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Morning Read: Kaine Gets A Super PAC of His Own

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Democratic Senate hopeful Tim Kaine now has a super PAC of his very own.

    The news comes a day after his main opponent in the election, Republican George Allen, denied his proposal to keep secret donations out of the race.

    But, according to Politico, the group of Democrat consultants who formed the super PAC say the timing is totally coincidental and the PAC has been in the works since Karl Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, began targeting Kaine.

    Started by Virginia strategists Mark Longabaugh and Steve Bouchard, the New Virginia PAC hopes to raise $2-$3 million dollars and says it has already secured some financial commitments.

    “We wanted to make sure Kaine wasn’t outspent,” Longabaugh told Politico.

    Earlier in the week Kaine wrote a letter to Allen after the announcement of his super PAC. While Kaine stated that he wished super PACs would be eliminated altogether, he asked that the two agree to no secret money in the campaign.

    Kaine wrote:

    Since you are unwilling to agree to exclude Super PACs entirely (as candidates in other states have done), how about basing this campaign on the Virginia principle you praised a few months ago? Let's adopt a simple rule: No Secret Money. Let's commit that any group running ads or conducting electoral activity for either of us should have to disclose their donors. Virginia voters are entitled to know who is funding this campaign. Contributions directly to either of us are already disclosed. But, the third parties filling the airways get to hide behind a cloak of secrecy.

    Allen rejected the request and called it a ‘political gimmick’ on Kaine’s part:

    If you truly wanted to base this campaign on Virginia principles you could start by disavowing this compulsory union donation system that extracts money from the pockets of working men and women across America. This will perhaps give you more credibility when speaking about transparency in donations.

    Still in its beginning stages, it will be interesting to see how super PACs potentially shape the race.

    * In Maryland, Democratic businessman John Delaney’s campaign for the 6th congressional district is gaining momentum.

    Delaney will report raising at least $739,000 in the past two and a half months, a sizeable amount for a political newcomer, the Baltimore Sun reports.

    Five Democrats are running for the party's nomination for the seat currently held by veteran legislator, Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. In the last three months of 2011, Bartlett, a ten-term incumbent, raised $104,490.

    It is unknown how much Delaney’s other Democrat opponents have raised, but the candidates have until March 22 to file pre-primary campaign finance reports with the FEC before the April 3 primary.

    * Gov. Martin O’Malley will speak Friday at a conference in Baltimore for gay and lesbian Catholics.

    Barbara Johnson, the woman who gained national attention when she was denied Communion at her mother's funeral Mass last month because she is a lesbian, will also be speaking.

    Preparing for a likely referendum intended to overturn his legalization of same-sex marriage bill, O’Malley is still campaigning for same-sex marriages.

    * The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland's Senate took a” philosophical turn to the left Wednesday night” and approved a new "millionaire's tax" for residents earning more than $500,000.

    The Senate will have to give its final approval Thursday to the budget plan as House committees finalize their version of the budget.

    This new “millionaire’s tax” adds $30 million in new revenue to the state, which will go toward schools and municipalities.

    The proposed budget will also raise income taxes across the board.

    But for those earning more than $500,000 the tax rate would increase from 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent, the Sun reports.

    It is unclear if the new change to the bill will ultimately pass, or if senators just gave a preliminary nod of approval to move the bill forward.

    * The U.S. Department of Justice approved Virginia’s controversial new congressional map, which many Democrats argue suppress minorities' votes.

    The new map, according to the Post, protects the 11 sitting congressmen, making it likely that the current delegation of Virginians in the U.S. Congress will remain the same at eight Republicans and three Democrats.

    Like the last map, the redistricting contains only one minority-majority district. Democrats argued that creating another minority-majority district would be more representative of the state’s demographics.

    *Virginia Democratic Senate leaders, Richard Saslaw and A. Donald McEachin, wrote a letter to Gov. McDonnell asking him to fund the controversial Virginia ultrasound bill, which will require women to get an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.

    “In our budget priorities, we have sought to remedy this situation by mandating insurance coverage of the ultrasound and/or having the Commonwealth pay for the ultrasounds. While this will not change the inappropriateness of the legislation, it will, at least, ameliorate the financial burden.

    Therefore, we ask you to commit to supporting our Caucus’ positions as outlined above as well as in out letter of March 7. We also ask you to demonstrate leadership and to work with your Republicans colleagues in the General Assembly to ensure that this financial coverage is part of any final budget. We are confident that if you confer with the members of your party, you can make it a reality. “