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Virginia Republicans Trying To Stick Together

by @ 8:05 am on December 29, 2006. Filed under Virginia, Virginia Politics

The Washington Post reports that Virginia Republicans have been holding secret talks aimed at maintaining unity heading into the 2007 elections:

RICHMOND, Dec. 28 — Top Republicans in Virginia, including the state’s attorney general and the party’s former national chairman, have been holding secret meetings for weeks in the hopes of finding an end to the war among their party’s lawmakers and reaching a compromise on funding for transportation, several participants said.

Some of the party’s biggest names from outside the General Assembly fear that the rift between leaders in the GOP-led House of Delegates and state Senate will cause Republicans to lose big in elections in November, especially in Northern Virginia, unless something is done to ease congestion.

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell has brought both sides together for direct talks. U.S. Reps. Thomas M. Davis III and Frank R. Wolf have met with House leaders to urge action. And Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the National Republican Committee, who took the helm of the Virginia GOP this month, is courting both senators and delegates.

The main issues on the table are the same ones that have been problems for the Virginia GOP for the past few years, transportation and taxes:

Participants said the talks are an attempt to spur action in next month’s Assembly session, which is expected to again be dominated by transportation. This year, deadlock over road and rail funding held up a state budget for months and prompted a special session that ended in failure.

Those involved in the meetings said the refusal to come together to confront the transportation crisis is becoming the kind of issue for Virginia Republicans that the war in Iraq has become for the GOP nationally: one that pushes independents and moderates to the other side of the political aisle.

The chasm between the two wings of the party is based partly on an ideological divide over taxes — Senate Republicans want them, House Republicans do not. The resulting perception is of Washington-style gridlock that two Democratic governors have used to blame the GOP and that has helped Democrats gain six seats in the House in the past three years.

Unstated in the article is what clearly appears to be a growing division between Northern Virginia, which is the source of most of the demand for increased transportation spending, and the rest of the state.

2 Responses to “Virginia Republicans Trying To Stick Together”

  1. Kat says:

    Doug, you say that most of the transportation demand is in Northern VA – and I can hardly argue – but as a resident-emeritus from the Hampton Roads area, I can say there’s a lot of demand there, too. Do you know what Hampton Road’s needs are, compared to NoVA?

    Wondering, out of simple curiosity.

    — Kat

  2. Kat,

    I would suspect that Hampton Roads isn’t that far behind NoVa on the transportation front, but I think everyone agrees that NoVa’s issues are unique. And, the amount of state tax $$ going to Northern VA as opposed to other areas of the state has been an issue for some time now.

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