1. 98 Jobs
That’s how many Terry McAuliffe has already created on his gubernatorial campaign staff. Given his mantra of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” I guess you have to say that he is putting his money where his mouth is. Anita Kumar of The Post contacted all the candidates and discovered that McAuliffe has more paid staffers than the other three gubernatorial campaigns combined. McAuliffe is obviously hoping that the paid staffers and the ten offices he’s opening around the state will provide an effective ground game to complement the ad blitz he’s already launched on television.
2. There’s Too Much Wining and Dining Taking Place in Richmond
McAuliffe said this week as he announced that he’ll be The Ethics Guy as Governor and work to prohibit lobbyists from offering any gifts or trips to legislators and members of the executive branch. This was apparently too much for Brian Moran and Bob McDonnell to take, both of whom feel that McAuliffe’s standing to lecture anyone about the pernicious influence of money in politics is questionable. Both Moran and the Republican Governor’s Association responded to McAuliffe’s call for new restrictions on lobbyists by branding him a hypocrite.
3. The Moran-McDonnell Tag Team
The dual attack on McAuliffe by both Moran and the GOP introduced a new dimension into the campaign: the bipartisan tag team. McAuliffe has simultaneously become the principal target of both his Democratic opponents and Bob McDonnell. While responding to attacks on two fronts can raise new problems for McAuliffe, the fact that the attacks are even occurring confirms the impact that he had on the race as opponents in both parties want to make the election a referendum, at least in part, on McAuliffe’s political past.
4. The Things We Do For…
ERICPAC. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor held a meet and greet fundraiser at the D.C. Verizon Center this week prior to attending the Britney Spears concert. In a brief review of the event to CNN, Cantor noted that Spears had given “quite a show…I hand it to the performer… she was something.” By the end of the week, almost every Washington insider was aware that the “show” began with Britney in dominatrix boots brandishing a whip. A GOP aide insisted that Cantor “suffered” through the evening (though given Spears’ get-up, this was probably not the best choice of a verb). Cantor himself defended his attendance on the grounds that it was a political event and he was there to “help the team.” In truth, Cantor’s status as a champion fundraiser for the party has been an important factor in his meteoric rise within GOP circles.
5. The End of the Cul de Sac as We Know It
New rules being promulgated in Virginia will tell developers that if they want to design a community with cul de sacs, the state will no longer pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the roads. State incentives for all new developments will tilt heavily toward through-treets and away from cul de sacs. Given the recent downturn in the homebuilding industry, there are not too many people thinking about the issue at the moment (though Mike Toalson of the Homebuilders Association offered his criticisms right away). But if the regulation holds, it will have a dramatic impact on new neighborhoods in Virginia over the next decade.
6. The Jobless Number in Danville
Is over 14%, more than two times the statewide average of 6.6%. While all parts of Virginia are being hit by the economic downturn, some parts of the state have been absolutely decimated. Today, all four gubernatorial candidates are emphasizing jobs and economic recovery. Everyone should be asked what steps they intend to take (on inauguration day) to prevent these personal and communty tragedies from deepening even further.
7. Webb Takes On the Prison System
Jim Webb is no stranger to uphill fights. He was against the war In Iraq when many Democrats who shared his outlook voted for it (Remember John Kerry’s “against it before he voted for it”). He got into a Senate race when he was more than 20 points behind in the polls. This week, Webb began an initiative to examine and make recommendations for changing the American prison system. This may be, politically, even more difficult than the campaigns he waged against the war and against George Allen. Yet given Webb’s determination and tenaciousness, I would bet that he will have an impacy on public consciousness. More than a few Republicans believe that it will also provide them with an opening against Webb in 2012.