Posts Tagged ‘Brian Moran’
Republicans and Democrats have picked sides in a battle over the response by State and Capitol Police to an abortion rights protest that led to several dozen arrests on Saturday. Democrats spent Monday attacking the decision by Capitol Police to call in State Police reinforcements to break up what they describe as a peaceful protest. In press releases, on social media and on the floor of the House and Senate, democratic leaders evoked strong language as they expressed their displeasure with police in riot gear breaking up the protest and forcibly removing protestors from the steps of the Capitol.
Many of these democrats found a way to lay much of the blame on Governor Bob McDonnell.
Fairfax Senator Chap Petersen (D), a potential candidate for statewide office said the response was overblown. “We are a free society. This is a public square,” he said from the Senate floor. ”People have a right to protest, without harassment or intimidation.”
Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran took it a step further. He intertwined the response to the policies of the McDonnell administration and continued to push the narrative that McDonnell himself may have called for the State Police to act in the fashion that they did.
“While I cannot say whether or not the Governor authorized or had knowledge of this weekend’s regrettable arrests,” Moran said. ”There is no question that this unfortunate situation could have been avoided by a leader with the courage to resist the extreme elements of his own party and focus on making life better for Virginia families.”
But McDonnell forcefully defended his role in the Capitol Square showdown. When asked directly by our Andy Jenks if he ordered the State Police to break up the protest the governor did not mince words.
“Absolutely not. See, that’s the problem. And that’s been the problem for about a month up here,” McDonnell said. “People saying things of which they have no direct information. And saying things that are just flat not correct.” McDonnell said he was at the CAA basketball tournament during the protest and did not learn what occurred until well after the situation had ended.
But while McDonnell defended his own role, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and GOP members of the House and Senate attacked democrats for their criticism of law enforcement. Bolling, a candidate for governor in 2013, said that they “owe Capitol Police an apology” for the way they assailed them on the floor of the General Assembly.
Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R) explained that leaders of the House and Senate had worked with Capitol Police to develop a contingency plan in the event that protests in the 2012 session threatened the civil assembly of the legislature. He said those plans were agreed to by republicans and democrats. He contended that the police were just doing their job and hinted that democrats were encouraging the partisan divide as a way to avoid talking about the stalled budget process.
“There are some in this body, that have done everything that they can to exacerbate the tarnishing of that public image based social issues to try to deflect what they are not doing in other issues.”
And as the rhetoric heats up, the ultrasounds before abortions, which sparked the protest, remains sitting on Governor McDonnell’s desk waiting for the final salvo in what has been a divisive fight over social issues.
A fight that has drawn clear lines between republicans and democrats and in most cases, where you sit on those issues seems to be directly linked to how one views the response to the weekend protests.
See Ben Garbarek‘s report on NBC12 on those arrested on Saturday, which includes an explanation from Capitol Police as to why they responded in the way they did.
The biggest attack from the ’09? That while the prominent democrat was a successful businessman, very little of his financial success led to jobs being created in Virginia. A scathing Washington Post story during the primary campaign was used as fodder by McAuliffe’s rivals, Sen. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran. (Deeds went on to win the primary by a wide margin)
At the time, McAuliffe told me that he never claimed to create jobs in Virginia. He is hoping that by 2013 it will be a claim he can easily make.
McAuliffe has used his considerable personal wealth to purchase a Virginia paper company and a Chinese electric car company. The car company, GreenTech Automotive, is about to open a plant in Mississippi. The first completely American made electric car will roll off the assembly line in July. McAuliffe then has plans for a “major” facility announcement later in the year, which could be a plant in Virginia.
“Three cargo ships are full of equipment which will be our first plant in Mississippi, and we’ll roll out our first car, all American made, on July 4th this year,” said McAuliffe. “(We) will sell the cars back to China and to Europe, and here.”
And even though the cars will run on electricity drawn predominately from non-clean burning sources like coal, McAuliffe believes they will be a remarkable improvement over the internal combustion engines on the road right now.
“The electric vehicles are 90% more efficient than the internal combustion car engine,” he said. “So, yes, you’re using electricity, but you’re only using 10%, if you use a gallon of gas, you use basically 10% of that for electricity.”
Most of the current electric cars on the market cost somewhere in the $40,000 range, but McAuliffe said GreenTech’s first 100,000 vehicles will be sold for only $10,000.
If this company is successful, McAuliffe could be well on his way to convincing people that he is the job creator that he claims. An effort that would fit pretty well into a narrative for a second run for the Governor’s mansion.
My entire interview with McAuliffe can be seen below. You can see the complete transcript on NBC12.com. In the interview, I also ask McAuliffe if he thinks Sen. Jim Webb will run for re-election.
Gov. Bob McDonnell just revealed plans to invest an additional $4 billion in transportation over the next three years. I’ll have more on this coming up on NBC12 News at 5 & 6.
**UPDATE** My full story on the new transportation proposal is posted on NBC12.com.
Democrats are already calling the plan “irresponsible”.
Read what Democratic House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong had to say here.
The new Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran issued this statement as well.
The full release from the Governor’s office can be found below:
Governor McDonnell in Roanoke: $4 Billion for Transportation
Will Announce Full Transportation Plan Next Month
$400 Million for New Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank; Calls for Allowing Commonwealth to Issue $1.1 Billion in direct GARVEE Bonds; Issue up to $1.8 Billion in Additional Transportation Bonds by End of Administration
Governor: “Right Now is the Best Opportunity to Get Roads Built in Modern Virginia History.”
ROANOKE- Governor Bob McDonnell previewed components of his transportation agenda for the 2011 General Assembly session today in a wide-ranging speech delivered at his Governor’s Transportation Conference in Roanoke. The Governor’s overall transportation vision focuses on maximizing all available resources and programs to get projects initiated during one of the most favorable road building periods in Virginia history. The Governor’s proposals, when fully implemented, would pump $4 billion into road, transit and rail projects in the Commonwealth over the next three years, dramatically speeding up congestion-reducing efforts and increasing job-creation and economic development efforts statewide.
Highlights of the Governor’s transportation proposals:
- Direct $150 Million to transportation from budget surplus. These one-time funds will go to the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.
- Pass a constitutional amendment to permanently protect the Commonwealth Transportation Fund from transfers to the General Fund.
- Create “Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank” (VTIB) to multiply transportation dollars.
- Capitalize Bank with $150 million from surplus and $250 million from audit-identified funds; Goal is to provide an initial $400 million and $1 billion total during administration.
- Modify Virginia Code to authorize Direct GARVEE bonds. This would allow the Commonwealth to issue at least $1.1 billion in direct GARVEE bonds and utilize toll credits for state match.
- Accelerate the sales of bonds from 2007 transportation legislation to max of $600 million per year, providing ability to issue up to $1.8 billion in bonds during remainder of the Administration. For every $100 million spent on highway maintenance, it is estimated 3,000 jobs are created or supported.
- Increase the availability of Revenue Sharing, specifically eliminating the $1 million cap per project and $50 million program maximum.
Speaking about these proposals at the Transportation Conference the Governor noted, “I want to make clear, right now is the best time in modern Virginia history to get new roads and bridges built. First, construction prices have fallen dramatically due to competition and the state of the economy. Second, interest rates are at historic lows for our AAA bond rated state. Third, our citizens need the good jobs that will come with these projects. Fourth, we need to reduce congestion and build transportation infrastructure today. We need to get dollars out the door quickly, and road, transit and rail projects underway now. Leveraging our scarce transportation resources to make them go further is smart management.”
The Governor continued, “Over the past two decades state support for transportation has not kept up with our growth as a Commonwealth. This has led to more congestion, longer commutes and missed economic opportunities. That trend must be reversed, and this is the time to do it. We have already, in just the first six months of this fiscal year, advertised almost double the amount of road work as during this same time period last year. By putting $4 billion into transportation over the next three years we will continue that progress, and get more Virginians back to work in the process. There is nothing partisan about road building. There are not Republican or Democratic roads. I hope that Republicans and Democrats will come together to back these responsible, and necessary, portions of our transportation plan. We can’t solve all of our transportation challenges all at once, but we can take significant steps forward over time. These portions of our plan are one of those steps, and implementing them will create good new jobs for our citizens today.”
Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton added, “In this kind of construction climate there is no acceptable reason to not get every possible resource deployed to transportation projects. We are getting deals now that would have been unheard of just a few years earlier, and the interest rates are at historic lows. This package will get projects underway, and Virginians will see the results all across the Commonwealth. In particular, the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank has the potential to revolutionize how projects are funded and moved forward in our state. Now, public and private sector entities will have a resource they can utilize to build projects that have previously not been funded, or underfunded. These transportation proposals are designed to speed up projects, and to maximize taxpayer dollars to the greatest extent possible. It will play a major role in driving the economic vitality of Virginia and getting our citizens back to work.”
Facts about the: “Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank”
- Initially, the Bank would be capitalized with $250 million of audit-identified funds, and $150 million from the budget surplus.
- Additional deposits will come from other sources, including future budget surpluses.
- The Bank will provide an initial $400 million now and $1 billion total during this administration.
- It will have a revolving loan fund for low interest rate loans and grants to localities, transportation and transit authorities, and private sector partners.
- It would be able to leverage three to five times the amount of funds deposited into it.
- Through grants, low interest loans and loan guarantees local governments can use the Bank to get their projects that have been not funded or underfunded in the current 6 year improvement plan.
- Examples of local projects that would be candidates for funding from the Bank are Dominion Boulevard in Chesapeake, and I-95/I-395 Hot Lanes in Northern Virginia. They would be candidates because of several factors:
o Toll revenues could repay loan
o Strong local support
o Right-size project
o Locality top priority
Facts about Direct GARVEE Bonds
- A GARVEE bond is a debt financed instrument that allows investors to be repaid through the use of future federal highway funds.
- The legislative proposal will also include a recommendation to modify Virginia Code to authorize Direct GARVEE bonds.
- Direct GARVEE bonds are sold for specific construction projects and use federal revenues for debt service.
- This would allow the Commonwealth to issue at least $1.1 billion in direct GARVEE bonds and utilize toll credits for state match, freeing up cash for statewide and regional projects.
- Several projects that may immediately benefit from the combination of the Direct GARVEE bonds and toll credits include the Midtown Tunnel in Norfolk, the Broad Street Corridor in Richmond, 460 PPTA projects, I-95/I-395 Hot Lanes in Northern Virginia, and the Coalfields Expressway, as well as others.
The McDonnell Administration Transportation Record
- In April, the last of the Commonwealth’s previously closed rest areas were re-opened within 90 days as promised during the campaign, signaling that Virginia is Open for Business.
- The Commonwealth obligated $694 million in stimulus projects on time by September 30th, 2010, after being ranked last in the country in disbursement of funds in the fall of 2009.
- In April, the Commonwealth submitted a proposal to the Federal Highway Administration to allow Virginia to toll Interstate 95 at the North Carolina border. This proposal is supported by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue.
- The Interstate 95 tolls will generate a minimum of $30 million annually, with likely revenues closer to $60 million.
- Governor authorized issuance of $492 million in Capital Project Revenue Bonds in the summer of 2010. The bonds were authorized by the 2007 Transportation Act, but had not yet been authorized.
- Yesterday, the Administration issued a multimodal strategic plan for Virginia’s transportation programs. This will create a road map for the future of transportation.
- Governor directed four audits of Virginia’s transportation agencies and as a result a number of significant structural, policy and procedural changes to create new efficiencies and lessen the cost of doing business are being made.
- One audit examined the PPTA program.
- A new PPTA office has been created and new procedural guidelines implemented to streamline our process based on recommendations in KPMG’s audit of the Commonwealth’s PPTA program.
- Comprehensive VDOT performance audit made over 50 recommendations to improve VDOT operations and identified $1.4 billion that can be invested in transportation projects.
- Secretary Connaughton outlined comprehensive audit implementation plan last month.
- The Governor announced Monday that VDOT will advertise more than 350 projects totaling $1.1 billion in construction and maintenance contracts by year’s end. This is almost double the work advertised in the first six months of last year.
- The Commonwealth has also increased advertisements for paving work by $250 million compared to last year.
- This paving work will result in 50% more interstate lane miles, 15% more primary lane miles, and 65% more secondary lane miles scheduled for paving.
- Virginia also obtained verbal approval to use our $450 million in federal toll credits, freeing up cash for other projects, as recommended by the audit.
- The Commonwealth Transportation Board has been authorized to program over $500 million in federal revenue reserves to projects in the next six year improvement program.
- Administration is taking a number of steps to move forward with critical projects throughout the state.
- Working with private sector partners and localities to immediately move forward on the I-95/395 HOT Lanes project.
- Over $71 million worth of spot improvements have been authorized by the CTB and are underway on I-66.
- 495 Hot Lanes work is progressing.
- Cooperating with public and private partners on Rail to Dulles; Phase 1 on Schedule for 2013.
- Administration canceled the previously dormant Route 460 PPTA project, and is evaluating 3 new proposals for the critical congestion reducing and emergency and military preparedness project.
- We expect to reach a comprehensive agreement with private sector partners on the Downtown Midtown Tunnel/MLK Extension project next year.
- PPTA – Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is in beginning stages.
- Just last week, along with Maryland Governor O’Malley and DC Mayor-elect Gray, in response to the Moving Metro Forward reports, the Governor requested a plan be put in place to optimize Metro’s safety, governance and efficiency. That plan should be done in the coming weeks.
As expected, former House Minority Leader and candidate for Governor, Brian Moran was elected the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Moran, who now works as a lobbyist for a group that supports for-profit higher education, easily beat an insurgent candidacy from Northern Virginia attorney Peter Rousselot.
Moran had the support of most of the party insiders and elected officials, including Senator Mark Warner.
and former Governor and current DNC Chairman Tim Kaine (While there were rumors of Kaine’s behind the scenes support for Moran, the DNC Chair was publicly neutral). Moran’s win was welcomed by his former rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination Terry McAuliffe, who tweeted his congratulations to Moran moments after the vote. McAuliffe is widely expected to run again for Governor in 2013.
Moran’s candidacy was challenged by a few prominet Democratic bloggers who pleaded with their readership to elect Rousselot and thereby change the direction of the party. Their plea fell short as close to 200 party members elected Moran as Chair. While the Rousselot campaign did enjoy the very enthusiastic support of these bloggers, it is worth noting that Moran did have the support of a number of other active and influential lefty blog writers.
Moran takes office immediately.
The full statement from the DPVA can be found after the jump.
Not for some people. Including a grassroots movement hoping to convince Northern Virginia Senator Chap Petersen to consider a race for Governor in 2013. Today, they released this web video on the left leaning blog Not Larry Sabato (run by former Petersen staffer Ben Tribbett), offering Petersen as a viable alternative to a presumed Ken Cuccinelli candidacy:
The ad is more anti-Cuccinelli than it is pro-Petersen. But it is an early indication of how sides are already being drawn in what will be a competitive race for the governorship in 2013.
Perhaps the reason that the ad is more about Cuccinelli and less about Petersen is because the Democratic field, 3 and half years out, is already starting to get crowded. Supporters of Petersen are hoping to strike a chord of unification among Democrats and at this point of 2010, nothing unifies Democrats more than Ken Cuccinelli.
Democrats appear to be trying to get a head start, in an effort to prevent what happened in 2009. A bitter primary amongst three candidates, that didn’t really get their campaigns moving until late 2008, or in some cases early 2009. Instead of the field stocking up in late 2012, several Democrats are looking to make their name now, perhaps in an effort to “clear the field.” It is a prospect that is much easier given that there is no clear alternative voice to what is a Commonwealth with three statewide elected Republicans running the show.
So who is attempting to make a name for themselves?
First the Democrats:
*Terry McAuliffe- At this point any conversation about the Democratic candidates for Governor must begin with the former DNC chair. McAuliffe has the most money and the most friends in high places. (You saw him with Mick Jagger and Bill Clinton at the World Cup right?) McAuliffe was dismissive with me on First at 4 when we asked directly about his interest in running for Governor, but finding people who don’t think he is running is a difficult proposition. He and his formidable wealth will be difficult for any prospective candidate to contend with, but it has obviously been done before. This time around though, McAuliffe is spending 4 years building an infrastructure, instead of 4 months.
*Del. Ward Armstrong- The ranking Democrat in the House of Delegates is slowing building a reputation as an outspoken alternative to the McDonnell agenda. Armstrong is liked by many, is an eloquent speaker and has strong support in the south and west where Democrats typically aren’t very strong. However, Democrats are still smarting over their experiment with a similar candidate in Creigh Deeds and some are already sounding alarm bells about his stance on issues like gun control. Armstrong seem poised to take the leap and he will be difficult to ignore.
*Sen. Chap Petersen- who has attempted statewide runs before unsuccessfully is in many ways the anti-Deeds. A sharp, articulate Northern Virginian, Petersen is rock-solid on the key issues that Democrats care about. His problem is one of anonymity. Petersen’s name identification is low and he would be forced to raise a lot of money to change that scenario. It’s a scenario that becomes even more difficult when you consider Terry McAuliffe will be dumping millions to make sure he does not go 0-2 in Democratic primaries.
Other names are bound to emerge, such as former House Democratic leader Brian Moran, Sen. Donald McEachin a one time candidate for Attorney General and even Rep. Tom Perriello who if he is successful this year (which is not a given) has the potential to be a rock star in the Virginia Democratic party.
What about the Republicans?
While names may pop up between now and then make no mistake, this is a two-man race. The two men who have already been elected statewide and will have to meet face to face to determine who gets to be the party standard-bearer.
*Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling- Bolling has already stepped aside for the good of the party, when he did not challenge Bob McDonnell for the party’s nomination. Now he stands poised to be anointed the party nominee. McDonnell has already hinted at Bolling being his heir apparent and the LG is already raising cash in preparation for a tough race. Bolling is a rock solid, experienced politician who rarely makes a mistake. However, he is also not that kind that elicits excitement from the party base. He is hoping Republicans remember what he did to leave the field open for McDonnell to win by a landslide. He is hoping the same courtesy is extended to him.
*Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli- For the record, Cuccinelli has never expressed an interest in running for Governor. Privately, his close associates say that he is not interested in becoming the Chief Executive. He is a lawyer by trade and serving as Attorney General is for him the pinnacle. That was of course before Cuccinelli became a media super star. Love him or hate him, the AG has received perhaps the most exposure of any official in Virginia. He has turned that into a fund-raising network around the country. His support from the base is electric. His opposition on the left is dangerous. Cuccinelli will be in position to make a run. The question is, will he want to do it?
My guess is that it won’t be long until this post becomes old news. Many of the candidates will step aside and new ones will probably emerge. I think I answered my own question. It is never too early to talk about the next election.
Any guesses for candidates in 2017?
Now that the winner and losers have been officially decided at the ballot box, it is time to dig a bit deeper and see who will benefit (and lose) the most in Virginia politics.
Gov. Tim Kaine - It is hard to believe that just a little more than a year ago, Virginia’s current governor was a whisker away from becoming the nominee for vice president of the United States. It seems that since his close friend President Barack Obama turned to the more experienced Joe Biden, Kaine’s fortunes have gone down hill. He was forced into a job he didn’t want (DNC Chair) and as a result had to constantly deal with questions about where he was having dinner each night. Taking on the job also put him at the center of yesterday’s losses not only in Virginia, but in New Jersey too, a state he has little to nothing to do with. Kaine now is left with a little less than two months to define his legacy in the governor’s mansion. A legacy that, regardless of his legislative and governing accomplishments (Smoking Ban, his stewardship in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre), will now be defined by one huge political win (Barack Obama) and one enormous political loss (last night). Kaine, however, still enjoys the trust and friendship of the most powerful man in the world and his political destiny may still be ahead of him.
Jeff Frederick (former Republican Party chair) – Yes, there were Republicans who did not come out ahead last night and Frederick is among them. The feisty leader of the conservative wing of the party was on the precipice of causing a huge rift in the Republican party last spring. But within less than a month he became marginalized by the McDonnell machine and reduced to a few errant tweets that eventually no longer became news. In the days leading up to the campaign, Frederick tweeted about a write-in campaign for his former seat in the House of Delegates, and the formation of a separate Conservative party in Virginia. Frederick, who once held a position so powerful that his off-the-cuff comments about Barack Obama garnered national attention, may now only be remembered as the guy who once held one of the few seats in the House of Delegates that switched to the Democratic party in 2009.
Mike Henry (campaign manager for Terry McAuliffe and Steve Shannon) – Perhaps the most respected mind in Virginia politics, Henry had the distinction of presiding over two losses in one campaign season. The expectations may have been too high for a man who had been almost perfect in Virginia politics. He didn’t appear to have enough time to convince Virginia voters that McAuliffe was one of them and by the time he reached the Shannon campaign, the growing tsunami was already overwhelming. Henry is still incredibly well-respected and I am sure he will be back in the very near future (Terry McAuliffe is already considering a run in 2013).
Phil Cox (McDonnell campaign manager) – The man at the top of the Bob McDonnell machine withstood criticism about his ties to controversial conservative groups to become the biggest “behind the scenes” player in Virginia politics. This morning Bob McDonnell named him the head of his transition team and, depending on what his goals are, he may end up with a prominent position in the new administration. Cox managed a fickle and unsettled GOP in the spring and became the first Republican campaign manger to effectively integrate the internet and social media into an overall strategy. He also helped to guide Team McDonnell through the rough waters of the revelation of the candidate’s master’s thesis to cruise to a landslide victory.
Republican Bloggers/Internet Stars - Up until yesterday, it was just a given that Republicans would lose the war online. It may be too early to declare them victorious in 2009, but the GOP’s presence on the internet grew exponentially in this campaign. From offering right-leaning bloggers better seating at the Republican convention than the media, to gathering more Facebook friends and Twitter followers for Bob McDonnell than any other candidate, Republicans did not just hand the internet over to the Democrats. Sites like Bearing Drift have now become important players that candidates and voters can no longer ignore. They may not be the difference between winning and losing, but they are now having an impact, something they could never say before.
Brian Moran (former Democratic candidate for governor) – He watched as one of his one of his two opponents for the Democratic nomination lost in a landslide and the other already floated the idea of running again and hasn’t said a word. Brian Moran is rumored to be in talks to make a play for the Democratic Party’s chairmanship and could be well positioned to be a prominent and vocal opponent to the McDonnell administration. The former leader of the Democratic House Caucus, Moran is accustomed to the back and forth bickering related to the legislative process and could prove to be a go-to guy for reporters looking for the counterpoint to the McDonnell agenda. The question is, does he want that role? Regardless, Moran looks to have options. Options that weren’t available in early June.
The National Rifle Association is set to announce that Bob McDonnell will be their chosen candidate for Governor of Virginia this fall. The NRA chose McDonnell’s opponent Creigh Deeds when the two met four years ago in the race for Attorney General.
The decision is not too big of a surprise, considering how Deeds was hit hard by his more liberal opponents during the primary campaign about his support for gun rights. Deeds repeatedly had to explain how his position on the controversial topic has evolved. He was force to beat back an 11th hour “non-endorsement” from relatives of some Virginia Tech victims at the same time that both Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran described his position on guns as “extreme”.
It is clear that, when it comes to guns, Deeds is not the same candidate he was four years ago.
Here is the dispatch from the AP’s Bob Lewis who broke the story.
Gun rights group to back McDonnell
By BOB LEWIS
AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Republican and Democratic operatives say the National Rifle Association will endorse Republican Bob McDonnell for governor.
The gun rights group plans to announce its endorsement in a Monday afternoon conference call for reporters.
People with knowledge of the NRA’s decision confirmed the endorsement on the condition they not be identified because the announcement was pending.
Both McDonnell and his opponent, Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, have supported gun rights. Four years ago, the NRA endorsed Deeds over McDonnell in their race for attorney general.
VA Tech victims Colin Goddard and Omar Samaha just released a statement encouraging voters not to support Sen. Creigh Deeds in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial primary. The language in the e-mail and its late timing had raised suspicions that the statement was encouraged by the campaigns of one or both of Deeds’ opponents, Brian Moran or Terry McAuliffe.
I just spoke to Colin Goddard and his father Andy. Goddard told me that he and Samaha and many other Virginia Tech families had watched a recent debate and had decided that Creigh Deeds was unacceptable in their eyes. He said that the families were split between Moran and McAuliffe.
However, when I asked Goddard directly about the involvement of either campaigns, he confirmed that he had received assistance from Terry McAuliffe’s campaign. Specifically he said the campaign provided he and Samaha with a press e-mail list to distribute their statement. He said the e-mail was supposed to go out Sunday, but an error was made in the sending process delaying it until today.
He denied that the campaign encouraged their efforts, and emphatically stated that the decision to release the statement was his and Samah’s idea, but he said the McAuliffe campaign was helpful in getting the information out.
When I asked Goddard who he would be voting for tomorrow, he said he had waited too long to register for an absentee ballot and was not going to be able to get to his home voting location in Richmond, so therefore would not be casting a ballot.
Goddard went further and told me that if Deeds were to be nominated tomorrow, that he and other VA Tech family members would have to have a serious conversation with the candidate. He said they would need specific assurances before they could give their support to Deeds in a race against Bob McDonnell.
McAuliffe Press Secretary Lis Smith confirmed their campaign’s involvement:
“Omar and Colin had a letter they wanted to send to the press about the primary. They asked us for a list of reporter emails and we provided the list.”
Brian Moran’s campaign said they had nothing to do with the statement. Campaign spokesperson Jesse Ferguson would only say the following:
“These folks have earned the right to have their opinion known and have their opinion stand on its own.”
I just received a statement from Creigh Deeds himself, reacting to the statement from the Colin Goddard and Omar Samaha:
“My heart has gone out to all of the victims and the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy. There are certain events that happen in our lifetime that are above politics. And I’m not going to comment on any campaign that would exploit this tragedy.”
In a race where he has spent the better part of 5 months trying to stay above the fray, Terry McAuliffe is taking no risks. Today in a phone interview from the campaign trail, the former DNC did not mince his words, stating plainly that his fellow Democrats, Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran do not have the ability to beat Bob McDonnell in November. Here is a portion of what he said:
“As you know, Bob already beat Creigh once and he beat him on the gas tax and they are very similar on the issue of guns, concealed guns in bars and we are just making the final argument that I can beat Bob, they can’t and I’ll put together the largest grassroots campaign the state has every seen.”
While his argument is relevant it is also risky. McAuliffe has consistently said on the campaign trail that it will be important to support whichever of the candidates emerges from the fray on Tuesday. I can imagine that if Senator Deeds wins Tuesday, these comments will provide the Republicans with some useful quotes.
I asked McAuliffe if his new attacks against Deeds are rooted in his concern that the Senator has the momentum behind him. McAuliffe said it wasn’t about momentum. He said it was about informing Northern Virginia voters in particular about Deeds conservative stance on issues that residents of that region may not be aware of.
“I don’t think they know that he wants to take concealed weapons into bars, he has voted for them four times, he voted to override Governor Kaine’s veto twice. I think these are big issues, big important issues.”
After the jump you can hear two different clips of my phone interview with McAuliffe. One where he explains why he is the only candidate who can beat Bob McDonnell and one where he makes his closing argument to undecided voters. Read the rest of this entry »
Brian Moran made a quick swing through Richmond this afternoon to work the phones at his campaign office on 8th Street, downtown. The candidate seemed upbeat and confident about his chances on June 9th. He told me that he is right where he wants to be at this point in the primary race.
Moran, more than any other candidate, has been taken quite a bit of heat for the tough words he and his campaign staff have used to define their opponents. For the most part, his attacks have been trained directly at Terry McAuliffe, but perhaps in an indication of where the momentum lies, both Moran and McAuliffe have taken a few shots at Sen. Creigh Deeds.
No one would argue that of the three candidates for governor, Deeds’ record is the closest to the center. It is a quality that could serve him well should he survive past Tuesday. However, by the same token, it is a drawback that may prevent him from getting that far. While Deeds has been critized for his positions on gay rights and the environment, his two opponents have seemed to focus on one issue in particular: Guns.
Both Moran and McAuliffe sent out mail pieces hammering Deeds on guns. Moran reminding voters that he won the NRA endorsement over Bob McDonnell four years ago (h/t Washington Post), and McAuliffe reminding them that he voted to allow concealed weapons in bars (h/t Blue Virginia).
When I spoke to Moran this afternoon he called the Deeds record on guns “extreme.”
He went on to say that Deeds “is the only democratic candidate to receive the endorsement of the NRA since 1989 and this different from Warner, Kaine and myself or Jim Webb. He’s the only one who has received that recognition.”
I have reached out to the Deeds campaign for their response. If I get one, I will update the post.
**UPDATE** Deeds Communications Director Brooke Borkenhagen responded with the following statement:
“These distortions from Brian Moran won’t do anything to help move Virginia forward. He’s just trying to tear us apart.
Creigh has the same position on guns as Mark Warner and Jim Webb – two strong Virginia Democrats who have been elected in statewide primary and general elections.
The Washington Post endorsed Creigh Deeds over Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe and the editorial cited Creigh’s work to close the gunshow loophole as evidence as to why he “would make the best Governor in the Warner-Kaine tradition.”