Hampton Roads

Savage Takes His Case To Virginia Beach

Rich Savage spoke at the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee breakfast Valentines morning. After thanking Jody Wagner for encouraging everyone to sign petitions for every candidate, Savage introduced himself by telling the group that he is a businessman who lives in Richmond and has been involved in Democratic politics for about 16 years.

About six or seven years ago he began getting heavily involved in his community, coaching football and working with at-risk youth. From that experience, he came to believe that he could do more and should get more involved. About a year ago he started an education foundation designed to remove financial barriers for youth who were academically gifted. One way the foundation has reached out has been to sponsor transportation for Richmond high school students who want to attend the University of Virginia “Fall Fling” which promotes campus diversity. Another way was to begin addressing education issues. His run for Lieutenant Governor is a part of this effort.

Webb on WNIS during the 8AM Hour

Senator Webb will be interviewed by curmudgeon and self-styled secular humainst Tony Macrini during the 8 o'clock hour this morning. Macrini, a Hampton Roads radio host, entertained Thelma Drake and soon to be former AG Bob yesterday and is railing on the stimulus package in the run-up to the dicussion this morning. The program usually accepts calls at 757-627-7979.

Connect to the Online Stream.

Chris Rey Taking on Phil Hamilton in the 93rd

chris-reyLast year, when he was elected to represent Virginia's 1st CD in the Electoral College, it was pretty clear to those around him that Chris Rey had a great future in politics. Well that future is now and this opportunity couldn't be more golden. Last year Obama carried the 93rd House District with 62% of the vote (Warner-72%). Meanwhile, Phil Hamilton hasn't faced an opponent since 1995(!).

More on Rey, from his campaign site:

Rey is currently a second year law student at William and Mary Law School, and is the National Director of Corporate Relations of the National Black Law Students Association. He previously served as a United States Army Captain and saw combat tours to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. His last assignment before attending law school was Commander of the Third Special Forces Signal Detachment, Fort Bragg. During these combat tours, Rey received a Bronze Star and other military accolades.

Delegate Spruill Doesn’t Rate a Pass

If men were angels there would be statues of Ayn Rand and Mao smiling across the National Mall at each other. But they are not. So, simple litmus tests for “progressive” values don’t serve well. This isn’t one. Lionell Spruill’s body of work was already suspect. More so now.

(Spruill) said he doesn't like to hear prayers of different religions, "especially those of the Muslim faith that I don't care too much about."
- Virginian Pilot

You can’t know what you don’t know. Anyone who has served on a jury that had to consider the concept of guilt by accumulation will understand that there is not always a smoking gun. The fact that one’s self-interest is served by embracing progressive values is not evidence to judge one a progressive. However, to be a progressive requires some level of altruism. Difficult to measure. But if the planets align for you, you might be able to have your cake and eat it too. With Delegate Spruill, self-interest consistently taints any suspicion of altruism.

Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Race A Preview

Today both candidates for Norfolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney put their campaigns in full motion. Greg Underwood, the Democratic Candidate held a morning event in Norfolk while John “Cog” Coggeshall made an appeal at a Virginia Beach breakfast. The contest is 10 March and tests the waters for near and dear Republican "principles."

While Underwood boasts a more traditional life vita leading toward office as the Commonwealth’s Attorney, including service as the Senior Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney in Norfolk since 2001, Coggeshall did not attend law school and has served as a private practitioner for 14 years since completing Virginia’s Law Reader Program. Both boast of degrees from the University of North Carolina. While Underwood was working as a staff attorney with the Virginia Legal Aid Society in Farmville, Coggeshall was establishing his reputation in the performing arts. Among his credits are appearances at the Lincoln Center in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Strengthening the youth, and shaping the future

Last evening, a group of about 20 young people gathered in a bar on Colonial Avenue in Norfolk to discuss local politics over a few beers. The dress code was casual, and the atmosphere was one of high optimism as those in attendance introduced themselves to each other and shared some of their experiences working with various campaigns, and what they hoped the future would bring. Pat Edmonson, candidate for Lt. Governor; Dominic Melito, President of the Virginia Beach Education Association; staffers for Jody Wagner, candidate for Lt. Governor; and Anthony Triplin, candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 89th district, joined in on the conversations. This describes the first meeting of the Norfolk Young Democrats.

Greg Underwood Kickoff for Norfolk Special Election

Greg Underwood, Democratic nominee for the March 10 special election for Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney, will be kicking off his campaign Saturday, January 31, 8:30 AM at the Azalea Inn, 2344 E. Little Creek Road (in the Roosevelt Gardens Shopping Center), Norfolk.

Thanks to Glenn Nye's election, Norfolk now has Democrats in every partisan elected office. Greg will keep it that way.

McAuliffe Kicks Off Ad Campaign

Strategists held a conference call with bloggers for an announcement in Terry McAuliffe's campaign for Governor this morning. Mike Henry, Campaign Manager and Mo Elleithee, Senior Strategist joined the call to unveil a focused ad effort beginning here in Hampton Roads. His supporters received a text message with this information earlier.

This ad campaign builds on the theme of "Conversations with Virginians" McAuliffe has carried on for the last few weeks. This particular ad emphasizes that he has spent a lot of time in Hampton Roads and features his countenance in Doumar's Cones and BBQ on Monticello in Norfolk as he discusses local concerns. These include making our ports more competitive; investing in renewable energy to create jobs; and, keeping "our" carriers here in Virginia "where they belong." Clearly he will continue to emphasize his four decades building businesses and creating jobs and the argument that we can create thousands more right here. The message that "I'll make it my job to protect your job - and get Virginia's economy moving" may resonate across Virginia as the recession deepens. The local flavor may be just the recipe to build momentum statewide.

Norfolk Young Dems to Meet Thursday

Just a reminder the newly-chartered Norfolk Young Dems will meet Thursday, January 29th at 7 p.m. at the New Belmont at 2117 Colonial Ave. VAYD Presidential Candidate Sean Hollihan notes a few elected officials may drop by!

Republican HoD Leadership Sowing Discontent

Republican obstructionism is alive and thriving in the House of Delegates. Resentful that subcommittee votes will be recorded, uncomfortable with the live online stream of sessions, and spoiling for a fight this fall, the House leadership has angled to make full participation by Democratic Delegates as difficult as possible.

Procedural changes have resulted in a new trick: calling committee meetings with little or no appropriate notice. In conversations today with Delegates Joe Bouchard and Kenny Alexander, both expressed frustration with announcements of early Monday morning meetings as late as Sunday evening. While the Senate online stream is readily accessible, the House stream is available only online and can host only some 200 viewers before it crashes. Republicans have made the effort to present the appearance of openness and transparency, but they have allowed the minimum credible effort to claim they have allowed public sessions.

Virginia Beach Democrats Hold Pre-Inauguration Party

In lieu of attempting to gather together on Inauguration Day when many members of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) will be attending the actual event, the group held its monthly dinner last night and celebrated the Obama swearing-in early. This provided an opportunity to hear from many of the local members who have played a role in recent successes. Shown here is Sandra Brandt (far right), who cast the first electoral vote for a Democrat in Virginia in over four decades as the second district’s member of the college. Ollie Bates, VBDC Chairman, Paul Baker, and Sylvia Ellis discussed plans to continue the inertia of recent years and early organization efforts for the Committee’s annual JJ Dinner. New school board member Brent McKenzie thanked the group for the help provided during his campaign. McAuliffe's campaign used this opportunity to collect signatures from local supporters. The VBDC holds a regular gathering for dinner and drinks on the third Thursday of each month.

Cross posted at VBDems.org - Blogging our way to Democratic wins in Virginia Beach!

Delegate Bouchard Sees a Rancorous Session

  • The governor wants cuts in education to be focused on overhead and support services; no cuts to instructional positions or programs
  • The House leadership wants to permanently cut $500 million in education funding on top of what the governor has called for or there will be no cut all
  • The governor wants to reduce the costs of prisons
  • The opposition objects to taking money away from prisons to give to schools


  • After spending the day there preparing for the session, Delegate Joe Bouchard (D-Virginia Beach) held a well attended Town Hall Meeting for his Virginia Beach constituents Monday, providing hints of the budget tensions already festering in Richmond. He is not certain the budget will be finished during the short session.

    The governor's budget plan tries to spread out the anticipated cuts broadly. It includes reductions in education, public safety, Medicaid, mental health. The governor has tried to minimize these cuts in two ways.

    Senator Stolle on the Budget and Blue Virginia

    The Democrats did not so much turn Virginia blue as the Republicans turned Virginia off. The downturn in the economy is an opportunity to right the budget. And, Democrats want to put the budget cuts on the backs of the people while Republicans want to eliminate spending that the Assembly does not authorize. Such was the message that Senator Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) carried during a talk at the Virginia Beach Republican Party breakfast Saturday morning.

    “I think there is a very good chance at the local level that Republicans will maintain control of the House of Delegates. Never forget all politics is local.”

    Peter Schmidt announces candidacy for 82nd House district

    Peter Schmidt, president and vice president of two firms that provide materials used in the manufacturing of concrete products, announced his candidacy for the 82nd House district this morning at the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee breakfast at Mom's Kitchen in Virginia Beach.

    This is Schmidt's second attempt at running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. He ran in 2005 as a Republican and lost to current Delegate Bob Purkey in the primary race. His announcement at the VBDC and his appearance at events such as the December reception for Brian Moran indicates that he's running as a Democrat this time around. He could face primary challengers for the Democratic nomination.

    Peter Schmidt to Oppose Delegate Purkey in the 82nd

    At the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee breakfast this morning, former member of the Virginia Beach City Council and Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality threw his hat in the ring as a candidate for the HoD 82nd district. Schmidt, a successful businessman, has a long record of public service in elected and voluntary positions. He is the first Democrat to announce for this seat.

    McAuliffe Kicks Into High Gear

    Joined by his wife and five children, Terry McAuliffe formally kicked off his campaign in Norfolk this morning. A crowd of dedicated supporters, the curious, and the press filled the event venue. A number of local elected, including Dr. Ella Ward and Cliff Hayes, and other officials were there to demonstrate their allegiance. And, Delegate Algie Howell Jr. (D-Norfolk/Virginia Beach) took the opportunity to drop by to ask about an issue that is clearly a priority for him this session.

    “The state and the Republican National Committee have said they are going to run a tough, well-funded race….this is a big race for them and they are going to throw the kitchen sink into this one. Well folks, let the Republicans throw the kitchen sink into this one. I am going to focus on the kitchen table issues that everyone around here thinks about every night when they sit down for dinner.”

    McAuliffe has begun a sprint toward the primary with some four appearances scheduled today and a string to follow. Speaking with characteristic vigor, he talked about the tough times the state and the nation are facing. These times, he said, call for a governor who can get things done, bring people together, and reach out to people all across the commonwealth.

    Deeds: Committed to serving, sharing his message

    Creigh DeedsA reception was hosted by John and Harriet Malbon at their Virginia Beach home for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds on Tuesday, January 6th, 2008. The event was very well attended, with perhaps twenty or so more people than the reception for Brian Moran I attended earlier last month.

    Before the reception, Deeds was out at a local polling place in support of John LaCombe who was running in the special election for the open seat in the 81st House district. Although Deeds was the last of the three gubernatorial candidates to endorse John LaCombe, I have to give him a lot of credit for being out and supporting LaCombe on a rainy election day. That says a lot about this man whom I've heard described as "the salt of the earth".

    At the reception, Deeds spoke in brief about who he is as a candidate. He opened by saying that of all three candidates for governor, he is the only one currently holding elected office. This was a bit of a jab at both Brian Moran, who recently resigned from the House of Delegates, and Terry McAuliffe, who hasn't held any elected office in Virginia. Deeds stressed his commitment to the people of his district who elected him to the Virginia Senate, even though he loses the ability to raise funds while the Senate is in session.

    Special election in the 81st district today

    John LaCombe & Barry KnightToday, voters in the 81st house district of Virginia vote in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Delegate Terri Suit, who resigned to become a lobbyist at a law firm.

    Democrat John LaCombe is running against Republican Barry Knight in this election. LaCombe has shown his willingness to reach out to all people in his district and make himself available for public comment, interviews, speaking engagements, local bloggers, and more. His basic message is that he will represent the people of the 81st as they should be represented, by reaching out to the people and taking their issues with him to Richmond.

    Obama Gives Republicans Hope for Transportation Silver Lining

    The economic stimulus package proposed by the incoming Obama administration may provide Virginia Republicans with a much needed out for the transportation issue. It seems that the anticipated hundreds of millions of dollars directed toward infrastructure improvement could defer coming to terms with the essential requirements for funding reform. Unlike other federal transportation money that requires matching funds or has other strings attached, this money could be an open grant. If it amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, it will likely put off any substantial work on solving the real issues despite the fact that that amount of money is not enough to fulfill the requirements of any one region of the state.

    ”I don’t now how transportation goes from being, just in the Governor’s mind, the number one issue for three years to not even being an issue on the fourth year.”
    - Delegate Sal Iaquinto (R-Virginia Beach)

    Creigh Deeds endorses John LaCombe in the 81st

    Senator Creigh Deeds, Democratic candidate for Governor, released the following statement today concerning John LaCombe and his candidacy for the 81st District House of Delegates race. Deeds' endorsement rounded out the endorsements from all Decmoratic candidates for governor, following Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe.