RICHMOND — The League of Women Voters of Virginia wants independent gubernatorial candidate H. Russell Potts Jr., R-Winchester, included in the two remaining scheduled gubernatorial debates.
President Lulu Meese issued a statement Monday calling on voters to “remind gubernatorial candidates that democracy is best served when all certified gubernatorial candidates for statewide office can participate in debates.”
Candidates who get 5 percent in recognized statewide polls are included in debates sponsored by the league, she said. Potts has charted as high as 9 percent in polls taken to date.
University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato has come under fire from Potts’ campaign and editorial writers for setting a 15 percent standard for inclusion in an October debate in Richmond.
Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore and Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine will debate on Sept. 13 in Fairfax without Potts, though Kaine will debate Potts separately later in the day.
But the League of Women Voters “believes [its] policy is fair and that requiring more than 5 percent is not reasonable for a certified, independent candidate,” Meese said.
Sabato said in a recent statement that the 15 percent figure was chosen because it was the same number used in 2001 that led to the exclusion of a Libertarian Party candidate.
Lieberman stumps for Kaine
RICHMOND — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine got some national help raising money on Monday.
Former Democratic vice-presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman appeared at two fundraisers for the campaign and toured the Hatcher Child Development Center in Richmond to tout the candidate’s universal pre-kindergarten education proposal.
Kaine will also be getting some big-name help at the state level on Labor Day. Gov. Mark R. Warner will make at least three stops with the Democratic ticket during the day, including one in Harrisonburg.
Warner, who has the highest approval rating of any Virginia governor at this point in his term in the history of Mason-Dixon polling, also appears in a new set of campaign ads that launched Monday.