Ravenwood - 11/09/05 07:15 AM
As was expected, Republican Jerry Kilgore lost Virginia's race for Governor. Analysts are all saying that turnout was key, but the results tend to say otherwise. Democrats won the Governorship, while Republican Bill Bolling won Lt. Governor. If you look at the totals, both races have about the same overall number of votes and there appears to have been a significant number of people who voted for Kaine and Bolling both. That is, they split the ticket between a Democrat and Republican. Republicans also have a slim lead in the too close to call race for Attorney General.
I'm sticking with my theory that the race was Kilgore's to lose. He made a few crucial errors that probably cost him big. First of all, he talked tough on immigration which pisses off a lot of people in Northern Virginia including a lot of immigrants. He also used a veiled nazi reference which people considered over the line. His assertion that Kaine wouldn't support the death penalty even for Hitler seems innocuous, but it appears to have really turned a lot of people off. Actually it probably wasn't the ad itself, so much as it was the Washington Post and other media outlets incorrectly implying that Kilgore had called Kaine a nazi. Remember, a lie told often enough... (who said that again?). Kilgore is also wishy washy on guns and went so far as to alienate VCDL members and chastise their leader as an extremist. Not good.
Most of all, I think Kilgore didn't play up the tax and spend angle enough. Mark Warner pledged "I will not raise taxes, I will not raise taxes, I will not raise taxes." He then helped pass the largest tax increase in Virginia's 400 year history. As Lt. Governor, Kaine took credit for this on the campaign trail. One month after passing the tax it was "discovered" that Virginia was actually running a huge budget surplus. Perhaps Kilgore was afraid of alienating Republicans in the legislature who helped pass the tax hike, but playing up the fact that Mark Warner lied to Virginians about looming budget shortfalls could have helped his campaign. Instead he ran on the gas tax and a negative campaign that consisted mostly of trying to label his opponent as a "liberal".
Now we get to hear 3 years of stories about how this vote was all about Mark Warner's popularity and George Bush's low poll numbers. Its funny how the race is being sold as a showdown between two people who aren't on the ballot and couldn't run even if they wanted to.
My own personal ballot included Republican Kilgore (begrudgingly), Republican Bolling, and Democrat Creigh Deeds for Attorney General. Deeds is a rural Democrat who is likely more Conservative than Kilgore. He had a better rating on guns, that's for sure. I also voted against the $250 Kagillion local bond referendum "for the children". We already spend a ton of money on public schools, and I don't support borrowing more without some sort of voucher program to go along with it. I'm sure the referendum will pass though, as most parents turn out in droves to make sure little Timmy's soccer league is properly funded by their neighbors.
The other interesting thing about this election was the poll watchers. Seated behind the poll workers was a line of election observers. They were each labeled Republican or Democrat and sat two to a poll worker. When I gave my name and address, the Democrat and Republican worker frantically flipped through their own voter registration lists to make sure I was on there. The comedy act continued as the poll worker marked me off the list with a pair of scrutinizing partisan eyes peering over each shoulder to make sure she crossed me off her list correctly. It made me wish I had worn one or two of those "I Voted" stickers on the way in, just to mess with the election observers.
So, we've got 4 more years of a Democrat at the helm. It doesn't bother me that much considering Virginia Democrats are usually more conservative than RINOs like Bloomberg or Schwarzenegger. And as much as I hate Mark "I will not raise taxes" Warner (who passed the largest tax increase in Virginia history), they can't do anything without the inept Republican legislature helping them out. They share just as much of the blame for increasing taxes in the midst of a budget surplus. As long as Kaine doesn't live up to his F-rating and start vetoing pro-gun bills, I'll survive.
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