Republicans Search for Candidate in Virginia Senate Run

Over the weekend, Republican Ken Cuccinelli said that he would not be running against Senator Mark Warner (D) in 2014 and there are now speculations that former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie might be his opponent.

In an email sent to The Washington Post Gillespie said, “I’m going to take some time to talk with fellow Virginia Republicans about how we best win this pivotal Senate seat and, of course, with my own family, who come ahead of politics.”

The deadline to file his candidacy is Feb. 1st and Gillespie thinks that he would have a really good chance against Warner. In a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University Warner’s approval rating is 61%, but one-quarter of Virginia does not approve of his Senate seat.

If Gillespie decides not to run against Warner, state Senator Jeff McWaters (R) has also been mentioned. The GOP has a couple of months to get their thoughts together and come to a conclusion about who will be the best candidate to further their party in the state.

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Fossil Fuel Companies Contribute to McAuliffe

It’s widely known that Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli are polar opposites and had different views on pretty much every topic that came up in this year’s gubernatorial race. The oil, gas and coal industries paid Cuccinelli plenty of interest and gave him a lot of money to further his campaign. However, since McAuliffe is the next governor of Virginia, those players are now targeting him.

Terry McAuliffe spoke up about global warming, the effects it will have on our Earth and how we can work towards potentially fixing the problem. He is a big supporter of President Obama’s proposed guidelines on carbon pollution from new power plants, which makes it a little odd that the people who disagree with him are now focusing their attention on him.

Climate Progress writes, “According to recent campaign finance reports posted on the Virginia Board of Elections site, McAuliffe’s Inaugural Committee has received $25,000 from Alpha Natural Resources, an $8 billion coal company that gave $92,500 to Cuccinelli’s campaign. Dominion Resources, a Virginia-based coal, gas, and nuclear conglomerate that gave Cuccinelli $75,000, has given McAuliffe’s committee $50,000.”

These numbers are a significant jump from what they donated to McAuliffe during the campaign. The environmentalists are major supporters of McAuliffe and, with these companies donating so much money, fossil fuel companies could be trying to cozy up to environmentalists, or at least open a channel for discussion. By supporting the cut of carbon pollution, McAuliffe has the ability to really mess up oil, gas and coal companies, so it’s in their best interest to do anything they can to come to an agreement with him.

Mark Warner May Have Competition

A recent poll conducted by the polling company, inc. suggests that Senator Mark Warner (D) may be in trouble when it comes to keeping his seat in 2014. Warner leads in many factors, but once those factors are removed, the race for the Senate seat could be much closer.

37 percent of the 600 registered voters that took the poll are opposed to what he is doing in the Senate. It also suggests that Republican Ken Cuccinelli may be the one to run against him for his seat next year. Cuccinelli just recently lost the gubernatorial race to Democrat Terry McAuliffe but it would come as no shock that he would try to run for Senate.

The poll swings pretty favorably towards Warner and shows that he would most likely beat any Republican by a vote of 50 percent to 45 percent. The fact that the poll has many factors that favor Warner shows that it could actually be a lot closer than that once they are removed.

We cannot forget another likely Republican option, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who would also be great competition for Warner. Columnist Norman Leahy wrote in an article published by the Augusta Free Press, “A GOP bent on winning would look at Bolling and think he’s not only their ideal candidate, but also their only chance against Warner.”

The Republicans have to be careful about what they plan on doing and think about if this is even the right time to take control or to wait a couple more years. We will see if Warner gets any good competition next year and if will be able to overcome it and keep his seat.

Gov. McDonnell Speaks Out About Ken Cuccinelli

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There have been plenty of conversations going on in Virginia about Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s loss to Terry McAuliffe, and now Governor Bob McDonnell is speaking his mind. McDonnell thinks that the government shutdown and fundraising deficit did more damage for Cuccinelli than anything else, including all of the scandals.

In an interview with The Washington Post, McDonnell said, “I think what we saw was the government shutdown, which I strongly opposed, about five weeks out caused a really significant shift in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, where we’ve got a lot of federal workers. I think that was probably the biggest factor along with a great money deficit as well.”

McDonnell is currently being investigated for taking $160,000 in gifts from fellow businessman and friend, Jonnie Williams. The spotlight was on Cuccinelli during the race, too. Cuccinelli received $18,000 from Williams, but claims he donated the money from the gifts.

In the interview, McDonnell talks about how he’s taken responsibility for the things he’s done wrong, but not for being a reason that Cuccinelli and the Republicans lost the race. The race is over, and Cuccinelli lost, but many are still searching for a reason why.

Veteran Democrats Align with Terry McAuliffe

On Tuesday morning, Terry McAuliffe announced his senior staff and co-chairs to accompany him as governor once he is inaugurated in January. “This great team will help me build an inauguration that brings Virginians together from all corners of the Commonwealth and sets the tone for an administration focused on finding common ground around solutions that work for Virginia families,” he said. Click here to get a look at the official list, according to the Augusta Free Press.

Most of the people taking up these positions are veteran Democrats who McAuliffe is hoping will be a great asset to him, considering all of their experience. Paul Reagan will be his chief of staff, who has been in the business of politics for over thirty years and has worked for U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D) as his chief of staff. In an article published by The Washington Post, McAuliffe says, “Paul’s knowledge of this commonwealth and how we interact will be an invaluable asset to Virginia as this administration begins, as will his calm, collaborative and decisive leadership style.”

Suzette Denslow, who previously served for Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones (D), will serve as his deputy chief of staff. McAuliffe stated, “She has helped lead this city to a new chapter of economic growth, and I am thrilled she will bring her record of accomplishment to my administration.”

Ric Brown (R) will continue to be the secretary of finance, a position he has held for 40 years. Brown has extensive experience working with 12 different governors and his Republican ties can help McAuliffe further his agenda with his opposing party.

McAuliffe’s run against the experienced Ken Cuccinelli highlighted McAuliffe’s lack of experience. These three appointees are going to be seriously valuable to his term as governor, especially with helping him make decisions that will take the heat off him.

Terry McAuliffe Tries to Please Everybody

Now that Terry McAuliffe has won the election, he has a lot to prove to Virginians. Winning the election doesn’t mean people like him, but the business leaders in the state are hoping that they can count on him, even though they have typically supported Republican candidates in the past. On the other hand, union leaders are hoping he can entertain their needs as well, but is it possible?

The union leaders helped fund McAuliffe’s campaign while he was also promising solutions to and receiving endorsements from anti-union businesses. Playing both sides in the race is one thing, but now that he’s governor how is he going to please both pro-business and pro-labor groups?

The union leaders donated to McAuliffe and protested Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli while launching grass-roots efforts to have McAuliffe elected. They believe they deserve his support now or else he will be backing out on his word. Going against the things he fought for to be elected would make him an absolute hypocrite.

In an article published by The Washington Post, John Niemiec, President of the International Association of Fire Fighters affiliated Fairfax County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics said, “It’s just a very simple expectation: to have a seat at the table. And Terry has said over and over again that the firefighter will have a seat at the table. In a right-to-work state, that is huge.”

McAuliffe was not the ideal candidate in Virginia but for union leaders he is leaps and bounds above Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli fought tirelessly to belittle the labor movement. McAuliffe gives union leaders hope. However, McAuliffe still has to balance his promises to them with the business leaders in the state. Now that he’s governor-elect, he needs to make these decisions and might end up making one of the sides very unhappy.

Ken Cuccinelli’s Next Move

After Ken Cuccinelli’s lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe in this year’s governor’s race, many people are wondering what he has planned for himself next. Cuccinelli still has a few weeks left as attorney general but once his time runs out, what’s next?

According to ABC 7 News, many of his supporters think he should run for a Senate seat against former Virginia governor, Mark Warner (D). Judson Phillips from the Washington Times wrote, “In short, Ken Cuccinelli is the only potential candidate in Virginia with statewide name recognition who could take on Mark Warner and make this seat competitive. Cuccinelli has a lot of advantages that no one else has. His statewide organization is still intact. Another advantage is if he ran, the Republican Party would almost be forced to give him a significant amount of help.”

Right now, the Republicans are in a really good spot politically, due to the controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act and the website launch. If things keep going the way they are headed, conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli have a good shot of coming out on top because the GOP and Tea Partyers are going to be so fed up with the Democrats, if they aren’t already.

Cuccinelli made himself look really bad for the people of Virginia though, and it’s going to take a lot of making up if he wants to win them over. This governor’s race was extremely close and the Republicans are not happy that he wasn’t able to come out on top. He would also have to campaign hard to take the Senate seat, which means he would need more donations and help than he was able to get while running for governor. It will be interesting to see what he decides to do and if he can shift his stance to a little bit less conservative in an attempt to win over more people in the state.

Bob McDonnell Says He Didn’t Abuse His Power

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Now that Governor Bob McDonnell’s reign has come to an end, he is explaining Giftgate. McDonnell went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and explained that he didn’t abuse his power when accepting gifts from Jonnie Williams, the CEO of Star Scientific, a company that promotes a healthy metabolism and lifestyle. For the past few months, there has been an investigation into the personal life of his family and his relationship with the very wealthy political donor and businessman in Virginia.

McDonnell admitted that he accepted more than $150,000 in gifts from Jonnie Williams, including accessories like Rolex watches, wedding and engagement presents for his daughters, and a shopping spree for his wife, Maureen .He knows that this scandal contributed to his loss of credibility and ended up returning all of the money to Williams, but not after the damage was already done.

In an article published by TPM Livewire McDonnell said, “Some of the things that have been written have been either inaccurate or unfair or one-sided, and there will be a time for me to comment on that.”

With Terry McAuliffe about to take over for the state, does it even matter that McDonnell speaks about all of this now? McAuliffe has a lot of work to do to win over the hearts of Virginians after the scandals plaguing the governorship. Terry McAuliffe is already not very well liked and he cannot afford to lose his credibility. If he can capitalize on the issues that McDonnell wasn’t able to, he can make a better name for himself in a state that is already skeptical about him.

Will Ken Cuccinelli Help Fund Recount?

The votes have finally been counted in the attorney general race, and there are already talks about a recount in the near future. Late Tuesday night, Democrat Mark Herring pulled ahead of Republican Mark Obenshain and the race was declared in his favor. The Virginia State Board of Elections officially released the polls and out of 2.2 million votes cast, Herring won by only 164.

The State Board of Elections will certify the votes on Nov. 25th and then a recount can be put into place if one of the candidates feels it’s necessary. It may be a little early for Obenshain to talk officially about a recount, but he has mentioned that fellow Republican and former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, will reach out to supporters and help him fund the recount, if it’s something he decides to go ahead with. Cuccinelli’s office advises and counsels the Election Board and Democrats are already raising questions about the conflict of interest.

State Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) has come forward and in an article published by Huffington Post said, “Attorney General Cuccinelli needs to take his responsibilities seriously in this process and refrain from his overt and extreme partisanship.”

Candidates must pay for a recount, if a recount is requested, when the election outcome was between 0.5 and 1 percent. Mark Obenshain will continue to ask for donations and use Ken Cuccinelli’s help to his advantage. If the recount happens and the results are the same as they are now, Democrats will hold all five of Virginia’s offices come January.

Attorney General Race is Finally Decided

It only took a week, but on Wednesday morning it was decided that Senator Mark Herring (D) would become the new attorney general, succeeding Ken Cuccinelli (R). Herring beat out Republican Senator Mark Obenshain by only 163 votes out of 2.2 million cast, according to Time.

This outcome for Herring means that the Democrats have completely swept the state of Virginia, which may come as a surprise to some. Virginia hasn’t had a Democrat governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and both senators since 1969, according to The Daily Beast.

The success by the Democrats has made the GOP look awfully weak and extremely conservative to many voters. Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain have all gone through terrible scrutiny during this election season. Many of their campaign messages were analyzed by both voters and the media, and thought to be very harsh for a slight majority of voters.

With the Democrats holding all of the positions, it’s going to make a GOP comeback very hard and not likely to happen. If these men do well in office, the Republicans have a lot of ground to make up. The Democrats have four years to get the state to where they want it to be, and, by 2016, the Republicans could be facing another very tough election.