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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Bob McDonnell

McDonnell to attend Romney retreat with VP hopefuls

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Governor Bob McDonnell will be among a select group of republican leaders asked to huddle with the Romney presidential campaign this weekend in Park City, Utah.

The Washington Post reported that the pow-wow will feature major donors and a group of potential running mates for Mitt Romney in the fall election.

The governor’s office confirmed Wednesday that he will be there and is expected to deliver an address at the event Saturday night.

McDonnell has been considered on the VP short list since before Romney even secured the nomination. He has already campaigned extensively for the presumptive GOP nominee. McDonnell, like most potential candidates for VP, has been very coy about his conversations with the Romney camp. He told WTOP radio last month that he was not being vetted. He later said that he wouldn’t talk about the vetting process in specifics.

Overall, a difficult legislative session that forced the governor into the middle of several controversial debates, has hurt his stock on the VP short list. However he remains a popular governor in one of the most competitive swing states in America.

His invitation to this exclusive event would indicate that he is still very much in the running.

Written by Ryan Nobles

June 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Five reasons George Allen has bucked the uprising

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It is now less than a week before voters go to the polls in Virginia primaries and the most marquee match up of them all has turned out to be anything but exciting. One time senator and governor George Allen will be on the ballot next Tuesday in a primary that his campaign has for the most part publically ignored. Despite a relentless attack from three conservative opponents, there is nothing that indicates that the primary vote will be anything but an easy day for Allen.

It is not from a lack of trying. Each of the candidates has the make up to mimic the kind of uprising that politicians like Allen have faced in other states. Establishment republican candidates like Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in Texas and Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah have either lost primaries or been faced into difficult runoff elections or primary votes they were not expecting. Their difficult times are all the result of conservative/tea party support that has coalesced at the right time to push the establishment candidates in to a difficult position.

Despite having all the ingredients for the same type of scenario in Virginia, Allen has survived and arguably thrived as he coasts to the nomination, setting the stage for a one on one titanic showdown with fellow former Gov. Tim Kaine in November.

Why? I’ve come up with five reasons:

1- Divide and Conquer
The fatal mistake the conservative/tea party made came early in this primary campaign. They couldn’t come up with one candidate. By facing three other candidates, Allen has successfully split the loyalty of a small, but active group of voters that would have to be together in order to be successful. Del. Bob Marshall is a hero with social conservatives. Former Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke is popular with the libertarian, fiscally conservative wing (although she is socially conservative herself). Bishop E.W. Jackson is a talented speaker and is able to excite a crowd, but by battling two other challengers, he has been unable to gain any traction.

The lack of outsider unity in challenging the establishment is what drove businessman Tim Donner out of the race. It was something he told me last summer was a necessity in overcoming Allen’s immense natural advantages.

“It is clear that a single challenger to the establishment candidate George Allen will emerge in this race,” he said. He went on to say that if was not him he’d get out-of-the-way. “I will not do anything to impede the conservative movement, and impede the movement of grass-roots conservatives.”

Donner got out, but the other three candidates never came together, and he ended up endorsing Allen.

2- Securing the base
One thing George Allen never forgot about was his base. The base helped him get elected governor and senator and despite losing in 2006, they were still there for him in a losing effort. Allen knew that it was the base that would guarantee him the nomination in 2012.

While his opponents spent a lot of time reaching out to “non-traditional” political groups, like the tea party, Allen appeared at every traditional GOP event that would have him. Women Republican Club Teas, Golf outings for legislators seeking re-election, Congressional Committee meetings. If grassroots republicans were meeting, Allen was there. There was no meeting he was above and many of those still volunteering at these events were raised on his campaigns for governor and senator. They were all too happy to have him and continue to support him.

Allen’s rock solid support from the base was most evident when the influential righty blog Bearing Drift offered their formal endorsement Monday night.

3- Raising money
No matter how hard these candidates tried, there was just no possible way for them to overcome the ability of a former governor and senator to raise money. Money not just from Virginia but from across the country. The massive cash advantage allowed Allen to hire a great deal of full-time staff. It allowed him to travel the state with ease, build a state infrastructure and take away any type of advantage his opponents could hope to muster.

Granted, in the toppling of establishment candidates, the momentum of the movement overwhelmed significant cash advantages. But in Virginia that momentum never materialized and Allen was able to stifle any appearance of it with spending.

4- No high-profile endorsements
Or perhaps this should say.. “no high-profile endorsements of anyone but Allen”. Allen quickly gobbled up the endorsement of Gov. Bob McDonnell, Rep. Eric Cantor and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. He successfully (at least for now) kept the unpredictable Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli out of the race and even earned the support of high-profile tea party favorites like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Meanwhile, his opponents stumbled over opportunities to get national voices to endorse their campaign and bring with it the attention that could lead to money and momentum. Former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has offered her support in a few of these races, has seem disinterested in joining the fray, despite her similarities with Radtke. South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint has been noticeably absent. Radtke thought she had the endorsement of influential republican blogger Erik Erickson, only to have it taken away after an embarrassing conflict at Erickson’s annual Red State event.

This category is in flux because one of these endorsements could still come in with less than a week to go. But the chances of it having a game changing impact at this point are slim.

5- Hard work
This category might be best illustrated through a personal anecdote. It was December of 2010, a cold night in South Richmond. Former Senator George Allen was scheduled to appear at a forum on education with former DPVA chair Paul Goldman. I had received a press advisory so I thought it would be worth it to check it out. Allen had not announced his plans to run, but everyone assumed he was going to. Keep in mind this was just a little less than two years before the 2012 election.

I got to a small community center on the south side and there was no one there. Literally. The doors were locked. We had to be let in by a night janitor. We thought we were in the wrong place. He told us no, there was something happening, but we were just a little early.

About 20 minutes later, a few people trickled in. By the time it was time for the event to start, there may have been 20 people in attendance. Allen was among them. A one time governor, senator and even potential candidate for president came in ready to wax poetic on his thoughts on school choice and private/public education partnerships to a group about the size of a small church choir. We talked for a bit about his potential campaign, and then we left. He stayed. The event was scheduled to go for two hours, on a weeknight, three weeks before Christmas.

I said to my photographer Jerry Brown as we were leaving “there is NO way this guy is not running.”

Of course he was, and of course he knew what it was going to take to win. This is not to suggest that any of Allen’s opponents have not been working just as hard. I believe they actually are. But the difference between Allen and his contemporaries in other states is that they assumed that being who they were was enough to win. 2006 was clearly a wake up call for a man who did not really know what it was like to fail and its clear he doesn’t want something like that to happen again.

Now, I firmly believe that we truly have no idea what could happen on Tuesday and I am confident to leave the outcome to the voters. The point of this post was to illustrate why I believe Allen is in a strong position to win. The hardest part for this Virginia political heavyweight is that the hard work hasn’t really begun. If he is fortunate to get past this initial test, he has the biggest fight of his political life ahead of him.

Just one of the many reasons it will be the most watched race in the country.

McDonnell plays it cool on Veepstakes

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It is, without a doubt, the one issue that brings Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell the most attention. But when asked, McDonnell makes it seem that, being a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, is the furthest thing from his mind.

His focus, he will tell you, is “governing”. Wrapping up the state budget process and overseeing whatever particular initiative his office is taking on. On Wednesday it was a new program that will offer ID cards to Virginia veterans.

Even politically, McDonnell claims that being the nominee for Vice President is low on his list of priorities. He often sites his work in 13 gubernatorial races as Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association and acting as a surrogate for Romney. He believes that work is more important than the frequent attention he receives as a potential VP nominee.

“I’m not asking for it, I’m not expecting it, I’m not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring,” McDonnell said.  “I will do what I can to help him (Romney).”

McDonnell told WTOP radio earlier in the week that he has not been asked to submit any information for what is usually a rigorous vetting process. The comment set off a series of national speculation that he was out of the running.  McDonnell acted today as if that was no big deal.

“I don’t think it means anything,” he said. “I told Mitt Romney that I will help him in any way that I can.”

There are reports that the Romney campaign has begun the vetting process, but not one potential candidate has confirmed that they are being investigated.

McDonnell seems to not care either way.

But it’s not just what McDonnell says when it comes to the Veepstakes, it is also the way he acts. Both tell you that he is working hard to play it cool, while at the same time doing everything he can to position himself to be picked.

Wednesday during his event honoring Veterans, McDonnell didn’t get annoyed with questions about his Vice Presidential prospects, but he also didn’t just reject them outright. He stuck to his typical talking points (“I’m not asking for it, I’m not expecting it” is his go-to line) while touting his work building a foundation for a grass-roots operation for Romney team.  It could be a way to show that he is ready to deliver the state come November.

He also is playing both sides of this tight rope in his work as governor. McDonnell, who is in the twilight of his governorship, has by no means decided to coast. He fought vigorously for his priorities in the state budget and continues to offer new initiatives and give every indication that he plans to see his legacy through. At the same time he has embarked on a statewide tour highlighting his administrations accomplishments and his campaign arm bought a significant amount of television time to tout his work in a slick 30 second ad. This, despite the fact that he isn’t running for anything.

Democrats have claimed that McDonnell made both moves to re-boost his popularity to make him a more attractive VP pick.  They dubbed his tour of the Commonwealth as his “pick me tour”.  McDonnell’s statewide popularity and national profile took a hit after a brutal legislative session that put him in the middle of controversial abortion and gun control legislation.

So after all of this, just where does McDonnell stand? There is no doubt that he has slipped a bit in the rankings. Prior to the lumps taken in the legislative session, McDonnell was regularly considered to be in the top 5 of most speculative polls, now he is considered to be somewhere around the top 10 and holding.  Being picked as a VP nominee requires an incredible amount of good fortune together all at once, most of which is outside of your control. McDonnell really has no choice but to just play it cool. There isn’t much else he can do.

That doesn’t mean he is out of the running. Virginia remains one of, if not the most, competitive state in election. His approval rating, despite dropping, remains among the highest in his state of potential VP picks.  While big names pop up and gain momentum from time to time, McDonnell has to hope he can remain consistently in the mix and when the time comes to make a final choice, that his attributes fit what Romney needs to get him over the top.

Until then, he will do what the campaign needs and just remain “cool”.

 

An extended clip from McDonnell’s remarks on the VP search can be seen below:

 

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

McDonnell signs voter ID bill into law

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It is the last of a string of controversial measures in the explosive 2012 Virginia General Assembly and today Governor Bob McDonnell is ready to put it behind him.  The Governor signed into law a measure that will tighten the requirements to prove your identification when you cast a ballot in an election in Virginia.

Currently in Virginia, if you are registered but show up the polls without any ID, you are able to cast your ballot, but sign a sworn statement that you are who you say you are. The vote counts, but you could be charged with fraud after the fact if you vote under someone else’s name.

Republicans have long criticized the practice as being an easy opportunity for voter fraud.  This new measure would still allow you to cast a ballot without an ID, but that ballot would only be provisional and would not count until you can produce one of the acceptable forms of ID.

Democrats angrily fought the measure and claimed that it was a GOP effort to suppress voters. In particular, voters who tend to vote for democrats, including minorities, the elderly and the poor.

The Virginia proposal was one of many passed in state legislatures around the country, but the Commonwealth’s bill did not go as far as some which forced voters to produce a photo ID at the polls. In fact, while the Virginia bill tightened the requirements at the polls, it actually expanded what you could show to prove your identity.  Currently a Virginia Voter ID card, a driver’s licence, Social Security card, government-issued ID or a photo ID from your place of employment are all accepted. The new law would also allow utility bills, paychecks, bank statements, government checks or a current Virginia college ID.

In an effort to make sure everyone who wants to vote can, McDonnell is issuing an Executive Order requiring the Board of Elections to send new voter ID cards to every single registered voter in Virginia.  This provision is addition to the current bill, which will now become law.

The liberal group “ProgressVA” was not impressed with McDonnell’s efforts to soften the impact of the new restrictions. They called the move a waste of taxpayer funds.

“This legislation and the accompanying executive order are an expensive fix to a nonexistent problem,” said Anna Scholl ProgressVA’s Executive Director  “We’ve never solved anything in this country with less democracy and we shouldn’t start now.”

The full statement from the Governor’s office and ProgressVA’s response can be found after the jump:

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Written by Ryan Nobles

May 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Romney plans big Virginia swing around Obama launch event

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will appear at four different events in Virginia over the next two weeks. The Romney swing represents the first significant amount of time the republican has spent in the Commonwealth since taking control of the GOP nomination for president.  It also comes around the same time as President Barack Obama plans a major event at VCU in Richmond to formally launch his 2012 campaign.

Romney will appear by himself at an event in Chantilly Wednesday morning and then a fundraiser with Governor Bob McDonnell that evening in Northern Virginia. McDonnell will then join Romney at an event at a business in Portsmouth Thursday afternoon. Finally Romney will return to Virginia next Saturday May 12th to serve as the commencement speaker at Liberty University in Lynchburg.  First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at Virginia Tech the day before Romney’s Liberty event on Friday May 11th.

The dual focus on Virginia comes as a new poll released by the left leaning Public Policy Polling shows Obama holding a 7 point lead in the Old Dominion. This poll follows two surveys from other services that show Romney leading by a smaller margin. The Real Clear Politics polling average gives the president a 2.5 point lead.

The visit will also increase the speculation about Governor McDonnell as a possible running mate to Romney. McDonnell has emerged as a top surrogate for the new presumptive nominee and this will be our first opportunity to see the two in what could be a ticket leading into the fall.

We will have complete coverage of th Romney Virginia swing this week on Decision Virginia and NBC12.

McDonnell chides Obama on campaign “kickoff”

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Governor Bob McDonnell is a prominent Mitt Romney supporter so it is not a surprise that he doesn’t share the same enthusiasm about Barack Obama‘s upcoming visit to Virginia as the wide-eyed Obama volunteers who we featured Wednesday night.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate the significance of the Obama campaign picking Richmond as one of two locations to kickoff off the president’s re-election bid.

“We are going to see plenty of the candidates, that’s good,” McDonnell said. “Most people ignore Virginia because they think it is going one way or the other. But this is going to be a real competitive race.”

But McDonnell stops short of buying into the notion that Saturday May, 5th is really the start of the Obama campaign.

“Well he’s been campaigning for the last two years so it’s really not the kickoff to the campaign,” he said.

The republicans seem intent to remind everyone that the president has been spending a lot of time in swing states. Events that may not have been campaign events, but ones that played to audiences that will play a key role in his re-election. House Speaker John Boehner was among those who said the White House was campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime. The Speaker even called on the Obama campaign to reimburse the federal government for the president’s recent trip to college campuses to drum up support for an extension on lower student loan rates.

The Obama campaign deflected the criticism and argued that the president’s travel is not out of the ordinary for a Commander-in-Chief. Even one seeking reelection.

McDonnell said regardless of how many times Obama comes to Virginia it can’t change what he views as policies that have not worked.

“No matter what the president may say that doesn’t change the fact that we are $16 trillion dollars in debt and unemployment is at 8.3%.”

Expect McDonnell to be front and center as a chief surrogate for the Romney campaign, there to rebut the president’s speech and offer the alternative perspective.

See an extended clip from Governor McDonnell’s remarks below:

 

 

Written by Ryan Nobles

April 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Obama to launch 2012 campaign in Richmond

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In case you needed even more proof, (and you shouldn’t) it became very clear the Obama 2012 campaign is making Virginia a high priority in their re-election bid.

The president, who has yet to make an official public campaign stop, will hop on the campaign trail for the first time in Columbus, Ohio and at the Seigel Center at VCU in Richmond.

President Obama coming to Richmond is no longer earth shattering news. He has made five official White House visit to the Central Virginia region since becoming presidents. This visit is different, because he will be a candidate and the points he generally talks around during his policy trips, he will be able to drive home and leave no doubt.

The president, who became the first democrat to win Virginia since LBJ, wants to make sure he wins again in 2012.

Here is my story for NBC12 on the announcement:

RICHMOND (WWBT)- President Barack Obama is no stranger to Central Virginia, but his next visit to Richmond will be much different. That is because the 2012 campaign is officially underway.

Saturday May 5th, the president will make his first two campaign stops in Columbus, Ohio and here in Richmond, Virginia, on the campus of VCU. Republicans have been very critical that the president has used the White House travel budget to visit swing states like Virginia to push his agenda, in fact today the RNC filed a formal complaint to that effect.

But, this trip will be paid for by his campaign, and he won’t mince words.

He wants your vote.

It was Barack Obama’s loyal volunteers, at his downtown Richmond headquarters who were the first to get the news.

“President Obama will be holding his very first campaign rallies in Columbus, Ohio and the Seigel Center in Richmond,’ said Obama For America Virginia Field Director Lise Clavel to cheers.

Of the many places the president could’ve picked for his first campaign rally, he chose two with enormous significance in November, Ohio and Virginia.

“It’s recognition that Virginia is a really important state in this election and that it is all up for grabs,” said Sai Iyer a VCU student who has the unique distinction of being the only student national co-chair for the Obama Campaign. He is excited the president is coming to the place where he will graduate from in just two weeks.

“I think it’s recognition that Richmond came out in a big way in 2008 and it is going to come out in a big way in 2012,” he said.

But republicans were quick to criticize the announcement and downplay its importance.

Governor Bob McDonnell, a Mitt Romney supporter and a potential vice presidential pick said that all the president is doing his bringing his “failed policies and broken promises to Virginia.”

read and see the rest of the story on NBC12.com…

OBAMA EVENT DETAILS/ TICKET INFORMATION

The event will take place Saturday May 5th. The specific time of the event has not been released, but the doors to the Seigel Center will open at 1:45pm.

Official ticket distribution has not been revealed yet, but those eager to claim a spot can RSVP on the Obama Campaign web site. Keep in mind that reservation does require you to submit an e-mail address, which can than be used to solicit future campaign information.

The full response from Governor Bob McDonnell to the Obama visit can be found after the jump:

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Written by Ryan Nobles

April 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm