Former Virginia Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine haven't even won the nominations of their parties to run for Jim Webb's Senate seat yet, but their race is heating up already, reports the Washington Examiner.
Already one of the hottest races in the country, the two had sharp words for each other about the battle in Congress over extending a payroll tax cut last week.
"I am puzzled by George Allen's unwillingness to publicly support an extension of the payroll tax cut," Kaine said, according to the Examiner. Allen's campaign spokesman said the former senator would vote for the measure, but that "stop-gap measures" like it "result in a harmful lack of certainty and predictability." Allen has been trying to tie Kaine to Obama, who has become less popular in Virginia since the 2008 election, when he won the state.
* Maryland's Republican Party is calling on Democratic elected officials including Gov. Martin O'Malley and Rep. Elijah Cummings to return campaign funds donated by Richard Stewart, reports the Baltimore Sun. Stewart, a member of O'Malley's redistricting advisory panel, pleaded guilty on Dec. 15 to federal charges that he failed to collect or pay nearly $4 million in taxes.
* The fallout from Newt Gingrich's Virginia ballot debacle continues. In his newsletter, Ken Cuccinelli, the state's attorney general, suggests a change in Virginia law to relax ballot requirements for presidential primaries.
“Let’s face it; absent a serious write-in challenge from some other candidate, Virginia won’t be nearly as ‘fought over’ as it should be in the midst of such a wide open nomination contest. Our own laws have reduced our relevance. Sad,” he writes, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Virginia Politics Blog.
Meanwhile, WAMU says the stumble could be a sign of a delegate battle ahead. "Every four years, a small subset of political junkies starts salivating over the prospect that no one candidate will garner enough delegates to win his or her party's nomination for the presidency," writes Debra Rosenberg.
* At least one Occupier in D.C. says that the McPherson Square encampment is becoming "volatile," reports the Washington Examiner. An Occupy D.C. media organizer told the Examiner the camp has "flipped" from a group that was "really intent on the movement" to a majority that isn't as involved.
* Prince George's County, which has a voter-approved tax cap, is looking for ways to make up for a budget gap of nearly $100 million, reports the Washington Post.