George Allen and Timothy M. Kaine each unveiled new ads Monday morning, adding to the cluttered airwaves in Virginia’s down-to-the-wire U.S. Senate race.
As Kaine (D) and Allen (R) compete to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D), the two former governors appear to be emphasizing different messages down the home stretch. Allen’s new spot reiterates his long-standing attacks against Kaine for supporting the spending deal that could lead to massive defense cuts, while Kaine’s latest ad brings in some help from a prominent surrogate: Sen. Mark Warner (D).
Kaine’s spot shows Kaine and Warner walking toward each other on a sidewalk in front of the Capitol Building in Richmond, as Kaine talks about his record as governor.
“Mark Warner and I reached across party lines to get things done,” Kaine says.
Warner adds, “We were a great team in Richmond,” and then Kaine follows, “And we’ll be a great team in Washington.”
Kaine and Warner have done scores of events around the state since Kaine jumped into the Senate race. Kaine served as lieutenant governor when Warner was governor, and now Warner frequently jokes that he’s eager to have Kaine serve as the “junior Senator” beside him. Polls have shown Warner to be the most popular current officeholder in Virginia.
Warner says in the ad that both he and Kaine cut their own pay as governor, but Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis noted that both Allen and Warner cut a bigger percentage of their salaries than Kaine did.
“Before there was Mark Warner or Tim Kaine, there was George Allen who set the example for them as the first governor to cut his own pay by 10 percent,” Davis said, accusing Kaine of leaving the state in bad budgetary shape.
“Tim Kaine supported last year’s debt deal that will impose devastating defense cuts, threatening Virginia jobs,” says the ad’s narrator.
“George Allen opposed it. Kaine attacked him and insisted the deal was ‘the right thing to do.’ George Allen’s plan stops the defense cuts, creates jobs, and grows our economy.”
Kaine’s camp responded by criticizing Allen for opposing an increase in the debt ceiling last year, and by saying the Republican does not actually have a credible plan to avert the defense cuts or reduce the deficit.
“George Allen was willing to let our government default on its obligations rather than join his own party’s leaders in a compromise — a position that led to a downgrade of our nation’s credit rating,” said Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine. “So, it’s not surprising that the ideas he’s furthering make deep defense and domestic cuts more likely, not less.”