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ALASKA

Palin raises $1.2M for PAC

JUNEAU | Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin raised more than $1.2 million for her political action committee during the last quarter, giving $93,500 to conservative candidates and causes ahead of the looming midterm elections in which she’s played a major role.

The financial disclosure, filed Tuesday by her SarahPAC, shows the 2008 vice-presidential candidate and potential 2012 presidential contender spent a total of about $1 million during that time. Nearly $240,000 went to consultants in areas including coalitions, media, international affairs and finance.

Mrs. Palin, who has said repeatedly that her immediate focus is on the midterm elections and on helping elect candidates she considers “common-sense conservatives,” gave money to 15 candidates, including $10,000 to U.S. Senate hopefuls Christine O'Donnell of Delaware and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

She contributed $10,000 to Joe Miller, a “tea party” favorite in her home state who upset Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary and is seeking to turn back Mrs. Murkowski’s write-in candidacy in the Nov. 2 election. He received his first $5,000 during the primary, and it showed up on Mrs. Palin’s previous filing.

The Federal Election Commission allows for PACs to give up to $5,000 per candidate committee per election.

VIRGINIA

Cranwell giving up Democratic Party post

CHARLOTTESVILLE | Virginia Democratic Party Chairman C. Richard Cranwell said Tuesday that he intends to step down by December from the post he has held for five years.

The Roanoke lawyer and former House of Delegates majority leader said in an interview that he will announce his decision on Wednesday. He said he has informed Democratic legislative and congressional leaders and top staff of the Democratic Party of Virginia of his decision.

His announcement comes three weeks ahead of congressional elections in Virginia that could reverse the three U.S. House seats the Democrats gained in 2008 to take a majority of the state’s 11 House spots.

It also comes after the Democrats took a trouncing in the 2009 gubernatorial race. Republicans won the office in a rout as well as the other two statewide elected offices.

“We’ve had some success during my time as chairman and we’ve taken a bust in the snout while I’ve been chairman, but I think the momentum of this year’s election is starting to swing our way,” Mr. Cranwell said.

Under Mr. Cranwell’s watch, Virginia Democrats elected Tim Kaine governor in 2005, U.S. Senators Jim Webb in 2006 and Mark R. Warner in 2008, and carried the state for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

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