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...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Trail Notes...

Eavesdropping Suit Continues

RICHMOND — The fight over the Republican eavesdropping settlement continued this week, as Democrats again attacked the Virginia GOP for trying to force an insurance company to pay a $950,000 claim.

Attorneys for the GOP’s former insurance company have subpoenaed several high-ranking Republican officials, including gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, for materials related to the party’s lawsuit.

The Republican Party of Virginia is trying to force the insurance carrier to pay $900,000 to cover a $750,000 settlement they paid to the Democratic Party last year and $200,000 in related legal fees from an incident in 2002, in which the then-executive director of the party listened in on a Democratic strategy conference call.

Kilgore gave a deposition in the case, but it was settled before it went to trial. Some materials in the case aren’t open to the public, due to a protective order entered by the judge.

“If Jerry Kilgore really has nothing to hide, he should ask to have the protective order lifted and allow the real facts to come to light,” said Mark Bergman, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia.

State GOP officials have said repeatedly the lawsuit is simply a business dispute.

Lt. Gov. Candidates Spar Over Labor Law
RICHMOND — The long-dormant race to be the next lieutenant governor of Virginia has sprung to life, with the Republican and Democratic candidates sparring over Virginia’s right-to-work law.

Virginia is one of the northernmost states in which workers can’t be required to join a union as a condition of employment.
Speaking at a United Mine Workers event in Castlewood earlier this month, Democratic lieutenant governor hopeful Leslie

Byrne said she’d roll back the state’s law if possible.

“Absolutely, I call it the right-to-be-poor law,” she said.

Byrne’s opponent, state Sen. Bill Bolling, R-Mechanicsville, condemned the statement.

“Ms. Byrne’s proposal to eliminate the right-to-work law solidifies her position as one of the most anti-business candidates to ever seek statewide office in Virginia,” Bolling said. “The right-to-work law is an important part of our ability to attract new business and industry to Virginia and ensure a continuation of economic growth.”

GOP Party Chairman Kate Obenshain Griffin, of Winchester, also joined in, attempting to tie the statement to the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine.

“Such an extreme policy endangers tens of thousands of jobs, stifles economic development and strains family incomes,” she said. “Virginians deserve not only a right to work, but also a right to know if this is what we would see in a Kaine-Byrne Administration.”

Potts Raising More Money
WINCHESTER — Fundraising is turning around for independent gubernatorial candidate state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., R-Winchester.

Since starting fundraising efforts in July, the campaign has raised more than $182,000, officials said in a statement this week, following a fundraiser in Winchester at the home of Claudio and Debi Buono, two of the partners in Anthony’s Inc.

“I am humbled and sincerely grateful to friends and supporters who have stepped forward to support our candidacy for governor,” Potts said.

“I am more confident today than ever that we will win this race and pull off the political upset in the history of Virginia politics. People who really love Virginia, independents, Republicans, and Democrats have stepped up to support the principles I am fighting for.”
— Daily Staff Reports