The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

My Photo
Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Statewide candidates gain political endorsements; B1

By Garren Shipley
(Daily Staff Writer)

As the dust settles from the last round of polling in Virginia, a number of statewide candidates have brought home some important endorsements.

The Virginia Education Association announced its backing of the full Democratic ticket — Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine for governor, former Rep. Leslie Byrne for lieutenant governor and state Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, for attorney general.

VEA’s political action committee had already announced its support for Kaine, but added the two other members of the ticket to its list of recommendations, along with almost 40 candidates for the House of Delegates in both parties, including Del. Joe May, R-Leesburg, who is unopposed in November.

In the 15th District race, the PAC didn’t back either candidate — Republican Todd Gilbert or Democrat Jim Blubaugh — to succeed Del. Alan Louderback, R-Luray.

“Those who prevail in the upcoming election will come to Richmond in January facing considerable challenges,” VEA President Princess Moss said.

“The funding needs of education are great. The Standards of Quality re-benchmarking [costs] exceeds $1.2 billion, four of the Board of Education’s SOQ revisions remain unfunded [and] billions are needed for construction and technology,” Moss says in a written statement.

“We stand with those who stand for public education,” Moss said. “Our recommendations are the results of analysis, candidate questionnaires, records and interviews. Electability, too, is a factor in our recommendation decisions.”

Other notable endorsements included Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore’s twin brother, in his race against Democratic nominee Rex McCarty.

Meanwhile, Jerry Kilgore’s bid was endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses last week. The endorsement was the first ever for the group, which represents some 600,000 small businesses across the country, including 9,000 in Virginia.

“The NFIB represents the same philosophy of the relationship between business and government that I hold,” Kilgore said at a press conference in Richmond. “Government should help business when it can, but get out of the way when it cannot.”

Aside from endorsements and polling, the two major-party campaigns have focused much of their fire on the periphery — sniping over the $540 million state surplus and promising to work to keep Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach open.

Kilgore’s camp has continued to hammer on apparent conflicts in Kaine’s recent statements on abortion. In radio ads running in some markets, Kaine says he supports restrictions on abortion.

But at a fundraising appearance with U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, Kaine strongly implied he would oppose new restrictions on abortion.

Election Day is Nov. 8.