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Virginia Politics
Posted at 02:06 PM ET, 10/31/2012

Kaine makes ‘closing argument’ as campaigns debate momentum

Timothy M. Kaine has put his “closing argument” on the Virginia airwaves, and his campaign claims to have the momentum in his U.S. Senate contest against George Allen.


Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate candidate, former governor Timothy M. Kaine, left, and Republican candidate, former senator George Allen, right, shake hands prior to a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. (Steve Helber — Associated Press)

With less than a week remaining before Election Day, Kaine released two new television ads Wednesday and convened a conference call to make the case that the Democrat is in a strong position. Kaine has led in a large majority of the polls taken this month, including a Washington Post poll released this week and a Quinnipiac University survey unveiled Wednesday. A Roanoke College poll, also released Wednesday, gives Allen the lead.

“The momentum here in the final days of the campaign seems to be breaking our way,” said Kaine adviser Mo Elleithee. “Now, it’s still close. If I were a betting man I would probably bet that we are slightly up in this race, but probably within the margin of error still. But I would much rather be where we are than where the Allen campaign is today.”

Beyond the polls, the Kaine campaign made the case that its turnout operation — run in conjunction with President Obama’s reelection campaign — would give it a key advantage over Allen.

Dan Allen, a top adviser to the George Allen campaign, drew a decidedly different conclusion from the latest survey numbers.

“I think it’s clear that all recent polls have been showing that the momentum has been heading our way for the past several weeks, and that continues in the final days,” Allen said. “We do agree with the Kaine campaign on one thing — that this is close and will be close to the end. But quite frankly we feel good about where we are in the final days.”

While various polls have shown different topline results, the Allen campaign can take some solace in the Republican’s performance among independent voters. While the two men were essentially tied among independents in the Washington Post poll, the Quinnipiac survey showed both Allen and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with double-digit leads with independents.

Kaine’s new advertisements, meanwhile, appear aimed at that same demographic, emphasizing his ability to work with members of both parties. Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine called the ads “our closing message to voters.”

In one spot, Kaine says that “as a missionary in Honduras I learned how faith can bring people together” and that he would “bring more partnership and less partisanship to Washington.” In the other, Kaine recited the Pledge of Allegiance with a group of schoolchildren, and then says that “Washington sets the wrong example by not working together.”

Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis said Kaine’s ads were part of his continued effort to mislead voters into thinking he’s a bridge-builder.

“Tim Kaine’s latest Extreme Makeover ad is a lecture for Washington: ‘Do what I say and not what I do,’” Davis said. “Tim Kaine’s actual words — he called Republicans ‘corrosive,’ the ‘Tea Bag Party,’ and other derogatory names — aren’t fit for hearing in the presence of small children.”

By  |  02:06 PM ET, 10/31/2012

 
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