Monday, June 06, 2005

National Journal Update

I will begin posting the daily synopsis of the Governor Race as provided by the National Journal. All of the statewide press characters are pulled together for one quick snip of what is going on in our state.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Warner Helps Kaine Stay On Top In Green LG Tim Kaine (D) "continues to outraise" ex-AG Jerry Kilgore (R). Kaine's camp said it raised $2M in the 2-month period ending 6/1, $1M of which came from a 5/24 fundraiser headlined by Gov. Mark Warner (D). Kilgore's camp said it raised almost $1.5M. To date, Kaine has raised $10M, to Kilgore's $8.5M (Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/4). Kaine leads in COH $5M to $3.2M. Noting the Warner fundraiser, Kilgore manager Ken Hutcheson: "The Kaine camp rolled out their biggest gun in the month of May. We still have the very high probability of a presidential event, which is going to even up the race financial and then some." Hutcheson also said the Kaine edge comes from "the $1.5M that [DNC chair] Howard Dean gave him." Kaine officials said the DNC money was provided by ex-chair Terry McAuliffe. Both camps have spent $2M in the past 2 months, and "are well on their way" to raising $15M each. State Sen. Russ Potts (R/I) declined 6/3 to release his fundraising totals, saying he spent most of his time in the period collecting signatures. Warrenton Mayor George Fitch (R) had raised $155K through 4/1, and couldn't be reached for updated totals (Shear, Washington Post, 6/4). Have You Heard? The RNC Is Focusing On This Race VA GOP chair Kate Obenshain Griffin told the state central cmte 6/4 that the RNC is sending staff to VA "as part of an unprecedented grass-roots organizing effort." Griffin: "We've never had anything like this." VA GOP exec. dir. Shawn Smith said 20 RNC staffers will help with voter registration, voter ID, coalition building, training and GOTV. FEC reports show the RNC has spent $80K so far. Griffin said the RNC regards VA as it did OH and FL in WH'04, and wants to "bridge the gap between" between WH and state elections. A GOPer has won VA in 10 straight pres elections, but Dems have won 4 of 9 GOV races. The DNC has pledged $5M for grass-roots efforts. NJ GOV "is expected to be won handily" by Dems. VA Dem spokesperson Kevin Griffis chided Kilgore for brining out-of-state help when Kilgore criticized Kaine for doing the same (Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/5). WH Dep. CoS Karl Rove, "viewed by many as a regular guy," spoke at a VA GOP fundraiser in Richmond 6/5, and said Kilgore is an "authentic and real" candidate. He said afterward that Pres. Bush would be willing to stump for Kilgore, and visits "would not be confined" to NoVA and DC. Rove, at the dinner: "We cannot assume [Kilgore] will easily win." He urged guests to register voters and get them to the polls. Kilgore, at the dinner: Kaine had "more flip-flops than a Nags Head gift shop." Griffis termed the remarks "rewarmed rhetoric" and said the race "is going to rise and fall on Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore. Period" (Krishnamurthy, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/5). Moving On Kilgore's Turf Dems "moved to counter Kilgore's strength" in southwest VA. A top Dem source said the state party would announce as early as today that Dem chair Kerry Donley will be replaced by ex-House Maj. Leader C. Richard Cranwell of Roanoke. Cranwell is "a sharp-tongued lawmaker who was considered the party's top legislative strategist" and is "popular" in the region (Shear, Washington Post, 6/5). Kaine, in a statement on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturning VA's ban on "partial birth abortion": "Because of my long-standing opposition to partial birth abortion, in 2002 I proposed an amendment that would have made this ban constitutional. Unfortunately, partisan politics got in the way and that amendment was rejected by the General Assembly. As I have in the past, I will work with both parties to pass a constitutional ban on partial birth abortion" (release, 6/3). Dasching In Kaine "has enlisted" ex-Senate Min. Leader Tom Daschle (D) to counter an RGA ad that calls Kaine a liberal. On the Web site www.itstopsinvirginia.com, Daschle compares the ad to the Swift Boat ads, and said the group that produced it is "dangerous and must be stopped" (Washington Times, 6/6). Stirring The Potts Potts 6/3 "lambasted" Kilgore and urged Dems and moderate GOPers to vote for centrist GOPers in the 6/14 open primary. Potts said he's already voted for Fitch "despite having major disagreements with him." He criticized Kilgore's call for tax referendums: "How do you spell referendum? C-O-W-A-R-D." He also "took aim" at Kaine, and said he sees both candidates as "individuals who literally put a finger in the air and say, 'Which way is the wind blowing?" Kilgore spokesperson Tim Murtaugh called Potts an "angry, bitter, spiteful man." Murtaugh: "It's sad to see him ending his career this way" (Shear, Washington Times, 6/4). Only One More Week Of Fitch Stories CW indicates that a candidate who "lacks the support of party leaders, fundraising and name recognition would have no shot of winning." But Fitch "is no stranger to what seems like an impossible challenge," having helped found and coach the Jamaican bobsled team. Fitch: "I believe you can succeed if you've got a much better message and you are a more credible messenger." Fitch will have canvassed at least 13K miles of VA by 6/14, but has done no advertising and won't do any mailers. He thinks he can run the state like a business. Kilgore has "all but ignored" Fitch. George Mason Univ. prof. Mark Rozell: "It's a no-brainer in terms of who is going to win." UVA's Larry Sabato said Kilgore needs a landslide to signal that he has the GOP's full backing: "If he can't clear 80 percent, he's in trouble" (Bellantoni, Washington Times, 6/6).

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