Entries in Virginia (63)


Virginia Lawmaker Brandishes AK-47 on House Floor

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A Virginia state lawmaker brandished an AK-47 on the floor of the state House of Delegates on Thursday.

Virginia Del. Joe Morrissey, a Democrat hailing from the Richmond area, showed off the weapon while pushing for tighter gun-control laws, The Washington Examiner reported.

“A lot of people don’t know that in many locations in the commonwealth, you can take this gun, you can walk in the middle of Main Street loaded and not be in violation of the law,” Morrissey said on the floor, according to the Examiner, assuring other lawmakers that the gun was not loaded.

A subcommittee voted Thursday night to kill a bill Morrissey introduced that would have tightened gun controls in the state, The Roanoke Times reported.  That bill would have banned the sale of so-called assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ryan Makes Last-Minute Stop in Battleground Virginia

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) – Paul Ryan made a lightning-fast stop at a campaign office in Virginia, thanking and revving up supporters as the minutes left until the polls close ticked by.

The GOP vice presidential nominee stopped by the Henrico County Victory Center as volunteers were still making calls trying to get Virginians in this critical state to go to the polls.

“I don’t want to take too much of your time because we got a lot of work to do, right?” Ryan said, before thanking the crowd. “We got to run for the tape, we got to leave it all on the field. And what we are doing today is, we are actually getting real change.”

Ryan told the crowd to “go at ‘em” for another few hours.

“I see people from all generations, from all walks of life, from both political parties and from independents who have come out enthusiastically to embrace these kinds of reforms,” Ryan said.

This was Ryan’s second Election Day stop; earlier he joined Mitt Romney in must-win Ohio, stopping by another campaign office and grabbing lunch with his running mate.

During the stop at fast food chain Wendy’s, which was founded in Columbus, a reporter asked Ryan how he was feeling.

“I’m running on fumes,” he answered.

Ryan was joined on the plane Tuesday by many members of his family, including his wife, Janna; his three young children; his mother, Betty Douglas, as well as his two brothers and their families.

Ryan is watching the returns in Boston, where he'll later attend the GOP ticket’s Election Night party at the Boston Convention Center.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Joe Biden Wraps Up Campaign in Virginia

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up his final day campaigning in the state of Virginia Monday night, stressing the need for the country to put aside party ideology and unite for the good of the country.

“We are better positioned than any nation in the world to be the leading economy in the 21st century.  We are the most powerful military and political force for good the world has ever known and now is time for our politics to be as good and as noble as our people,” Biden said at the Historic Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond. 

“It’s time we come together and realize the great potential of this great country," the vice president continued. "It’s time to replace unyielding ideology with principled compromise.  Ladies and gentlemen, I believe most Democrats and Republicans are prepared to do just that.  We have absolute confidence in the American people, and we are determined, Barack [Obama] and I, to level the playing field for the middle class, give them a fighting chance."

“There is no quit in America, and I got news for these guys.  It’s never ever ever been a good bet, Gov. [Mitt] Romney and Congressman [Paul] Ryan, it’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people.  Folks, we need you to win.  We win Virginia, we win this election,” Biden added.

The vice president spent the day campaigning across the state from Sterling to Roanoke before ending his day in Richmond.  Biden was joined by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, Sen. Mark Warner and Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine.  Singer John Mellencamp warmed up the crowd, even adapting the lyrics of his song “Pink Houses” to an election theme.

“Come on people, come on people, let’s elect the next president,” Mellencamp sang.  “Give the middle class a chance to win and not go back to the old ways again.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney Asks Virginia Voters, ‘Will We Be Neighbors?’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- Ann Romney may already be daydreaming about life in the White House, asking a huge crowd in northern Virginia Monday if they thought she and her husband might be moving to neighboring Washington come January.

“Are we going to be neighbors soon?” Mrs. Romney asked a roaring crowd of 8,500.

“It’s so exciting to have walked into a room like this and get greeted like that,” she said. “But the thing you don’t know: There’s as many of you outside as inside right now. And that’s the momentum we have been feeling. It’s not just in Virginia. It’s all across this country. And that’s what leads me to believe that I am standing next to the next president of the United States!”

Mitt Romney also seemed taken aback to the enthusiasm of the crowd, comparing it to a welcome pop stars might receive.

“I’m looking around to see if we have the Beatles are here or something to have brought you, but looks like you came just for the campaign and I appreciate it,” he said.

“You know, if anyone wants to know where the energy is — if anyone out there that’s following American politics wants to know where the energy is just come right here in this room and you’ll see it,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Sandy Affects Early Voting in Swing States

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There are five battleground states in Sandy’s path including Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.

Pennsylvania and New Hampshire do not offer in-person early voting, so it’s likely that the storm won’t have much of an impact on voting in either of those states, but in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina early voting is increasingly popular. Below is a look at how the storm has impacted early voting in these battlegrounds.


Virginia is the state where Sandy is having a strong impact on early voting, looking at the size of the voting population in the affected areas. In Virginia, 21 voter offices were closed Monday, according to a list provided by the State Board of Elections. The affected counties encompass several large metropolitan areas in the northern portion of the state, including both Democrat and Republican friendly areas.

For the Democrats, the normally Dem friendly counties of Arlington and Fairfax, as well as the city of Alexandria closed their offices today. For Republicans, GOP-leaning Loudoun County was also closed.

As of now only one county, Accomack County, has announced that the voter office is going to be closed Tuesday as well. Accomack is located on the Eastern Shore and makes up part of the Delmarva Peninsula.  McCain narrowly carried this county in 2008 with 50.1 percent to Obama’s 48.7 percent, but there were less than 20,000 votes cast there in total.

More closings could be announced as the storm continues to smash into the East Coast.


It appears as though Sandy hasn’t affected early voting in Ohio in any noticeable way. The Secretary of State’s office tells ABC News that they haven’t received any reports of issues from any of the 88 counties in the state. Every county in Ohio is required to file emergency plans with the Secretary of State’s office as part of their elections proceedings.

Vote-by-mail appears to be a significantly more popular means of casting an early vote in Ohio. As of the most recent report from the Secretary of State’s office, out of the 800,000 plus votes that have come in so far in Ohio, a little more than 600,000 have come from mail-in absentees, while less than 200,000 have come from in-person voting.


The State Board of Elections reports that over the weekend the early voting sites in Dare County, which includes the Outer Banks, and Ocracoke Island, which is located in Hyde County, closed on Saturday. Early voting sites in Pamlico County, located along the Atlantic in the middle portion of the state, closed on Sunday. The SBE reports on their website that Dare County early voting sites are closed “until tomorrow” and there is no word yet about when they will reopen. McCain carried Dare and Pamlico counties in 2008, while Obama narrowly carried Hyde County.

Sandy is not expected to affect the big vote centers of Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte and their surrounding counties where forecasts call for a few showers, cloud cover, and wind Monday and Tuesday.

ABC News rates Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire as toss-ups. North Carolina is rated as leaning Republican while Pennsylvania is rated as leaning Democrat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


In Virginia, Ryan Pushes Hard, Targeting Voters Who Voted Obama in ’08

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A week and a half before Election Day, Paul Ryan told voters in the critical battleground state of Virginia they have two paths, urging supporters to bring former Barack Obama voters to the Romney campaign.

“We’re going to look back at this moment as a time where America picked this path or that path, a growing economy with opportunity and upward mobility, or more stagnation and a debt crisis with more dependency,” Ryan said Thursday evening at a rally in front of about 1,700 people.

Standing in front of a massive American flag hanging from a crane, with his sleeves rolled up, Ryan issued instructions to the faithful in the crowd:

“When you think about November 6, Election Day, think about a person who you know who liked the hope and the change in 2008, who was inspired by that, but who now knows it’s empty,” Ryan, standing next to a large “Victory in Virginia” sign, urged the crowd. “Because let’s also think about November the 7th. Lets think about the next morning … about what we’re going to see.”

The rally was outside the Crutchfield Corporation, which makes car stereos and consumer electronics. The candidate continued, saying just as “this election is a mandate for us, President Obama will claim one for him.”

“And that means since he’s proposing nothing different, we will get nothing different,” Ryan said, going back and forth with the crowd as they yelled, “No!” “So the question is, do we want to wake up on November the 7th and see that we have just four more years of the same? Do we want to wake up and think we’re going to have to wait four more years? Or do we just want to wait two more weeks?”

Ryan, clearly fired up, then issued a rallying cry to those gathered, saying, “The choice is yours…. And boy, is it a clear choice.”

This was the second of two events in Virginia for Ryan, and polls are deadlocked in this critical state with both candidates within the margin of error. The state had been reliably red until Obama won it in 2008, the first Democrat to do so in a presidential race since 1964, and the Romney campaign is aggressively trying to flip it back.

The most recent ABC News/Washington Post’s tracking poll released Thursday showed Romney with 50 percent support among likely voters nationally to 47 percent support for the president. The candidates are both within the margin of error, but this is the highest vote-preference result of the campaign for Romney to date.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Horses and Bayonets' Become Campaign Fodder in Battleground Virginia

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- It started as a snarky comeback when President Obama knocked down Mitt Romney for arguing that the Navy is now smaller than any time since 1917 with the reminder that the military has fewer "horses and bayonets." But the punch line quickly became real campaign fodder in the razor-thin Senate race between Tim Kaine, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, and George Allen, a former Republican senator.

The comments could now play a role in determining whether Democrats are able to hold on to the open Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb and whether Obama can once again pull out a win in the battleground state.

Within hours of the debate, Allen's campaign released a statement ripping Obama's "disregard" for the potential loss of "200,000 Virginia jobs."

And in a campaign ad less than two days after his comments, Allen, 60, tied Kaine to Obama, suggesting that the two Democrats support draconian cuts to the military.

"Decisions in Washington ripple through our communities, harming small businesses," Allen said in the spot. "My plan will stop defense cuts by growing our economy, using our energy resources and creating jobs. My job is to fight for yours."

Kaine's campaign responded, saying that Kaine, 54, has always opposed deep defense cuts and Allen's claims in the ad are a "transparently partisan attempt to win re-election."

The debate is a staple of politics in Virginia, home of the largest U.S. Naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, and the fourth-largest federal workforce, according to the most recent Census data from 2009.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said Democrats and Republicans campaigning in the state at the federal level have always had to dance around the issue of federal spending, which is at least partly responsible for the relative health of Virginia's economy.

"[Democrats] point out that the federal government is essential to Virginia's strong economy and its one of the reasons we have a 5.9 percent unemployment rate," Sabato told ABC News. "What Republicans do is they attack federal spending but they exempt defense."

The stakes are high in a Senate race that could not be tighter. The race between Allen and Kaine is virtually tied, as it has been for nearly the entire election, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average.

And Romney has also staked his fate in Virginia on his plan for the Navy, which he says has fewer ships now than it needs to carry out its mission.

His campaign Thursday released a new radio ad lampooning Obama's "horses and bayonets" comment.

"To Mitt Romney, that's a problem, to President Obama, it's a chance to deliver a punch line," the ad says. "Does President Obama know how much his defense cuts will hurt us?"

The ad is also being run in other states, including Florida.

But Obama also hopes to pull off a repeat performance of his 2008 sweep in Virginia. He faces a difficult, some say daunting task. Virginia has only voted for one Democrat, Obama, in the past 40 years.

Obama did it in 2008 by winning several states won by George W. Bush in 2004. But Sabato says Obama risks losing by wide margins in this election in the southwestern counties least hospitable to Democrats.

"You've seen a virtual collapse among whites and particularly white males in rural areas," Sabato said. "Obama is going to crash and burn in southwest Virginia, but his goal is to reduce the massive loss."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Says Debate Prep Is ‘Going Great’

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WILLIAMSBURG, Va.) -- President Obama took a break from debate prep Sunday afternoon to make a surprise visit to his campaign office in Williamsburg, Va.

“Hello everybody, hello!” the president said, according to pool reports, as he walked in the door with pizzas in hand.  “I brought some food.”

After making his way around the room, Obama got to work, placing phone calls.

“I’m going to do my work.  Everybody’s so serious,” he joked of his staff.

The president called volunteer Griselda Bayton, who has been working for his campaign.

“I wanted to call and say thank you,” Obama said.

Next, he called Ellen Hawkins, who seemed a bit shocked when she picked up the phone.

“Is this Ellen?” Obama asked.  “Ellen this is Barack Obama.  It is.  Really, truly.”

Asked by a reporter how debate prep is going, the president replied simply, “It is going great!”

Obama then headed outside to work the ropeline, shaking hands and offering up hugs, before returning to debate camp at the Kingsmill resort.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney, McDonnell Praise Ryan’s Debate Performance During Virginia Rally

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Mitt Romney and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell praised Paul Ryan’s debate performance last night, telling a crowd in Virginia that there was only one person on stage who was “thoughtful, and respectful, steady, and poised.”

“Now did you get a chance to watch the debate last night?” Romney said nearly as soon as he got behind the microphone. “I think you might agree with me that there was one person on stage last night who was thoughtful and respectful, steady and poised.”

“The kind of person you might want to turn to in a crisis. And that was the next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan,” said Romney as the crowd erupted in cheers. “There was also one person on the stage who actually, when asked what he’d do to get the economy going again, had an answer. He laid out our five-point plan to get this economy going, and the other candidate of course just attacked. But the American people are looking for answers, not attacks.”

McDonnell, who introduced Romney in Richmond, Va., Friday, couldn’t help but ding the Vice President for interrupting Ryan several times during the debate.

“You had one person who commanded the facts and the budget and the other that interrupted the other candidate 82 times,” said McDonnell. “My daughter watching said, ‘Hey dad, how come only one candidate has any manners?’”

“So there you go,” he said. “Paul’s going to be a great vice president because when our country’s biggest issue is getting us out of debt and back to work nobody knows more about the budget and reducing deficits than Paul Ryan. He’s going to be a great Vice President of the United States.”

Asked by reporters during a breakfast stop in Kentucky before heading to Ohio Friday morning, Ryan said he “felt great” about his debate performance Thursday night.

Next up: Romney’s second head-to-head match-up with President Obama this coming Tuesday in a town hall-style debate moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Meets with Virginia Supporters in the Rain

JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages(NEWPORT NEWS, Va.) -- Standing in a merciless downpour, Mitt Romney said Monday it was the dedication of supporters like the ones who waited for him in that Virginia rain that make him certain he’ll win this November.

“People wonder why it is I’m so confident we’re going to win,” said Romney, the heavy rain soaking him just moments after he took the stage.”I’m confident because I see you here on a day like this. This is unbelievable! Thank you so much!”

Romney did not mention a new Pew Research Poll released Monday that has him leading Obama, 49 to 45 percent among likely voters, the data taken in the days immediately after the presidential debate last week.

But Romney did continue to tout his debate performance.

“Now, you may have noticed that earlier in the week we had a debate — that was last week,” Romney said to the crowd of about 400, many of whom used ponchos and garbage bags to try to keep dry. “That was a good debate. I enjoyed that debate. There were some places where we agreed and some places we disagreed. Some of the places we agreed were associated with the fact that we would take America in different directions.”

Romney, who has been reluctant to discuss the decline in the nation’s unemployment rate, which clocked in under 8 percent — at 7.8 percent — last week for the first time in four years, still brought up the long span of months when unemployment remained high.

“I just read that if you look back 60 years, and you look at all the months we had with unemployment about 8 percent before President Obama, there were 39 months in all 60 years with unemployment above 8 percent,” he said. “With this president, there’ve been 43 months under one president alone. He does not understand what it takes to create a real recovery. I do.”

Romney cut short his remarks to give the crowd a break from the weather, joking that he wasn’t going to go “through all this in great detail because you’ve been here for a little while in this sunshine.”

“You guys, you’re the best! We are going to win this,” Romney said, before working the rope line. “We’re taking back the White House! Virginia is going to help us do it! I need your help. Get out there and vote! Thank you so much! Your courage encourages me.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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