ALEXANDRIA — It’s been a gem of a week for Virginia news junkies in possibly the most hyper-political few days yet leading up to the Nov. 6 general election.
Virginia made headlines when former Gov. Tim Kaine called Virginia a “checkmate state” for President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode made the presidential ballot and plenty of Republican enemies simultaneously, and absentee-ballot requests by military personnel have plummeted to mysteriously low numbers.
In the presidential chess game, Virginia is the “checkmate state,” former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Kaine told fired up Democratic delegates at breakfast Tuesday.
Kaine, who also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, reminded delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., that President Barack Obama has said, “I can be president without Virginia, but the other guys can’t.”
Later Tuesday, Kaine had yet another chance to tout his own record and praise Obama. To watch the video of Kaine, click here.
When all was said and done at the DNC, Gov. Bob McDonnell — who had a prime-time spot at the Republican National Convention a week before in Tampa, Fla. — refuted Democrats’ claims.
Watch the video here.
The Virginia Board of Elections on Tuesday approved three minor parties for the state’s presidential ballot, but not without a fight from the Republican Party.
The Constitution, Libertarian and Green party candidates were designated to fill the third, fourth and fifth ballot lines, following the Republican and Democratic and parties, which drew the first and second slots.
Republicans, who worry that former U.S. Rep. Goode, R-District 15, who is the Constitution Party’s presidential candidate, will siphon votes from GOP nominee Mitt Romney in this key swing state, claimed irregularities in the Constitution Party’s petition submissions. But the state didn’t cave.
Justin Riemer, deputy director of the State Board of Elections, said, “Virginia has no procedure for any outside group to challenge a finding of elections officials that a petition is sufficient.”
Virginia taxpayers are footing the five-figure bill for a special election that won’t change the balance of power in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates.
The outcome of Tuesday’s 45th District race to replace resigned Delegate David Englin, D-Alexandria, who stepped down this summer following the announcement of an extramarital affair, won’t make a dent in the grand scheme of things. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the House roughly 2-1.
Democrat Rob Krupicka won Tuesday with more than 75 percent of the vote, compared with Republican Tim McGhee’s less than 21 percent and Libertarian Justin Malkin’s 3 percent, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections.
But holding the special election is costing the city of Alexandria between $30,000 to $40,000, Arlington County roughly $10,000, and Fairfax County between $5,000 and $10,000, according to each county registrar.
While no one really can ever replace Democrat Yvonne Miller, a state senator who died July 3, a single candidate was on the ballot to fill her vacant state Senate seat Tuesday — Delegate Kenny Alexander, D-Norfolk.
Republicans didn’t even bother to produce a candidate during the breakneck campaign that followed McDonnell’s July 25 announcement of the special election. No surprises here — Alexander won.
“Unless they had a candidate ready, who wanted to run — and I think in this Senate district, it needed to be an African-American — unless they had that candidate, then it didn’t make a lot of sense for (Republicans) to spend the money, time and energy to go recruit a candidate,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News.
A 92 percent drop in absentee-ballot requests by military personnel in Virginia is raising concerns that the Pentagon is failing to carry out a federal voting law.
With only 1,746 military voters in Virginia requesting absentee ballots so far this year — out of 126,251 service members in the state — the Military Voter Protection Project says the system has broken down.
If James Brown was “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” then Michael Curto may be the James Brown of airport authority governance.
The chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s Board of Directors tried to reassure the public Wednesday that the much-maligned agency was beginning to reform its policies, even while the board appeared fractious on how far those reforms should proceed.
“My fellow board members and I are acutely aware that a bright light of scrutiny has been focused on this organization,” Curto said in a prepared statement during the meeting. “Our sponsoring bodies have questioned whether we are doing all that we can do to ensure the professionalism, integrity and cost effectiveness of MWAA.”
As Fairfax County considers launching Virginia’s fifth charter school, the exercise is proving to be a steep learning curve.
Superintendent Jack Dale is scheduled to make a recommendation on the proposed Fairfax Leadership Academy next month.
The state Board of Education has endorsed FLA, a venture described as “wonderful” by the head of the local teachers union.
But the proposed grade 7-12 campus for at-risk students is not a slam-dunk.
Because Virginia gives local school boards the final say on any charter, FLA finds itself in the midst of a provincial and occasionally politicized vetting process.
Contact Kathryn Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.