Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, right, take part in the Republican debate, Saturday, Dec. 10 in Des Moines, Iowa.
The latest Public Policy Polling survey in Virginia is good news for Newt Gingrich, George Allen, and Ken Cuccinelli. Gingrich has jumped to a huge lead in the Virginia GOP presidential primary race, favored by 41 percent to Mitt Romney’s 15 percent. No one else topped 8 percent.
In the Senate primary, Allen polls 67 percent, with his four rivals sharing 12 percent between them, and 21 percent undecided. And an early look at the 2013 GOP gubernatorial primary has Cuccinelli leading Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling 44 percent to 25 percent -- but with 31percent still undecided.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Wesley Hester says Gingrich, “who was barely showing up in Virginia polls just months ago, now leads the state in every age group and gender.” Hester also says Allen seems to have “little to worry about in terms of primary competition.”
And while some Virginia Tea Party activists have been pushing for an alternative to Allen, Bearing Drift’s Shaun Kenney notes that the poll shows Allen’s favorability among tea partiers at 59 percent, with just 13 percent viewing the former senator unfavorably. A full 65 percent “of self-described Tea Partiers said Allen’s ideology was ‘about right.’”
* Allen weighed in on the family business on Sean Hannity’s radio show Monday, admitting that the Redskins are not having a very good year. “Hopefully they’ll draft a quarterback in an upcoming round, and they need some more of an offensive line as well,” Allen said. “They’ve had so many injuries. At any rate, they’re still trying, and making the effort.”
* Tim Kaine was in Roanoke Tuesday to visit the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. The Roanoke Times says as governor, Kaine “signed the 2008 bond package that included $59 million to start the school, but he hasn’t visited since the groundbreaking that fall.”
* Struggling GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is in Richmond this morning for a fundraiser at the Country Club of Virginia, the Times-Dispatch reports. Huntsman, in low single digits both nationally and in Virginia, is banking his campaign on the January 10 New Hampshire primary.
The Washington Post says Gov. Bob McDonnell was set to “stop by” the event, and planned to speak with Huntsman both before and after the fundraiser. McDonnell has not endorsed a presidential candidate.
* The Post reports Maryland House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell will “launch an uphill bid” to unseat House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, planning to link Hoyer to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi as “part of what’s wrong with Washington.” O’Donnell said Tuesday, “We acknowledge it’s a tough district, but people feel like America is on the wrong track, and people want to change that.” The Post calls O’Donnell “among the most credible candidates the party could field against Hoyer,” even though the incumbent “has shown few signs of weakness.”
Meanwhile, Roll Call reports Hoyer chief of staff Terry Lierman, who was the Democratic nominee in the Eighth District in 2000, is leaving his job at the end of the year, with Hoyer staffer Alexis Covey-Brandt replacing him.
* Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s decision to seek an 11th term isn’t slowing down state Sen. David Brinkley, who is considering running against Bartlett in the April GOP primary. The Baltimore Sun reports Brinkley said Tuesday that state Sen. Chris Shank would chair his Washington County campaign if he decides to enter the race.
* Bolling is “teaming up with Redskins receiver Santana Moss and Visa Inc. to launch a program called ‘Financial Football’ that intends to teach students in middle and high schools the basics of finance,” the Roanoke Times reports.
* The Times-Dispatch criticizes Republican Del. Rob Bell for focusing so much on crime as he begins his campaign for Virginia AG. In an editorial, the paper says candidates for the office “general routinely act as if they are auditioning for the role of Wyatt Earp in a bad Western movie.” While “Bell’s convictions about the issue are no doubt genuine,” if AG candidates “really hated crime as much as they put on, then they would run for commonwealth’s attorney, not attorney general. The tough-guy talk does nothing but deceive the voters about the nature of the office.”
* The conservative Virginia Virtucon blog says Virginia Democrats have some “positive, constructive” ideas on government reform, including “reexamining all tax credits and requiring that the budget conference report be made public at least 24 hours before it comes up for a vote.”
* Bearing Drift’s Brian Kirwin notes that Democratic Virginia state Sen. Yvonne Miller spent $53,530 in September and October on her re-election campaign, even though she was running unopposed. She also ended the campaign with $59,000 in the bank. Despite these riches, Miller gave just $10,000 to the state party’s Senate efforts -- and Republicans “won two close races” to claim the majority, “one by 226 votes and the other by 644 votes. Boy, if the Democrats had a bit more cash, maybe it could’ve made a difference.”
* The Sun reports Annapolis lobbyist Bruce Bereano “settled a case with the State Ethics Commission earlier this year by agreeing to pay a $2,750 penalty for failing to make required disclosures of meals and other gifts to state officials.” Bereano, “a convicted felon,” settled “more serious ethics cases in 2009 with a $29,070 payment.”
* The Washington Times says D.C. Council candidates’ latest filings to the Office of Campaign Finance are “fraught with oddities and irregularities of varying magnitude,” such as the listing of “Maryland and Virginia towns inside the Capital Beltway” as “part of ‘DC.’” Ward 2 incumbent Jack Evans “outpaced all candidates by raising $304,817 to date for his race, although no one is challenging him.” Over in Ward 8, Marion Barry did not meet the Monday deadline, and “a report filed Tuesday lists only a $4,000 loan from himself to his campaign as he seeks to protect his seat against multiple challengers.”