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VIRGINIA BRIEFING

Thursday, January 31, 2008

POLITICS

Wolf Begins Another Run for Reelection

U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) kicked off his 2008 reelection campaign yesterday, his 69th birthday, at the Washington Dulles Airport Hilton. Wolf, first elected to Congress in 1980, is in his 14th term and is Virginia's most-senior House member.

Wolf faces a primary challenge from Vern McKinley, an Ashburn resident, in the 10th District race. On the Democratic side, Georgetown professor Judy Feder, who lost to Wolf in 2006, faces Mike Turner. Neeraj Nigam, an independent, is also running for the seat.

-- Jonathan Mummolo

GUN CONTROL

Two U.S. Senators Take Aim at 'Loophole'

Two U.S. senators announced legislation yesterday to require background checks for all gun sales at gun shows. A similar effort to close the gun show "loophole" failed last week in the Virginia General Assembly.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), would require a background check on anyone who buys a gun at a gun show. Currently, only people who buy from licensed dealers have to undergo a federal background check. Twenty-five to 50 percent of gun show sales are made by unlicensed sellers, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A similar bill was defeated by a state Senate committee despite passionate testimony from survivors and relatives of victims of the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech, in which a student fatally shot 32 people before killing himself.

-- Sandhya Somashekhar

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Senate Passes Bill to Throw Out Sangria Ban

The Virginia Senate passed a bill yesterday to allow restaurants to sell sangria that includes brandy, triple sec or a similar spirit, a mixture that is banned by state law.

Sangria, which is served at many Spanish restaurants, is generally made with wine and fruit but often includes a small amount of spirits. The Senate bill would change a law that prohibits the mixing of wine and spirits. A similar bill is advancing through the House of Delegates.

-- Sandhya Somashekhar

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