- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Virginia politicians have an unusual way of thanking campaign contributors — rewarding them with kooky names.

John Chapman “Chap” Peterson, a Fairfax Democrat trying to unseat state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, Fairfax Republican, plans to call those who give him $250 a “lucky lady.” For $1,000, people will be dubbed “Full Monty” for the night.

The practice has been used more and more to enliven the tedious fundraising process.

Mr. Peterson’s monikers are part of his “Young Lawyers Bash” fundraiser tomorrow night that will feature former Gov. Mark Warner and a “Rat Pack” motif.

“The Rat Pack is back … And so is Chap!” reads a slogan on the former state delegate’s campaign Web site. “Join all the hip cats and big-leaguers for this coo-coo ring-a-ding. Come out to support everyone’s favorite charley, Chap Peterson. It’s gonna be a gas!”

The invitation to the fundraiser asks: “What Pack Do You Run With?”

State Sen. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Fairfax County Republican, who is seeking re-election against Democrat Janet S. Oleszek, is promising prospective donors that in exchange for a contribution, he will refer to them as a feathered friend.

“Become a Cuccinelli cardinal,” reads Mr. Cuccinelli’s re-election Web site. “The red cardinal is Virginia’s bird. Bold, fearless, courageous and protective of his territory, the cardinal reminds me of you.”

Mr. Cuccinelli, a father of five, says he shares “a special appreciation for the cardinal’s family values.”

“They are known for monogamy throughout the year,” and “Mom and dad share parenting responsibilities for their young,” he says.

Mr. Cuccinelli also is sending donors a signed copy of one of his children’s favorite books, “Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed!”

The good-natured name-calling is taking place at a crucial time in Virginia politics.

All 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for re-election in November, with Democrats optimistic they can win the four seats needed to gain a Senate majority for the first time in more than a decade.

The Senate winners will also work with the governor and House members elected in 2009 to redraw the legislative and congressional districts in 2011.

The map, which Republicans drew in 2001, will decide which party has the upper hand in elections from 2011 to 2021.

However, recent history shows such name-calling may not guarantee a win.

Before losing his re-election bid in November, Sen. George Allen dished out names at his Western-themed fundraiser dubbed a “hoedown.”

Depending on the size of a donation, the cowboy-boot-wearing Republican lawmaker gave guests the titles of “Ranch Hands,” “Buckaroos,” “Cow Boss” or “Ranch Boss.”

For the most generous givers — those who gave $10,000 or more — Mr. Allen saved the most prestigious title: “El Ranchero Grande.”

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