This item has been updated.
It didn’t take long for Timothy M. Kaine’s attention-grabbing comment about a potential minimum tax rate to make its way into the Virginia Senate race ad wars, as George Allen launched a new spot Tuesday taking the Democrat to task and Kaine’s campaign called for an investigation into anonymous text messages on the subject.
At a debate between Kaine and Allen (R) Thursday in McLean, Kaine made headlines by saying he would be “open to a proposal that has some minimum tax level for everyone,” after he was asked whether “everyone in Virginia should pay something in federal income tax.”
Allen and other Republicans jumped on the remark, seeking to tie it to Kaine’s record as governor to paint him as an inveterate tax-raiser. And on Monday night, Kaine’s campaign said in a statement that people in the Hampton Roads area had gotten anonymous texts about Kaine’s “radical new tax on all Americans.”
Kaine called on the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) to investigate. Cuccinelli’s office said Tuesday it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation. Spokespeople for the Allen campaign and the Virginia Republican Party said they had nothing to do with the text messages.
Allen’s ad begins by citing “billions in proposed tax increases” Kaine made as governor and the “bitter debates” over transportation funding during his term. Then the spot shows Kaine’s comment from last week’s debate. “Tim Kaine, raising taxes on everyone,” the narrator concludes.
Pushing back, Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said: “It’s disappointing that George Allen would choose to run an ad that he knows is false. This is exactly what’s wrong with Washington these days and further demonstrates why George Allen would not be able to help break the partisan gridlock there.”
Kaine’s camp refers to a ruling from Politifact, which called it “False” to say that Kaine “wants to raise taxes on everyone.” His campaign points out that Kaine merely said he was open to the idea of a minimum tax as part of a broader discussion, not that he actually endorsed the idea. (And technically, a minimum income tax would only raise taxes on a fraction of Americans, not “everyone.”)
Crossroads GPS, meanwhile, launched a new ad of its own alleging that Kaine is “addicted” to spending, also referencing tax increases he proposed as governor.