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As DNC Chairman, Governor Tim Kaine has been jet setting around the country the past five months, promoting Democratic candidates in a slew of national and state elections. But with the Commonwealth facing record budget deficits, and a spiking unemployment rate, he’s come under fire recently for, well, not being around.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Republican Party of Virginia “requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s out-of-state travels and state expenditures related to his work as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.”

Kaine spokeswoman Lynda Tran told the Times-Dispatch that this FOIA request will be handled no differently than other similar requests.

“We’ll look at them and see whether the Freedom of Information Act applies to the requests,” she said. “And if it does, we will provide the records that are required.”

For Virginia Republicans, who have endured losses in the last two gubernatorial elections, the move reflects a revamped tactical approach to politics in the state. The impending showdown between Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell promises to receive national attention, and holds important significance for Republicans who are hungry to regain momentum.

Republican Pat Mullins told the Times-Dispatch that Kaine is fiddling while Virginia is burning.

“He’s more concerned with his role as chairman of the DNC,” Mullins said. “Instead of addressing the huge budget deficit, he’s in Kansas City.”

The Kansas City Star didn’t help Kaine’s cause when it reported this past Tuesday that “Kaine … will return to the KC area Friday … Kaine is a former Virginia governor.” The Star quickly corrected its error, but Kaine’s opponents have attempted to take advantage of any stigma that remains with this video:

If you live in Virginia, you know that yesterday was a rough day to have an election. Thunderstorms plagued the state throughout the day, causing power outages, road blockages – all the usual chaos massive thunderstorms usually bring. Also, a firearm-related murder in Virginia Beach rocked local news headlines in the late afternoon.

I’m sure that VA Democratic party leadership will attribute the dismal turnout at the primary to these extenuating circumstances. According to reports, voter turnout in the Southwestern portion of the state was less than 1 percent. Northern Virginia experienced higher participation, but still clocked in at an uninspiring 10 percent.

In the 2008 Virginia presidential Democratic primaries, 977,586 voters went to the polls, while only 320,384 went to the polls yesterday.

For the past year or so, we’ve ceaselessly heard about high Democratic turnout, and how the Republican party is drowning in a wave of nation-wide support for Democrats. But if what we are seeing in Virginia is a trend, then the overwhelming Democratic victories in 2008 happened because Barack Obama is a rockstar and drove voters to the polls, not because voters are excited about the Democratic party in general.

With well respected Republicans entering races across the nation (Rob Portman and John Kasich in OH, Bob McDonnell in Virginia, to name a few), Democrats will quite possibly face losses in the 2010 election cycle.

Left: Deeds; Right: McAuliffe

Left: Deeds; Right: McAuliffe


In an election that was supposed to be close, but then wasn’t, Creigh Deeds beat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s Democratic primary for governor. With 99% of precincts now counted, Deeds holds 50% of the vote, with McAulliffe clocking in at 26%.

It was truly a remarkable comeback victory for Deeds, as McAulliffe was the heavy favorite in the weeks leading up to the primary.

Terry McAuliffe has a very distinguished career. He is very well respected by his Democratic cohorts, was DNC chairman 2001-2005, and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign chair.

But he is quite obviously a political hack first, and a Virginian second (although he was born in New York).

And that’s why Deeds took down McAuliffe, a political heavyweight and party-favorite.

For these two men, the devil is in the way they contrast each other. While McAulliffe was chairing the DNC, calling President Bush an “ostrich”, Deeds was serving the Commonwealth in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate. The former has a background in law, lobbying, and consulting, the latter hails from an agricultural (translate: quintessentially Virginian) background.

Deeds won the primary because he is the man most Virginians can relate to. In a national election, McAuliffe would probably win, given his popularity among Democrats inside the beltway and the consequential national fundraising potential.

However, Deeds will have difficulty trying to “out-Virginia” his upcoming Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell. McDonnell is an ardent family man, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, and was also Deeds’ colleague in the Virginia House of delegates.