- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2005

It’s official. Jerry W. Kilgore’s wife has joined his campaign to become Virginia governor.

Marty Kilgore stepped down from her job as executive at the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation last week to join her husband’s Republican gubernatorial bid.

“I felt it needed to be a family affair,” she said.

Mrs. Kilgore has campaigned for other family members, including her husband’s twin brother, Terry Kilgore, when he ran for commonwealth’s attorney and in his race for the House of Delegates.

Mrs. Kilgore, a former public school teacher, said she probably will be on the campaign trail separate from her husband and said she will likely speak about his education plan.

• All in the family II

Mary D. Kane, wife of the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, was appointed secretary of state last week by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Mrs. Kane replaces R. Karl Aumann, who was sworn in Tuesday as chairman of the Maryland Worker’s Compensation Commission. Mrs. Kane had been Mr. Aumann’s deputy.

Mrs. Kane is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg and received a law degree from Catholic University in Washington.

She is married to John Kane, who took over as chairman of the Republican Party after Michael S. Steele resigned to run for lieutenant governor in 2002.

The office of secretary of state traditionally has been filled by someone with strong political connections.

The office administers the state law regulating charities and handles extraditions, trademark registrations, notaries public and Maryland’s international agreements, including sister state relationships in other countries.

• Triple-header

Virginia’s three gubernatorial candidates may never share a debate stage before the Nov. 8 election, but they all will speak at the Virginia Association of Counties summer conference next week.

Jerry W. Kilgore, the Republican nominee, will speak at 1 p.m. Aug. 14, and independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr. will speak at 4 p.m. Democratic candidate Timothy M. Kaine will speak Aug. 15 at 9 a.m.

A question-and-answer session will follow each candidate’s remarks.

Mr. Kilgore, the former attorney general, and Mr. Kaine, the lieutenant governor, debated in July.

But Mr. Kilgore has said he refuses to debate Mr. Potts, a Republican state senator from Winchester.

Mr. Potts, who is trailing in the polls, has been lobbying to be included, but so far has been unsuccessful. Mr. Kilgore and Mr. Kaine are locked in a dead heat in the polls. The three candidates also appear side-by-side in video clips on the Web site manilasites.com/VFWVA/2005/08/01#a105.

• One more time

Baltimore State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy will seek re-election next year.

The 57-year-old Democrat made her announcement last week at her annual birthday fundraiser.

Miss Jessamy told supporters the announcement was designed to quell rumors, but stopped short of specifying what the talk was about.

“There have been all these rumors,” she said, stopping for a slight pause, “and I’m running for state’s attorney, all right.”

Miss Jessamy was rumored to be on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s shortlist of choices for lieutenant governor if Michael S. Steele runs for U.S. Senate next year.

There also has been speculation that Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan might ask her to be his running mate.

Mr. Duncan, a Democrat, is expected to run next year for governor. He was among the people at the $57-a-head barbecue.

Miss Jessamy joined the city prosecutor’s office in 1985 as a prosecutor. She succeeded Stuart O. Simms as state’s attorney when he resigned in 1995.

She ran unopposed in 1998 and, in 2002, won re-election in a three-way race with then-City Council member Lisa Joi Stancil and lawyer Anton J.S. Keating.

Mayor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, who is also expected to run for governor, was invited to the fundraiser, but was away on vacation, Miss Jessamy said.

• Gate City trouble

Charles Dougherty, mayor of Gate City, Va., faces 37 felony counts of voter fraud in a purported bid to win re-election by persuading people to illegally cast absentee ballots for him.

A Scott County grand jury indicted Mr. Dougherty last Monday, based on a state probe of charges that he duped voters into giving false reasons for voting by absentee ballot.

Each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“When you subject yourself to 370 years in prison for trying to become the mayor of a small town, you’re putting your liberties at risk when you do it,” said Joel Branscom, a special prosecutor appointed to handle the politically charged Scott County scandal.

The charges against Mr. Dougherty are the first to emerge from an investigation by Mr. Branscom and the state police into corruption in Gate City’s 2004 municipal elections.

The indictments charge Mr. Dougherty with 17 counts of making a false statement on an application for an absentee ballot, two counts of conspiracy and 18 counts of aiding and abetting the violation of Virginia’s absentee-voting process.

• One city, one vote

The National League of Cities is endorsing a plan to give the District a vote in Congress.

The league announced Wednesday that its board of directors voted unanimously to endorse a plan that would give the District a vote in the House of Representatives. Utah also would gain a House seat.

The District would have no representation in the Senate under the plan.

The measure was introduced by Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, the Virginia Republican who heads the House committee overseeing the District.

It would temporarily increase the number of seats in the House to 437 from 435 until the 2010 census, when congressional districts would be reapportioned back to 435, according to population.

By endorsing it, the NLC is asking its member cities to work with their congressional delegations to support it and to urge their senators to introduce a similar measure in the Senate.

• Business backing

The leaders of two major business groups last week praised Virginia Republican state Delegate Bob McDonnell’s record and said they would expect him to continue to promote a healthy business climate if he is elected attorney general.

A spokesman for Mr. McDonnell’s opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, a Democrat, countered that the Republican would be lax in investigating questionable business practices and championing consumer rights.

Mr. McDonnell appeared at a press conference with Gordon Dixon, director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and Brett Vassey, president of the Virginia Manufacturers Association.

Mr. Dixon said that in 14 years in the House of Delegates, Mr. McDonnell “has been a staunch defender” of small business, scoring 100 percent on the NFIB’s legislative report card six of the past eight years.

Mr. Vassey called Mr. McDonnell “outstanding on all business issues.” He specifically cited Mr. McDonnell’s efforts to protect Virginia’s product-liability laws and his support of broader use of depositions to hold down litigation costs.

Mr. McDonnell said attorneys general in some states have used their office “to attack business or extract money from business for some political goal.”

He said Mr. Deeds’ vow to crack down on price-gouging by drug companies showed the Democrat would take that activist approach, which Mr. McDonnell called inappropriate.

“I’m not going to be having a gaggle of investigators hanging around their door looking for mischief or accusing them of price-gouging, which is what he did in March, when there’s absolutely no evidence to support it,” Mr. McDonnell said.

Deeds campaign spokesman Peter Jackson said Mr. McDonnell’s remarks suggest he would look the other way on corporate wrongdoing.

“He says that he’s the pro-business candidate, but he’s also the anti-consumer candidate,” Mr. Jackson said. “From what we heard today, he has no plans to try and protect the consumers.”

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

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