Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
George Allen, Tim Kaine launch new ads
Both candidates in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race are out with new TV ads today.
Republican George Allen’s ad, his first in several weeks, asks whether America will “continue to decline, or begin to ascend again.”
It hits Allen’s main campaign talking points of the economy, government regulation, energy and defense cuts, which the campaign says are outlined in more detail on his website.
“I envision a better future, where job creators are able to invest and grow, free of excessive regulations and taxes,” Allen says in the ad. “Where we use America’s energy resources to improve our quality of life, college is accessible and affordable, and we stop the devastating defense cuts.”
Allen’s ad does not mention rival Democrat Tim Kaine. You can see the Allen ad here.
In response, Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said the Allen ad “ignores his decades-long record of fiscal recklessness and instead relies on vague platitudes as he questions our country’s future.”
“George Allen’s ad is a drastic departure from his decades-long record in politics and his re-election campaign proposals. George Allen had the opportunity to address these issues the last time he served in the Senate. Instead, Virginians got a fiscal mess and an economic recession that we’re still recovering from,” Hoffine said. “We’ll leave it to George Allen to question whether our nation is in decline but Tim Kaine has always believed our best days are ahead and that by working together we can tackle tomorrow’s challenges. That’s what he did as governor when he led Virginia through the worst recession in 70 years by working across the aisle to cut spending and attract new businesses to the commonwealth, and that’s what he’ll do as senator.”
Kaine has been running ads in recent weeks focused solely on his own record (he and Allen are both past governors, and Allen was Senator for one term).
But in his own new ad, he directly addresses Allen with a comparison of their respective records in public office.
“As governor, I cut five billion in spending, balanced the budget, and cut my own pay,” Kaine says in the ad. “George Allen increased spending 45 percent as governor, helped turn a record surplus into a massive deficit as a senator, voted 4 times to raise the debt ceiling, and voted 4 times to raise his own pay. Now that’s a real difference.”
See Kaine’s ad here.
Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis said Kaine is selling “a fake ‘fiscal responsibility’ record with the hope that Virginians won’t know a scam when they see it.”
“The truth is that George Allen cut his pay by 10 percent all four years as Governor, while Tim Kaine waited well into his second year to cut his pay by only 5 percent,” Davis said. “Tim Kaine pats himself on the back for following the Virginia Constitution’s requirement of balanced budget while he traveled the country as the Democratic national party chairman, championing policies that led to federal deficits eight times higher than when George Allen left the Senate. George Allen cut the size of the Virginia government by 9 percent while adding 300,000 net new private sector jobs. Tim Kaine made what he called ‘significant cuts’ to higher education and tried to raise taxes by $4 Billion, all while Virginia lost 100,000 private sector jobs. Virginians are looking for real leadership based on a proven record of creating jobs, not another Washington political salesman who plays loose with the facts”
The Allen campaign said they’ve bought almost $2 million in TV ad time for September and reserved $3 million for October, and might spend more.
The Kaine campaign has already paid for $4.5 million in TV air time through Election Day, and campaign officials said they might augment that if needed.
Kaine’s campaign has talked up the positive slant of their previous three ads, all of which focus on Kaine’s own record.
In a lengthy conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Kaine campaign advisor Mo Elleithee and media consultant David Eichenbaum said they believe their new “contrast” ad on the two candidates’ records is fair.
Even contrast ads, Eichenbaum said, should be simple, straightforward and respectful.
“We believe voters will see it as fair,” Eichenbaum said. “Particularly in this environment, tone is really important. We have striven here to be very mindful of that.”