October 13, 2005

TO BE BLUE YOU HAVE TO SEEM RED:

Kilgore Ads Seek To Divide Democrats: Kaine Death Penalty Position at Odds With Warner, Most Voters (Robert Barnes, October 13, 2005, Washington Post)

It was the political punch that everyone saw coming: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore's emotional television ads that denounce Democratic opponent Timothy M. Kaine's opposition to the death penalty.

Virginia's voters overwhelmingly support capital punishment, and any candidate who finds his opponent on the other side of such a popular issue is going to use it. From the start of the campaign, former attorney general Kilgore has highlighted the difference.

But in the closing weeks of the contest, the ads serve a second purpose as well -- to portray Kaine, the lieutenant governor, as a man with different priorities from his political mentor, Gov. Mark R. Warner (D).

Such a distinction could be key on Nov. 8, when Virginians decide on a replacement for Warner, who is riding high in public opinion polls after leading the state for almost four years.


Mark Warner understood the Bill Clinton lesson: the issues on which Democrats differ from Republicans are the ones on which they differ from the public and, therefore, lose elections.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2005 11:51 AM
Comments

It also helped that Mark Warner had never held office before. He was a blank slate that could run any way he wanted without having a voting record behind to contradict him. Tim Kaine served as city councilman and mayor here in Richmond. He had quite a record that could be used to show how unlike Warner he actually is.

Posted by: mc at October 13, 2005 1:25 PM
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