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DC Suburbia">Ben’s Chili Bowl Expands to DC Suburbia

The irony of this move is, that where it’s going (I once lived in a house about three miles from the loca­tion) is more about its appeal to white, upper-class patrons than about ful­fill­ing its black, urban roots on U Street.

A Dis­trict of Colum­bia land­mark is expand­ing across the Potomac.

Ben’s Chili Bowl, the iconic pur­veyor of the half-smoke, is open­ing its first loca­tion in Vir­ginia Thurs­day with a ribbon-cutting cer­e­mony in Arling­ton. The restau­rant is located at 1725 Wil­son Blvd.

Bill Cosby, the restaurant’s most famous cheer­leader, is expected to attend the cer­e­monies at the new loca­tion on Wil­son Boulevard.

Ben and Vir­ginia Ali opened their restau­rant in 1958 in U Street in the Dis­trict. It stayed open through race riots in the late ‘60s that dev­as­tated the neigh­bor­hood and has been a key­stone in the revi­tal­iza­tion of the U Street corridor.

This is not Ben’s first move out­side of U Street.  They have con­ces­sion stands at both Nation­als Park and FedEx Field respectively.

The move also helps solid­ify a trend in recent years of many DC-based “stan­dards” mov­ing to the Wil­son Boule­vard cor­ri­dor in the Ross­lyn sec­tion of Arling­ton.  Besides being the long-time home of “Red, Hot, and Blue,” a southern-style BBQ joint, “Ray’s Hell Burger,” and other places known for local fla­vor an area long-known for col­lege stu­dents and young Capi­tol Hill staffers, Rosslyn’s slowly becom­ing a tourist trap in its own small way.

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Ed Gillespie Announces Senate Bid

If there’s one “sleeper” Sen­ate race in 2014, it may be in the Old Domin­ion of Vir­ginia.  There, sit­ting Sen. Mark Warner (D) is seen as very per­son­ally pop­u­lar, but could face a poten­tial tough race because of one issue: ObamaCare.

The Vir­ginia GOP and the National Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­ial Com­mit­tee appear to have found their guy with for­mer RNC Chair­man Ed Gille­spie who announced his can­di­dacy via a two-minute video.  So far, as an open­ing argu­ment for his can­di­dacy, Gille­spie is off to a strong start in a swing state that has been mov­ing to the left in recent elections.

On the plus side for Gille­spie — who is also seen as a plau­si­ble guber­na­to­r­ial can­di­date in 2017 — this race gives him plenty of time to spread his Name ID to voters.

Another plus with Gillespie’s entry into the race is he will force Democ­rats to blow money in the expen­sive DC TV mar­ket they would rather be spend­ing in Arkansas to save Mark Pryor or Louisiana to save Mary Lan­drieu.  That alone, makes his entrance well-worth it.

Hand­i­cap­pers such as Char­lie Cook cur­rently have Vir­ginia as “Likely D.”  That was as of mid-December.

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Bolling Decides Against Independent Run for Virginia Governor

Not at all sur­pris­ing, the think­ing from friends of mine in the know out in Vir­ginia has long been that no one was would have been will­ing to help him fund raise, espe­cially if it meant a likely Demo­c­ra­tic vic­tory in the form of ex-DNC Chair­man Terry McAullife.

On one level, I under­stand sit­ting Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s out­rage at the process in Vir­ginia.  Instead of let­ting him and Attor­ney Gen­eral Ken Cuc­cinelli fight it out in a pri­mary, the Vir­ginia Repub­li­can Party took that deci­sion out of the hands of vot­ers by hav­ing the party pick its can­di­date at a con­ven­tion last year.

Bolling has been Lt. Gov­er­nor of Vir­ginia since 2006.

When I sus­pended my cam­paign for the Repub­li­can Party’s nom­i­na­tion for Gov­er­nor, I indi­cated that I wanted to be a more inde­pen­dent voice for Vir­ginia, speak­ing out more objec­tively on the impor­tant issues fac­ing our state.  Over the past sev­eral months, I have done just that.  I have sought to call Vir­ginia to a higher pur­pose, focus­ing more on pol­icy than pol­i­tics and more on the next gen­er­a­tion than the next election.

This more inde­pen­dent approach to gov­ern­ing led to wide­spread spec­u­la­tion that I was think­ing about reviv­ing my cam­paign for Gov­er­nor as an Inde­pen­dent can­di­date.   While that was not my ini­tial inten­tion, the reac­tion to a pos­si­ble Inde­pen­dent cam­paign has been over­whelm­ing, and for the past three months I have been going through a “due dili­gence” process, try­ing to objec­tively assess the fea­si­bil­ity of an Inde­pen­dent campaign.

Through­out this process my focus has been on one thing — what’s best for Vir­ginia?  I love Vir­ginia and I want to make cer­tain that we have a Gov­er­nor who is com­mit­ted to gov­ern­ing our state in a main­stream way; a Gov­er­nor who will keep his focus on the big issues fac­ing our state and work with Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats to solve prob­lems, get things done and make Vir­ginia a bet­ter place.

I’m con­fi­dent I could be that kind of Gov­er­nor.  Through­out my career in pub­lic ser­vice, I have done my best to stand strong for the con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues I believe in, while at the same time respect­ing the views of oth­ers and pro­mot­ing con­sen­sus build­ing and results, as opposed to con­fronta­tion and grid­lock.  That’s the kind of prag­matic, results ori­ented lead­er­ship we need to make cer­tain that Vir­ginia remains on the right track.

Given the cur­rent polit­i­cal dynam­ics in Vir­ginia, the prospects of an Inde­pen­dent cam­paign were very appeal­ing to me, and based on the pos­i­tive feed­back I had received from busi­ness lead­ers, com­mu­nity lead­ers and cit­i­zens all across our state, I am con­fi­dent that I could have run a cred­i­ble and com­pet­i­tive cam­paign and made a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to the pub­lic debate.  In many ways I would have enjoyed par­tic­i­pat­ing in such a cam­paign a great deal and I think it could have been good for Virginia.

How­ever, after a great deal of con­sid­er­a­tion I have decided that I will not be an Inde­pen­dent can­di­date for Gov­er­nor this year.  There were many fac­tors that influ­enced my deci­sion to forgo such a campaign.

First, I know how dif­fi­cult Inde­pen­dent cam­paigns can be.  The biggest chal­lenge an Inde­pen­dent can­di­date faces is fundrais­ing.  You can have a win­ning mes­sage, but if you don’t have the resources to effec­tively com­mu­ni­cate that mes­sage to vot­ers you can­not win.  To run a win­ning cam­paign I would have needed to raise at least $10-$15M.  That’s a very dif­fi­cult thing to do with­out the resources of a major polit­i­cal party and national donors at your dis­posal.  Based on my dis­cus­sions with key donors over the past three weeks, I was con­fi­dent I could raise enough money to run a com­pet­i­tive cam­paign, but I was not con­fi­dent I could raise enough money to run a win­ning cam­paign. While it is pos­si­ble that these resources could have been secured over time if the cam­paign pro­gressed as we envi­sioned, that was an uncer­tain out­come and it was too big a risk for me to ask my donors to take.

Sec­ond, run­ning as an Inde­pen­dent can­di­date would have required me to sever my long­stand­ing rela­tion­ship with the Repub­li­can Party.  While I am very con­cerned about the cur­rent direc­tion of the Repub­li­can Party, I still have many dear friends in the Repub­li­can Party, peo­ple who have been incred­i­bly sup­port­ive of me over the years.  I have tremen­dous respect for them and I am very grate­ful for every­thing they have done for me.  I value these friend­ships a great deal and I feel a deep sense of per­sonal oblig­a­tion to those who have done so much to make my suc­cess pos­si­ble.  I have heard from many of these friends over the past sev­eral months.  They have encour­aged me to not give up on the Repub­li­can Party and con­tinue work­ing to get our party back on a more main­stream course.  Main­tain­ing their friend­ship and respect means more to me than the prospects of being Gov­er­nor and I was unwill­ing to jeop­ar­dize these long­stand­ing rela­tion­ships by embark­ing on an Inde­pen­dent campaign.

Finally, my deci­sion was heav­ily influ­enced by a grow­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the cur­rent polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment in Vir­ginia.  Pol­i­tics is much dif­fer­ent today than it was when I was first elected.  In many ways I fear that the “Vir­ginia way” of doing things is rapidly being replaced by the “Wash­ing­ton way” of doing things and that’s not good for Vir­ginia.  As a result, the polit­i­cal process has become much more ide­o­log­i­cally dri­ven, hyper-partisan and mean spir­ited.  Rigid ide­olo­gies and per­sonal polit­i­cal agen­das are too often placed ahead of sound pub­lic pol­icy and legit­i­mate pol­icy dis­agree­ments too quickly degen­er­ate into unwar­ranted per­sonal attacks.  This makes it more dif­fi­cult to gov­ern effec­tively and get things done.  While I still value pub­lic ser­vice a great deal, the truth is that I just don’t find the polit­i­cal process to be as enjoy­able as I once did.  Because of this, I decided that the time has come for me to step away from elected office and look for other ways to serve Virginia.

For all of these rea­sons, I decided that I will not be an Inde­pen­dent can­di­date for Gov­er­nor in 2013.  How­ever, I truly appre­ci­ate the con­fi­dence and sup­port of those who had encour­aged me to do so and I hope they will under­stand and respect my decision.

Another unknown in the equa­tion would be how much of a fac­tor would recent deci­sions by Gov. Bob McDon­nell to impose a num­ber of taxes to help pay for the state’s high­way and trans­porta­tion infrastructure.

Recent polling in a pos­si­ble three-way match-up with Cuc­cinelli, Bolling, and McAuf­file gave the for­mer Clin­ton fund raiser the edge.  In a two-way fight, the race is cur­rently tied.

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Virginia Republicans Invent Creative Scavenger Hunt

Friend out in Vir­ginia sent this to me.  Thought it was both hilar­i­ous, and a poten­tial por­tent of things to come for 2012.

You may not be be aware, but leg­isla­tive elec­tions are reg­u­larly sched­uled for this Novem­ber in Vir­ginia (as akin to here in Wis­con­sin where they’re sched­uled every time DPW doesn’t want to admit the 2010 elec­tions hap­pened).  Nat­u­rally, it’s “Direct Mail” time and the state GOP in Vir­ginia has asked its mem­bers and peo­ple of the pub­lic to help them out.

They’re look­ing to see if any Demo­c­rat was brave enough to tie their cam­paign to the Pres­i­dent.  Here’s how:

Announc­ing the RPV “Proud to Stand with Obama”

Direct Mail Scav­enger Hunt

– Can you find a Vir­ginia Demo­c­rat proudly cam­paign­ing with Pres­i­dent Obama?  —  

Hold­ing the White House should be a huge advan­tage for any party dur­ing off-year elec­tions, as can­di­dates at the state level can bask in the reflected glory of the leader of the free world. But for some rea­son, we can’t find many Democ­rats run­ning for the state Sen­ate eager to asso­ciate with Pres­i­dent Obama.

That’s why we’re announc­ing the RPV
“Proud to Stand With Obama” Direct Mail Scav­enger Hunt!

The rules are simple.

Find any gen­eral elec­tion direct mail piece from a Vir­ginia Demo­c­rat run­ning for the state Sen­ate — or one from a Demo­c­rat com­mit­tee — that uses a pic­ture of Pres­i­dent Obama in a pos­i­tive light, i.e. “Supported/Endorsed by Barack Obama” or “Sup­ports Obama’s poli­cies.”  (Note: Demo­c­ra­tic pri­mary mail pieces do not count!)

Then scan it and email it to contest@RPV.org  or fax it to us at: (804) 343‑1060. The first qual­i­fy­ing mail piece in the door wins the prize, an auto­graphed copy of Karl Rove’s “Courage and Con­se­quences,” and a “Not Again!” bumper sticker.

If no one can pro­duce a win­ning mail piece by Octo­ber 28th (which seems highly likely), we move on to phase two of the contest:


The first per­son to email or fax any mail piece from Democ­rats Edd Houck, John Miller, Roscoe Reynolds, Phil Puck­ett, Bert Dod­son, Shawn Mitchell, Ralph Northam, John Edwards, George Barker, or Dave Mars­den that proudly iden­ti­fies them as the Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­date (Note: “Paid for by” dis­claimers required by law don’t count) will win a prize pack.

The ini­tial idea for this con­test was to see how many dif­fer­ent pieces of direct mail we could find in which Democ­rats run­ning for the state Sen­ate used the phase “worked with Gov­er­nor McDon­nell,” or included a pic­ture of them­selves with Gov­er­nor McDon­nell… but we’ve seen sev­eral of those piece already, so that wouldn’t have made for a very chal­leng­ing scav­enger hunt.

 On your mark, get set, GO!  The ‘Proud to Stand With Obama’

Direct Mail Scav­enger Hunt has begun!

Accord­ing to my friend Jim Ger­agthy, recently polling num­bers put Virginia’s Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Bob McDon­nell at 62 per­cent approval.  Obama is at 45 percent.

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Don’t You Need to Primary First?

 This might be a first.  Two Sen­ate can­di­dates have agreed to debate each other months before they offi­cially are their respec­tive par­ties can­di­dates for office.

Most expect for­mer Vir­ginia Gov­er­nors Tim Kaine and George Allen to be the last men stand­ing when the dust set­tles on their pri­maries.  Just no one expected them to debate before any­one voted first.

The first clash of the Vir­ginia titans is set to get under­way on Decem­ber 7 as for­mer Sen. George Allen and for­mer Demo­c­ra­tic National Com­mit­tee Chair­man Tim Kaine are set to debate for the first time in the Sen­ate race.

Rich­mond is set to play host to the two fron­trun­ners dur­ing this year’s Asso­ci­ated Press Day at the State Capi­tol. Accord­ing to the AP’s Bob Lewis, Allen and Kaine are invited, and have com­mit­ted to par­tic­i­pate while other can­di­dates must reach an aver­age of 15 per­cent in “pub­lished, non-candidate pri­mary polls” and must have “raised at least 20 per­cent as much money as their party’s fron­trun­ner by the end of October.”

Given the cri­te­ria, it is unlikely that any other can­di­dates will qual­ify for the 90-minute debate. Jour­nal­ist Bob Gib­son, who serves as the exec­u­tive direc­tor for the non­par­ti­san Sorensen Insti­tute for Polit­i­cal Lead­er­ship at the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia, is slated to mod­er­ate the debate, accord­ing to the AP. The Wednes­day debate is hosted by the Vir­ginia AP Man­ag­ing Edi­tors and the Vir­ginia Capi­tol Cor­re­spon­dents Association.

Allen is being chal­lenged in his pri­mary by a num­ber of can­di­dates, the biggest threat — until Red State went south on her — was Jamie Radtke.  Kaine’s Demo­c­ra­tic pri­mary oppo­nents will be lucky if any­one beyond their direct friends and fam­ily even knows who they are at this point.

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Cuccinelli Ponders 2014 Senate Run

Admit­tedly, I’m a “Cart before the Horse” guy when it comes to polit­i­cal cycles.  I once remem­ber telling my dad in early 2006 when asked “Who’s run­ning for Pres­i­dent in 2008?” that my answer was some­thing along the line of “Hey, can we get through 2006 first?!?”

So yes, talk­ing about any race beyond Novem­ber 2012 is utterly point­less.  Yet, the news of Vir­ginia Attor­ney Gen­eral Ken Cuc­cinelli say­ing he’s look­ing into run­ning for the U.S. Sen­ate against Mark Warner in 2014 is notable for a num­ber of reasons.

Much of the spec­u­la­tion about Vir­ginia Attor­ney Gen­eral Ken Cuccinelli’s polit­i­cal future has focused on whether the Repub­li­can who has made a name for him­self suing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would run for re-election, or for gov­er­nor in 2013.

But in an inter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Post, Cuc­cinelli said he may run for U.S. Sen­ate in 2014 — pos­si­bly set­ting him up to take on one of Virginia’s most pop­u­lar politi­cians, Demo­c­rat Mark R. Warner.

And Cuc­cinelli didn’t hold back on his crit­i­cism of the for­mer gov­er­nor, who many assume has grown a bit rest­less with the great delib­er­a­tive body that is the U.S. Senate.

I under­stand from peo­ple he and I both talk to that he’s pretty frus­trated with it,’’ Cuc­cinelli said. “[But] I don’t see him doing any­thing to change that sys­tem. He hasn’t even tried.”

Cuc­cinelli said Warner should chal­lenge his cau­cus, includ­ing Sens. Harry Reid (Nev.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) , instead of vot­ing along­side them.

He has a really lib­eral cau­cus,’’ he said. “It wouldn’t be hard to artic­u­late an alter­na­tive to Harry Reid in the Demo­c­rat caucus.”

Warner, who was elected to the Sen­ate in 2008 with more votes than any politi­cian in state his­tory, has not said whether he plans on run­ning for re-election. Some spec­u­late he could be inter­ested in another run at the governor’s man­sion, or maybe even the White House one day.

What Cuc­cinelli no con­sid­er­ing a run for the Sen­ate instead of Gov­er­nor in 2013 as has long been spec­u­lated, it clears up the feared log­jam Vir­ginia Repub­li­cans were expect­ing between the Attor­ney Gen­eral and Bill Bolling, the pop­u­lar Lt. Gov­er­nor in the state’s governor’s race in 2013.

Cur­rent Gov. Bob McDon­nell is lim­ited from serv­ing two four-year, back-to-back con­sec­u­tive terms as Gov­er­nor of the Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth by the state’s constitution.

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The Top Concern in Town — Shut down McDonald’s

Dis­clo­sure: Authored by Kurt

I think the city of Culpeper, VA has other things to worry about than clos­ing down a McDonald’s that has been oper­at­ing for 23 hours a day since Octo­ber 2007.

On June 8, Zon­ing Admin­is­tra­tor Maxie Brown hand-delivered a notice to the McDonald’s inform­ing the restau­rant it was in vio­la­tion of sec­tion 14–13 of the town code, stat­ing retail­ers located within 150 feet of a res­i­dence must close no later than 1 a.m. and can­not open ear­lier than 5:30 a.m.

Amanda Camp­bell, direc­tor of oper­a­tions with R.B. Drumheller Inc. — the Luray com­pany that owns Culpeper’s McDonald’s — responded to the vio­la­tion notice a week later in a let­ter to Town Man­ager Jeff Muzzy.

I spoke to Maxie Brown … about the notice,” Camp­bell said in the let­ter. “I explained to her that we have been oper­at­ing at 4 a.m. and stay­ing open until 3 a.m. since the restau­rant was rebuilt and reopened in Octo­ber of 2007.”

In addi­tion, Camp­bell said, the orig­i­nal Culpeper McDonald’s “had those hours for many years prior to the rebuild.” She also pointed out that there is only one res­i­dence within 150 feet of the restau­rant, a home owned by Dr. Harry Bur­chard, who owns and oper­ates the adjoin­ing Amber­wood Vet­eri­nary Hos­pi­tal on Sycamore Street.

In a June 16 let­ter to the town, Bur­chard said he had “no prob­lem with McDonald’s oper­at­ing 24 hours a day.”

They have made adjust­ments for my renters which should pre­vent any prob­lems in the future,” he said. “All in all, McDonald’s has been a good neigh­bor for 30 years.”

While I under­stand there is a Town Code, I feel that many of these code’s should be case by case.

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Cartoon of the Day


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This is Why You Hang On to Every Press Release

You never know when they might come in handy.

MSNBC’s First Read looked into their archives some four years ago and noticed the spin you’re hear­ing from both the RNC and the DNC appears to have switched loca­tions when com­par­ing the 2005 sweep of New Jer­sey and Vir­ginia for the Democ­rats ver­sus the 2009 sweep of New Jer­sey and Vir­ginia for the Republicans.

Rahm Emanuel must have had a fun time today con­tra­dict­ing him­self from circa 2005.

[L]ooking back at First Read’s cov­er­age the day after the 2005 New Jer­sey and Vir­ginia con­tests, we had for­got­ten that Rahm Emanuel — then chair of the Demo­c­ra­tic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee and now White House chief of staff — had called us to argue the very point Repub­li­cans are now mak­ing: that the two guber­na­to­r­ial con­tests say some­thing about the upcom­ing midterms.

Here’s what we wrote then:

Demo­c­ra­tic House cam­paign com­mit­tee chair Rahm Emanuel, call­ing First Read imme­di­ately after Kaine’s and Corzine’s vic­to­ries were announced, argued that it’s clear Demo­c­ra­tic vot­ers were already ener­gized ear­lier in the year when Demo­c­rat Paul Hack­ett nearly won a tra­di­tion­ally GOP-leaning Ohio House dis­trict. “I think that’s even more true today.” He also pointed out that the may­ors of Detroit, Cleve­land, and St. Paul, MN were all los­ing. “A lot of incum­bents are los­ing to change,” he said (although he neglected to men­tion that these three may­ors are Democ­rats, though the one from St. Paul endorsed Bush last year).

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Obama to Madison Next Week

<sarcasm>Boy, this won’t play into the Governor’s race spec­u­la­tion at all.</sarcasm>

Bring out the tape recorder and set the DVRThings are gonna be fun for the next week or so.

Pres­i­dent Obama will visit the Madi­son area on Nov. 4 to speak about edu­ca­tion, the White House announced Tuesday.

It will be Obama’s first visit to the imme­di­ate area since a Feb­ru­ary 2008 cam­paign stop at the Kohl Cen­ter prior to the Demo­c­ra­tic primary.

Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Obama was sched­uled to return in Octo­ber 2008, but can­celed a planned Madi­son rally to visit his ail­ing grand­mother, who died a short time later, in Hawaii.

Details about the loca­tion or con­tent of the president’s address in Madi­son next week are not avail­able, a White House spokes­woman said.

Some­where, Dan Bice is smil­ing.

(Won­der if any ambi­tious reporter in Madi­son Obama will bring up the @$$-kicking Democ­rats took in Vir­ginia the pre­vi­ous night.)

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