Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine (L), an early strong supporter of President Barack Obama (and helped him win the state), infuriated Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice group by signing bill that permits "Choose Life" as a slogan on Virginia vanity plates.
The Associated Press reports that Tim Kaine spoke with President Obama about the Virginia U.S. Senate race on Wednesday, and Kaine is said to be “reconsidering his initial reluctance to run.” Obama told Richmond’s WWBT-TV, “I think he would be a great senator from Virginia.”
Obama isn’t the only one with that opinion. Retiring Sen. Jim Webb told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, “I’d like to see Tim Kaine run.”
But if Kaine decides against it, Tom Perriello, who lost his 5th District U.S. House seat in November, is waiting. Perriello told the Washington Post, “I join many others in hoping Tim Kaine will step up in this spot.” And if he doesn’t? “I will consider it,” Perriello said. “Part of what I’m asking as a question is whether you can make more of an impact on people’s lives from inside the system or outside the system.”
Meanwhile, Terry McAuliffe tells the Culpeper Star-Exponent that he will not be a candidate. He’s keeping his eye on the 2013 gubernatorial race.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* Eleven candidates submitted petition signatures for the At-Large D.C. Council special election by the 5 p.m. deadline yesterday. That narrows the field a little, but not much – while 21 individuals picked up petitions, several had already decided not to actually run.
Contenders need at least 3,000 valid signatures to qualify for the April 26 ballot, but most tried to submit more, both to survive challenges of inadmissible signatures and as a show of organizational strength. According to DCist, interim councilmember Sekou Biddle submitted “roughly 8,000” signatures. The Vincent Orange campaign reported submitting 6,136. Republican Pat Mara said he topped 5,500.
Democrats Tom Brown, Dorothy Douglas, Calvin Gurley, Joshua Lopez, Jacque Patterson, and Bryan Weaver also turned in signatures, as did independent Arkan Haile and Statehood Green candidate Alan Page.
Washington City Paper’s Alan Suderman observes that of the 21 who picked up petitions, “only five were women. Of those five, only one -- Dorothy Douglas -- submitted the required signatures. Of that one candidate, there is an exactly 100 percent chance that she won’t win.”
* The Post reports Biddle says he will “likely support a tax increase on the wealthy this year to help balance the budget, perhaps even on those who make as little as $125,000 per year.” While most of his colleagues’ proposals “set the bar for ‘wealthy’ at individual or couples who file jointly with incomes of at least $200,000 annually,” Biddle “said he would be wary of any proposal that does not also raise taxes on council members” -- who make $125,000.
However, the Washington Examiner says Biddle also said, “By discussing tax hikes now, we give ourselves a release valve from making the changes we need to make.” That stance puts him more in line with Mayor Vincent Gray and Council Chairman Kwame Brown “than it does with tax-first, cut-later council members like Jim Graham and Michael Brown,” the Examiner says.
* The Washington Times reports that Cherita Whiting, “an early and strident supporter” of Gray’s campaign, was chosen by Gray’s transition team “out of 67 applicants for a newly created ‘special assistant’ position with the Department of Parks and Recreation.” The Times says it is unclear whether Whiting “truthfully disclosed on her job application a felony conviction within the past 10 years” -- in 2001, for wire fraud.
* The D.C. Republican Party is criticizing the city’s Office of Campaign Finance for declining to investigate the District Democratic Party’s use of government office space for political gatherings. D.C. GOP Chairman Bob Kabel said, “This is yet another example of an outrageous excuse to defend the Democratic establishment. OCF has defended almost every Democrat it is required to investigate and is completely failing to do its job at holding our elected officials accountable.”
* Interim D.C. schools chief Kaya Henderson “conceded that the teacher-evaluation tool she created could be improved,” the Examiner reports. She told the Examiner, “We believe strongly in Impact, which has been instrumental to our reform efforts. We also believe in continuous improvement, which is why we have made updates to the system over the first year and a half of its implementation.”
* The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless says on its blog that “last week, a mother of three was given an ultimatum by the D.C. Child and Family Services Administration: get on a Greyhound bus for a shelter placement in another state or we’ll place your children in foster care. The alleged neglect or abuse? Being financially unable to afford to provide a home for her children.” Attorney Marta Beresin says the threatened action was unconstitutional.
* In an interview with the Post, Prince George’s County state senator Ulysses Currie said he will vote against Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill. Currie said, “It might have a lot to do with my background, coming up in the South, coming up through the churches. That has much to do with it as anything.”
Despite Currie’s decision, passage looks likely, and the Maryland House is already getting ready to take up the bill later this month.
* Washington Business Journal reports Gov. Martin O’Malley urged state lawmakers “to pass a bill reviving the Maryland Venture Fund with $100 million, a program dubbed Invest Maryland.” The funds would be raised “by auctioning off tax breaks to insurance companies.”
* The Loudoun Times reports Rep. Frank Wolf wants the U.S. Department of Transportation “to conduct a yearly audit of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Extension Project.” Wolf is concerned about efficiency and cost overruns.
* The New To D.C. blog offers a primer on the District’s four quadrants, which “aren’t identical sizes and they never were. At one time it was an almost perfect square but now -- see that big chunk out of southwest? -- that’s Arlington and Alexandria.”
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC