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Analysis: McDonnell's Donor Scandal Could Affect Virginia Governor's Race

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Virginia's governor returns all the gifts his family received from a major donor, but the scandal could still affect the race to replace him. Meanwhile, student test scores show improvement in D.C.'s schools, and Maryland's Montgomery County prepares to fight a Pepco rate hike. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney talks about some of the details behind this week's big stories.

On whether McDonnell returning some of the gifts is enough for him to move beyond the issue:

"He's certainly headed in the right direction, but a lot of critics say he hasn't gone far enough. People are saying he still needs to propose reforms in the laws governing gifts to politicians and their families. And he says he's going to do that, but it's mostly going to be symbolic. He's scheduled to step down as governor in January before the next legislative session, and he has said he has no plans to call a special session ahead of time to adopt any reforms. A lot of newspaper articles are faulting McDonnell for stopping short of making a full forthright apology. He's saying he didn't know about some of the gifts..."

On how Cuccinelli accepting the gifts will affect his run for governor:

"The Democrats are certainly going to try to keep this on the front burner for Cuccinelli. It's not clear how much success they'll have. There is a difference in the kinds of gifts Cuccinelli got. He got a family vacation, trips on a private jet, a Thanksgiving dinner... he says these are not the kinds of things you could repay. He says no money changed hands -- [but] money did change hands. The Democrats say, well you could at least pay back the value of all of these gifts, which would be about $18,000. But Cuccinelli says no way."

On D.C.'s improve tests scores for public and charter schools students:

"Very good news for Gray, and for Chancellor Kaya Henderson. When Gray ran, he said education was his number one priority, and he promised to continue reforms... There some skepticism about whether Gray was really committed to that, but now he can point to these test scores as evidence that he's fulfilling that pledge."

On why Leggett is challenging Pepco's rate hike in Montgomery County:

"Leggett has two complaints. The first is about an increase in the base rate. He says he even though Pepco has made improvements... those changes haven't seriously been tested so, Pepco should wait to get any increase. The second is, he's also worried about a much smaller surcharge for reliability, and the concern there is that it would set a bad precedent. It would give Pepco money up front."

Listen to the full analysis.

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