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Michael Lee Pope

Stories by Michael Lee

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Delaney Unseats LeMunyon

Former Republican defeats Republican who unseated Democrat Chuck Caputo in 2009.

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Kathy Tran Takes Open Seat

First-time candidate swamps Republican to take seat held by longtime Del. Dave Albo (R-42).

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Hugo Leads Tanner by Less Than One-Half Percent

Narrow margin in District 40 could result in a recount.

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Northern Virginia Leads Blue Wave

Democrats sweep statewide races and come close to taking over House of Delegates.

Democrats swept all three statewide seats this week and picked up so many seats in the House of Delegates that control of the chamber is now in doubt. Voters rejected Republican arguments about sanctuary cities and Confederate memorials, divisive issues that had moderate Republicans trying to win over the most extreme elements of President Donald Trump’s coalition.

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Following the Money from High-Interest Lenders to Virginia Lawmakers

Campaign cash helps undermine efforts to create consumer protections.

Recent years have seen increased scrutiny of high-interest lenders, businesses that offer a variety of loans at interest rates that often exceed 300 percent. Now campaign finance disclosures show the industry is spreading its influence across the political spectrum with about $800,000 in political contributions this election cycle according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project.

On the Ballot

A look at statewide candidates and where they get their money.

Voters across Virginia will be headed to the polls Tuesday Nov. 7. Here’s a look at what’s on the ballot.

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Shifting Political Battlefield for Virginia General Assembly

Solid blue urban areas separated by political beltway from solid red exurbs.

Northern Virginia has more competitive seats than any other part of the commonwealth, a ring of districts that forms a beltway of sorts separating the inner solid blue in Arlington and Alexandria from the solid red in rural and exurban seats in Loudoun and Prince William. That puts Fairfax County squarely in the driver’s seat this November, when Democrats hope to pick up seats in an election that has balanced local issues like schools and roads with the ongoing reaction to President Donald Trump.

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LeMunyon Seat May Be Democrats' Best Chance of Taking Out GOP Incumbent

House District 67 is one of the most hotly contested races of the year.

On paper, the 67th House District seems like solidly blue territory. Democrat Hillary Clinton won it with almost 60 percent of the vote. But Republican Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-67) has been in office for four terms, a time that this slice of Northern Virginia has been trending increasingly toward the Democratic Party. That puts this district in the spotlight as one of the most competitive House of Delegates races in Virginia, and it’s one reason supporters of Democrat Karrie Delaney say she's got a shot at ousting LeMunyon.

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Flu Shot Clinic Serves Double Duty as Disaster-Planning Scenario

Planning for the worst while helping city residents feel their best.

Alexandria is in the grip of a medical emergency. A mysterious strain of influenza is creating a deadly health crisis, and it doesn’t seem to be responding to the standard flu vaccine. Wait. Calm down. It’s just a disaster planning scenario.

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House District 40 Shows Republicans Still Competitive in Clinton Districts

Democratic newcomer Donte Tanner faces uphill climb against incumbent Tim Hugo.

Democrats are energized, and they’re targeting Republican-held House districts that Hillary Clinton won last year. But House District 40 shows what an uphill climb this year will be for them.

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Senators Meet with Leaders of Industry

In joint appearance, Warner and Kaine talk business in Northern Virginia.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner says Gov. Terry McAuliffe should pick one region of the commonwealth to compete for landing a second Amazon headquarters in Virginia instead of trying to cheerlead for three different areas simultaneously. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner says the federal government should be allowed to negotiate drug prices through Medicare to bring down the cost of prescriptions. These are some of the revelations that Warner and Kaine dropped on industry leaders this week at a meeting of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

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Pendulum Politics in Northern Virginia

House District 34 has swung to the left, the right and back again.

Northern Virginia’s wealthiest suburbs are also some of its most hotly contested battleground precincts, the House of Delegates district surrounding Great Falls that’s swung left and right and left again in recent years. What once was the home of legendary Republican Vince Callahan has become kind of jump ball after he announced his retirement a decade ago.

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A Tale of Two Immigrants

Candidates hoping to replace Dave Albo are both living the American Dream.

One is from Ecuador. The other is from Vietnam. Both are successful professional women hoping to fill the seat vacated by retiring Del. Dave Albo (R-42). But only one will prevail in November, creating one of the fiercest political contests on the ballot in Northern Virginia this year.

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Rorschach Politics

Candidates for governor present inkblots on everything from the economy to Confederate statues.

The campaign for governor is a bit like a Rorschach test as the candidates close in on the final stretch toward Election Day. Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie are presenting a series of inkblots to voters about everything from the health of the economy to the value of Confederate statues.

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Fighting the System or Ineffective Leadership?

Republican Linda Schulz challenges incumbent Del. Jennifer Boysko.

Democratic incumbent Del. Jennifer Boysko (D-86) is a leading voice of the resistance to Republican leadership. But is she getting anything done in Richmond? Her Republican challenger doesn't think so.

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Challenging the Troublemaker

Leader of Democratic resistance challenged by independent who vows to be less antagonistic.

No member of the Democratic minority is as politically combative as Del. Marcus Simon (D-53). Simon’s independent challenger says he says he would take a less confrontational tone.

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Democratic-Endorsed School Board Candidate Wins

Keys-Gamarra overcomes Republican-advantage in low-turnout August.

Guardian ad litem and Fairfax County Planning Commission member Karen Keys-Gamarra swamped Republican Chris Grisafe and two other candidates in a special election this week, one that Democrats say is a sign of strength for their party heading into the fall.

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Moderate Republican Challenges Democratic Whip

First-time candidate challenges key figure in House Democratic caucus leadership.

Until this year, three-term Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49) has never had a Republican opponent.

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Chamber Celebrates Tomorrow’s Alexandria

40 Under 40 feted by titans of industry at United Way headquarters in Old Town.

Low-Turnout High-Stakes Special Election for School Board

Countywide at-large seat to be determined by Aug. 29 special election; early voting is underway.

Special Election for School Board

Low-Turnout High-Stakes Special Election for School Board

Countywide at-large seat to be determined by Aug. 29 special election; early voting is underway.

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Supreme Court of Virginia Sides with Car-Title Lenders

TitleMax, LoanMax and Fast Auto Loans will be able to keep details about their business secret.

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Four-Term Incumbent LeMunyon to Face Former Republican

Karrie Delaney registered as a Republican after being appointed to local government in Florida.

Karrie Delaney knows a thing or two about Republican politics. Back in 2004, she was appointed as a Republican to the West Melbourne City Council in Florida. But she lost the election that year after she voted higher taxes. Now she’s running as a Democrat against four-term incumbent Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-67).

Virginia Republicans Play Establishment Card

Close primary campaigns for governor and lieutenant governor send GOP candidates to November ballot.

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Virginia Democrats Play the Long Game

Voters choose candidates who have been planning their campaign for years rather than upstarts newly energized against Trump.

Albo Retirement Prompts Hotly Contested Virginia House Race

Democrat Kathy Tran to face Republican Lolita Mancheno-Smoak.

Three Republicans Running for Virginia Governor Offer Dueling Tax Plans

Cut taxes or raise taxes? GOP primary debate offers an unusual array of options.

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Democratic Candidates for Virginia Governor Run to the Left

Two candidates try to ignore moderate records and repackage themselves as hardcore progressives.

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Three Republicans Vie for Virginia Lieutenant Governor Nomination

Two state senators and a delegate hope to snag bid to preside over Senate sessions.

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Three Democrats Vying for Virginia Lieutenant Governor

Two former prosecutors and veteran political operative on ballot.

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Pioneering Change For Autism

University of Virginia seminar studies tension between “The Science & Lived Experience of Autism.”

Despite a recent surge in attention and research over the past decade about autism, controversy exists.

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Lawmaker Work Group to Examine Virginia Predatory Lending

Panel to investigate internet loans, car-title loans and open-end lines of credit.

The growing chorus of criticism about predatory lending in Virginia may not have prompted lawmakers to start passing laws to crack down on the industry. But it has accomplished one thing, formation of a work group.

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

Robert Johnson of Woodbridge understands the mental health crisis from a personal perspective.

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Era of the Iron Fist: How Did Democrats Rule the House of Delegates?

Democrats complain about Republican heavy-handedness, but were they any better?

Democrats complain that Republicans are sidelining their bills without much consideration. But were Democrats any better when they had control of the House of Delegates?

In Session: Virginia General Assembly Briefs

Ghost of Carter Glass

Meet state Sen. Carter Glass of Lynchburg.

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

The backlog of untested rape kits has received a lot of media attention in recent years, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been working to find ways to process all that evidence. But that’s not the only problem with rape kits. Many of them are them are simply thrown away.

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Cracking Down on On-the-Road Screen Time

Texting while driving is already illegal, but what about all the other screen time?

Lawmakers in Richmond are a bunch of angry birds, frustrated at existing law they believe does not solve the problem of drivers devoting their attention to their handheld screen instead of the road.

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Angry Birds on the Road: Lawmakers Want to Crack Down on Screen Time

Texting while driving is already illegal, but what about Facebook and Twitter?

Lawmakers in Richmond are a bunch of angry birds, frustrated at existing law they believe does not solve the problem of drivers devoting their attention to their handheld screen instead of the road.

Angry Birds on the Road: Lawmakers to Crack Down on On-the-Road Screen Time

Texting while driving is already illegal, but what about all the other screen time?

Lawmakers in Richmond are a bunch of angry birds, frustrated at existing law they believe does not solve the problem of drivers devoting their attention to their handheld screen instead of the road.

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Victims of Tribe-For-Rent Scam to Get $15 Million Payout in Settlement Agreement

15,000 Virginia victims get $6 million worth of predatory loans absolved, $9 million in cash awards.

The commercial features images of teepees and a tribal drumbeat. The company billed itself as having ties to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. But Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says that was nothing more than a fraud, a scheme he calls rent-a-tribe.

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

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Party-Line Vote Protects Child Labor at Tobacco Farms in Virginia

Republican-led House panel kills effort to craft new protections for kids in unrecorded vote.

In an unrecorded party-line vote, House Republicans killed a bill that would have cracked down on child labor at tobacco farms in Virginia.

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Online Virginia Lottery Sales? Don't Bet On It

House panel rejects bill that would allow for sale of lottery tickets over the internet.

A coalition of convenience store owners and religious conservatives worked to till an effort from the Virginia Lottery to allow for online gambling, thwarting an effort aimed at increasing sales among millennial gamblers. The bill, introduced by Del. Roxann Robinson (R-27), was defeated with an overwhelming vote by a House General Laws subcommittee Tuesday afternoon.

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Senate Panel Approves Crackdown on Internet Lenders in Virginia

Bill would subject unregulated loans to rules that apply to consumer-finance loans.

The Wild West of online lending is about to become a little tamer. That’s because a state Senate panel narrowly approved a bill that would subject internet loans to the same restrictions that currently exist for consumer finance loans, a move that would cramp the anything-goes culture of online loans in Virginia.

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Senators to Alexandria: Clean Up Your Act by 2020 or Lose State Funding

Lawmakers poo poo city efforts to flush raw sewage.

Members of the Virginia state Senate say they’re tired of hearing excuses about sewage from city officials in Alexandria, and they’re pushing ahead with a plan that one senator calls “the nuclear option.” This afternoon, the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill that sets a firm deadline for Alexandria to clean up its act — 2020. If city officials are unable to stop dumping more than 10 million gallons of raw sewage into the Potomac River every year, Alexandria would lose all state appropriations until the problem is fixed.

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Predatory Lenders Work Behind the Scenes to Avoid Regulation and Evade the Law

Campaign contributions and political connections used to sidestep crackdown.

Predatory Loans in the Crossfire: Lawmakers conflicted about how to handle high-interest loans.

In Session: Briefs

It doesn’t take much rain to trigger Alexandria’s 19th century sewage system to start dumping raw sewage into the Potomac River — about 0.03 inches, to be precise.

Council Notebook

Should Prince Street and Cameron Street have bike lanes? That's a question that city officials will be asking city residents starting Sept. 30. That's the date of the first community meeting on a proposal that would add bike lanes to the two major Old Town corridors, one eastbound and the other westbound.

Arlington: Sparring over Issues on Streetcar Proposal

Democrat Alan Howze issued a harsh attack against incumbent County Board member John Vihstadt last week, accusing him of using opposition to the proposed $333 million streetcar proposal on Columbia Pike as a "wedge issue" to score "political points" in a way that is "dividing our community." All of these attacks came before Howze outlined a five-point plan to improve the controversial project.

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