HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) – The chairman of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia says he plans to run for governor in 2017. Corey Stewart, who is also chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he plans to launch an official campaign in October. Stewart, best known for taking an aggressive stance against illegal immigration, said his conservative credentials should help him secure the GOP nomination. Republicans are currently scheduled to pick their candidate for governor next year at a convention instead of a primary. Conventions generally favor conservative candidates. Other GOP gubernatorial hopefuls include former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman. Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, an outspoken conservative like Stewart, said Saturday he is not running.
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) – Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he won’t run for governor in 2017. Cuccinelli told The Associated Press on Saturday at a state GOP convention that he had decided not to run. The outspoken conservative who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2013 said another gubernatorial campaign would be too taxing on his family life. If he’d decided to run, Cuccinelli could have been a formidable challenge to other 2017 GOP gubernatorial hopefuls – former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman. Cuccinelli has been a key campaign surrogate of presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to be the Democratic nominee.
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) – Virginia Republicans have rejected former presidential candidate Jim Gilmore’s bid to be a state delegate to the national GOP convention. Republicans elected 13 at-large delegates Saturday at a state convention in Harrisonburg, a group that did not include the former Virginia governor and former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Gilmore had hoped his pedigree would help him land a spot as a delegate. But the former Army intelligence officer has not declared which GOP presidential nominee he would support in a contested convention. Only delegates who had pledged support for either GOP front-runner Donald Trump or U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign were elected as delegates. Cruz supporters won 10 spots and Trump backers won 3.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia Supreme Court will consider whether current and former state senators need to provide records related to a redistricting lawsuit. Redistricting advocates have sought lawmakers’ communications with outside consultants related to the 2011 redistricting. The lawmakers have refused and a lower court judge has ruled the lawmakers are in contempt. The Daily Press reports the high court’s decision to take the case was announced Wednesday. The decision means the issue will skip the Virginia Court of Appeals. Virginia’s 2011 redistricting effort has come under fire from critics who say the lines were unfairly drawn to favor incumbents, and outside groups have challenged the current district boundaries in both state and federal court.
WYTHEVILLE, Va. (AP) – Authorities say the father and stepmother of a slain Virginia teenager have been arrested after a domestic violence incident. Wytheville Police Chief Ricky Arnold said Thursday that David Madison Lovell and Terri Surratt Lovell have been arrested and charged with unlawful wounding against each other. Arnold declined to provide further details about the incident. David Lovell’s daughter, Nicole Lovell, was found dead in January. Two former Virginia Tech students have been charged in connection with the girl’s slaying. Karen Akers, clerk of the Wythe Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, said they’re being held at the New River Valley Regional Jail. Akers said a $10,000 bond has been set for David Lovell. A bond hearing hasn’t yet been held for Terri Lovell. Their attorneys didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The official Syrian news agency says a conservative Virginia state senator is touring the war-torn country and meeting with officials from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. Loudoun County Republican Sen. Dick Black arrived in Syria on Tuesday for a three-day visit. President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have repeatedly said Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule the country, but Black has praised Assad, saying he has protected Christians in Syria and fought against terrorist groups. The Syrian Arab News Agency erroneously reported that Black is a U.S. senator. Black is a state representative who has no role in official U.S. foreign policy. The outspoken socially conservative senator sent a letter praising Assad in 2014 that was posted on the Syrian president’s Facebook page.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Nearly 400,000 Virginia elementary and middle school students will take shorter Standards of Learning math tests this spring. The state is expanding the use of computer-adaptive testing, which it says means shorter exams for students. The Virginia Department of Education says the computer-adaptive version of the test third graders will take this year has just 32 items. Last year, the exam third graders took had 50 items. The computer-adaptive tests this year for 7th and 8th graders each have 53 items. Last year, their traditional tests had 60 items. Gov. Terry McAuliffe says computer-adaptive tests “can reduce stress and frustration for students, teachers and parents.” Lawmakers approved the governor’s requests for $7.2 million to make all Standards of Learning math and reading exams for grades 3-8 computer adaptive by 2017.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court seems likely to overturn the conviction of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on political corruption charges and place new limits on the reach of federal bribery laws. Several justices on Wednesday expressed major concerns that the laws give prosecutors too much power to criminalize the everyday acts that politician perform to help constituents. Chief Justice John Roberts said it was “extraordinary” that dozens of former White House attorneys from both parties have said upholding McDonnell’s conviction would cripple the ability of elected officials to do their jobs. Justice Breyer said the law presents “a real separation of powers problem.” McDonnell was convicted of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court could place new limits on the reach of federal bribery laws used to prosecute elected officials as it takes up the public corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. The justices on Wednesday will consider whether to overturn McDonnell’s conviction for accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement. The court is expected to clarify what distinguishes bribery from routine actions that politicians perform as a courtesy to constituents. McDonnell says his role in setting up meetings and hosting events for Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams was part of the customary services doled out by every politician. Prosecutors say McDonnell accepted personal benefits with the understanding he would take official action to help Williams.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A Virginia panel is grappling over whether public officials should be allowed to accept luxury box tickets to sporting events under the state’s new ethics law. The Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council wrestled with the issue Tuesday, but put off making a decision. Staff members for the commission say tickets to sporting events would generally be exempt from the $100 cap on gifts officials can receive because they qualify as “widely attended” events. But Republican Del. Todd Gilbert questioned whether lawmakers intended for the exemption to be applied so broadly. The issue was recently thrust into the spotlight after a top official of Gov. Terry McAuliffe administration accepted an invitation from the Washington Redskins to watch a playoff game from one of the team’s luxury boxes.