Gilmore Campaign Takes Its Fight to TV

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 8, 2008

RICHMOND, Sept. 7 -- Republican Senate candidate James S. Gilmore III is hitting the airwaves with his first televised campaign commercial as he tries to gain traction against Democratic opponent Mark R. Warner.

The ad, airing in Richmond and in other TV markets downstate but not in Northern Virginia, touts Gilmore's record as governor from 1998 to 2002 and seeks to link Warner to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, according to GOP officials. They plan to release the ad formally today, although it began airing over the weekend.

"This is our kickoff after Labor Day," said Ana Gamonal, a Gilmore spokeswoman. "We are going on the air to remind Virginia voters of former governor Gilmore's accomplishments and remind them he is the candidate that can be trusted to keep his word."

Gilmore's ad comes as his campaign is struggling to keep pace with that of Warner, also a former governor. As of June 30, Gilmore's campaign had $116,000 in the bank, compared with Warner's $5.1 million.

Gilmore's ad, which started airing Saturday, was paid for by the Virginia Republican Party, Gamonal said.

Democratic strategists, who first learned of Gilmore's media buy late last week, estimated the state GOP reserved $80,000 in airtime for the ad.

Gilmore's ad appears to have caught Warner's campaign off guard. Warner, who is expected to pick up an endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police today, ran his first TV ad in June. He launched a second ad in July, but his ads have been off the air since early August.

That will now probably change.

"Rest assured that the Warner campaign will respond to any attack on Governor Warner's record and results-orientated approach," said Kevin Hall, a Warner spokesman.

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