- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2001

The Virginia Democratic Partys new ticket may be at odds on issues like the death penalty, but the three nominees yesterday said they share a common vision: building a stronger government that protects people.
With Tuesdays statewide primary behind them, gubernatorial candidate Mark R. Warner, lieutenant governor nominee Timothy M. Kaine and attorney general nominee A. Donald McEachin vowed to keep the party unified despite their differences of opinion.
"There will be issues we disagree on, but on the issues Virginians care the most we are united," Mr. Warner said yesterday at a news conference in Richmond.
For example, Mr. Warner differs with Mr. Kaine and Mr. McEachin on the death penalty. Mr. Warner supports capital punishment, and the other nominees favor a moratorium on the death penalty.
The nominees also split on gun control. Mr. Warner believes the states existing laws are sufficient if aggressively enforced. Mr. McEachin favors new, more restrictive gun-control laws, and Mr. McEachin supports requiring that guns be sold with childproof safety locks.
Mr. McEachin, a lawyer and a state delegate from suburban Henrico County, said sharing similar views can lead to "train wrecks," referring to the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which failed to pass a state budget this year.
"When you have rigid thinking, you end up dealing with train wrecks, like not being able to put together a budget," Mr. McEachin said yesterday in a telephone interview with The Washington Times.
"Were a big party, so were going to have times when we have different views," he said. "But our ability to reach across philosophical lines and work together makes us a stronger government."
After their wins in the primary, which had the lowest voter turnout on record, all three nominees officially began their campaigns for their respective offices.
Mr. Kaine, in his first statewide race, won 40 percent of the primary vote, according to official numbers released yesterday. He beat two veteran legislators — Delegates Jerrauld Jones of Norfolk and Alan Diamonstein of Newport News.
Mr. McEachin won with 33 percent of the primary vote. He defeated Delegate Whittington W. Clement of Danville, state Sen. John S. Edwards of Roanoke and lawyer Sylvia L. Clute of Richmond.
If elected, Mr. McEachin would be the states first black attorney general and the second black to win a statewide election. The first, L. Douglas Wilder, was lieutenant governor from 1986 to 1990 and governor from 1990 to 1994.
Throughout his campaign, Mr. Kaine, 43, vowed to use his skills as a "consensus builder" if elected lieutenant governor.
"The Democrats were tired of a decade of losses and they wanted to win, and my message of pulling together under tough circumstances was what they wanted to hear," Mr. Kaine said.
In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Kaine said Richmond had accomplished much during his term in office. He prioritized the city budget and, without raising taxes, increased funding for public education by 30 percent.
The extra funds allowed the city to build a middle school and three elementary schools.
Mr. Kaine also takes credit for introducing Project Exile, a program that cracks down on criminals who use illegal weapons.
Mr. Kaine cited education as his top priority, saying he wants to focus on improving student test scores, building more schools and pushing for smaller class sizes. "I want to make sure that all children get the quality education they need to succeed in the future," he said.
Mr. McEachin, 39, has vowed to protect all residents from the federal government and health insurance companies. During his tenure as a state delegate, he sponsored a bill holding health maintenance organizations liable for death or injury when the HMOs had denied treatment.
"My office would be like a watchdog, where rights of every citizen are protected against the backdrop of a federal government that may be hostile to some of those interests."
* This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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