Virginia voters will have a David-vs.-Goliath choice June 14 between two Republicans vying for the party's nomination for governor: Warrenton Mayor George B. Fitch and former attorney general Jerry W. Kilgore.
Both men say they want to be Virginia's 70th governor. That's where the similarity ends.
Kilgore is the choice of the GOP establishment, most of which has flocked to him as if Fitch didn't exist. A cabinet member in the administration of former governor George Allen, Kilgore has been openly seeking the state's top job for several years.
As of April, Kilgore had raised more than $7 million. He has begun running television and radio ads across the state, most of them focused on himself and the Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. His campaign finance report listed more than 10,000 contributions.
Fitch, the mayor of a town of fewer than 7,000 people, has drawn Republicans' ire for forcing a primary contest. Fitch is the founder of the improbable Jamaican bobsled team of the 1988 Winter Olympics, which captured Americans' attention (and became the subject of a Disney movie, "Cool Runnings").
Fitch's campaign had raised about $150,000 by April and listed 78 contributions.
Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, said Fitch's lack of resources and the GOP's support for Kilgore have made it a lopsided contest.
"Whether or not Kilgore is the best candidate, the Republican establishment is firmly behind him, and his opponent has not made a dent," Rozell said.
In the two months since both men filed their petitions to become candidates, the campaigning for the June 14 primary has been decidedly one-way.
Kilgore has largely ignored Fitch and his shoestring campaign. The Kilgore camp does not issue press releases about him. The pair have never debated and are rarely sighted together. When asked about Fitch, the Kilgore campaign answers, "We are focused on our opponent in this race, Tim Kaine."
Fitch, on the other hand, regularly criticizes Kilgore and the Republican establishment in press releases and speeches. He has assailed the national and state GOP for taking Kilgore's side in the primary.
"If the party bosses succeed, then Republicans in Virginia will have to accept an entitlement program and not competition of ideas," Fitch said in a statement.
Fitch presents himself as the "true conservative" in the race and criticizes Kilgore's plan for regional transportation authorities as "another layer of taxation authority" that is "too dangerous and is not necessary." He promises to reduce spending by slashing programs that are "no longer relevant or serve a pressing public need."
Kilgore has spent 10 weeks detailing his campaign proposals, which include the regional transportation authorities, a 5 percent cap on home assessment increases, requiring referendums for statewide tax increases and providing better pay and training for teachers.
Both candidates have been traveling across the state. Kilgore was in Virginia Beach, Vienna and Falls Church over the Memorial Day weekend. Fitch has courted voters at a busy Northern Virginia interchange and shaken hands at the Newport News shipyards.