The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Kilgore campaign leaks Potts' Plans

He'll be running as an independent.
The announcement today that Russ Potts (I-Winchester) will run for Governor as an Independent can only be seen as a tremendous setback for the Kaine for Governor campaign. Now, the High Tax/Big Government Spending lobby has two liberal candidates to choose from in the race for Governor. What we have here today is not a split within the Republican Party, but rather a colossal fissure among the High Tax/Big Government Spending coalition.

Russ Potts will only take votes away from Tim Kaine's base of supporters who believe a $1.4 billion tax increase and a $1.5 billion budget surplus is not enough for their big government appetite.

There are now two liberal candidates for Governor who are equally committed to raising taxes next year and only one candidate who is not only against further tax increases, but also is in favor of tax relief. The Kilgore for Governor campaign has two advantages: first, a majority of the voters agree with Jerry that we do not need to raise taxes, and second, the minority supporting tax increases have two candidates to split their votes between.

Russ Potts's candidacy poses additional electoral math problems for Tim Kaine. First and foremost, he will run lockstep with Tim Kaine on the issue of abortion and will be appealing to those liberal activists who support abortion on demand and feel like Tim Kaine has taken their support of his candidacy for granted. Russ Potts' strong ties to the leadership of the teachers' union and the Virginia Chapter of the AFL-CIO will more than certainly draw votes away from Tim Kaine.
Other people have pointed out that Potts will do the deed as an independent (here and here).

We'll have details as soon as Potts makes it official tomorrow.


Anonymous Cold Harbor said...

In terms of ultimate effect, I hope you're right, but I suspect your analysis is heavily weighted with wishful thinking. Kilgore may well need every last Republican in Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads area. A lot of us, however conservative we think we are, are of a view that shallow sloganeering on taxes won't be enough to effectively deal with economy-threatening shortfalls in transportation infrastructure in these heavily populated areas. We still don't know where Kilgore will come out on these issues, but just pandering to the no-tax line is going to cost him Republican votes among Republican to whom the Party means more than lying down on the tracks in front of any tax issue. Kaine is not going to lose Democratic votes to Potts around the narthern counties. Let's see how this works, but I think you're being a bit simplistic about this.

8:42 PM

Blogger John K. said...

Cold Harbor makes an excellent point about Potts' dilution of Republican voting. I'd like to point out, however, that "no-tax" and "low-tax" are not synonymous. Some Conservatives figure Virginians pay enough in taxes already. At the very least, a little spending restraint is in order. But, that isn't the same thing as a "no-tax" platform.

8:53 PM

Anonymous Cold Harbor said...

John: Fair point. I'm guilty (in this instance only, I hope) of being sloppy with labels. "No tax" is an oversimplification that I should avoid. I guess I was really referring to whatever philosophy lurks under the "No New Taxes" label. But to return to Addison's post, I don't see Potts chewing into Kaine's base. I do see a situation made very complex for Kilgore. A lot of Republicans in a state as conservative as Virginia just run hard and without nuance to the right. Often it's enough because even the so-called "moderate" R's don't cotton to the fuzziness of the left. But if there's a choice toward the middle, Kilgore can't pander to the Right. He'll actually have to get beyond the buzzwords. Then watch the folks on the Right howl. They like being pandered to and are unforgiving when it doesn't happen. Moreover, if Potts jumped in as a Republican, Kilgore could put him away in the Primary. He now has to shake off Fitch in the primary without disaffecting the moderate Republicans who might bolt in November. I'd say that Kilgore's Spin Team did the best they could yesterday with an extremely threatening development(after all, even Addison bought it), but do not see how Potts as an Independent hurts anyone but the Republican candidate. I'd love to be wrong on this, but sure don't see it.

8:30 AM

Anonymous D Crandell said...

Don't fret too much about H Russell Potts pulling Republicans away from Kilgore, ... the only way Russ Potts won his primary against Mark Tate in 2003 was to openly campaign for Democrats' votes and seek endorsements from Democrats.

You are assuming that Russ Potts will pull votes from Kilgore only because you are assuming that he won't be a laughing stock and a pariah by the time most of the voters of the Commonwealth have been exposed to his blowhardiness and gas-bagginess like those of us in the NW corner of the state have, ....

It should say something about how unpopular this guy is with those who know him that the GA member who came out strongest and first against Potts was the otherwise milqutoast Joe May whose whole delegate district is within Potts' senate district.

It is now February; Potts will have made himself irrelevant by April.

10:35 AM

Anonymous Moderate Boy said...

It is wishful thinking by the Kilgore camp to think Potts' candidacy will take votes from Kaine. Kilgore's press release sounded a little more nervous than conservatives would admit. Dems in Virginia are united with Kaine far more than than Kilgore is wiht GOP right now. Just ask George Fitch, Kilgore's primary opponent. The GOP is split and when the party faithful say they are all supporting Kilgore, it's just B.S. Kilgore makes it through primary, but will have to spend some money. Moderate GOP's were already quietly lining up behind Kaine anyway, just like 2001 with Warner. They are still pissed with conservatives running in primaries against them in 03'.
Prediction: Kaine is the next Gov. of Va.

3:56 PM


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