Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses an audience during a campaign stop on the campus of Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wis., Friday, March 30, 2012.
In what some are already calling another vice-presidential tryout session, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will campaign alongside Mitt Romney in Virginia on Thursday.
The two will first meet Wednesday night for a fundraiser in Arlington and then appear again for the actual event on Thursday.
According to Yahoo News, McDonnell will not join Romney Wednesday morning because he will be in Richmond for budget meetings.
Since Romney secured the Republican nomination, Yahoo points out, he has appeared publicly with possible running mates, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte.
* Virginia is a battleground state this presidential election and both candidates can use all the help they can get to win the swing-state.
But according to the Washington Examiner, none of the four GOP senate candidates are openly embracing presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.
This lackluster reception continued at the Republican senate debate over the weekend where front-runner George Allen was the only candidate to even vaguely compliment Romney.
The Examiner reports that this reluctance to embrace Romney reflects the candidates’ expectations that their own primary will be dominated by the same conservatives who refused to back Romney during the presidential primaries because they didn’t think he was conservative enough.
"Mitt Romney's Republican nomination is the very definition of a shotgun marriage," said Stephen Farnsworth, political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. "The most activist Republicans, the most committed Republicans, were not very enthusiastic and last weekend's Republican debate in Virginia reminds us that they still aren't very enthusiastic."
* Pressure is increasingly mounting for Governor O’Malley to call a special session to fix the “doomsday” budget that was hastily passed with severe budget cuts minutes before the legislative session adjourned for the year.
According to The Maryland Reporter, almost 60 groups have signed a letter to O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, urging them to bring lawmakers back to Annapolis.
The letters were largely signed by people who are affected by the budget cuts, including public employee unions, teacher unions and dozens of social service organizations.
VIA Maryland Reporter:
“Leaving the doomsday cuts in place,” says the letter, “would mean increased class sizes, fewer educational resources, laid off teachers, higher college tuition, 500 state employee layoffs in 2013, collateral cuts made by other employers who fail to receive state funds, less money for foster care, less funding to help the disabled, stressed public safety budgets, and many more negative consequences. These cuts would come on top of approximately $2 billion in state budget reductions since FY 2009 and $375 million other reductions for 2013.”
O’Malley has said he does not want to waste taxpayer money and will not call a special session until a budget compromise is reached.
The Baltimore Sun reports that a short session—which is what legislative leaders are aiming for—would cost about $20,000 per day.
“Under any scenario, the cost of a special session is small in the context of a $35 billion state budget. But politically, any extra costs resonate because many voters believe lawmakers should have accomplished their work in their regular 90-day session.”
The breakdown of the costs: $13,500 for meals, hotels and mileage, $8,500 for staffing above normal levels, $800 for staff expenses and $1800 for printing, supplies and equipment rental.
* Testimony is expected to start Tuesday to decide what role Julius Henson—embattled political consultant—played in placing misleading robocalls to voters in Prince George’s and Baltimore City to try and help former Governor Robert Ehrlich beat Governor Martin O’Malley on election night in 2010.
Henson is charged with two counts of conspiracy to violate election laws, one count of election fraud and one count of violating a law that requires an authority line to be attached to campaign messages.
According to Gazette.net, Ehrlich aides Greg Massoni and Henry Fawell, Baltimore Comptroller Joan Pratt and an FBI special agent are all expected to testify.
Rhonda Cecila Russell, who worked for Henson and used her voice to record the automated phone messages, is also expected to testify.
Prosecutors say the robocalls were intended to keep black voters from going to the polls by telling them to “relax” and stay in their homes since O’Malley and President Barack Obama had already been "successful."
* Read the Examiner’s editorial on the tale of two states—an opinion piece on how tax and labor policies have made Virginia more economically successful than Maryland.
* Sen. James Webb (D) campaigned Monday with senate hopeful Tim Kaine during a veterans’ roundtable in Tysons Corner.
Webb is stepping down from his Senate seat and Kaine is hoping to be the man to take it over.
At the event, Webb said: (VIA Post)
“Count on seeing me and this gentleman a lot over the next several months,” Webb said. After the event he reiterated, “I’ll do all I can to help,” though he said nothing else was planned at the moment.
Here’s Kaine’s latest campaign video attacking likely competitor George Allen’s support for privatizing social security.