Morning Read: Will Virginia GOP Help Obama Win State? - NBC4 Washington
First Read
Your first stop for politics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Morning Read: Will Virginia GOP Help Obama Win State?



    Talking Points Memo posted an article this morning on Obama’s surge in Virginia creatively headlined “Virginia Is For Lovers, Not Culture Warriors."

    The article ponders that Obama and Virginia Democrats are benefiting from the culture war that took off in the state legislature this year -- a fight that many say isolated women and minorities..

    "Democrats believe that the GOP’s tactics have handed Obama a firewall, which might allow the president to weather a potential dip in enthusiasm among minority and exurban voters. One Democratic strategist in Virginia set an extremely lofty threshold for the eventual Republican presidential nominee. “If Republicans can’t hold at least 45 percent of suburban women, they’ll just get killed,” the strategist told TPM"

    Virginia has long been an important swing state for presidential hopefuls. Obama won the state in 2008, but George W. Bush took it in 2004. The state’s current governor is Republican, but its previous one was a Democrat.

    But the most recent polling points to the state once again going to a Democrat. A Quinnipiac poll shows Obama leading all potential GOP challengers in head-to-head match-ups, including a 50 percent to 42 percent over GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.

    Only a month ago that same survey had Romney leading Obama.

    What's changed since 2011? Since the new year, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly introduced controversial legislation requiring women to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound prior to having an abortion in addition to a “personhood” bill that would grant legal rights to a fertilized egg.

    "What seems clear is that Virginia no longer provides as much fertile ground for social conservatives as it did in 2006, when the Commonwealth passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Another poll released by Quinnipiac this week revealed a drop in approval of the state legislature, with a strong majority opposed to the abortion measures considered by Virginia lawmakers." 

    * Maryland’s House of Delegates gave initial approval Thursday night to a budget that would raise the income taxes on six-figure earners and shift a portion of teacher pension costs to counties to help plug a $1 billon budget shortfall.

    The budget will go up for official vote on Friday, and if it passes, the House and Senate will have to work to reconcile differences between their spending plans.

    Read more at the Baltimore Sun.

    * A Capitol Heights print shop said that Mayor Vincent Gray did not pay him as much as his campaign officials reported to city officials, investigators found and The Washington Times confirmed this week.

    The owner of Drew Printing Co. said that Gray’s personal assistant coordinated the purchasing of 14,000 yard signs and other campaign materials for $55,174.00.

    But the Gray campaign reported to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance that it spent more than $88,000 at the print shop, according to the Times.

    This news comes a day after news of a possible Gray “shadow campaign” emerged. A shadow campaign is a campaign held outside of official campaign headquaerters where activities go unreported.

    Read more at the Washington Times.

    * Legislation that would require a Maryland resident to provide written consent to use his or her genetic material for procreation after he or she is dead is close to being approved in the Maryland General Assembly.

    The House and Senate, according to the Baltimore Sun, have both passed bills that require people to sign a notarized agreement allowing their sperm or eggs to be used after their death.

    The legislation hopes to answer the question of how the law should treat children who were conceived after a parent’s death.

    A case on this issue came before the U.S. Supreme Court this week when justices deliberated on whether twins conceived with frozen sperm and born 18 months after their father died were eligible for Social Security benefits.

    * U.S. Democratic congressional candidate John Delaney outraised state Sen. Rob Garagiola by more than three-to-one and then loaned himself an additional $1.3 million this year, according to The Baltimore Sun.

    In addition to the personal loan, Delaney’s campaign finance reports show he raised $767,709.  Garagiola raised $246,452 from the same period between January 1 and March 14.

    Both Delaney and Garagiola are fighting for the Democratic nomination for the 6th District, and the winner will face Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, the 10-term incumbent who currently holds the seat.

    * D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will present his budget for the 2013 fiscal year Friday morning.

    The budget aims to close a $172.2 million budget gap.