The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Friday, November 04, 2005

Kilgore woos valley voters; B1

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

WINCHESTER — Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore stopped by to rally the troops in Winchester on Thursday, preparing for a final push to Election Day.

“If every area of Virginia were just like the valley,” Kilgore said, drawing a few chuckles from a small but enthusiastic crowd at Winchester Regional Airport.

Kilgore appeared with attorney general candidate Del. Bob McDonnell, R-Virginia Beach, and state Republican Party Chairwoman Kate Obenshain-Griffin during a daylong fly-around.

The former attorney general exhorted supporters to keep working through Election Day, and for good reason. Both campaigns agree that the winning campaign will be the one that has the strongest “get out the vote” drive on Tuesday.

“We are exactly where we expected to be,” Kilgore said after the rally. “We’ll win this race in places like the valley, Southwest Virginia and Southside. No Democrat has ever been elected governor in Virginia without carrying … [some parts] of southern or western Virginia.”

That’s one reason Kilgore painted Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine as a liberal as often as possible Thursday.

“On each and every issue, this race is clear. The decision is so plain,” Kilgore said. “I am the conservative running for governor this year in Virginia.”

Both campaigns have staked out their strategies for the final few days: rally the troops in safe areas to pump up turnout and build a margin to wipe out the other guy’s success in his strong areas.

Kilgore spent Thursday in the Shenandoah Valley, where the latest Mason-Dixon poll shows him beating Kaine, 52 percent to 39 percent.

Kaine also spent the day on friendly turf, making the rounds in Hampton Roads, where the poll shows him with a 6-point lead.

He is scheduled to be in Northern Virginia today, where Mason-Dixon shows him winning over Kilgore, 53 percent to 37 percent.

But Kaine’s campaign isn’t done with rural Virginia.

Camp Kaine was quick to point out a pack of endorsements from weekly newspapers around the state, sending copies of the editorials backing their candidate to the state’s political reporters.

The candidate will also swing through Southwest Virginia’s “Fightin’ Ninth” congressional district over the weekend, with stops in Washington, Russell, Buchanan and Tazewell counties before hitting the major urban centers one more time before the polls open Tuesday.

Back in Winchester, independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr.’s campaign trumpeted a quasi-endorsement from three construction groups.

The Northern Virginia Builders Industry Association, Heavy Construction Contractors Association of Northern Virginia and the Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association issued a joint statement endorsing Potts’ plan to fix the state’s transportation system.

“In the interest of preserving, protecting and restoring the already damaged transportation system in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the following groups, having reviewed the transportation proposals offered by all three candidates for governor, have concluded that H. Russ Potts offers the only viable transportation program,” the statement says.

“As transportation advocates, we urge Virginians to consider the Russ Potts transportation plan as the only program being proposed that realistically addresses the people of Virginia’s critical transportation needs,” the groups say.