents that now shows Bob McDonnell and his Republican ticketmates leading by 9 points. In addition to the encouraging news for Republicans in the overall numbers, the insider numbers show McDonnell shrinking the gap he once had with female voters, increasing his lead with independents and running competitively in Northern Virginia. There is very little that could be considered encouraging for the campaign of Creigh Deeds.

This latest poll, now gives McDonnell an 8.5% lead in the new average of public polling data gathered by Real Clear Politics.

However, this by no means indicates the race is over. Deeds, you will recall trailed by similar numbers in the Democratic primary before pulling ahead in the 11th hour and the candidates have two more debates on the docket before the final vote on November 3rd.  Deeds officials continue to say that their internal polling numbers show a race far more competitive than the public polling would indicate.

Here is a breakdown in all three statewide races according to the Washington Post poll:

Bob McDonnell (R)        53%
Creigh Deeds (D)    44%

Lt. Governor
Bill Bolling (R)                49%
Jody Wagner (D)           40%

Attorney General
Ken Cuccinelli (R)         49%
Steve Shannon (D)       40%

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.


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