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Va. Sen. Kaine’s first TV ads focus on economic record amid attacks from Republican Stewart

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) will air his re-election campaign’s first television ad Monday in the southeastern portions of the state, focusing on an economic record that has been the subject of attacks from his Republican opponent, Corey A. Stewart.

The ad, titled “Skills”, shows Kaine talking about how he learned how to weld at his father’s Kansas City-area iron working shop, followed by footage of the senator as a young missionary worker in Honduras helping children there learn carpentry and welding skills.

Highlighting the importance of shipbuilding to Virginia’s economy, the ad also mentions six career and technical academies opened in 2007, when Kaine was Virginia’s governor, and a federal law he co-sponsored in 2015 that expanded youth job training programs around the country.

It kicks off a series of campaign stops this week that will also focus on the economy, including an employee town hall planned for Wednesday at the Anheuser-Bush InBev brewing facility in Williamsburg, Kaine’s campaign said.

“Our economy works best when everyone has a skill,” Kaine says in the ad.

The television ad will air in areas of the state that include Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke, predominantly Democratic islands surrounded by heavily Republican suburbs where Kaine hopes to siphon away support from Stewart.

Its $158,000 cost is more than what Stewart’s campaign currently has available to spend in total, roughly $143,000, showing the formidable re-election campaign mounted by Kaine that so far has dwarfed his opponent’s in a year when Democrats hope to ride anti-President Trump sentiments to gain ground in Congress.

Kaine’s campaign, which has raised $18.2 million so far, says it intends to spend at least another $5 million in additional TV ads through the summer and fall. Stewart’s campaign, which has raised $1.1 million, has relied on ads on Facebook and You Tube.

In those online ads, Stewart has attacked Kaine, as “weak” on the economy, blaming the first-term senator for accelerating the loss of manufacturing jobs in the southwest portions of the state by supporting bad international trade policies.

That strategy recently backfired after Stewart highlighted the southwestern city of Danville as an example of the dystopian problems caused by those policies, prompting local leaders from both parties to criticize the chair of Prince William County’s board of supervisors for ignoring recent improvements to the city’s downtown area.