I apologize for the extended vacation I have been taking from the Governor's race in my beloved Old Dominion, but I suffer from the same lethary that all campaigns seem to suffer from in the dog days of summer. It's been hot, humid, and hard to keep on top of every pot shot back and forth the battleground. However, the scenario currently looks optimistic from Kaine's perspective and fantastic from mine, because I love a good close race, and this one is lookin' to be razor thin.
The latest Mason-Dixon poll has Kaine with the slightest of slight edges at 38%, with Kilgore at 37% and Potts at 9%. Given the poll's 4% margin of error, it's easy to say that we're pretty much where we started, but not so, as I am personally feeling much better about the state of the campaign then I was on primary day, and I can't even pin all the credit for that on Barack Obama (who made an appearance for the campaign at Clarendon Ballroom last week)....read on for more
First off, since the last time I put my two cents in on this campaign, there has been a debate.....in West Virginia. If you think that it is absolutely absurd that the first and most important debate for Virginia's closely contested governor's race was not only held in a different state
but also not televised
, you are not the only one, my friend. That being said, the Kaine campaign's attempt to blog it live didn't really go over too well, partially because the bloggers, well, they clearly had an opinion on who was winning the debate [us], but also because you can't really live blog a debate. You miss and all the back and forth and what not that makes a debate so telling about a candidate. Still, they tried, and it was the best they could do given the lack of cameras.
Having not seen the debate I will have to take the reviewers word for it, namely that Kaine won decisively, but this really shouldn't be a surprise knowing Kilgore's demeanor given any sort of unscripted challenge. The highlight of the debate seems to be when Kaine flat out asked that if Roe v. Wade were overturned (not an unlikely prospect given the Roberts nomination), would he move to make abortions illegal in Virginia. This is a critical question, and one that Kilgore fares worse on than Kaine does, IMHO, because social conservatives expect a lot more out of their Republican nominee (who must get the Falwell nod of approval to even exist in the upper eschelon of VA Republican politics) than they do of their Democratic nominee (who gets major props for being a Christian missionary, and for claiming to be pro-life, but can have wiggle room of personal opinion v. public policy, because hey, he is a democrat, after all). Kilgore flatly refused to answer, claiming that the premise was absurd. Uhhhhh....no, it's not really. And your base would love an answer to that question just as much as I would.
Moving on, Kaine is trying really hard to win support in the Loudon/Prince William areas that failed to support him in his winning attempt to become Lt. Gov. I wish him luck at this prospect, and this might be where the Potts factor could make a difference. I still firmly am of the opinion that Potts hurts Kilgore more than he hurts us, as he pulls from the moderate Republican pool. (The Roanoke Times agrees with me). But there are some caveats to this success. Mainly that no Democrat wins solely on Democratic votes. They need those cross-over Republicans. Potts is stealing them. So instead of Kilgore losing one vote and us gaining, Kilgore is merely losing.....not bad, but not as awesome as could be.
Kaine is clearly enjoying Warner's success. Bully for him! I heart Mark Warner, so don't even get me started, but the more people hear about Kaine, the more they like him. Kilgore, on the other hand, has a bit of Joementum, if you ask me. At least the editorials seem to be getting much nastier than they were a few months ago. Basically, that's what you get when you can't find a way to pay for your plans, but just really really want to cut taxes anyway.
Anyway, that is all I have time for now, but I promise a more detailed description later. In the meantime, I would like to mention that the voter ID efforts of the Kaine staff seem to have had a slow but sure effect, and I'm feeling very hopeful about the fall, provided those Corzine bastards don't steal all the talented and underpaid staffers working to keep Virginia blue.