Video: Man Falls from Clarendon Metro Escalator — Newly-released video surveillance footage shows a drunk man falling off the side of the escalator at the Clarendon Metro station. The incident happened just before 2:00 a.m. in late November. The man survived the fall, as did several others captured on video falling at other Metro stations. [NBC Washington]
State Appointment for Former GOP Candidate — Patrick Murray, the two-time unsuccessful Republican challenger to Rep. Jim Moran (D), has received a state appointment from Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). Murray, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was appointed to the Board of Veterans Services. [Commonwealth of Virginia]
Arlington’s Nazi Past Discussed — Earlier this month about 100 residents participated in a discussion about the presence of the American Nazi Party headquarters in Arlington during the 1960s. To some the Nazis were an intolerable symbol of racial and religious hatred. To others they were a nuisance to be ignored. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy Brad G.
Last month we asked the four candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Eighth District of Virginia, to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).
Here is the unedited response from Patrick Murray (R):
Although Jim Moran can point to a number of accomplishments in his thirty plus years as an elected official in Northern VA, his tenure has also been haunted with repeated instances of divisive language and questionable ethics, largely self inflicted. Despite the latter, Jim’s 8th District seat has always been considered “safe,” owing to the majority of Democrats who live here. I get that, probably better than most having run twice now for this seat.
The favorite question I get from members of the media is “Why are you doing this?” The answer is that I want to put people over partisanship and forge bipartisan solutions so that we can move this country forward.
I don’t seek big government or small government; I seek good government. I have taken no oaths or pledges other than the one I took to support and defend the Constitution when I joined the Army in 1985.
I want to balance our budget, but not on the backs of government employees and veterans. I do not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, but I do believe we need a solution toward residency their children who find themselves here through no fault of their own. I am a pro-Life individual who also finds the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.
I’ve met President Obama and find him to be a good man who wants the best for America but whose policies I differ with. If he is reelected I will be the first to volunteer to work with him to find solutions that move America forward. I’m not interested in playing politics; I’m interested in solving problems.
Jim Moran has done some good things for our District, but as can happen when someone’s tenure extends too long, his actions attest to the fact that his head and his heart are no longer in his work. He is missing votes at double the rate of all other Members of Congress despite representing the District next door to Washington, DC. He has been completely absent on the critical issue of Sequestration even though our District will be among the hardest hit in the entire nation. Given this issue and many others, he has not even bothered to hold a town hall meeting for his constituents in almost 600 days.
Now Jim Moran is embroiled in a highly disturbing voter fraud scandal, with two (as of now) separate criminal investigations probing his campaign. Enough is enough. Jim has had his turn, but it is time to move on. I intend to put people over partisanship; to do that, I need your vote on November 6th.
No Sandbag Distribution in Arlington — Contrary to some rumors, Arlington County is not distributing sandbags to residents concerned about flooding. “Arlington County, fortunately, does not have significant river front areas that are subject to flooding (e.g., Georgetown, Old Town),” Arlington County Director of Communications Diana Sun told ARLnow.com this morning.” She said that county staff is “focused on the highest priorities.”
Long Bridge Drive Flooded — Long Bridge Drive, near Crystal City, has flooded as a result of rain overnight and is being closed to traffic by police. The flood-prone road is the only street that leads to the parking lots for Long Bridge Park.
Pentagon City Mall Closed — Updated at 10:45 a.m. — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be closed today (Monday) due to Hurricane Sandy. Ballston Common Mall will be closing at 2:00 p.m. [Facebook]
Artisphere’s Per-Visitor Subsidy — Based on its new Fiscal Year 2012 year-end report, Artisphere required a taxpayer subsidy equivalent to $41.85 for each of the cultural center’s 55,607 visitors over the course of a year. [Sun Gazette]
Cuccinelli May Investigate Moran Video — The State Board of Elections has asked Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to investigate a video of Rep. Jim Moran’s son discussing possible voter fraud. Patrick Murray, Moran’s Republican challenger, said “we need to know that [our electoral process] has not been corrupted.” He also called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the video. The Arlington County Police Department is currently investigating the video, as well. [Washington Post, Murray for Congress]
High School Football Update — Yorktown High School remains undefeated (9-0) following this weekend’s high school football action. Wakefield High School remains winless (0-9). Washington-Lee chalked up a victory over the weekend and is now 5-4. [Sun Gazette]
Update on 10/25/12 — Police have opened a criminal investigation into the video.
Patrick Moran, the son of 11-term incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D), has resigned from his father’s campaign following the release of a video (above) that purports to show him going along with a scheme to commit voter fraud.
In the video, Moran, who worked as the campaign’s field director, is approached in a Courthouse eatery by an undercover videographer who discusses an idea for trying to fraudulently vote on behalf of 100 people on the voter rolls. The video then shows Moran seemingly suggesting that the man behind the camera forge utility bills to get around Virginia’s voter ID laws.
In a brief statement, the Moran campaign said Patrick Moran had resigned from the campaign.
“Patrick is well liked and was a well-respected member of the campaign team,” the campaign said. “This incident, however, was clearly an error in judgment. The campaign has accepted Patrick’s resignation, effective immediately.”
The video was released by Project Veritas, a nonprofit investigative group founded by conservative activist James O’Keefe, of ACORN video fame. Project Veritas’ stated mission is to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.”
The campaign of Patrick Murray, Moran’s Republican challenger in the Nov. 6 general election, issued a statement expressing “concern” about the Moran campaign’s activities.
After seeing this video on several news sites, I am very concerned about the campaign activities of my opponent. While it is not clear whether or not there was any wrongdoing, I hope that local, state and federal election officials will look into this matter immediately.
The integrity of our nation is at stake, and it appears that my opponent’s campaign seems prepared to undermine free and fair elections right here in Virginia.
Sadly, anyone who is familiar with Jim Moran will not be surprised by this. The truth is that Moran has a long track record of hyper partisan behavior, racially charged comments and an infamous anger management problem. So this is more of the same embarrassing behavior that we’ve come to expect from Jim Moran and his campaign.
In a statement issued to the Democratic blog Blue Virginia, the Arlington County Democratic Committee said it has asked Patrick Moran to not return to the party’s office in Courthouse. Part of the undercover video was filmed in the office.
Arlington Democrats condemn any form of voter fraud. Any allegations that such conduct has been condoned – especially in Arlington – is something we take very seriously. We are concerned by the apparent remarks of Pat Moran in the hidden-camera video arranged by Mr. O’Keefe. While we do yet not know Pat Moran’s response to the video and Mr. O’Keefe’s allegations, we understand that Pat Moran has resigned from the Moran campaign, and we have asked him not to return to our offices. The Arlington Democrats are committed to making sure that all voters have a full and fair ability to cast their votes in accordance with applicable laws, and that commitment will not change.
The Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans, meanwhile, denounced what it termed “attempted Democrat campaign voter fraud.”
“This is an outrageous blow to the integrity of our electoral process,” said Matthew Burrow, Chairman of the organization. “Patrick Moran should have immediately denounced and reported any attempt to subvert the election process. Instead, he encouraged and even advised this individual on how to illegally cast ballots for other people. This level of corruption cannot stand.”
The release of the video comes on the heels of Moran — along with two other Virginia Democratic congressmen — publicly calling for an investigation into allegations of Republican voter fraud in Harrisonburg, Va. Moran repeated his call for investigations into voter fraud in a column published by the Falls Church News-Press this evening.
Update at 11:15 p.m. — Patrick Moran has issued a statement:
In reference to the “O’Keefe” video, at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior. At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him.
In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior: joking or not.
In regards to my position on the campaign, I have stepped down because I do not want to be a distraction during this year’s critical election.
Meanwhile, Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under former president George W. Bush, is weighing in on the controversy. Fleischer said the Moran video might strengthen the case for laws requiring photo identification to vote.
“From now on, any law requiring photo ID to vote should be know as the Moran Act,” he said via Twitter.
Update at 11:55 p.m. — Independent candidate for Congress Jason Howell has also released a statement.
From the very beginning, our campaign has been about giving my neighbors the opportunity to vote for someone rather than merely against Jim Moran. I was saddened watching video of the apparent sting operation on Patrick. The Moran campaign may now have many distracting, legal and ethical questions to answer. Our campaign is about my generation taking responsibility for the systemic political and economic challenges we face as a country. We must do better. If you elect me on November 6th, a business owner, community volunteer, former accountant and jobs recruiter, we will do better.
Board Votes Against Taxi Driver Proposal — By a contentious vote of 3-2, the Arlington County Board last night voted against a proposal that would allow taxicab drivers to be issued taxi operating certificates on an individual basis. Currently, only taxi companies are granted certificates in Arlington. County Board Chair Mary Hynes, along with Jay Fisette and Libby Garvey, voted against the proposal, arguing that the current system is working well for riders. Chris Zimmerman and Walter Tejada took the side of a coalition of taxi drivers that has been pushing for a driver-based certificate system. [Sun Gazette]
Meetings for Noise Control Ordinance — Updated at 8:45 a.m. — The County Board last night voted unanimously to defer a scheduled hearing on a series of proposed changes to the county’s noise control ordinance. Instead, two public meetings will be held to discuss the changes, in advance of a Board vote on advertising and holding a public hearing on the revisions. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the 2012 Navy League Building (2300 Wilson Boulevard). The second will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Shirlington Branch Library (4200 Campbell Street). [Arlington County]
Examiner Endorses Murray — The Washington Examiner has endorsed Republican Patrick Murray in the race for Virginia’s 8th District congressional seat. The paper lauded Murray’s military experience and said he “is clearly the better choice.” Earlier this month the Washington Post endorsed Murray’s opponent, long-time incumbent Rep. Jim Moran. [Washington Examiner]
Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray is responding to a letter incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D) sent to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on the topic of sequestration.
Moran asked McDonnell use his position in the Republican party to pressure GOP congressional leaders to support a “balanced approach to deficit reduction” that could avoid sequestration. Murray has responded with a statement criticizing Moran’s leadership on the issue.
For months and months, Jim Moran has done exactly nothing while this debacle unfolded. Moran offered no legislation and he refused to sign on to existing legislation. He didn’t even bother to have a town hall meeting to inform his constituents about how heavily we are about to be impacted.
Moran’s only recommendation is to raise taxes on the middle class at the end of the year, a tax increase of almost $3 trillion that would impact 83% of American households.
We expect our elected representatives to put people over partisanship and to find solutions to problems, not to complain and point fingers. Instead of Moran’s angry hyper-partisanship, we need a congressman who will work across the aisle and put the people of the 8th District first. Instead of political posturing, I’ll stand up for the workers of the 8th District and not let petty politics stand in the way of meaningful legislation.
(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) In a bout of bizarro bipartisanship, a former top advisor to President George W. Bush has offered praise for Rep. Jim Moran (D), and a former Democratic congressman is headlining a fundraiser for Moran’s Republican challenger, Patrick Murray.
Today the group No Labels, a “grassroots movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the politics of problem solving,” announced that Moran has earned its “official Problem-Solvers Seal of Approval.” No Labels co-founder and former Bush advisor Mark McKinnon said Moran “emphasize[s] working together and solving problems, not scoring political points.”
“Throughout his career in Congress, Moran has shown a continued willingness to work across the aisle and find common ground with members of the opposite party on important issues,” McKinnon said in a press release (below, after the jump). “His attitude is what Congress needs more of.”
Meanwhile, Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman and a national co-chair of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, is headlining a private fundraiser for Murray in Alexandria on Oct. 15. Davis, who lost his bid to become Alabama’s first black governor in the state’s 2010 Democratic primary, recently switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and spoke at this summer’s Republican convention.
Murray’s campaign said it’s “proud to have the support of Congressman Davis” and “common sense voters of all partisan backgrounds.” It also commented on the No Labels award and this week’s endorsement of Moran by the Washington Post.
In a one-paragraph endorsement that called Moran “conscientious and constituent-oriented,” the Post also noted that the 11-term congressman “has embarrassed himself, and his constituents, with ill-considered comments in the past.”
“If voters want a common sense Congressman who will find solutions and won’t embarrass his constituents, their choice is Colonel Patrick Murray,” said Murray campaign spokesman Reece Collins.
Independent Jason Howell has previously described himself as the true non-partisan candidate in the congressional race, which also features Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy.
“The ability to go in there and create relationships without parties’ strings is what I bring to the table,” Howell told ARLnow.com in June.
“We are not in a recession,” Moran campaign spokesman Austin Durrer was quoted as saying, according to the Murray campaign. The remark was made at the 2012 Northern Virginia Asian Pacific American Candidates Forum in Fairfax.
In response, the Murray campaign issued a blistering press release.
Jim Moran’s spokesman, Austin Durrer, had the audacity to tell the audience that our economy is fine and we have nothing to worry about.
“We are not in a recession,” said the Moran spokesman.
One might think that it was just a slip of the tongue or a slight miscommunication, until you realize that this is the conventional thought at Team Moran.
On June 29 of this year, Jim Moran went on the Martin Bashir show to say, “people are not going bankrupt…This is a wealthy country, we’re not broke.”
In response, 8th District congressional candidate Patrick Murray said, “How can Moran’s campaign say that to the 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans? With the real unemployment rate over 14%, months upon months of job losses, escalating national debt, and sequestration on the horizon, the Moran campaign thinks that the economy is fine and we’re not ‘broke’. I’m not sure if this is some horrible case of groupthink at the Moran headquarters, or if he’s just that disconnected from the average American.”
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research — which is generally regarded as the authority on recessions in the U.S. — the most recent recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Since then, the United States has experienced 12 quarters of positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. One rule of thumb for determining a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.
The Moran campaign responded to the Murray camp’s press release with a statement of its own.
Ask any reputable economist when the Great Recession ended and they’ll tell you June of 2009, over three years ago. But clearly, far too many people are still out of work and the economy needs to grow faster.
It’s troubling that our opponent continues to talk down the economy for partisan political purposes. That kind of mentality won’t create a single job and in fact encourages businesses to continue hoarding cash rather than investing in the future. We’re fortunate that Northern Virginia has been an outlier from the rest of the country over the past four years of economic struggles.
While there’s still much work to be done, we have an unemployment rate that’s half the national average and major companies like Hilton and Northrop Grumman continue to relocate here. It’s in large part due to our region’s interconnectedness with the federal government, our largest employer, and synergies that relationship creates with the private sector.
Congressman Moran has played no small part in this success, whether by protecting federal employees from draconian conservative efforts to dismantle our civil service, which would be a disaster for our region’s economy, or through his senior position on the powerful Appropriations Committee. That’s one of the many reasons he deserves to be reelected and continues to have overwhelming public support from his district.
Murray campaign spokesman Reece Collins countered:
“Some economists would argue that we’ve entered another recession. Regardless, Moran’s campaign cannot say with a straight face that the economy is fine. With sequestration around the corner, and over 100,000 Virginians who will lose their jobs, the Moran campaign hunkers down and tells everyone that we are fine, there is no recession, we aren’t broke.”
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray says he has a better chance this time around, his second shot at unseating longtime 8th District Rep. Jim Moran (D).
He is more well known, redistricting has cut out Reston from the map and added more conservative areas near Mount Vernon, and he expects the presidential election to help get-out-the-vote efforts.
But from a practical perspective, Murray knows Moran’s more than 20 years of representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County is not likely to end after Nov. 6.
“I can’t help that. Just because the district is difficult, the cause is the same,” said Murray, the first Republican challenger to take on Moran for a second time since Demaris Miller in 2000. “So many people were just happy to see that somebody was running against this guy for the second time, that I had stuck around. These guys come out of the woodwork, they run once against Moran and then they vanish.”
“He scares them off,” Murray added.
That seems to be a point of pride for Murray, the retired Army colonel who three years ago passed up a chance to attend the prestigious Army War College — which trains future generals — to run for office.
(Murray lived in Alexandria for eight years earlier in his military career, but moved back there in 2009.)
In the 2010 election, he briefly vaulted into the national spotlight when Moran characterized him as a “stealth” candidate without “public service” experience. Murray said it was a criticism of his military career, which he felt was a type of public service. Moran said he was simply pointing out Murray’s lack of local service to Virginia communities.
Once that happened, campaign contributions from 26 states started coming in.
“It was mostly veterans. They’re not rich,” Murray said. “But it was $25, $50 bucks saying ‘Go kick this guy’s ass because now I see how he feels about us.'”
County Fair Moves on From Embezzlement Case — All seems to be going well with the Arlington County Fair (photos, above) this year, despite the arrest and subsequent guilty plea of the fair’s now-former event manager on embezzlement charges several months ago. [Falls Church News-Press]
Rumsfeld to Attend Murray Fundraiser — Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is slated to be the special guest at a private fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray next month. Murray is a retired U.S. Army colonel. [Patrick Murray for Congress]
Bike Trip Planner Released — Those wanting to plan bike trips around Arlington and D.C. can now do so via a new online bike routing tool. BikeArlington contributed knowledge of local bike routes to the free tool, which was developed by the nonprofit group OpenPlans. [Mobility Lab]