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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Ken Cuccinelli

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.

Cuccinelli files suit against White House party crasher

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced Monday that he has filed a lawsuit against Tareq Salahi and his company Virginia Wine Tour .com. Salahi has been at the center of many mysterious and outrageous news stories over the past two and a half years. In November of 2009 Salahi, and his now estranged wife Michaele, showed up uninvited to a White House State Dinner for the prime minister of India. They were granted access despite not being on the guest list, which led to a firestorm of controversy.

The stunt was part of an effort to become part of the cast of “The Real Housewives of D.C.”. They did appear in one season of the reality tv show.

The fallout from the party crashing stunt has been all negative for Tareq. It has brought a great deal of attention to his business and charity work, attention that lead to questions about the way he conducted business.  Michaele also very publicly abandon Tareq to go on the road with the Journey guitarist Neal Schon.

Salahi’s problems, most of which were terrific tabloid and celebrity gossip fodder, have now officially become a legal problem.  Cuccinelli and the Attorney General’s office have filed suit against his company for failing to deliver on promised services.

A full release from Cuccinelli’s office on the lawsuit can be found below:

—————————————-

Attorney general announces lawsuit against VirginiaWineTour.com

and Tareq Salahi

 – VirginiaWineTour.com allegedly did not deliver tours as promised, did not provide refunds for canceled tours –

RICHMOND (April 23, 2012) – Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that he has filed suit against Tareq Salahi and two related entities involved in a wine tour venture for alleged violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, including not delivering tours as promised, not providing refunds for tours they canceled, and misrepresenting reputable businesses as “official partners.”

Salahi and the other two defendants, Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC (collectively, “VirginiaWineTour.com”), offer wine tour services in the Northern Virginia region through the web site VirginiaWineTour.com.

Salahi is the sole officer and director and presumed sole owner of Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and the presumed sole member and manager of Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC.

VirginiaWineTour.com offers to provide transportation to and prearranged tours with individual wineries. The tours offered range from four-hour tours for small groups to week-long charters for up to 45 guests. Tour prices range from $200 to $1,350 for day tours, or more for weeklong charters.  

Based on complaints filed with the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau and his own investigation, the attorney general learned that VirginiaWineTour.com has not been delivering wine tours as promised.

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) generally prohibits suppliers from engaging in deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with consumer transactions. In his complaint, the attorney general alleges that VirginiaWineTour.com has violated the VCPA in the following ways:

  • failing to deliver agreed-upon services. Some consumers reported that, often on the morning of their scheduled wine tours, they received calls informing them that the tours were cancelled, with the caller typically citing a vehicle malfunction as the reason for the cancellation. Some consumers never heard from the company again after paying in advance for the services;
  • failing to deliver services as promised. Some consumers complained they were not taken to all of the wineries that were promised to them, or that the mode of transportation was not as advertised or promised;
  • failing to deliver on promises to deliver refunds. When VirginiaWineTour.com failed to provide promised services, it often promised to make consumers whole by, among other things, providing full refunds to consumers. These promises sometimes were made in writing and refunds were not ultimately given;
  • and misrepresenting affiliations with reputable businesses. VirginiaWineTour.com’s web site displays logos of several reputable businesses, including United Airlines, the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia, and Facebook, listing them all as “official partners.”   The attorney general has reason to believe that many, if not all, of the entities whose logos appear on VirginiaWineTour.com’s website are not “official partners” with VirginiaWineTour.com.

The lawsuit was filed today with the Fauquier County Circuit Court. It requests that the court enjoin VirginiaWineTour.com from violating the VCPA and that all money acquired from consumers in violation of the law be returned.  The suit also seeks civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation of the act.

Consumers may file complaints regarding VirginiaWineTour.com with the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs.   Complaint forms can be obtained by clicking here or by calling the Office of Consumer Affairs at (804) 786-2042 in the Richmond area, or (800) 552-9963 statewide.

Written by Ryan Nobles

April 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

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 »

Cox on chances of changing GOP ballot access: “zero to none”

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Virginia House Majority Leader Kirk Cox doesn’t like the odds of the General Assembly altering the rules to allow more candidates onto the GOP presidential primary ballot in March. In an interview with NBC12’s Andy Jenks, Cox said the chances of that happening are “zero to none”.

Cox sympathizes with Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who were kicked off the ballot after not getting enough qualified signatures, but said they knew the rules ahead of time.  According to Cox, their poor planning should not lead the state legislature to rush in to changing the standards.

“I think the biggest mistake you can make though is to jump into it and say, Oh yeah because one candidate was affected let us go back and completely change the law,” he said. “I think that makes bad policy.”

Cox is open to changing the law in the future, but doubts that there will be an appetite for rushing through legislation before March. His opinion is different that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who assailed the process in a e-newsletter to his supporters. While Cuccinelli’s opinion matters, Cox is among a small group of lawmakers with the power to actually change the law.  The fact that he appears unwilling to do so speaks volumes.

His perspective seems to be in line with Governor Bob McDonnell, who in the wake of the ballot controversy told us that the rules are the rules.

“If somebody doesn’t like the rules, maybe the legislature can change it next time,” said McDonnell.  “But everybody knew this was the rules to compete with.” Extended clips from McDonnell’s remarks can be found below.

But the legislature may be one of several paths that supporters of the candidates left out may be able to take. Former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Paul Goldman is exploring some of those options with the conservative “Citizens for the Republic’.  Today on First at 4, Goldman told me it’s not about Gingrich or Romney it is about the voters who will have fewer options to choose from.

UPDATE: It appears Goldman is not the only looking into a non-leglislative solution to the ballot access problem. Late today the campaign for Rick Perry announced that they have filed a Federal Court Challenge to the RPV’s decision to deny him access to the ballot.

His challenge can be found here.

Goldman hopes to reveal his plan to help get more candidates on the ballot as soon as tomorrow.  My conversation with him from First at 4 can be found below:

Governor McDonnell’s comments on the subject can be seen below:

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 supports officers fight for overtime pay

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 He is the author of the law that requires municipalities to begin paying their police officers at an earlier rate than what the federal government requires. So it is not a surprise that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli supports a series of lawsuits filed across the Commonwealth by those police officers to receive back pay from localities that have ignored the law.

Rachel DePompa first broke the story on NBC12 in October.  We followed up with a lengthy interview with the Attorney General to find out why he wrote the law in the first place, and what he thought about the decision of local governments not to follow that law.

As you might imagine,  Cuccinelli had a very strong opinion.

Here is my story from NBC12:

 RICHMOND (WWBT)- He is the author of a law that many local governments have ignored and may now be forced to pay back millions in overtime.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has no regrets about writing the law that requires municipalities to pay overtime to police officers at an earlier rate than what the federal government requires.

He also is not surprised that some local leaders have chosen to ignore the law.

“The biggest lawbreaker in America is government,” said Cuccinelli.

That’s right, Virginia’s Attorney General doesn’t believe there is a misunderstanding, or a question about the law, he believes places like Richmond and Henrico knew their police officers were entitled to overtime pay at a certain rate and chose to ignore the law.

“There is a state law in place and there is a backstop of accountability,” said Cuccinelli.  “But that local government is going to be driven up to the backstop and the way that happens is in court.”

That is why Cuccinelli supports police officers fighting for their back pay.  He believes prior to the law, Virginia had a patchwork of standards that allowed police officers to be taken advantage of.

“We’ve set policy for employees in Virginia and the policy is frankly is not much different than saying everybody is going to be treated equally,” Cuccinelli said.

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

You can see an extended clip from Cuccinelli on this topic below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm