Friday, September 09, 2005

Tim Russert to Moderate Kaine-Kilgore Debate

This coming Tuesday, the lieutenant governor of Virginia will debate former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore at a luncheon sponsored by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.

Billed as the first televised real debate by the two major candidates for office, mega-star from NBC Tim Russert will moderate.

Although third-party candidate Republican State Sen. Ross Potts of Winchester was not invited to the bash, Kaine has agreed to debate Potts after the luncheon at Tyson’s Corner Marriott; it will be closed to the public, however, with only media in attendance.

Locked-out Potts decries the label of spoiler candidate, yet wistfully notes on his Web site that he “may be the most influential of all in determining the outcome of the race on Nov. 8,” claiming he takes two Kilgore votes for every one from Kaine in the crimson state of Virginia.

A partisan Pac, Raising Kaine, began calling the Republican candidate "Jerry 'the duck' Kilgore" for previously ducking debates; and with Potts potential to siphon more votes from Kilgore, they claim the "trust the people candidate" doesn't trust people enough to allow Potts to have a voice.

If Potts is right about demographics of his support base and can garner 10 percent or more of total votes, he could swing the election in Kaine's favor.

Potts says he is running because he is hopping mad with the right-wing faction of his party; and their occult-like focus with “wedge issues” such as “God, guns, gays and immigrants.

Having a tough opponent during last year's primary certainly didn’t help Richmond party bosses endear themselves to him.

Why hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, or like a long-standing member of a political party who is nearly run out of office by his own fraternity.

Delicious suspense overflows in the Commonwealth.

Former Republican Gov. Linwood Holton happens to be the father-in-law to the Democratic nominee; and enough party moderates may vote for Kaine in equal numbers as they did for Warner's winning campaign.

With Gov. Mark Warner’s high approval numbers but term-limited, his rumored candidacy for the White House in ’08 would greatly be strengthened with a Kaine victory in November.

On the other side of the political aisle, another potential presidential candidate, Virginia’s junior senator George Allen would like nothing better than to have the governorship from his home state in safe Republican hands. But last year's primary opposition to Potts could cost Republicans the governor's mansion in Richmond.

Kilgore has tried to make Kaine's religious opposition to the death penalty a campaign issue. Kaine is a devout Catholic who morally opposes both the death penalty and abortion.

It is hardly surprising for Kaine to personally oppose capital punishment. Pope John Paul II as well as a majority of Catholics has opposed the ultimate sentence. As governor, Kaine pledges to uphold the laws of Virginia.

Kaine's deep roots in Catholicism are evident by works. After finishing law school at the age of 24, he took a year off from career decisions and traveled to El Progreso, Honduras as a Catholic missionary.

Kilgore has made a vital tenet of his campaign for governor the misguided promise to eliminate the "trigger man" rule. If elected, the former prosecutor says he will allow "prosecutors to seek the death penalty" not only for the person who pulls the trigger, but accomplices as well.

Local Channel 8 in Arlington will air the debate. Panelists Bruce DePuyt of News Channel 8, Peggy Fox of WUSA TV and Mike Moss of WTOP Radio will provide the questions.

Debate begins after a sold-out luncheon at 1:00 p.m. The more modest affair between Kaine and Potts at the Marriott begins at 3:00 p.m.

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