Dems Call on Hamilton to Resign

PhilHamilton_R93iThe entire state-wide Democratic ticket is calling on Del. Phil Hamilton (R-Newport News) to resign, amid allegations that Hamilton sought and took a job at an Old Dominion University teaching institute he funded as a legislator.

Hamilton — a powerful member of the House Appropriations Committee and a key legislative player for the GOP — has apologized for what he called an honest mistake.

The veteran lawmaker said he considered resigning, but has decided to press on with his re-election campaign.

“His conduct deserves far more than simple ‘disappointment.’  It deserves our outrage,” Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds said in a statement.

Jody Wagner, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, had this to say: “Delegate Hamilton abused his position as a public servant for personal gain.”

And Democratic attorney general nominee Steve Shannon said: “The bottom line is that Phil Hamilton appears to have attempted to use his position of public trust and taxpayers’ money to enrich himself. ”

The Daily Press reports that Gov. Tim Kaine (D) will not call for Hamilton’s resignation.

Republicans across the state — including House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) and gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell — have expressed disappointment with Hamilton, but have not asked him to step down.

Following three major story lines out of this:

1) Hamilton is incredibly powerful and is always intricately involved in crafting the state budget. How will this scandal affect that position next year?

2) Democrats had already made Hamilton’s seat a target, fielding arguably the most serious competitor he’s ever seen. How does Robin Abbott capitalize on all this?

3) Deeds, Wagner and Shannon break with Kaine and call for Hamilton’s resignation. while the governor maintains that voters should have the final say. Does this further the notion that there are strained relations among Kaine and some state-wide Dems?

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