- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 24, 2005

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore says Democratic candidate Timothy M. Kaine is making fun of his rich drawl in a radio ad running across Virginia.

Mr. Kaine, who is lieutenant governor, notes in the ad that Mr. Kilgore, the former attorney general, did not use his own voice on his own ad.

“If I have something to say, I’m not afraid to say it myself,” Mr. Kaine says in the ad. “But Jerry Kilgore has been making things up about me and letting slick radio announcers do his dirty work.”

The Kilgore campaign said they think the ad is a veiled reference to the Gate City, Va., native’s accent.

Mr. Kaine “implicitly denigrates the way millions of Virginians talk,” said Kilgore spokesman Tim Murtaugh.

“The message is clear: If you have an accent of any kind, Tim Kaine will make fun of you,” Mr. Murtaugh said.

But Kaine spokeswoman Delacey Skinner said the ads are “absolutely not” targeting Mr. Kilgore’s accent.

“The point is that Jerry Kilgore isn’t speaking for himself,” she said. “What real leaders do is speak for themselves.”

Mr. Kilgore often pokes fun at his accent — at an event Wednesday in southeast Virginia, he said he was glad he didn’t have to bring a translator with him.

Miss Skinner said Mr. Kilgore is the only candidate in the race who has made fun of someone’s accent — “his own.”

• Hip-hop power

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons joined Maryland’s Republican governor and lieutenant governor Thursday to teach students at Morgan State University how to make — and hopefully keep — more money.

“The last step in the civil rights movement is financial empowerment, to wrap your hands around some money,” said Mr. Simmons, who was joined by his brother, Joseph Simmons, also known as Reverend Run of Run-DMC; rappers Doug E. Fresh, Mike Jones and Bossman; and music executives Tony Austin and Kevin Liles. “The hip-hop community is helping the young people take a step forward.”

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele said because rappers were “generating an enormous amount of wealth within the community” they had the opportunity to be models for young people trying to manage their own money.

While a loud, rhythmic drum and sample beat rang out in an auditorium on the Morgan State campus in Baltimore, the crowd cheered and danced as the politicians, rappers and music executives were introduced for a panel discussion about financial management. After the music died down, the word “responsibility” was echoed by many of those on the stage.

“What happens later on in life is determined by decisions made at this point,” said Kweisi Mfume, the former president of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2006. “The key is to make the right decision now.”

Although he campaigned against Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Mr. Steele in the 2002 governor’s race, Mr. Simmons praised the administration for the work it has done with minority businesses.

Before the panel began, Mr. Steele, who is seriously considering a run for Senate himself, was asked by a reporter how “Senator Steele” sounded.

The lieutenant governor just smiled.

• Shad support

Virginia Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. is getting support from some unlikely places in his gubernatorial bid.

At the 57th annual Shad Planking political event last week in Wakefield, some Virginians said they want Mr. Potts, Winchester Republican, to appear on the ballot as an independent. Many state Republicans have denounced Mr. Potts and called for him to leave the party.

Former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee running in the June 14 primary, has also criticized Mr. Potts for running as an independent.

Shad attendee Joe Leming — who was wearing a Kilgore sticker — was overheard telling Mr. Potts that he supports the senator’s candidacy.

“I’m real proud of you,” Mr. Leming told Mr. Potts. “I’ll send you some money.”

Several other attendees wearing Kilgore stickers signed petitions to get Mr. Potts on the ballot.

Politicians poked fun at potential presidential ambitions at the planking.

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner has been mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential contender in 2008. Former Virginia Gov. George Allen, who is now a U.S. senator, has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate.

Shad attendees had some fun with the possibilities last week.

When Mr. Kilgore took the stage, he said next year’s Shad Planking could be a spectacle.

“Virginia is going to get a lot of attention,” he said. “With two candidates for president from Virginia, CSPAN, Fox News, CNN may all be at the Shad Planking next year. … If the Shad Planking goes national, I can assure you Iowa’s days and New Hampshire’s days are numbered.”

Mr. Kilgore also compared Mr. Warner to 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, and said he was sad the governor couldn’t be there on such a beautiful day.

“I hear he’s windsurfing off the coast of Massachusetts with Sen. John Kerry,” Mr. Kilgore said.

• Artistic license

The recently defeated mayor of Williamsport, Md., is claiming personal ownership of artwork valued at thousands of dollars that has been on public display for more than a decade.

John W. Slayman says three prints of a painting of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee crossing the Potomac River at Williamsport were given to him, not the town, in 1993.

A brass plaque on the frame of each picture states otherwise: “Presented to the Town of Williamsport, Md., by John P. Strain,” the artist.

Mr. Strain, of Fort Worth, Texas, told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail that he gave one of the prints — technically “artist proofs” — to Mr. Slayman to thank him for supporting the release of a series of “Williamsport Crossing” prints. Mr. Strain said he gave the others to the town of 1,900 for public display. They were hung at Town Hall and the Williamsport Memorial Library.

But Mr. Slayman, who was defeated March 7 after more than 16 years in office, contends all three pictures were given to him by a gallery owner in return for him issuing an official press release publicizing the print series.

“I wanted all three pictures because I have three kids,” Mr. Slayman told the Herald-Mail. “I wanted it to be a family thing.”

After his defeat by James G. McCleaf II, Mr. Slayman had a town employee remove the picture from Town Hall and take it to Mr. Slayman’s house, the newspaper reported.

Mr. McCleaf said he stopped the worker from removing the print from the library.

The local library board is set to discuss Mr. Slayman’s claim to that painting tomorrow night.

• More legal trouble

Former Virginia state Delegate William P. Robinson Jr. of Norfolk has been reprimanded again for violating the Virginia State Bar’s rules of professional conduct.

A panel of three state judges found last that Mr. Robinson, 62, failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness when he did not file notices of appeal on time in two cases in 2001 and 2002.

Mr. Robinson has had his law license suspended for a month, served one day in jail, paid fines and performed community service for other violations.

And he had another date in Norfolk Circuit Court last week to defend himself against further charges filed by the state bar that he has disrupted judicial proceedings and engaged in conduct “involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

A Democrat, Mr. Robinson served 20 years in the House of Delegates before being defeated for re-election in 2001.

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.



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