- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Timothy M. Kaine is getting help from a host of national Democrats in his quest for the governor’s mansion, but so far has said “no thanks” to failed presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, will appear in Arlington as a special guest at a fundraiser next month. Democratic Caucus Chairman Delegate Brian J. Moran, a longtime Kerry supporter, invited the senator to help raise money for Democratic House incumbents and candidates.

Mr. Moran said he was not planning on inviting Mr. Kaine to the event, which is intended to generate excitement among Democrats in Northern Virginia. It will not raise any money for the statewide races.

“I’m doing everything I can to elect more Democrats to the House of Delegates,” said Mr. Moran, Alexandria Democrat. “I’m optimistic about picking up seats this November.”

Mr. Moran also hosted a fundraiser for House Democrats with Gov. Mark Warner and one with former presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark.

Kaine campaign spokeswoman Delacey Skinner said the campaign is not planning any events with Mr. Kerry. She added that Mr. Kaine doesn’t want to take any attention or cash away from House Democrats and Democratic candidates.

“I don’t know of any plans for him to come in and do any events for us,” Miss Skinner said.

“Kerry” is a four-letter word for many in Virginia, a state President Bush won by 9 percentage points last year. Mr. Kerry beat Mr. Bush in several parts of Northern Virginia, however. Republicans often try to evoke the liberal Democrat when criticizing Mr. Kaine, the state’s lieutenant governor.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Jerry W. Kilgore has called Mr. Kaine “John Kerry with a Richmond address.”

He also made fun of the formation of Sportsmen for Kaine, saying it was like “John Kerry without the goose,” a reference to Mr. Kerry’s embarrassing goose-hunting moment that was widely criticized late in last year’s campaign.

A Republican strategist yesterday commented, “It would probably be more helpful for Jerry Kilgore if John Kerry is coming into Virginia.”

But if the Kaine campaign has not embraced Democrats like Mr. Kerry or Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, it is getting help from other party stars.

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Mr. Kerry’s running mate, appeared earlier this month with Mr. Kaine, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, at a school in Charlottesville.

The Republican Party of Virginia sent an e-mail that day criticizing Mr. Edwards, calling him the “fourth-most liberal” lawmaker in the U.S. Senate and saying he and Mr. Kaine are “political soulmates.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, also attended a campaign appearance with Mr. Kaine at a school near Richmond. Mr. Lieberman, the 2000 vice-presidential candidate and who sought the party presidential nomination in 2004, was the guest of a private fundraiser later that day.

Mr. Warner, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second term, will headline a fundraiser for Mr. Kaine tonight in Richmond. A previous fundraiser with the Democratic governor yielded more than $1 million for Mr. Kaine.

Sen. Barack Obama, considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, appeared at a $35 per ticket fundraiser for Mr. Kaine in July. The Illinois Democrat donated $10,000 to Mr. Kaine that night, which raised $50,000 total.

Mr. Kerry over the summer sent his Virginia supporters an e-mail criticizing Mr. Kilgore and Mr. Bush. It solicited donations to the Kaine campaign.

Mr. Kilgore, the former attorney general, is also getting outside help.

This summer, Mr. Bush appeared at a private fundraising dinner for Mr. Kilgore that raised more than $2 million.

The Republican Governors Association ran ads this spring for Mr. Kilgore that called Mr. Kaine a liberal and showed alternating images of Mr. Kaine and Mr. Kerry.

The Republican National Committee over the weekend organized a massive phone bank in support of Mr. Kilgore and the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey. Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states with governor’s races this year.

The RNC had 7,000 supporters in more than 20 states call tens of thousands of Virginians who were not as likely to vote in the Nov. 8 election to tell them about Mr. Kilgore.

“There’s no secret that both sides are taking this race very seriously,” said Mike Duhaime with the RNC.

The RNC also has been phoning some Virginia voters to tell them they may not be registered to vote. State Democrats cried foul yesterday, saying they worry the calls will flood local registrars with new registration requests.

National dollars are pouring into both campaigns.

Independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr., a Republican state senator from Winchester, has said that he thinks national politicians will have no influence on the outcome of the race.

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