- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Jerry W. Kilgore, who raised $2.1 million at a recent fundraiser headlining President Bush, is using video footage from the event on his Web site to raise even more cash for the November election.

“I strongly endorse the candidacy of Jerry Kilgore because he is a down-to-earth fellow, who holds dear the values of Virginia,” Mr. Bush said at the July 21 fundraiser, as shown on the video. “He’s not going to change his values when he gets to be your governor. He will hold them close to his heart.”

Mr. Bush appeared at the private dinner hosted by real estate developer Dwight Schar of McLean. About 100 attended, each donating between $15,000 and $100,000.

The Web site, www.jerrykilgore.com, features the video of the remarks Mr. Bush made before dinner and footage of Mr. Bush walking with Mr. Kilgore.

The site also solicits donations with the message, “President Bush supports Jerry Kilgore, show your support today, click here!”

Kilgore spokesman Tim Murtaugh would not reveal if the campaign was planning to use the video in a television ad, but noted he thinks the money raised makes it the most successful gubernatorial fundraiser in Virginia history.

“Anytime you can count the leader of the free world on your side, that’s pretty good,” Mr. Murtaugh said. “It was a big help, and we were very happy.”

Mr. Kilgore’s main challenger, Democratic candidate Timothy M. Kaine, has the support of Gov. Mark Warner, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry.

“It’s clear that Jerry Kilgore has the full support of Karl Rove, George Bush and the White House, but we have the enthusiastic backing of Gov. Mark Warner,” said Mr. Kaine’s spokesman Jeff Kraus. “We would never trade places.”

Mr. Kraus said Mr. Warner would be a “significant part” of the campaign, which has entered its final 100 days. Polls show Mr. Kaine, the lieutenant governor, and Mr. Kilgore, the former attorney general, in a dead heat.

Mr. Warner, a Democrat limited by the state constitution to one term, helped raise more than $1 million for Mr. Kaine at a fundraiser earlier this year and has said he will be campaigning for Mr. Kaine over the summer.

Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, last month sent his Virginia supporters an e-mail soliciting donations to the Kaine campaign on the same day as the Bush fundraiser. Mr. Bush beat Mr. Kerry by nine percentage points in Virginia in November.

Mr. Obama headlined a $35-per-ticket event for Mr. Kaine that drew 1,200 guests. He donated $10,000 to the campaign, bringing the fundraising total for the event to $50,000.

Independent gubernatorial candidate state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. has said he thinks national politicians will have no influence on the race’s outcome.

So far, Mr. Kaine has raised $11.1 million and Mr. Kilgore has raised $10.8 million. Mr. Potts, Winchester Republican, has raised $462,282.

Meanwhile, the Kilgore campaign accidentally sent out some internal communications to reporters yesterday.

Mr. Murtaugh forwarded reporters via e-mail an article about Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder that was published in the New Republic magazine. Mr. Kaine served as the city’s mayor before he was elected to statewide office in 2001. Mr. Wilder was elected mayor last November.

“For too many years, this city has been satisfied with stultified mediocrity, I’m not satisfied with mediocrity,” the magazine quotes Mr. Wilder as saying.

Attached to the bottom of that e-mail was a note Mr. Kilgore’s spokesman, Tucker Martin, sent to Mr. Kilgore’s Blackberry and his response to it.

Mr. Martin forwarded a paragraph from the article to Mr. Kilgore and several campaign operatives, including Mr. Murtaugh.

Mr. Martin quotes Mr. Wilder from the article, then suggested a talking point: “Mr. Kaine, you were ranked a mediocre mayor, and frankly, Virginia deserves a lot better than mediocre.”

Mr. Kilgore responded, “How about sending this to press?? Get others to ask, what was Kaine’s role?? This could get us on offense … .”

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