Kaine, Kilgore Embrace Tickets

By Michael D. Shear and Michael A. Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, June 19, 2005

WILLIAMSBURG, June 18 -- Virginia Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who is running for governor, clasped hands Saturday with the two fellow Democrats who will run as his partners in the general election, a visible show of unity at a rally of the party's faithful.

Before a crowd of more than 400 people, Kaine promised to fight for better roads, health care and public safety. He pledged to work nonstop until the Nov. 8 election to fill the seat of Gov. Mark R. Warner (D).

He also continued to hammer his Republican opponent, former attorney general Jerry W. Kilgore. He criticized Kilgore's opposition to last year's budget compromise and accused him of being afraid to debate his opponents.

"Jerry Kilgore does not know how to lead this Commonwealth," Kaine said. "No person who wants to be entrusted with the leadership of Virginia should be afraid to stand on a stage and answer questions, period."

Earlier in the day, Kaine walked door-to-door with his campaign volunteers in Northern Virginia. For about an hour, he made his pitch one voter at a time.

The meeting room at Kaine's campaign office in McLean was filled with volunteers and the smells of coffee and sunscreen. People in khaki shorts or jeans reviewed maps and lists of names and addresses as they prepared to head to the surrounding neighborhoods.

"We're in a tight fight," Kaine told the more than 80 volunteers. "We have to do extremely well in Northern Virginia." He added, "Let's put a flag right here."

The two events illustrate a challenge for Kaine and Kilgore: How much to run as a "ticket" in an election that is really three separate races.

Unlike the president and vice president, who are elected together, the candidates for Virginia's top offices are elected independently. That can -- and often has -- resulted in a governor of one party and a lieutenant governor or attorney general of the other major party.

But combining the resources of three campaigns often helps, especially when it comes time to turn out voters. And having candidates from different regions of the state can help build strength for everyone on the ticket. For the moment, both campaigns are embracing their running mates, who were nominated Tuesday in low-turnout primaries.

At the Williamsburg rally, Kaine said the combined political strength of the Democratic nominees would be a significant asset to the party as the campaign moves into high gear.

"What a great time to kick off this campaign as a ticket," he said. "We cannot let a ticket of progress be defeated by a ticket that wants to tear down what we have accomplished."

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