Morning Roundup: Sept. 26

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A Northern Virginia state Senate candidate who has emerged as a contender in a race that could give Democrats an unlikely victory has come under fire for his record as a small-business owner. Shawn Mitchell, a candidate in the newly drawn District 13 in Prince William and Loudoun counties, recently settled a messy legal dispute with his former employer over claims that he breached trade secrets and violated a non-compete clause when starting a small business in 2010, David Sherfinski of The Washington Times reports.

President Obama’s sinking job-approval rating in Virginia is having no impact so far on poll numbers for Senate candidate and close Obama ally Tim Kaine, despite Republican attempts to link the two as their 2012 campaigns grind into gear. Two highly regarded pollsters show a nearly identical situation, in what is projected to be among the most expensive and closely watched races ever, reports Mr. Sherfinski of The Times.

Just how bad was the damage the Washington Monument suffered during the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast on Aug. 23? National Park Service officials will hold a news conference this afternoon to provide details, including plans on reopening the monument to the public. The service has been working with an engineering firm to determine the extent of the damage and what it will cost to fix it, according to CNN.com.

The corruption trial for Maryland state Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George’s Democrat, begins today with jury selection in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Mr. Currie, who, when chairman of the Senate’s budget committee, held one of the most powerful posts in the Maryland General Assembly, is accused of representing a grocery chain without reporting it on ethics forms for five years, according to The Washington Post.

A contentious and unexpected vote to raise taxes on the District of Columbia’s highest-income earners took shape largely behind the scenes, as council members revived an old proposal, wrangled votes and found common ground with reluctant colleagues. D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, rallied the majority in a testy 7-6 vote Tuesday to create a new tax bracket for residents who earn more than $350,000 a year and to make sure holders of out-of-state bonds are not taxed retroactively, writes Tom Howell Jr. of The Washington Times.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association and the subject of vice-presidential speculation, will headline a GOP fundraiser this evening in New Hampshire, a key state with an early presidential primary, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Maryland Gov. Martin O Malley appears live today on MSNBC at 12:15 p.m. from the Education Nation Summit in New York, hosted by NBC News. He also will participate in the panel discussion “The State of Education: The Governors Perspective,” which begins at 1:45 p.m. and will be streamed live on MSNBC.com and EducationNation.com. Mr. McDonnell also is participating in the summit, according to the Associated Press.

Jury selection begins today in Fairfax County Circuit Court in the trial of a Fairfax woman accused of killing her 2-year-old granddaughter by tossing her off an elevated walkway at Tysons Corner Center last year. Prosecutors say that Carmela Dela Rosa’s conduct was premeditated and that she was not insane when she tossed Angelyn Ogdoc from a sixth-level walkway following a family outing. Public defender Dawn Butorac has said her client suffers from significant mental illness, according to the Associated Press.

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