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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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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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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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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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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.

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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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.

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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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.

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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

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Bipartisan Agreement Forged in House Panel on Reducing Suspended Driver’s Licenses

Republicans work with Cabinet officials to craft changes to let more people keep drivers licenses.

After Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe called on lawmakers to find a way to restore driver's licenses to people charged with crimes that had nothing to do with driving, Republicans responded. Now both sides are crafting a compromise that could end up being a hallmark of the 2017 session.

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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Senate Panel Kills Effort to Allow Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Supporters say they’ll continue to press the issue, citing concerns over safety.

Undocumented immigrants in Virginia will not be getting a driver’s license anytime soon, although advocates for the idea say they will keep pressing lawmakers on the issue.

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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.

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Safety at a Crossroads in Poor Communities Across Northern Virginia

Less affluent neighborhoods in Northern Virginia suffer from higher pedestrian fatalities.

A national database of pedestrian crashes compiled by Governing Magazine shows 95 pedestrian fatalities in Northern Virginia between 2008 and 2012. While 26 of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in wealthy neighborhoods, where the per capita income is more than $53,000, a much larger number happened in poor communities like this stretch of Route 1 in Mount Vernon.

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Income Growth in Fairfax and Alexandria Lags Behind State and National Averages

Loudoun is the one bright spot in the region.

Paycheck growth in Fairfax County and the city of Alexandria are lagging behind the state and the nation, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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Governor's Mansion, Confidential

Defense team in corruption case to detail crumbling McDonnell marriage.

When he takes the stand in his own defense, former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell will read jurors an email that he wrote to his wife as their marriage was said to be crumbling.

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Across Northern Virginia, Men Pull Larger Paychecks than Women

Trend is more prominent in wealthier areas.

When Lola Arce de Quintela first moved to Oakton 20 years ago, she noticed something about the way men and women arranged their professional careers around their family lives in Northern Virginia. Men took high-powered jobs with large paychecks, while women often dropped out of the workforce to take care of growing families. If women had full-time jobs, she says, they would often select positions that were not as demanding so they could focus their time and attention on their children while husbands and fathers pulled in six-figure salaries.

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Empire Strikes Back: Establishment Beats Tea Party at Republican Convention

Party insider Ed Gillespie seizes nomination at convention in Roanoke.

When conservative preacher E.W. Jackson took the stage at the Roanoke Civic Center to introduce Tea Party favorite Shak Hill at the Republican convention last weekend, hundreds of conservatives from across Virginia took to their feet. They waved placards.

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Poverty in the Classroom: Low-Income Students Scattered Through Northern Virginia

Where are the region's highest poverty schools?

When Carla Castro-Claure was approaching the age when she would soon attend Kindergarten, her mother became increasingly concerned about Hybla Valley Elementary School.

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C-Section Boom in Northern Virginia

Region has some of the highest rates of cesarean-section deliveries for low-risk pregnancies.

Behind the closed doors at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church and the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, a quiet change has been taking shape over the last few decades.

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Alone on the Road: 7 out of 10 Northern Virginia Workers Use Single-Occupancy Vehicles

Study raises concerns about amount of time drivers spend commuting alone.

Despite the decades-long war against the single-occupancy vehicle, seven out of 10 workers in Northern Virginia drive to work alone every workday.

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Northern Virginia's Growing Debt Burden

Local governments use debt as a tool to build for the future.

Back in the 1920s, Harry Byrd became governor of Virginia on what he called a "pay-as-you-go" platform.

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