Northern Virginia

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It's Not Under, but It's Almost Over

Rail to Dulles cleared a major hurdle as US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters signed off on the estimated $5.2 billion funding plan.

After a series of regulatory setbacks in 2008, rail to Dulles was revived last month when the Federal Transit Administration discarded long-standing skepticism about the project's cost and management and sent it on to Peters for final action. Yesterday's news marks what state, local and congressional boosters said is the government's irreversible approval of the project.

"It's an exhilarating feeling," said Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who praised Peters and Northern Virginia's congressional delegation for working together to keep the rail line alive. "It's going to be a wonderful project for the whole region."

Peters's action releases the project to Congress for a 60-day comment period. After that, the project qualifies for a $900 million federal transit grant that state, local and congressional leaders have said is essential to its success.

The first phase of the project, scheduled to run on elevated tracks through Tyson's Corner is now scheduled for a 2013 completion date.

Mike Signer Running for LG

A northern Virginia candidate has thrown his hat into the ring for Lt. governor. According to Tim Craig at the Washington Post, Mike Signer, a Senior Policy Advisor at Center for American Progress, is running for the Democratic Party nomination.

Full WaPo Post here.

"As you may have heard by now, I'm planning on entering the primary for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia this June," the email states. "I'm looking for a campaign manager who could run an aggressive, resourceful, insurgent statewide campaign -- ideally someone with strong experience in caucuses and field organizing and creatively using the internet on a campaign."

Mike Signer is an experienced hand in VA politics, having been Clark's state director and an aide to Creigh Deeds. It will be very interesting to see how this now-3-way now-4-way race develops in the coming months.

Bob Marshall Continues to Obstruct Virginia's Legislative Process

Many in the House of Delegates have become increasingly uneasy about the stream of controversial bills that have come across the floor, and some conservatives within the House are feeling the heat.

The ax has fallen particularly hard on prolific ideologues like Del. Bob Marshall, who routinely files north of 60 bills, many devoted to abortion, stem cells and various women’s health issues. Even many conservative Republicans prefer not to be forced to vote on the record on these hot-button measures, which stir up interest groups but have no chance for passage.

No Incumbent in the 52nd District

During a Bearing Drift podcast, Delegate Jeff Frederick (R-County of Prince William) reaffirmed yesterday that he will not be running for reelection. Saying it comes down to trust, he told Jim Hoeft that he had made a promise that he would not run for re-election if he became the state party chairman. Delegate Frederick also commented on Governor Kaine’s appointment as DNC Chairman, saying it is a reversal of a pledge not to become a part-time governor.

"How many guys will work for free for 14 hours a day and take…basically get no thanks from fact criticism for just about anything I do?...I am trying to see the big picture…”
- Delegate Frederick

Bob Marshall... the Epitiome of a Backwards Virginia

If anyone is responsible for continuing to move this state backward, for continuing to muddle the legislative process of Virginia with right wing extremism, if there is anyone who has worked to supress the rights of hard working Virginian's simply because they do not fit the mold of the typlical GOP "Real American", it is the 13th District Incumbent Delegate, Bob Marshall.

Republican Dirty Tricks in Fairfax County

Bullies from the Herrity campaign have "sandwiched" Sharon Bulova's campaign signs at the intersection of Old Keene Mill Rd. and Rolling Rd. It's an old trick that obscures an opponent's signs without actually removing them. I saw some McCain supporters doing this last year, and we all know how those desperate actions paid off!

So if you're driving in Fairfax County, be vigilant and look out for sandwiching or signs that have been uprooted. Unlike the '08 elections, Sharon needs the name recognition and to raise awareness of the upcoming election. So signs are more important and effective in this campaign.

Awesome Party for Sharon Bulova (FX Co.)

Sharon Bulova's open house party was fantastic and packed with great people. She has the best campaign office I've ever seen and they really have their act together. It was very impressive with tons of literature, yard signs, barn signs, stickers and of course the buttons we made today. Thanks to all those who helped. Good food, good friends and a great get together to kick off the race for Fairfax County Chairman of the Board. They will begin phone banking on Monday in the evening at the locations listed below and canvassing starts next Saturday. Please read on...

Morris vs. Marshall in 09?

It is looking more and more likely that Russell Morris will step into the ring as Bob Marshall's latest challenger in the upcoming 2009 Delegate Race. Russ is an experienced and talented business executive with a keen eye for practical and innovative financial solutions.

Fairfax County Dems Nominate Sharon Bulova

Fairfax County Dems (FCDC) officially nominated Supervisor Sharon Bulova to run for County Board Chair last night. She is the only candidate who filed, and is therefore the nominee. Incidentally, she probably would have won against any competition. The special election to fill Representative-Elect Gerry Connolly's chair will be held on Feb. 3, 2009.

As of 5:00 p.m. today, only one candidate has filed to run for the Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors - Supervisor Sharon Bulova. Pursuant to the Call to Caucus issued last week, the unassembled caucus has been canceled and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee congratulates our nominee Sharon Bulova for the February 3, 2009 special election to replace the vacancy created by the resignation of Gerry Connolly.

Full story at FCDC's website.

Charniele Herring wins Democratic Nomination for HD-46

After two days of voting, in which 234 residents of the House of Delegates district that was vacated by Brian Moran made it out to the Ramsay School/Rec Center in west Alexandria, Charniele Herring defeated Ariel Gonzalez 191 - 43 to earn the Democratic nomination to succeed the recently resigned gubernatorial candidate.

Ms. Herring will now face a Republican from HD-46 in the special election to fill the seat on January 13, 2009.

Gonzalez Expresses Disappointment with Moran

Ariel Gonzalez , candidate for the House of Delegates in today’s special election, yesterday highlighted (see below) his “extreme disappointment” with former Delegate Brian Moran and party leadership for the “apparent coordination” between the timing of Moran’s resignation and the campaign of his primary opponent Charniele Herring.

The announcement, which gave the candidates only four days to campaign before today’s firehouse primary, came as a surprise to Gonzalez. However, it did not surprise Herring, who had her GOTV efforts and campaign website ready for rollout right after Moran issued his release.

In a Washington Post interview, a spokesperson for Moran explained that the resignation was a “difficult decision” and stated that he held up the announcement BECAUSE he wasn't sure that "an election could be held to fill the seat in time for the General Assembly."

Dec 15-16 - Alexandria Dems Caucus for the 46th

Tonight and Tomorrow (Dec. 15-16), Alexandria Dems will be holding an unassembled caucus to determine who will run for the Democrats to replace Brian Moran.

From the ADC's Call to Caucus:

Pursuant to the authority provided by the Virginia Democratic Party Plan, the 46th House of Delegates Democratic Committee (46th) hereby calls an Unassembled Caucus to be held on Tuesday, December 16, 2008, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, in the multi-purpose room of the William Ramsey Recreation Center, 5650 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia.

The Candidates

Charniele Herring


Ms. Herring's Statement to Blue Commonwealth: not yet received

From Ms. Herring's website:
"Ms. Herring has lived in Northern Virginia area for almost 30 years, 22 of them in the West End of Alexandria. She is President of the West End Business Association (WEBA) and is a member of the Greater Washington Board of Trade (BOT). She is a three-time appointee and former chair of the Alexandria Commission for Women. Ms. Herring serves on the Youth Policy Commission, Landmark Redevelopment Advisory Committee, lectures for the Hopkins House Parent Leadership Project and serves on its Public Policy and Outreach Committee. Ms. Herring also works on the Commonwealth Scholars Program Initiative. She is a fellow of the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership and is the former Deputy Chair of Precinct Operations-West for the Alexandria Democratic Committee. While in college, she worked for the Alexandria Mental Health Association as a crisis intervention counselor and trainer."

Ariel Gonzalez


Mr. Gonzalez's Statement to Blue Commonwealth:

"I sincerely and respectfully ask for your vote for the House of Delegates, 46th District. Despite the short notice for this Call to Caucus, I will continue to advocate for the voices of individuals not heard from in the politics as usual crowd in the 46th District. I truly wish for everyone's voice to be heard, and unfortunately this current process does not allow for the majority of the voters in this district to hear from the candidates, learn their positions, and make an informed decision. I am doing my best to reach out to the voters of this District, and I want to bring others into the process who have too often been shut out of the establishment. It is for these voters that I began this campaign, and it is for these voters that we will continue.

As a Young Democrat, an attorney, advocate, and a community volunteer I have devoted my energy and my resources to this area. While I may not be the establishment candidate, I am a steadfast advocate for open government and a Democratic Party which truly engages all of its Democratic voters - not merely those who attend monthly local party meetings.

I welcome your participation not just today and Tuesday but at all times. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with many of you in the future. Please see my website at for more information."

Read Mr. Gonzalez's full statement on the flip.

Steve Shannon for AG - with friends in Oakton

Today more than 70 people gathered in the lovely home of Bob and Mary Ann Hovis in support of the candidacy of Delegate Steve Shannon for Attorney General. I decided to attend not only because I was covering it for this site, but because I am a supporter of Steve. There were a lot of familiar faces, from the electeds and former like Chuck Caputo, Chap Petersen, David Marsden, George Barker, Dick Saslaw, and Janet Oleszek, and also other well-known people like Teddy Goodson, Bryan Scrafford, Fred and Yolanda Sanchez, Sue Langdon, and John Carroll who may be running for the seat Steve is vacating.

Below the fold I will offer a few pictures (sorry, I am better with words than with a camera), and a link to a video of Steve's explanation of why he is running for AG, video courtesy of Bryan Scrafford.

Steve with a "special guest" greeting people as they come in:

Steve and "Barack"

Special Election for Fairfax County Chair Set

February 3, 2009 is set as the date for Fairfax County’s Special Election for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

Thus far, Sharon Bulova (Braddock) is the only democratic candidate aspiring to the Chairmanship. As Vice-Chair of the Board, and Chair of the Board’s budget Committee, Bulova has pledged to address the county’s fiscal condition while “protecting the things we care about.”

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee has set December 20th for a firehouse primary should a Democratic challenger emerge.

The democratic nominee will run against Republican Pat Herrity, son of past Chair Jack Herrity. Pat is now serving his first term as Springfield District Supervisor.

Bulova, a very popular supervisor in an increasingly blue County, is the favorite. Nevertheless, name recognition could make Herrity a tough challenger for Bulova, especially in the southwest corner of the County.

Brian Moran Resigns from VA House

Brian Moran, today, announced his intention to resign from the Virginia House of Delegates in order to concentrate on running for Governor.

The following is the press release from Virginians for Brian Moran. Also, attached to this post is Moran's Letter to Constituents.

Moran to Campaign for Governor Full Time
~ “The next four years are too important" he declares in resignation letter to constituents ~

ALEXANDRIA –Today, in a letter to his constituents, Delegate Brian Moran announced his intention to focus full time on his campaign for governor and resign from the House of Delegates. For two decades, Moran has been a dedicated public servant, including 12 years in the House of Delegates, seven years as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and seven years as a county prosecutor. Moran highlighted the fact that running a full-time campaign would require he shortchange his constituents representation in the House. His announcement comes after the recent endorsements of major Virginia leaders from across the Commonwealth.

Jeff Frederick/52nd House District

Frederick is reaching out to minority leaders in the 52nd. This is a first for the Frederick, the leader of the hate and fear party. His distict is now about 50% minority and he can be taken down by the right candidate. Chris Brown says he is running again as well as two other very qualified community leaders.

New winery has zoning trouble in Fairfax County

The Washington Post ran an article today about how Fairfax County's zoning laws are an obstacle to a family trying to turn a 35 acre farm near Clifton into a winery. It seems that under the Fairfax County zoning regulations, a winery is classified as an industrial use, not an agricultural use.

Have Dems hit a ceiling in NoVa?

That is the issue Tim Craig explores in this morning's Washington Post in a piece entitled Republicans Must Determine Whether Democrats Have Hit Their Ceiling in N.Va.. The article, written from Richmond, begins as follows:

For Republicans still reeling from the drubbing the party took in Northern Virginia on Election Day, there is good and bad news in the outcome.

First the bad news.

President-elect Barack Obama received 60 percent of the vote in Fairfax County and 72 percent in Arlington County and Alexandria, giving him a trove of support that made it nearly impossible for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to carry the state.

Now, the good news.

Obama drew 60 percent of the vote in Fairfax and 72 percent in Arlington and Alexandria, which are about the same percentages that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Sen. James Webb (D) received in their races in 2005 and 2006.

As Virginia Republican leaders gather this week for their annual retreat at the Homestead resort in the Allegheny Mountains, the party will try to determine whether Democrats have peaked in Northern Virginia.

It's Not Under, but It's Almost Over

They said this day would never come. Back in January, rail to Dulles was all but dead. Yet, incredible as it may seem, FTA today approved the first phase of the project.

A major hurdle has been cleared for the long-planned Metrorail expansion to Dulles International Airport.