- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 29, 2012

Virginia Democrats on Friday made their long-awaited announcement of the keynote speaker for next month’s 2012 Jefferson-Jackson dinner, the party’s annual Richmond confab that draws everyone from elected officials to the party rank and file.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who delivered a noteworthy speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, will bring his gun-loving, cowboy boot-wearing, Wild West credentials to the Old Dominion — complete with his trademark bolo tie, as some observers pointed out after the announcement.

“Does everyone have their fanciest bolo tie picked out for Gov. @brianschweitzer?’ tweeted Michael Kelly, a spokesman for the U.S. Senate campaign of former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

“Fear the bolo,” responded Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Brian Coy.

Mr. Schweitzer will have big boots, as it were, to fill. Last year’s audience almost brought the house down with chants of “Run, Tim Run!” in urging a then-undecided Mr. Kaine to jump into the race for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.

Beware of dog

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley gave reporters a rare chance last week to enter the gates of the governor’s mansion, but it did come with one implied condition.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, hosted a news conference on the steps of the Annapolis mansion, which sits next to the State House and is officially known as Government House, to tout his bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

The governor spoke for several minutes about the bill’s merits and then offered to take questions. However, he politely warned reporters that they might not want to get too inquisitive.

“We don’t often have press availabilities inside this fence and we do have two dogs,” he said. “Be careful.” All threats aside, the reporters had to have been honored. It’s not everyday that the governor invites you to his house for an interview and a game of softball.

— David Sherfinski and David Hill contributed to this report

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