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Morning Read: McAuliffe for Va. Governor? Not Just Yet...

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    Former Democratic Party Chair Terry McAuliffe said he won't run for governor until Obama wins re-election and Democrat Tim Kaine wins his Virginia Senate race.

    Terry McAuliffe told Patch McLean that he’s not ready to announce his Virginia gubernatorial run -- at least, not just yet. First, he said, he wants to make sure that President Obama wins re-election and Democrat Tim Kaine wins his Virginia Senate race.

    “As soon as that’s done...” he laughed. “Stay loose.”

    He added that the gubernatorial election is a year and a half away, “and a year’s long enough to run for governor.”

    McAuliffe, a former Democratic Party chair, ran for Virginia governor in 2009 but lost the primary.

    As of now, he is likely to face Chap Peterson, a delegate who lost the lieutenant governor’s nomination in 2005.

    Jeff Schapiro wrote in his Richmond Times-Dispatch column that the Democratic governor’s nomination is now something worth watching:

    "Terry McAuliffe, big personality and bigger wallet notwithstanding, is no longer the presumed nominee. Chap Petersen, a pint-sized legislator with outsized ambition, is spoiling to take him on.

    Both are retreads, having spectacularly lost previous statewide bids: McAuliffe was a distant second in the 2009 gubernatorial primary. Petersen finished nearly 2,600 votes short of dead-last in a four-way race for the lieutenant governor's nomination in 2005.

    In this era of throwaway candidates, that might disqualify both to lead hapless Democrats, who, because of partisan redistricting and Gov. Bob McDonnell's political dollars, currently are little more than a curiosity.

    The hopes of Democrats hinge on the presumed horror facing Republicans: the Bill Bolling-Ken Cuccinelli battle royal. The lieutenant governor and the attorney general, running mates with McDonnell three years ago, are expected to run down each other for the top of the 2013 ticket."

    * There’s a bit of déjà vu in the Virginia Senate. The Democrats in the equally divided Senate once again voted against the budget in unity, killing the entire two-year, $85 billion spending plan.

    This is the third time this year the budget has died in the Senate.

    The Democrats are not budging from their demands that the budget include additional money to help fund the extension of Metrorail to Dulles International Airport -- and the Republicans aren't budging in their refusal to add that money into the budget.

    Democrats want $300 million in funding for the construction, but Gov. Bob McDonnell and the GOP only want to provide half of that.

    McDonnell, who has been trying to break the stalemate over the last few weeks, was not happy with Tuesday night’s vote, calling it “fiscally reckless” in a statement:

    “Today, Senate Democrats cast the most fiscally reckless vote I have witnessed in my 21 years in office. They have killed an $85 billion state budget that benefits all Virginians, for one earmark regarding an 11.4 mile rail project in one district of the commonwealth. That is extremely irresponsible. Senate Democrats, again, put partisan politics ahead of the needs of 8 million Virginians. They brought their political agendas to the Senate floor, and in the process have put at risk a Bristol teacher’s paycheck, a Chesterfield sheriff’s salary, healthcare for a senior citizen in Hampton, road projects in Richmond, and the fiscal soundness of the entire commonwealth."

    * The Washington Post reports that Vincent C. Gray’s administration has fired 61 city employees for collecting unemployment benefits while working for the District government.

    The city said in February that dozens of current and former city workers were found to have received the fraudulent payments. The checks totaled $800,000.

    * The Roanoke Times editorial board wrote that Gov. McDonnell’s amendments to voter identification legislations are proving to be an aggravation before the measure becomes law:

    "McDonnell's amendments offer a modicum of relief by giving afflicted voters three days instead of one to get their credentials sorted out. But his other efforts to dampen criticism of the measure have only added to the confusion.

    The governor is asking lawmakers to eliminate a provision that would have allowed poll workers to verify the identity of a voter they recognize. Election officials objected that the allowance added an unacceptable element of subjectivity to the law. McDonnell proposes to instead give electoral boards and registrars responsibility for determining whether the signature on a provisional ballot matches the one on the voter's registration form.

    Signature analyses are used in other states, but they can hardly be said to reduce the level of subjectivity. Like faces, signatures change over time. Election officials will be placed in the delicate position of trying to determine whether a decades-old signature was written by the same person who scrawled his John Hancock on a ballot a day or two ago."

    * Governor O’Malley has said he won’t waste taxpayer money calling a special session to fix Maryland's hastily passed “doomsday budget” until legislators reach a budget consensus.

    But, according to the Maryland Reporter, Republican legislators and conservative groups are mounting a campaign against a special session of the legislature to raise taxes, while teachers and public employees are advocating for a special session to try to prevent severe cuts to education funding and other services.

    “At a news conference Tuesday, Republican delegates downplayed cries that the the 'doomsday budget' enacted by the General Assembly’s failure to pass a revenue bill last week would severely hurt Marylanders and said any special session would be 'tax-laden' and costly." Read more here.

    * Washington City Paper has the latest on D.C. Councilman Marion Barry’s controversial tweets, which is getting to be a frequent feature.