Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative favorite, will be one of three state attorneys general grilling GOP presidential candidates at a Fox News forum Saturday night.
The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star says Cuccinelli, who has not endorsed a presidential hopeful, “doubts his party’s presidential candidates feel as strongly as he does about limits on federal powers.” He told the paper, “I just have a lot more faith in states than a lot of people running for federal office do.”
In fact, Cuccinelli told the Washington Examiner that the sort of candidate he wants may not even be in the running. Saying he wants someone with “positions that are consistent with what the Founders envisioned,” he added, “that is a standard, quite frankly, that no one in this field meets. I’m still looking at who gets closest.”
* The struggling Virginia Senate campaign of Republican Jamie Radtke took another hit with the resignation of campaign manager Dave Johnson, who will continue as a consultant. The Washington Post says Johnson says he “made the decision in August, but declined to elaborate about why except to say he has been concentrating on development and fundraising.”
Tea Party activist Radtke got off to a strong start, but has failed to gain much traction against George Allen, the overwhelming GOP frontrunner. Three others are also in the GOP race, but Radtke has refused to debate anyone but Allen, and even skipped a Shenandoah Tea Party debate last month, according to Shaun Kenney of Bearing Drift.
* Gov. Martin O’Malley has been expanding his national visibility as head of the Democratic Governors Association, and now he’s going global with a trip to India. Speaking to reporters via Skype from Mumbai Tuesday, O’Malley said, “It would be economically irresponsible of us not to become more engaged with India.” The Baltimore Sun says he called criticism of his trip a sign of “xenophobia.”
The Washington Post says O’Malley, “the first sitting governor of Maryland to travel to India, also touted the size of the delegation traveling with him: more than 100 government officials, educators and business leaders, the majority of whom are paying their own way.”
* The Fiscal Survey of the States, sponsored by the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers, shows that “Maryland increased government spending this year more than any state in the mid-Atlantic region,” the Washington Times reports. Maryland’s 11.4 percent increase in spending is the nation’s seventh-largest. State officials disputed the findings “while conservative business groups seized upon the results as proof that Democratic leaders in the state have avoided making necessary cuts to help residents rebound from the economic downturn.”
* The Baltimore Sun reports that prosecutors say a robocall scheme by Bob Ehrlich’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign “to suppress black votes in Baltimore and Prince George’s County” was not even dreamed up until just before 3 p.m. “on a desperate, hectic Election Day.” Jurors were shown an email sent by by campaign political director Bernie Marczyk at 2:53 asking what consultant Julius Henson needed “to make city turnout stay low.” The robocalls were authorized two hours later, and began at 5:55, prosecutors said.
* The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot says a Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council report indicates “an estimated 520,000 Virginians would gain health coverage in 2014 through the national health-care law, cutting in half the number of uninsured people in the state.” The law is sure to be a big issue in the presidential swing state next year.
* In his Richmond Times-Dispatch column, Jeff Schapiro says not all Virginia Republicans are opposed to power-sharing in the incoming evenly divided state senate. Former legislator John Chichester “all but says his party is guilty of a flip-flop by now claiming the lieutenant governor’s tie-breaking vote gives the GOP a lock on power” after taking the other view during a senate tie in the 1990s, and Virgil Goode Jr., “the guy who forced an evenly split Virginia Senate into power-sharing in 1996, argues that it should do the same in 2012 -- that giving both parties a say makes for ‘greater harmony and a better attitude.’”
* Marion Barry picked up nominating petitions for the April D.C. Democratic primary, making it clear that Barry will seek another term representing Ward 8 on the D.C. Council. Facing a divided field yet again -- so far, seven others are seeking the seat -- means Barry is likely to win. DCist notes that 2012 “will mark 40 years since his first entrance into public service.” But this next term will probably be his last. The Washington Examiner reminds readers that Barry plans to step down two years into his term, in the hope that his son Christopher will succeed him.