Virginia's Status for 2005
by Jerome Armstrong, Wed Dec 29, 2004 at 01:16:15 PM EST
Grover Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, said that Ball lost because he wasn't anti-tax enough. After the race, Norquist issued a news release accusing Ball of having run as a pro-tax Republican. "Ball refused to make the race a referendum on taxes by signing the Taxpayers Protection Pledge," Norquist said.Norquist was pretty upset about losing this special election, especially given how Warner and the Virginia Democrats have been able to defeat the GOP since 2001 by framing the tax increases of Virginia in terms of fiscal and social responsibility, and they are more than worried about facing the Democratic Lt Gov Tim Kaine in 2005, and what another Governor victory would mean for Virginia Democrats (and Warner) going forward.
When he was 14 years old, Norquist says, he thought about the value of branding the Republican Party with a simple message: No new taxes. Sixteen years later, as head of a new group called Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist created the Taxpayer Protection Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers ... that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." Period.
Now, 210 House members, 37 senators, 1,200 state legislators and seven governors have signed The Pledge, which is seen by some as powerful politics and by others as a campaign stunt that ties lawmakers' hands.That Warner has figured out how to beat Republicans in Virginia over the issue of taxes (the GOP's signature brand), means that chatter (Will Virginia governor be Dems' Person of Year in 2008?) about Warner's chances for the WH are inevitable. For now, Warner's right to be focused on 2005, as that's the prize that's going to raise his chances. As for the Governor election between Lt. Gov Kaine (D) and AG Jerry Kilgore, it's taxes and gay marriage again for the GOP. They tried to tar Kaine on them in 2001 (1, 2, 3) as well as against Warner:On the radio ad, which is aimed primarily at Warner, a man and woman talk about the Democratic candidates' views on the death penalty, abortion, gun control, welfare legislation, and same-sex marriage.
"One of [them] wants to legalize gay marriage in Virginia," the man says.
"Wait," the woman replies. "Gay marriage in Virginia?"
"Oh, you haven't heard the worst of it," the man adds. "Mark Warner opposed welfare reform and he opposed the abolition of parole for violent felons."Nevertheless, Kilgore is at it again:Kaine and Kilgore also sparred in a bitter set of social-issue exchanges 11 months before the Nov. 8 election decides their well-funded campaigns for governor. The attorney general amplified his charge that Kaine is "John Kerry with a Richmond address" and would be too liberal for Virginia on the social issues of gay rights and capital punishment.
"Virginia voters will learn that he was an ACLU lawyer," Kilgore said in a preview of his campaign attacks. "They will learn that he not only opposes the death penalty but he has actually represented death row inmates, those who escaped from prison. They'll learn that he ... opposed our efforts to end the barbaric practice known as partial-birth abortion, and they'll learn that he supported even higher tax increases than the governor and the General Assembly imposed."Engineering social division and starving societal services, it's all the Republicans got. Here's an early video pitch by Kaine for the netroots. I've not seen polls done to date. Kaine is going to be tough to defeat though, especially given he's strong in the Richmond area, and Warner's popularity is high.
Update: I do have some poll numbers, thanks to an emailer.
Richmond Times-Dispatch/NBC 12 12/01/04: