McDonnell Recounts Accomplishments in New Book

 

Governor McDonnell would like to be remembered for his accomplishments while in office, not the major scandals that plagued him in his final year in office.

McDonnell released a 52-page softcover book in December that lists all of the governor’s achievements, ranching from his landmark transportation bill to recession-defying job growth, according to the Washington Post. While produced on the taxpayers’ dime, the cost was minimal: $1,500 for 250 copies distributed to Cabinet secretaries, reporters and staff.

“As we reached the final weeks of the McDonnell Administration, we wanted to try to put the accomplishments of the last four years into one simple and concise document,” spokesman Tucker Martin said in a cover letter mailed with the book. “But as many of you know so well from covering our policy rollouts, brevity has never been our hallmark. So we hope you’ll enjoy this 52, yes 52, page book that breaks down the achievements of Governor McDonnell’s term as Virginia’s 71st governor.”

McDonnell leaves office Jan. 11, when Democrat Terry McAuliffe is sworn in.

Medicaid Expansion Committee Met in Richmond

The panel considering Medicaid expansion in Virginia had its final meeting of 2013 last Tuesday, according to NBC 29 in Charlottesville.

The Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission met at the General Assembly Building in Richmond to discuss potentially expanding Medicaid to 400,000 low-income Virginians under the Affordable Care Act. The commission was established in 2012 as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. The panel is tasked with ensuring that cost-saving reforms are achieved before Virginia considers an expansion.

Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) supports expanding the entitlement program, which has grown to account for 20 percent of the state’s budget in recent years.

Obenshain Denies Decision to Involve General Assembly in Attorney General Race

Mark D. Obenshain (R) dismissed the idea that he has already decided to ask the General Assembly to step into the attorney general race, according to The Washington Post.

Obenshain had previously raised the possibility of asking the General Assembly to step in after next week’s recount. However, contesting the election through the General Assembly would be a step that has never been taken in a statewide race in modern Virginia history.

The Washington Post also reports that Obenshain is unlikely to try unless his campaign can make a case of huge irregularities in the election process. The option would be even less appealing for Democrat Mark Herring, given the Republican dominance in the legislature.

Attorney General Race Will Most Likely End in Recount

Mark Obenshain (R) and Democrat Mark Herring have been anxiously awaiting the count of the attorney general race for three weeks and it’s looking like there will be a recount. Out of 2.2 million votes, the difference in the race is only a mere 165 and is the closest race in modern Virginia history, reports ABC 7.

Mark Obenshain hasn’t made a formal announcement that he will be asking for a recount. However, in an email to the Associated Press, spokesman Paul Logan writes, “With such a historically narrow margin, Virginia voters expect and deserve a careful process that ensures that every legitimate vote is counted.”

Mark Herring and his campaign team are expecting the victory tonight, but with a race this close there will be no surprise if Obenshain does go through with the recount. In Virginia, a candidate can request one if the difference is less than 1%, which there is no question about in this case. Spokeswoman for Mark Herring commented on a recount saying, “We anticipate the Herring victory will be certified on Monday – and no statewide recount has ever overturned a certified result.”

We will get the results of the election by the end of the night and a recount will be of no surprise to any of us.

Democrats are Rejected by Federal Judge in Voters Purge Case

Earlier this week, we wrote a story on the Democrats in Virginia filing a lawsuit against Ken Cuccinelli (R), Gov. Bob McDonnell, and the state elections board for putting 57,000 voters at risk of being stripped of their right to vote.

Early in the day on Friday, federal Judge Claude M. Hilton dismissed the case saying that there wasn’t enough evidence that these people were being “disenfranchised.” In an article published by The Washington Post, he said “I just don’t find that there’s a strong showing here of any inequitable treatment or the deprivation of anyone’s rights.”

The Democrats have argued that the Republicans want to remove most of those names because they are votes against them. About 38,000 of the total 57,000 ended up being removed from the list and in court the lawyer for Ken Cuccinelli said that they were just keeping the lists up-to-date. The Republicans claim that no one was disenfranchised in the events that took place and Judge Hilton has agreed with them.

With only 2 weeks left in the race, this could make a huge difference with the votes and could end up ultimately hurting Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Terry McAuliffe.

Did the Democratic Party Violate Campaign Finance Rules?

The GOP of Virginia accused an out-of-state Democratic organization of concealing identities of the contributors to the Democratic attorney general nominee Mark Herring. Concealing these identities is a violation of campaign finance disclosure laws and the GOP has filed a complaint with the Virginia State Board of Elections.

They also want the board to look into suspicious filings by a Denver-based Democratic Attorney General Association that would cost them $685,000. Pat Mullins, Virginia GOP chairman, said they failed to report the money and then spent it on Herring’s campaign. Of course, the Association has denied any wrongdoing and in an article published by The Washington Post, Mark Herring’s spokesman, Kevin O’Holleran said, “We have reported all of our contributions in full accordance with Virginia’s laws and have disclosed every donation we have received to date.”

For anyone who didn’t know, Mark Herring (D) and Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) are running for attorney general, the current position of Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli. Like the governor’s race, the attorney general race has been too close to call, but recent poll numbers point to a Democratic win. Will the same be true for the attorney general race?

Right now, it’s hard to know the truth, but the Denver-based group’s executive director, Berry, released a statement saying, “We believe we are in compliance in Virginia. We established the committees and reported, or so we thought.”

Ken Cuccinelli Tallies Terry McAuliffe’s Spending To $14B

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli has crunched the numbers and announced that in order for his opponent, Terry McAuliffe (D), to fund his campaign promises he is going to need around $14 billion in tax revenue.

In an article published by The Washington Post, in order to achieve this number, Cuccinelli and his staff have reported taxes in a typical four-person family will go up by more than $1,700. $14 billion is 60 times more money than what is available for McAuliffe to spend if elected governor.

The Republican Party has promised to cut $1.4 billion in taxes, but the Democrats have called them out for not letting the public know what exactly they would have to get rid of in order to make up for the lost money.

In that same article, McAuliffe campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin says, “It’s a shame that Ken Cuccinelli has spent more time making up numbers about Terry’s plan than he has explaining how he would pay for his own.”

In the upcoming days, Cuccinelli has promised to talk more about this.

McAuliffe Stays Ahead of Cuccinelli in Va. Governor Race

As of Monday, September 23, 2013, Terry McAuliffe (D) is still in the lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the VA governor race. According to The Washington Post, McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli 47% to 39%. Unlikely winner, Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, has climbed to 10%, which is more than he had starting out in the race.

For a race that has been so tight this whole time, an 8% margin is a larger lead. This jump in votes seems to be because of female voters who lean more towards McAuliffe. In a poll done by The Washington Post in May, both candidates were tied for the female vote.

Throughout the campaign, McAuliffe has painted Cuccinelli as a man against women’s rights, especially when it comes to the highly debated issue of abortion. His response has been to accuse McAuliffe of starting a “war on coal” with the rest of the Democratic Party. Cuccinelli is still trailing when it comes to energy and environment, though.

Both candidates have their strengths and weaknesses and as the race comes to a close in the next couple of months, it will be imperative for them to tackle the issues as best they can in order to get that final push to the top.

Virginia Credit Union League Supports and Endorses Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam

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On Thursday, September 19, The Virginia Credit Union League officially announced their support and endorsements for Terry McAuliffe (D) for governor and state senator Ralph Northam (D) for lieutenant governor.

Of Virginia’s 172 member-owned credit unions, the Virginia Credit Union League is the number one leader. The union has conducted interviews with the candidates and has asked them specific questions; they favored Terry McAuliffe’s answers. Some of these questions dealt with topics such as tax reform, public deposits, financial literacy and member business lending.

Rick Pillow, president of the Virginia Credit Union League is quoted in a press release by Lewis Wood, Vice President of Public Relations and Communication of the McAuliffe campaign, as saying, “Terry McAuliffe understands the unique role of not-for-profit credit unions in the marketplace and appreciates that some 3 million Virginians count on us as their financial services partner. Credit unions face a host of challenges at both the state and federal levels, and Terry’s commitment to support us in Richmond and in Washington proved he truly is a friend to credit unions and the hard-working Virginians that depend on us.”

McAuliffe supports changes in federal law that would allow credit unions to make more loans to small business as much as he supports preserving the credit union tax exemption.

Senator Ralph Northam shares these same views, pointing to why the union has chosen to also endorse him for lieutenant governor.

Lt. Gov. Bolling Sparks More Controversy with GOP

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling upset the Republican Party a long time ago when he dropped out of the race for the gubernatorial nod and said he wasn’t going to advocate for anyone in the race this year. This past weekend, he managed to anger Republicans even more when he was supposedly caught helping Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s PAC.

In an article published by The Washington Post Wednesday morning, Ken Cuccinelli’s chief strategist Chris LaCivita said, “Bill Bolling said he would not interject and would not get involved, and he gets caught working behind the scenes for his buddy Terry McAuliffe.”

The endorsement seemed to have happened last week when The Northern Virginia Technology Council voted to back Cuccinelli. This is when Bolling is thought to have supported the Democratic Party, ultimately upsetting the Republicans in Virginia. Bolling has been back and forth with his feelings on the Republican Party for quite some time now. According to the article in The Washington Post, Republicans are pretty certain that this is Bolling’s way of distancing himself from them completely.

“I think what Bolling or others are hoping is that, if there’s a [Cuccinelli] defeat, the reaction among moderate Republicans would be so strong as to provide a new opportunity. He didn’t have a future from the time he started dissing Cuccinelli, and this is just an escalation of what’s been going on for the last couple of months,” says Bob Holsworth, a former Virginia Commonwealth University professor and veteran Richmond politics watcher.