A 16-car derailment in Northeast D.C. reignites a debate over freight routes in well-populated areas.
Virginia’s lieutenant governor suspends his gubernatorial campaign, seemingly clearing the way for the commonwealth’s attorney general to grab the nomination. One of the most familiar faces in Montgomery County politics says he wants his old job back. And D.C. candidates start lining up for the Council’s latest job opening. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
- Kenyan McDuffie Member, D.C. Council (D- Ward 5)
- Brian Moran Chairman, Virginia Democratic Party; Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates (D-46th District, Alexandria)
- Tom Sherwood Resident Analyst; NBC 4 reporter; and Columnist for the Current Newspapers
Politics Hour Video
It’s been said the Obama administration won reelection in part due to effective use of voter data and information. With gubernatorial elections coming up in Virginia in 2013, it was widely expected the Obama campaign would share that database with Virginia Democrats.
On today’s Politics Hour, Virginia Democratic Party chairman Brian Moran confirmed the state party does have access to about one million voter records. “We now have that data, and we’ll mine that data and communicate with those individuals,” Moran said. “That is just tremendous with respect to looking forward to 2013,” he added.
The Obama for America campaign compiled a vast database that provides contact information and consumer data to help campaign workers analyze what issues matter most to voters. The records also detail what will best motivate them to donate, volunteer and vote.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Politics Hour," starring, featuring and focusing on Tom Sherwood. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's an NBC 4 reporter and a columnist for The Current Newspapers and now officially on Twitter a Grinch.
MR. TOM SHERWOODRight. You know, I have a Grinch doll itself. I think I still have the price tag connected to it on my desk. There's so much insufferable cheerfulness during the holiday season. There has to be balance.
NNAMDII've never seen those two words together: insufferable cheerfulness.
SHERWOODYou know, it just grates on you after a while, all this cheerfulness. Eun Yang in the morning, she makes the point of coming on cheerfully saying, "Good morning, Tom," just to see me scowl.
NNAMDIWell, he used to celebrate Festivus, but I don't know...
NNAMDI...if he'll be celebrating it.
SHERWOODFestivus needs to be perked up again in Adams Morgan.
NNAMDISpeaking of perking up, Doug Duncan has perked himself up again in Maryland and has decided that he's making a run for his old job as county executive in Montgomery County. We will remember when he dropped out of the race for governor back in the mid-2000s.
NNAMDI2006. Talking about his diagnosis of depression. And he spent a great deal of time talking to people about depression and how it can affect you, but now, he's back.
SHERWOODHe's back. You know, he's a -- he hasn't said officially. The Post and other news organizations have said the story, but he did spend a lot of time on the campaign trail with John Delaney, the new elected congressman from Maryland. He showed up with him, actually was campaigning, shaking hands, and so I just thought it must have been a warm-up.
NNAMDIBut a lot of people who are thinking about running...
SHERWOODWell, Ike Leggett, you know, who has...
SHERWOOD...and he said he wouldn't run for a third term, has more recently indicated that he might, so...
NNAMDIBut there are about four or five other people who were thinking about running. I think that now that Doug Duncan has decided to do that, they're going to have second thoughts because Duncan is going to be hard to beat.
SHERWOODYes. But he's been on the sidelines, you know? He says he's all recovered now and -- from his depression issues, but he was very popular. Was it I think three terms he ran for county executive?
SHERWOODAnd he always seems to be pretty good to the media and all that in terms of stories, and the development of Silver Spring was a big deal. So I think he's clearly a major player if he decides to get in.
NNAMDIWhich is why we in the media probably welcome him back.
NNAMDIThere's a fascinating situation developing in Prince George's County involving who should replace Delegate Tiffany Alston in the House of Delegates. You know, that she got convicted, and there was some controversy over if she could return to her seat. Apparently, she can't. But Gregory A. Hall has been appointed to replace her, but a Prince George's County judge said on Monday that the court should conduct a full judicial review of the controversy supporting that nomination.
NNAMDIAnd Gov. O'Malley is reluctant to make that appointment because he says, look, this is a guy who has serious drug convictions and other convictions before. So I feel that, on the one hand, there's the principle that everybody needs to have the opportunity to have a second chance to remake their lives, and we want to give them that opportunity.
NNAMDIOn the other hand, I'm wondering if in jurisdictions like Prince George's County and the District of Columbia where recently prominent elected officials have been found guilty of corrupting charges and going to jail that people want to take maybe a moratorium on the principle of second chances for a while until we kind of clean up this government.
SHERWOODWell, it is a conundrum. On the one hand, you do want to do something that people who straighten out their lives should be given some consideration. Others say Mr. Hall has done well since he had this horrible time in the early '90s, but he was implicated in presence of a young person who had been killed. And I can just imagine O'Malley a couple years down the road, no matter what he does, and some people think this has ties to his wanting to be president.
SHERWOODBut -- and having this come back and hitting him in the face, saying didn't you appointed a person, a convicted person, to a job like this to the state legislature. The central committee, state Democratic committee, has recommended this guy and the governor, as of Monday, was supposed to appoint him. The governor hasn't refused to do so, and there's some question about whether the governor has a timetable to do it or not.
SHERWOODThat's why it's all going to be in court next Tuesday to straighten it out because Delegate Alston is now claiming that because her conviction was reduced that she still qualifies for the seat. It's a soap opera that Prince George's County doesn't need, and maybe the judge, Judge Philip Nichols, will take care of it on Tuesday.
NNAMDIAnd in the District of Columbia, LivingSocial may be not so social anymore.
SHERWOODThey're having a special deal this week.
NNAMDIIn the District.
SHERWOODTwo jobs lost for every one if you call in now.
NNAMDIThey have laid off 400 workers nationwide and 160 in the District of Columbia. Why that is significant not only in terms of the business model of LivingSocial, but because the D.C. Council had unanimously approved a $32.5 million tax break for the company based on certain conditions. In order to cash in, the company needs to add 1,000 local employees and consolidate its D.C. workforce into a single building of at least 200,000 square feet by 2015, and they have to add 50 employees...
SHERWOODDo you have the contract over there?
NNAMDIOh, yeah. And they have to add...
NNAMDI...50 employees annual with -- with cutting back, it doesn't look like they'll be able to make those goals, but they say they still want that $32.5 million.
SHERWOODWell, the governor -- the governor, ha, he would love to be called the governor. Mayor Gray says that he's looked at this, and he thinks that LivingSocial can still meet the tax break, the $32 million tax break. But it does have to have employees here. But it's moving some of its jobs, I think, to lower state -- lower economy state like Texas or somewhere. I've forgotten which state it is where they will do a lot of things they're doing here, but they insist that -- it insists -- LivingSocial says they will continue to be a major presence in the city and will qualify for that tax break.
NNAMDIInterestingly enough, what I find about that business model is businesses have to give significant discounts on the promise of getting -- attracting a lot of more customers, but if that offer is going out to several businesses that are competing against one another, you find -- they're finding apparently that they're giving the discounts, but they're not getting anymore...
NNAMDI...business than they used to before.
SHERWOODThat's, you know, the Web world is -- people are trying to make money off of this, you know, and people who try to give a discount for, you know, Groupon or whatever it is, they do these things, and they're hoping that they will build traffic -- repeat traffic, and there are so many coupons out available you can just do new things all the time, they never have to repeat.
NNAMDIWell, who will be the next governor of Virginia? Will it be a Democrat, or will it be a Republican? Our guest is hoping that it will be a Democrat. Brian Moran is our guest. He is the outgoing chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. Brian Moran, thank you for joining us.
MR. BRIAN MORANOh, Kojo, glad you saved the best for last, Virginia politics as opposed to our neighbors to the north. The -- last time, Kojo, I was with you was the Friday morning after the convention.
NNAMDIIn Charlotte, N.C.
MORANYes, we were in Charlotte and were feeling great after the convention. And I ensured you that Virginia would again turn blue and help reelect...
NNAMDII knew you'll remind me of that.
MORAN...the president, and indeed, we did. And so we are indeed cheerful during this holiday season. Tom, (unintelligible).
SHERWOODWell, don't be too cheerful. I've got some questions.
NNAMDI(unintelligible). And, believe me, Brian Moran is stepping down while he's ahead. OK.
MORANWell, those are lessons you learn as long as I've been involved in politics. But Tim Kaine's election was terrific as well and great turnout. You know, thanks to all the volunteers, the wonderful staff that worked on the various campaigns. It was a great year in Virginia, and it bodes extremely well for 2013.
SHERWOODSo you're out of offices, what, next week , December the 8th?
SHERWOODAnd what are your plans? And we're all, of course, speculating. We'd like to look forward. The election was a month ago. That's old news.
NNAMDIHere's a reporter looking for a story, okay?
SHERWOODWhen you ran for governor, was it 2000, what...
SHERWOODYou have these off-year elections.
MORANWe do. It's very special.
SHERWOODIt's hard to keep up. All right. So is this -- are you still opting for some political campaign? I know you need to go out and make money because you have a family but...
MORANI do have a young family, really young family.
NNAMDIYeah. But he's also from the family Moran, which is a political family.
SHERWOODWell, you know, you could judge that two different ways, but...
MORANI judge it to be a very positive development.
SHERWOODSorry, Congressman. Don't call me congressman. I apologize.
MORANI view it as a very positive development. I love policymaking. I enjoy...
SHERWOODYou're reasonably youthful.
MORANThank you. I enjoy politics so -- but at this point, I've been volunteering. I quit my day job several months ago, so I do need to get back to work, but it was -- I have no regrets about doing it. I was -- I thoroughly enjoyed campaigning around the Commonwealth on behalf of our great ticket. So...
SHERWOODOh, OK, OK. Yeah, thoroughly....
NNAMDIIf you have questions or comments...
MORANWell, he is a Grinch over here.
MORANYou're playing the Grinch pretty well.
NNAMDIHave you noticed that? If you have comments or questions to Brian Moran...
MORANYou know, at the end, his heart is more and more...
SHERWOODSo the answer is maybe. The answer is yes, but we haven't decided what yet. Okay. Go ahead and give the number.
MORANHis heart grows and expands at the very end of that show, Tom.
NNAMDI800-433-8850 is the number to call. Our guest is Brian Moran. He is the outgoing chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. 800-433-8850. You can send email to email@example.com. As we pointed out, you're leaving on a high note with Obama back in office. Tim Kaine is a senator. In the final analysis, what do you think was the formula for success in Virginia this year, and how do you think your party can repeat in the elections next year, both for governor and for all of the seats in the General Assembly?
MORANIt's a great question. One, we're all asking in Virginia to make sure we do win next year. What is it that occurred in 2012? And it's no one silver bullet. It's several things, first of which is you have to have great candidates, I mean, obviously, the president and Tim Kaine, also the turnout model. The Obama for America campaign was extremely well organized, and they started early, much to their credit, despite the criticism the campaign received. They started spending money in Virginia last spring. We developed a staff.
MORANWe developed a volunteer network throughout Virginia, everywhere, not only in, you know, Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia but Hampton Roads, southwest Virginia, everywhere. So a turnout really does matter, Kojo. We got 75 percent. Well, that campaign, that's what I talked about. In 2008, we received a 75 percent turnout, and we helped elect President Obama. And then in 2009, it dropped below 50 percent, and then 2010, again, 44 percent. So clearly, when Virginians vote, Democrats do well, so we need to get the turnout.
MORANNow, there will be a drop-off -- it just happens -- from a presidential year to a gubernatorial year. Our admonition to our fellow Virginians will be this governor race matters. The local House of Delegates candidates in races in their own communities matter a great deal to their quality of life in Virginia. We need to get that turnout approaching 75 percent as opposed to the 40, you know, 7 percent that we had in '09. And so we'll be working diligently on that over the course of the next year.
SHERWOODWell, the Republicans have made news, and that the lieutenant governor has once again had to step aside. This time, he's stepping aside for the Atty. Gen. Cuccinelli. It looks like he'll be as a convention the nominee for the Republicans next year.
SHERWOODYou've got -- who's running? We've got Terry McAuliffe. Is there anybody else? I apologize. I'm missing a name.
MORANRight now, Terry has been working very hard over the last four years. You know, he ran in '09.
MORANIt was a three-way primary...
NNAMDIYou, Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds.
MORAN...and a lot of tears were shed over those many months. But Terry has been working diligently over the last four years reaching out to all parts of the commonwealth. So he certainly, you know, appears to be our candidate. I'm not aware of anyone else that has called me anyway to say they're running. And we'll have to see.
MORANThere's still time, but let me talk briefly about the Bolling -- Bill Bolling is lieutenant governor. You referenced he's withdrawing, and I find that to be a fascinating withdrawal. Now, I wasn't surprised that he withdrew because we knew all along it was going to be Ken Cuccinelli. His support is a mile deep. Now, I don't think it's a mile wide, but it's certainly deep among his ideological patriots.
NNAMDIAnd for those people who are wondering why Ken Cuccinelli is going to be the nominee and why Bill Bolling dropped, it had to do with the fact that the nominee is chosen by a convention rather than a primary.
MORANThey chose to. The Republicans chose a convention. The Democrats, we Democrats have a primary. The primary opens it up. More people vote. I think the issues get better articulated and debated. A convention is a smaller group. I mean, they estimate, what, 20,000 maybe, maybe 30.
SHERWOODAnd it's more conservative activism.
MORANIf it had been Bolling -- and it's far more conservative, the activists. The fact that Bill Bolling withdrew is not surprising because we knew in a convention Ken Cuccinelli was going to be the nominee. But the way in which he withdrew -- when I first heard he was withdrawing, I said, all right, well, that's just the Republican Party. They're going to unite. They're all coming behind Cuccinelli.
NNAMDIThey're coming together.
MORANThey -- whether they like him or not, they're going to acquiesce and say, all right, this is our nominee. He's going to win. Let's get behind him. But he did just the opposite. He withdrew. But then, I mean, he threw mud on the whole unity idea and said, I might even run as an independent. He refused to endorse Cuccinelli. Now, let me say, look, this is not a moderate Bill Bolling. This is a conservative state senator, conservative lieutenant governor.
MORANLook at his votes during the course of his lieutenant governor tenure. So this is no moderate. So this is a conservative saying that Ken Cuccinelli is even too conservative for him. I mean, that is the real story.
SHERWOODAnd also, there's a personal thing there because he's mad -- Bolling is upset that Cuccinelli as attorney general kind of jumped the line at people waiting to run for governor and went ahead of Bolling, announced months ago that he was going to do this, so that -- there's also some personal irritation there.
NNAMDIThere's another dynamic, though, that I'd like you to address...
NNAMDI...because you mentioned 2009 when you were part of that competitive three-way primary for the Democratic Party. Republicans at that time cleared the field for Bob McDonnell to get ready for the general election. So far, the Democratic feel seems to be pretty clear it's only Terry McAuliffe, while the Republican feel seems to be having this level of confusion. How do you expect that dynamic on both the Republican and the Democratic side to affect the ultimate outcome of the general election?
NNAMDIAre Democrats better off of if they rally behind a candidate early? We are hearing noises about Tom Perriello being asked by some people to run. Would that confuse things unnecessarily in your view?
MORANTom would be formidable. He represented a conservative Southern Virginia district and stood up for the president's agenda. So -- but let me address the question about the primary. Frankly, when we finished the primary in June of 2009, Creigh Deeds was in a very strong position. The polls were in his favor. He had come through a primary. His name ID was way up. And so I don't think a primary necessarily diminishes the prospect of a nominee.
MORANIn fact, in may even strengthen it. It does cost money. But I don't think that's going to be a challenge to either of the proposed nominees at this point. So I don't think that would hurt either one of these. Now, it does mean Ken Cuccinelli now will have a free shot over the next course of the next six months and not have to worry about. But there was no -- the thing with Ken...
NNAMDIUnless there's an independent candidate.
MORANIf he, you know, you watched the presidential campaign and Mitt Romney went so far to the right, then he had to spend time coming back. Ken Cuccinelli -- with all due respect to Ken, you know, I admire his intelligence. But he doesn't show any interest in modifying his views. In fact, he's doubling down. He talks about suing the federal government. He talks about, you know, the American Revolution and that we're patriots. I mean, that works at a Tea Party convention.
MORANBut to a general election in Virginia, general election population, I just don't see him. And the federal government has an enormous impact on or economy in Northern Virginia, and talk about suing it as opposed to working with it in a cooperative fashion, which is something that Bob McDonnell talked about. Bob, during his campaign, talked about Bob's for Jobs. He was pragmatic. He looked like someone who really did care about working on the problems facing the commonwealth and becoming the solution.
SHERWOODWhich is what Tim Kaine did during his campaign against George Allen.
SHERWOODAnd in fact...
MORANYou talked about reaching across the aisle, bipartisanship. That's not a theme that Ken Cuccinelli has at all instilled in his narrative at all. In fact, just quite the opposite.
SHERWOODWell, the convention is neither for the candidate who thinks he or she can win that. But, you know, this also played out when George Allen became the candidate for the Republicans in the Senate race. That was a convention. And Tom Davis, who was moderate Republican -- moderate conservative Republican for Northern Virginia got shut out of running for -- he would've been a candidate for the Senate. It would've been a much different race had Tom Davis been the candidate, not George Allen.
MORANWell, that's the challenge with the -- that the nominating process and (unintelligible)...
NNAMDIWell, where do you see the President Barack Obama figuring into the gubernatorial election next year? Creigh Deeds, by most accounts, kept his distance from the White House in 2009 the last time around. Will the Democratic candidate -- would the Democratic candidate be wise to run closer to Obama this time around?
MORANI think so. I think we'll have...
SHERWOODWell, it depends on what happens in the next six months or so.
MORANI would embrace -- well, I would embrace the president. He won by 4 percentage points again in Virginia, and I don't think he can run away it. Now, I'll tell you in Terry's situation, he also has -- will be embraced by one of the most popular former presidents we have on the planet right now, Bill Clinton.
MORANHe's a big friend of Bill's. And Bill came in 2009 in the -- I would expect President Clinton to be with Terry again. And that's an enormous asset. I don't think Bill Clinton's ever been as popular. And he may actually have Hillary Clinton available. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be leaving her job. She may actually be available to do some campaigning next year. So...
SHERWOODYou mean like maybe a warm-up in 2016? You don't have to say it.
MORANWell, you know, I think that would be wonderful. I think she'd be (unintelligible)...
NNAMDIWell, I'll say it. It will be a warm-up for her candidacy in 2016.
SHERWOODWell, it would be an indication whether or not she wants to be other than any personal friendship with Terry McAuliffe that would be an indication of how she would like to be out there for 2016.
MORANMm-hmm. I don't know if she needs any warm-up. I think she's a pretty practiced politician.
SHERWOODI think she just needs a rest right now.
MORANShe needs a rest, write a book, make some money and rest up for 2016 race. So we're going to have a deep -- we have a deep bench for '16. It'll be very interesting if she doesn't run, in particular. It'll be a real skirmish for (unintelligible).
SHERWOODWell, you love politics. I just can't believe you can sit here and say you're just going to go out and be in a private sector...
MORANI didn't say I'd go away.
SHERWOODNo, but you -- what potential things would be available to run for?
MORANRight. There isn't that...
SHERWOODYou could be a -- you could -- you're a former prosecutor, aren't you? You could run for attorney general.
MORANI am a former prosecutor, one of my favorite jobs I've ever had in my life, seven years. I enjoyed that thoroughly.
SHERWOODWho's the attorney general candidate of the Democratic Party now?
SHERWOODYou wouldn't be -- you wouldn't for attorney general?
SHERWOODYou categorically rule that out?
MORANWell, Tom, I would say I love politics, but you can also impact public policy through non-elected positions. And I -- to have a deep...
SHERWOODOh, that's another sign (unintelligible).
NNAMDII'm going to give Tom a list of all available elected positions.
SHERWOODThere are only three large -- there are three statewide races.
MORANLet me give a plug. There is Mark Herring, state senator from Loudoun, running. He's the only Democrat elected in Loudoun. I think he has a good narrative. Justin Fairfax is also running. So I want to make sure we plug all of our candidates.
SHERWOODAnd then the lieutenant governor. Who's announced for lieutenant governor?
MORANLieutenant governor, we have Aneesh Chopra, first chief technology officer for the United States, served as secretary of technology under Tim Kaine. We also have Ralph Northam, a distinguished state senator from the Hampton Roads area, a doctor -- medical doctor. So we're going to have a strong -- we have a strong ticket.
NNAMDIWell, who are you supporting? Are you supporting any candidate to replace you as chairman of the party in Virginia?
MORANYes. Yes. And I don't think it's a particularly difficult contest. Charniele Herring, who ironically, when I left...
MORANWhen I left the House of Delegates, I endorsed her and she is now representing the 46th legislative district, which I had the honor to serve as well. And she wants to be the next chair, and I endorsed her. She's a wonderful spokesperson. She'll be a great party chair and real pleased that she's taking it on. I don't know if she knows exactly what the job entails. I didn't when I took it, but it has been a thrill of my life for the last two years. I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's -- and it has its ups and downs.
SHERWOODIs she -- how would you characterize her? Is she a moderate Democrat, moderate to liberal Democrat being from Alexandria or what?
MORANShe represents the city of Alexandria very well, and that tends to be a more progressive community, progressively held views on -- she particularly took a leadership position during the abortion rights and women's health care last session. She went on television a great deal, ended up being a wonderful spokesperson on those issues.
SHERWOODOh, and that meeting in Williamsburg, isn't it, I think?
MORANYes, it is.
SHERWOODIs there anything else big on the agenda that people outside the party would care about other than the replacement of the fine outgoing chairman?
MORANPrimarily, the replacement. No, it will be -- it will be time for all of us to get together as fellow Democrats and be cheerful again, Tom, about our election and take some lessons about it, analyze the data, take a look and talk about 2013. We need to make that transition. I mean, I don't think in '08 to '09, we made that transition skillfully enough.
MORANWell, we need to say, folks in Virginia, you need to vote in the gubernatorial race. This is very important to the quality of life, and you need to look at the House of Delegates. These races are extremely important. I know the presidential race this year could not be overstated in its importance, but the quality of life you had, the college tuitions that you pay, roads, the transportation, education...
SHERWOODHow about early voting? How about -- do you guys do early voting to fix these horrible long lines in Northern Virginia?
MORANYeah. Yeah. I've called on the governor to take, you know, it was terrible. No one should have to wait three to four hours to wait in vote to exercise their fundamental right. You know...
SHERWOODWould you support early voting?
MORANI would -- well, I do support...
SHERWOODNot absentee balloting, early voting for three weeks.
MORANRight. That is -- you have made a correct distinction in Virginia. We actually don't have early voting. You have to have -- you must posses an excuse...
SHERWOODYou got to excuses.
MORANRight. I would support early voting and do it in a way that makes sure, you know, inhibits any -- or prohibits any fraud. But other states do it, so there is a way to accomplish it. And so we should definitely analyze that.
MORANThere's no reason to have it on a Tuesday that's working. If you work in northern -- work -- live in Northern Virginia and have to work in D.C., if you don't vote in the morning, you're risking not getting back by seven o'clock, barring an accident or a storm of some sort. You won't make it back in time to vote. So we really encouraged that early absentee voting this year and pushed it, but it should be expanded. And reviewing early voting, I would endorse and -- other states do it, as I say, and there's no reason Virginia couldn't accomplish it without (unintelligible).
NNAMDILet me throw you back into the governor's race. Gentlemen, don your headphones, please, because Bill in Alexandria, Va. has a question for Brian Moran. Bill, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BILLThank you. My question is this. Let's assume that Jay McCullough is clearly the designated candidate. What would happen, though, if -- because my (unintelligible) is a longtime Democrat in Alexandria. Jay McCullough is, I'm sure, a very capable, wonderful guy. And I'm not saying he's a retread, but this is -- he has the flavor of a throwback in some respects. And I don't know whether there are a lot of people who don't consider him more or less a carpetbagger or a come here as opposed to a been here.
BILLWhy is Tom Perriello not being given more room to check his possibilities out? And is it possible that he might become without getting into a nasty primary -- not primary, but in a nasty negotiation that he could become the candidate? Because to me, he is a bright star for the future, it seems.
NNAMDIHas Tom Perriello talked to you, Brian Moran?
MORANHe hasn't. So, you know, Bill's point -- Tom has to have the fire in the belly to run. I mean, it's an arduous task to run for governor. Let me tell you. It's not easy. So, you know, Terry has been working hard. He's not designated only because he's been working extremely hard over the last four years. He's worked all over the commonwealth. He's shown up at every breakfast and JJ dinner across Virginia.
MORANSo, you know, if Tom -- what Tom does -- Tom is a very likable -- principled. He lost it in a conservative district for standing up for the president and voted for health care. So Bill's point is fine. I just don't -- Tom hasn't expressed an interest in running. And so, you know, and it's getting late. If he does, I mean, the time is running short. My advice would be you got to have the fire in the belly, and two, it needs to happen real soon.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call, Bill. The Obama campaign created vital infrastructure in places like Virginia this year. Democrats are pressing to use the campaign's voter database for next year's gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. It apparently consists of voter information as detailed as what magazines voters subscribe to, what kind of cars they drive, what their houses are worth, whether or not they have a hunting license. What kinds of conversations have you had with the Obama team about making sure those kinds of tools are available for Virginia Democrats next year?
MORANYeah, we're thrilled. We received close to a million contacts -- voter contacts in our database that we just received and we're downloading. So OFA or Obama for America has shared the data with us as a Democratic Party of Virginia, and that is just tremendous with respect to looking forward to 2013. If we can communicate with those individual -- now, they'll -- many of them will be overlapped with the Kaine campaign, who shared all that data with us as well.
MORANIn Virginia, Kojo, you must understand, we don't have party identification. So it's a really a two-step process. We have to go to the doors -- door-to-door canvassing, phone calling. And I know that annoys a lot of folks, but we don't have party IDs, so we need to make that personal conduct, find out if they're going to vote Democratic. Are they leaning Democratic? Are they persuadable?
MORANAnd then when you have that data -- and of course, if they're voting with you, then there's a get out to vote as election approach to get your vote out. But we can't, just like Maryland, go, OK, here are the number of Democrats, we're just going to focus on these Democrats. And if every Democrat gets out, that's -- there is enough Democrats to win election. Virginia is unlike that.
MORANAnd so, again, that's why volunteer effort and grassroots effort in Virginia is so important. And this year, you know, hats off to all of those wonderful volunteers that worked the doors. It paid off and it will pay off in '13. We now have that data, and we'll mine that data and communicate with those individuals. And so that's another reason I'm confident as we approach the election 2013.
SHERWOODThe advantage is you have all this fresh data from this election. The disadvantage is people who are not in politics are pretty well-burned out by politics. And so to tell them that you just had Thanksgiving dinner and you're going to have another one tomorrow, as what you're saying, you have to start now to be ready for next year...
MORANAnd I think that was...
SHERWOOD...that it was pretty weary for all of us.
MORAN...we saw that in '09. And, you know, in '10 there were a lot of issues. But, you know, I mean, it's nice to have -- and as party chair, I would love, at one year, the staff -- and I would loved a year just to take off to build a party structure, figure out a party plan, our by-laws, and do all the things that parties get to do. We never have time to do that. We're always looking for the next election. And that's frankly why we exist as a Democratic Party, is to get Democrats elected. So that is our primary purpose. But it'd be nice to have a little bit of time off.
MORANAnd I know the volunteers and I know the voters. I mean, you know, they're going to start seeing television ads, you know, soon. I mean, not soon but I'm, you know, before too long, you're going to start seeing television and other media.
SHERWOODWell, the general assembly time will also -- won't there be a time for people to do a little posturing there?
MORANMm hmm. That would be great. And that's another -- Bill Bolling pulling out is interesting 'cause he would've had the stage, literally, at the day as lieutenant governor position to do two months of that or in 45 days. And he's not going to do that. The attorney general now, the tradition has been for the attorney general to step down to run. And Gen. Cuccinelli has not signaled his desire to do that and...
SHERWOODBolling could be very embarrassing as he's the lieutenant governor in this coming general assembly session.
MORANWell, I'd be interesting to see if he actually is a moderate. If he's running -- if he is going to run as an independent, will he stake out a moderate position now?
SHERWOODWell, he'd have to if you're against Cuccinelli. How he would he be more to the right? I think he's very proud of his position.
NNAMDIWhat would you say, 'cause we're running out of time, Brian Moran, as the single most important thing you've done in your time as party chair to move the Democrats forward in Virginia?
MORANThe -- well, there are a number of things. I -- my hat's off to the staff at DPVA. The party position is unpaid, volunteer position. When I left my day job, I went full time because it frankly needed that. And without a governor -- without a Democrat in the governor's office, the party position chair actually takes on more of a position of consequence. And I would ask my fellow Democrats to look at that. You might need a party chair.
MORANIf you don't have a governor -- a full-time party chair -- if you don't have a Democrat in the governor's office, it really gives you a disadvantage in trying to raise money for the party, build a party. But the-- what I'm proudest of, of course, we won in 2012 -- whatever role the party was able to do during that. We're leaving in a great financial position. All -- we're debt-free unlike a lot of governments. We're debt-free. We're in a strong financial position. We have numerous candidates recruited for 2013 House races.
MORANI was so pleased. 2012, we had a Democrat running in every one of our congressional districts. So if I was in Winchester, if I was in Russell, Goochland or Hampton Roads, there was a Democrat there organizing the faithful. And that's really important to have a voice to our Democratic values everywhere and anywhere in Virginia. We need more House of Delegates candidates. And we -- it appears as though we're -- we've laid a foundation for that.
SHERWOODCan you very quickly say what the line up -- what is the split in the 40-member Senate?
SHERWOODIn the House?
MORANOh, in the House. Did you say...
SHERWOODIn the House, 32-68.
MORANWell, see, the state Senate's not up in 2013. It's 20-20, but they're not up. They run four years. So they're not up again until 2015. So that's why I said the emphasis is on the House of Delegates. We need to pick up seats in the House of Delegates and give them a fighting chance at passing legislation. And I'm confident we'll do that.
NNAMDIBrian Moran, your family says it's time to get a paying job. So...
SHERWOODWill you announce what your job is when you get it?
MORANWell, I'm checking my time. I really want to continue to be involved in policy debates and a lot of things that I feel very passionate about. So I'm...
SHERWOODStart the exit chorus.
NNAMDIBrian Moran is the outgoing chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. Brian Moran, thank you so much for joining us.
MORANThank you for having me, Kojo. I really appreciate being on. Great show.
NNAMDIYou're listening to The Politics Hour, where Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst.
SHERWOODHave a cheerful, cheerful holiday season.
MORANI will. With two young kids, it's -- you can't help but have it cheerful.
NNAMDIHe's an NBC 4 reporter and a columnist for The Current Newspapers. Tom Sherwood, you have written a book about politics in the District of Columbia. You now have a colleague author named Michelle Rhee, who has written a book, in part, about politics in the District of Columbia. Her book is called "Radical." It's going to be coming out soon. There have already been...
NNAMDI...excerpts of the book that we've been reading about in Loose Lips, apparently.
SHERWOODLoose -- Mm hmm. City Paper.
NNAMDIYes. Loose Lips -- oh, in City Paper, I'm sorry.
SHERWOODRight, City Paper.
NNAMDIShe has not, apparently, been putting any of the blame for her tortured relationship with teachers in the District of Columbia on herself.
SHERWOODWell, no, I think she -- I mean, the key thing she talks about, I thought, was that she could have stayed in after Fenty lost the election and worked with Gray, but she just -- the -- it was just oil and water, I guess, I think. When they had their private meeting, she talks about how…
NNAMDIShe said Mayor Gray lectured her.
SHERWOODShe says Mayor Gray lectured her. But I can see the mayor trying to get into the weeds and talk about policy and her seeing that as intrusiveness. That's something Mayor Fenty didn't do. He pretty much gave her a highway to -- unstoppable highway to do what she wanted, and Gray wanted to be more involved in what she was doing. It was just not going to ever make him. But she talks about how, you know, she break -- broke through the bureaucracy in the school system.
SHERWOODBut truly, I mean, her chief deputy, Kaya Henderson, who is now the chancellor, has shown that you can still do some serious work. You just don't have to be quite as hard-nosed about it in your approach, and I think -- and her book reflects, again, the Michelle Rhee tough. I want to do it, and stay out of the way if you don't want to go with me.
NNAMDIWho's going to fill now Council Chairman Mendelson's at-large seat? Possible candidates include Sekou Biddle, who sat on the Council for a while but lost in the at-large race, School Board Member Patrick Mara -- he's a Republican -- former Prince George's County House member Peter Shapiro, A.J. Cooper, who ran unsuccessfully for the at-large seat this year and maybe even the incumbent, Michael Brown.
SHERWOODAnd John Capozzi. Did you mention John Capozzi?
NNAMDINo, I did not mention John Capozzi. Sorry, John.
SHERWOODHe could be -- Anita Bond, who's the chairman of the party, John Capozzi and Mr. Sloan. I'm missing his first name. David Sloan?
SHERWOODDoug. I knew it started with a D. Sorry, Doug. Those three are going to look to get the Democratic Party's nomination to fill the seat until the April 23 election, and that's going to be done as -- I think as early as Dec. 10 or something. And so -- but it's getting that temporary appointment. There's no guarantee of victory.
NNAMDIAnd as we discuss who might be coming in, I think now is an appropriate time. We've been joined by Kenyan McDuffie, who is a member of the D.C. Council. He's a Democrat who represents Ward 5 and chairs the Council's Committee on Jobs and Workforce Development. Kenyon McDuffie, thank you very much for joining us.
MR. KENYAN MCDUFFIEThanks for having me, Kojo.
NNAMDII think this is an appropriate time to talk about who has left us: Lawrence Guyot, the...
NNAMDI...well-known activist in District politics and less well known, unfortunately, for his great civil rights record. A lot of people in the District did not realize that Lawrence Guyot was one of those who organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and had a great deal to do with desegregation in the South as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the head of its organizing for the Mississippi Freedom Summer back in 1964.
SHERWOODAnd that's where his true legacy was made. I mean, he was a thunderous person when he was upset about something that he saw as not right. He suffered the beatings. People, you know, you can hear moving so far away from the civil rights movement now. There are some -- many younger people don't quite get the idea that, well, if you go vote, you can get the hell beat out of you...
SHERWOOD...and starved and thrown naked in a jail cell, things that he suffered through, all for the people's right to vote. As we -- as Brian Moran was just talking, we need to get people out to vote. I wish people could see some of those films and know that people earn the right to vote. It's not just something you could do if you're free that day. So Lawrence Guyot was great.
SHERWOODHe -- when I would interview him on local issues, he was always for statehood and for more representation. Whatever the issue was, he wanted people to be represented. And if you -- and I said to somebody, if you quoted him in a story, as I did at The Post, he was pleased with that. But if you didn't say everything he said, he would, why didn't you say...
NNAMDIWhich was virtually impossible to say everything he said.
SHERWOODBut he would sit in a room. And even when he was not moving around as well with his troubles and his physical issues, he would sit there and glower at people to make sure they did right. And sorry that he has died at 73. I'm sure there would be an appropriate time to memorialize him, but did you even -- you're too young. You almost -- probably wouldn't even know him.
MCDUFFIEYou know what? I know -- I didn't know him well, didn't know him personally, but I'm a student of the civil rights movement, so I knew of him. You know, he's a little less well known than some of the civil rights advocates and activists that we have in elected office like Marion Barry...
MCDUFFIE...like John Lewis, like Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who also represents District of Columbia. But I do know that Lawrence Guyot put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the civil rights movement, and he was very well respected for that. And so he would deeply be missed, and I think his work is definitely noteworthy, particularly the folks who actually followed the civil rights movement like myself, even though I was not old enough to be around at the time.
NNAMDIWell, when you're really famous and well known, you get to be known by one name. Everybody just called him Guy.
SHERWOODGuyot, that's right, except for one radio show called him Gio. And I think that's -- he's the pitcher Gio for the Nats.
NNAMDIKenyan McDuffie, your Ward 5 is already home to 10 acres of school buses, snowplows, salt trucks, big-box stores. Now, the city wants to use the historic Alexander Crummell School as a parking lot for charter buses while Union Station is being renovated. What do you make of what's going on in Ivy City, and what do you think it says about how people see your ward?
MCDUFFIEWell, I think that for quite some time now, people have seen Ward 5 as the place of least resistance, and as a result, you know, given the large amount of industrial land that we have in Ward 5, we host 70 percent of the city's industrial land. We've been on the receiving end of those types of facilities that you mentioned -- you know, bus barns, you know, car barns, heavy vehicle parking lots and the like -- and the folks in Ward 5 are just tired.
MCDUFFIEThey're sick and tired of being on the receiving end of those types of facilities, and so we're doing something about it. The folks in Ivy City have stood up and said no. I stand with them, I fight with them, to really try to make sure that we bring more appropriate types of facilities and development to that community. They've indicated crystal clear what they want. They said that they -- you know, they look at the old, historic Crummell School and say, we want recreation. We want workforce development. And I believe that they should be on the receiving end of those types of things.
SHERWOODIt's good that you feel like they should get it, but is there anything you can do? I mean, I was out there this week when Judge Macaluso, from the court, Superior Court, did her walking tour. And the Crummell School, built in 1911, sits there all boarded up and deteriorating even though it's on the register of historic places. I'm not -- it seems to be deteriorating by neglect for the -- even though a roof was put on some time ago.
SHERWOODWhy couldn't there be -- even if you had to have a bus barn there 'cause there is a lot of industrial stuff around there, but why couldn't the school be redone like the Hill Center on Capitol Hill, which is an old school that was redone and now is widely used for all kinds of events? But where is it -- as a freshman councilmember, you can say what should be done. Where is the power? How can you get something done? I guess that's the big test.
MCDUFFIEWell, you know, the residents of Ward 5, the voters of Ward 5 didn't elect me simply to say what should be done. I think the residents are doing a good job of saying what should be done. They elected me for results. And, you know, one of the things I've done along that vein is introduce a bill. The Land Transformation Task Force bill that I introduced would create a task force to look at how we should more creatively and appropriately use the industrial land in Ward 5.
MCDUFFIEIt's one thing to say that we don't want something, which we've done a good job of doing, but I think it's incumbent upon the city, the Office of Planning and the other agencies that are relevant to look at the industrial land in Ward 5. And let's talk about, let's have a conversation, constructive conversation about what we can do differently than what we've been doing for quite some time. It's been business as usual in Ward 5...
SHERWOODBut wouldn't a task force...
NNAMDI800-433-8850 is the number if you'd like to talk with Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie of Ward 5. 800-433-8850.
SHERWOODIt just seems to me a task force would look at things, and meanwhile the buses will start pouring in there next March or May. If the judge doesn't rule in favor of this -- I mean, I talked to one -- I can't remember her name. She's 80 years old. She's been in the school, and she says, we need jobs in this neighborhood.
SHERWOODWe need a place for the kids to play. Once -- one former student, she said she went there, and they used to play in the front yard, she said. Then the parents would come, and they would -- the school would have activities. I was thinking, well, even if they had a bus barn on part of the property, why couldn't the school be redone?
MCDUFFIEWell, that -- that's an idea. I mean, that's one of the things that folks have suggested. But you mentioned the Hill Center, Tom, and that's a great example. I think another example is...
SHERWOODIt's that empty for years also.
MCDUFFIEIt has. And so THEARC over in southeast was something that was built with a lot of collaboration. You talked about Children's National Medical Center. You talked about the Corcoran Gallery of Art. You talked about the Washington Ballet. I mean, all these folks are contributing to provide structured programming and services to a community that for years had not had those types of services. And I think those sorts of models like the Hill Center, THEARC are something that we should be thinking about when it comes to Ivy City. You've got...
SHERWOODBut have you, like, cornered the mayor and grabbed, you know, grabbed his lapel and said, you can't keep doing this? I mean, you're...
NNAMDIBut the mayor has promised to help...
SHERWOOD...some people are saying you're too new and too young and too nice.
NNAMDIThe mayor has promised to make Ivy City green as -- green and sustainable. Have you asked him, well, what's your plan? Show me…
SHERWOODPaint the concrete green.
MCDUFFIEI've asked anyone who listen, including our mayor, to take a second look, not only at what's going on in Ivy City, what's going on over in Langston-Carver Terrace with the streetcar barn. There's an unsolicited proposal at the old soldiers' home about, perhaps, moving Ramada's northern bus barn from 14th Street over to Ward 5 at the old soldiers' home.
MCDUFFIELook, you know, I understand that we got a lot of industrial land in Ward 5 and that, you know, we have, to a certain extent, been on the receiving end of transportation and the like. But we don't want it anymore. And we're not going to say we don't want it. We're going to give you some ideas about what we want, and we're going to figure out how we create a path to achieve some of those things. And so, yes, I've had conversations with the deputy mayor for planning and economic development about...
MCDUFFIE...Victor Hoskins -- about what the possibilities are over there. The communities already had conversations with...
SHERWOODHe was in court this past week, Victor Hoskins.
SHERWOODAnd I was not there, but an advocate in this said that he couldn't ask about the details 'cause the court cases went out to say he followed the law to put this thing in place, that the deputy mayor was less clear about what he could remember 'cause he has so many projects and so many things to do and so many agencies and employees. He didn't remember every detail. And some people thought that was fuzzing up the issue. Maybe he was being truthful.
MCDUFFIEWell, the community remembers. The community has got a great memory. They know that when the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development came out and they worked on the housing project with Manna, with Mikasa and the folks to rehab the housing over there. They gave them some ideas about what they wanted to see there. They even had renderings about what it could look like, the potential for the old Carmel School.
MCDUFFIEAnd so the community has got a great memory. And I'm going to continue to fight with them to see if we can push back on this. I mean, look, you're talking about the Union Station Redevelopment Authority, the billions of investments they're making around Union Station. What benefit is Ivy City deriving from that?
NNAMDIWell, you talked about the task force, and this city has seen it share of task forces. The legislation that you have introduced that would create this taskforce, are there any timetables when can we expect to hear some results? When can we expect to see some kind of plan that the residents of your ward can approve?
MCDUFFIEWell, what we're doing with the -- we actually had a hearing a couple weeks ago in the Parks and Recs Committee, chaired by Councilmember Tommy Wells. We had a lot of folks coming down in Tesla, including residents of Ivy City -- Andrea Swanson, who's the president of civic association over in Ivy City. And so what we're looking at now, actually, to speed up this process, Kojo, is to do -- work with the mayor's office to do an executive order to -- with the task force to save us some other time of going through the council process. And so...
SHERWOODWhy, instead of a task force, won't you just ask that there be -- like we do moratoriums on bars in certain neighborhoods or moratoriums on whatever changes? Just say no more industrial changes until the guys can come up with a plan.
MCDUFFIEThe problem with that, Tom, is it doesn't get us anywhere. You can say no more of something, but it doesn't get you things you want. And so...
SHERWOODWell, I know but you're going to get this 400 charter buses in and out every day starting in March if the judge doesn't stop it.
MCDUFFIEWell, the judge may stop it. And so we got to let the case play out.
SHERWOODWhat if she doesn't? What's your next step?
MCDUFFIEWell, the next step is continuing what we're doing over the Industrial Land Transformation Task Force. We got New York Avenue corridor. We got Blainsburg Road corridor, West Virginia Avenue, Brentwood Road -- all these areas that generally have been on the receiving end of the types of things that people don't want. Just think about...
NNAMDIGot to move to schools 'cause we're running out of time. Much of the city in your ward and elsewhere is up and arms about the plan to closed 20 public schools in the District. I'll let Michelle in Washington, D.C., take it from there. Don your headphones, please. Michelle, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MICHELLEYes. Thank you very much, Kojo, and I really appreciate this program. I find it, first of all, morally reprehensible that we are arguing back and forth over where this -- the position of what the school should be and a bus depot, no doubt, given the historical presence that Alexander Crummell had, not only on the city, but in the state community as well. And I want to know where the Episcopal Church stands on this.
MICHELLEI want to know where the argument is about the health of the health -- disproportion of health impacts to the community. Those additional buses on children -- you're talking about providing buses for a school, but yet you're going to put the diesel emission into a community that is over -- already over...
NNAMDIOK. Michelle, allow me to have Kenyan McDuffie respond 'cause we're running out of time, and I thought you were talking about school closings generally.
MCDUFFIEWell, I agree with Michelle. I think she is absolutely right. I think there are environmental justice issues that are here at play. You talked about a neighborhood in Ivy City that already has -- DPW have the equipment across the street. It has school buses, school bus line. DPW just recently purchased acres of land to the tune of about $17 million where they're going to locate more heavy equipment.
MCDUFFIEAnd so she's absolutely right. There are environmental justice issues. A number of these residents in Ivy City already have respiratory issues. And so we don't want to compound existing problems. What we want to do is try to mitigate those problems and bring them some of the service they want when we talk about recreation and workforce development.
NNAMDIOn school closing, the 20 public schools, how is that going to affect Ward 5?
MCDUFFIEWell, right now, on the list of Ward 5, there are four school buildings, five schools. We got Spingarn STAY, Thurgood Marshall in the Fort Lincoln area. We got Mamie D. Lee. We got Hamilton. And so we're working with the chancellor.
MCDUFFIEAnd actually, we had a meeting last night, a very well-attended meeting last night that was held in McKinley Tech to talk about the school consolidations and how Ward 5 is going to make sure that we do everything in our power to ensure that whatever happens in this process, Kojo, is in the best interests of our children. We want to make sure that our students get quality education where they are. We're going to make sure that the school...
SHERWOODWell, that's the -- I'm sorry 'cause I'm going to interrupt you 'cause that sound like a campaign speech.
NNAMDIIt doesn't sound like the need your opposition to close the schools.
SHERWOODNo. You recognized some schools in your ward are going to closed. Do you have a preference of which ones to make the processes best to the people you think is...
MCDUFFIEWell, what we've been told, Tom, is that Thurgood Marshall is going to close but is going to reopen as a completely modernized school when the population growth is here. Thurgood Marshall is a community in Fort Lincoln that is seeing a population growth now. We got -- hundreds of homes in Dakota Crossing have already been built. There are hundreds more that are currently being built right across from the Costco that just had an opening yesterday. And so we know that the population growth is going to increase. And so...
SHERWOODDo your constituents know that you don't really have a say in this? That what -- you can talk about what you want -- unless you pass legislation, that whatever the chancellor does is going to happen?
MCDUFFIEI made them clear to the extent of council's authority. But I've also let them know that currently, this is a proposal. This isn't written in stone, Tom. And so the chancellor is doing a series of...
SHERWOODNo, but it's fast-setting concrete.
MCDUFFIEIt is. And they're scheduled to make a decision in January. And so we're going to continue to work. We are providing the -- our chancellor a number of questions that we have about Thurgood Marshall to see how they're going to mark it and to make sure that these kids get transportation. And so we're working with the chancellor right now. The parents at Thurgood Marshall don't want it to close.
MCDUFFIEThe folks and students...
SHERWOODWe're almost out of time. Can I ask him about the Costco that opened this week?
SHERWOODThat's -- are you confident the city -- your people in your neighborhoods are going to get jobs or have jobs there? And what do you think about it? (unintelligible).
MCDUFFIEWell, what we've been told, of the 250 jobs that Costco has created, about 57 percent of those are District of Columbia residents. I'll tell you, it was very encouraging...
SHERWOODYou ought to go check.
MCDUFFIEIt was very -- trust me, I'm going to. I've already had conversations with them to provide us that information, but it was very encouraging to walk into the store when they had the reception a couple of nights ago and to be greeted by a Ward 5 resident. And as I walked through, I asked the folks, who I saw with nametags on, where they lived. And the majority of those folks lived in Washington, D.C. And that's encouraging. We're going to make sure that we verify and get information data for that.
NNAMDIKenyan McDuffie is a member of the D.C. Council. He is a Democrat who represents Ward 5 and chairs the council's Committee on Jobs and Workforce Development. Kenyan McDuffie, thank you for joining us.
MCDUFFIEPleasure as usual. Thank you, Kojo. Thank you, Tom.
NNAMDITom Sherwood, always a pleasure. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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