The Washington Times - April 6, 2011, 08:15AM

TIM KAINE, until yesterday the Democratic National Committee chairman, announced Tuesday he will run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Virginia, setting up a race that promises to be fiercely competitive, capture national attention and break spending records, according to The Washington Times.

Mr. Kaine, so far the only Democratic contender for retiring Sen. Jim Webb’s seat, could face former GOP Sen. George Allen in what many say will be the marquee matchup of 2012. With both men having served as Virginia governor, they have broad statewide name recognition, substantial fundraising abilities and national political connections.

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THE VIRGINIA HOUSE gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a Republican-authored redistricting plan as chamber Democrats made a case for an appeal under the federal Voting Rights Act, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This year, for the first time since the law was enacted in 1965, a Democrat is in the White House during post-census redistricting. President Obama’s Justice Department will review the plan. Virginia is one of 16 states covered by the act because of a history of racial discrimination.

THE ACCUSED KILLER OF THE REDSKINS’ SEAN TAYLOR wants the media barred from a key evidence hearing, according to the Associated Press. As a result, a Miami-Dade County judge has scheduled a hearing Wednesday to hear the request from defendant Eric Rivera Jr. His attorney contends that the upcoming hearing on what evidence will be allowed could jeopardize his clients’ chances for a fair trial. Mr. Rivera, 20, is one of five people accused in the 2007 killing of Taylor during a botched robbery at his Miami-area home. Taylor was an All-Pro safety with the Washington Redskins. A trial in the case is expected later this year.

THE D.C. OFFICE OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE recommended Tuesday that the agency’s general counsel take “whatever action deemed appropriate” against D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s 2008 re-election committee after an audit uncovered substantial financial-reporting inconsistencies, The Washington Times reports. The audit cited several large discrepancies, including understating contributions by $133,700, understating expenditures by nearly $203,000 and overstating the cash balance by more than $69,000.

MARYLAND LEGISLATORS made an unexpected, 11th-hour move Tuesday to block a bill that would allow prisoners serving life sentences to be paroled without the governor’s approval, according to The Washington Times. The Democrat-controlled General Assembly has been trying this session to allow some such prisoners to be paroled after a favorable recommendation from a state commission but without gubernatorial approval. But on Tuesday, House Republicans and many conservative Democrats narrowly passed an amendment to require that inmates stay in prison if the governor ignores the commission recommendation.

THE MARYLAND HOUSE is poised to take up legislation Wednesday to extend the in-state tuition discount to illegal immigrants — a divisive issue likely to produce one last lengthy and emotional debate in the waning days of the Democrat-controlled General Assembly’s 2011 session, the Baltimore Sun reports. Under the proposal, an undocumented student who attended at least three years of high school in Maryland and whose parents have paid state taxes would qualify for in-state tuition rates at a community college. After completing two years, he or she could transfer to a four-year institution and again pay the in-state rate. The Senate approved a similar measure last month, and Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, has said he will sign a bill into law if one reaches his desk.