A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - August 22, 2014
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
V. Thomas Forehand Jr., a circuit court judge and former Virginia delegate, died on his birthday. He was 67. According to his obituary, Forehand died of cancer on Tuesday. He had been fighting the disease for more than a year.
In an emotional second day of testimony in his federal corruption trial, former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell portrayed in searing detail the slow collapse of his marriage from the couple’s days as young lovers in Germany to battling, estranged antagonists in the governor’s mansion. The climax came as McDonnell (R) presented to jurors an e-mail he sent his wife in September 2011, in which he wrote he was “spiritually and emotionally exhausted” and begged her to help him save their marriage. Maureen McDonnell, he testified, did not respond.
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell on Thursday laid bare his troubled marriage during a remarkable day of testimony that revealed he and his wife are living separately for the trial and he is staying in his parish priest’s rectory. Anchoring McDonnell’s account of his marital drama was an emotional email the former governor sent his wife, Maureen, in September 2011. It conveys his love but deep heartache over a shattered marriage that worsened over time.
Defending himself against federal corruption charges Thursday, former Gov. Bob McDonnell painted a picture of an increasingly dysfunctional marriage with his wife, Maureen, over his four years in office. That scenario is a cornerstone of the couple's defense against charges that they sold the power and influence of the governor's office to a businessman seeking to advance his products.
Bob McDonnell took a jury to the low point of his marriage Thursday, then turned to the long trend of generosity that landed him and his wife in federal court. His second day of testimony was intensely personal, part rationlization, part denial and part mea culpa. The ex-governor’s wife, Maureen, watched as he dissected their all-but-destroyed marriage.
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that his marriage devolved to the point he was at a loss as to how to handle the “fiery anger and hate” from the first lady and that he was in the dark until after the fact on many of the dealings between her and a wealthy businessman. Mr. McDonnell, testifying for a second day in his federal trial on public corruption charges, said he didn’t know a $6,500 Rolex watch was actually a gift from Jonnie R. Williams Sr. and not his wife until sometime in March 2013 — more than a year after she had given it to him.
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia began his second day of testimony on Thursday seemingly holding back tears as he conceded to his lawyer that detailing the woes of his 38-year marriage was “going to be hard.” But with his defense on public corruption charges depending in large part on proving that his relationship with his wife was too dysfunctional to support a conspiracy to trade gifts for favors, Mr. McDonnell spent an excruciating day describing how his marriage unraveled around him while gifts from a favored donor endlessly flowed in to cushion the blows.
So former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are – or were – “partners.” That’s at least how he described their marriage as he took the stand on Thursday in the couple’s 14-count public corruption trial, before going into excruciating detail about what a stressed out, mean, unhappy, unbalanced – unhinged even – angry and frustrated woman she had become in the governor’s mansion. Partners. Really?
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell testified Thursday that he did not know about a $50,000 loan Jonnie R. Williams Sr. gave to his wife on May 23, 2011, until two weeks afterward. Williams, then the Star Scientific CEO, wrote the check to Maureen McDonnell and another for $15,000 as a wedding gift for daughter Cailin. Williams testified he wasn’t going to write checks to the governor’s wife without telling him.
Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg said the only major headache for her staff during the Aug. 19 House of Delegates special election was the number of voters who didn’t live in the 48th District, but wanted to cast ballots. “All day long, we took calls from voters not in the 48th confused about whether they were voting or why their polling places were closed,” Lindberg told the Sun Gazette. “Some even accused us of disenfranchising them.”
When it comes to their recent voting patterns, residents of Arlington precincts within the 48th House of Delegates district sure seem to be all over the place. The question is: Come November, will the rest of Arlington follow their lead back to the traditional norm of Democratic election domination?
A Culpeper state senate candidate is betting that next year's election in the District 17 race will be a game changer due to the recent outcome in a different senate race. Democrat Traci Dippert, a local school teacher, said the balance of power in the senate rested on Tuesday's special election for District 38. Democrat Mike Hymes lost, meaning a Republican will replace former State Senator Phil Puckett, D-Tazwell, making the her race in 2015 even more vital to her party, Dippert said.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on Thursday agreed to eight appearances with Republican challenger Ed Gillespie before the November election. In addition to a televised debate in West Virginia last month, the candidates will square off in two more televised debates: on Oct. 7 in Fairfax County and on Oct. 13 in Richmond. They also agreed to four joint appearances: two in Northern Virginia in September, one in Danville in October and another that has yet to be scheduled.
Virginians will have multiple opportunities to see the two major-party U.S. Senate candidates face off before Election Day. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, announced Thursday he'll participate in two debates and wants six other joint appearances, including two in Hampton Roads, with Republican candidate Ed Gillespie.
Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, released his first television ad late Wednesday, introducing himself to a large television audience that may not be familiar with his background as a major GOP operative, presidential adviser, businessman and founder of a Washington lobbying firm. Sen. Mark R. Warner’s campaign responded immediately, accusing their Republican opponent of keeping his career milestone as a Washington lobbyist from viewers.