- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 5, 2005

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine has enlisted the help of former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

Mr. Daschle, the South Dakota Democrat who was defeated in November after 18 years in the Senate, is appealing to supporters in a message on Mr. Kaine’s Web site, where he criticizes a television advertisement that he says attacks Mr. Kaine.

The ad is paid for by the Republican Governors Association (RGA), which has endorsed former state Attorney Jerry W. Kilgore, a Republican, for governor. The ad, titled “Another One,” calls Mr. Kaine a “liberal” and criticizes the Democrat’s plan to offer homeowners tax relief.

Mr. Daschle compared the ad — produced by the same group that produced the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads against Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election — to the attacks on Sen. Max Cleland in 2002. Mr. Cleland, Georgia Democrat, was also defeated.

“These people are dangerous and must be stopped,” Mr. Daschle wrote in the message, which is posted at www.itstopsinvirginia.com/daschle.html. “This team of operatives wins races through character assassination — this is not how democracy is supposed to work.”

The ad says that when Mr. Kaine was mayor of Richmond, tax bills rose. Mr. Kaine voted repeatedly to decrease the property-tax rate, but because home assessments increased, property-tax bills increased.

“Only a real liberal would call that a cut,” the ad says. “So when Tim Kaine talks about cutting your taxes, you’d better hang onto your wallet.”

The ad shows alternating images of Mr. Kaine and Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, who lost to President Bush in November.

‘Club him’

Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer told the governor last week to hit his political foes “with a club” to get their support for long-stalled slots legislation.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, has to stop being a “nice guy” if he wants the Democrat-controlled legislature to go along with his top priority of legalizing slot-machine gambling at horse-racing tracks, Mr. Schaefer said.

Mr. Schaefer, a Democrat and former Maryland governor, said he knew how to deal with opponents such as House Speaker Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel Democrat who has thwarted the slots bill for three consecutive years.

“You got a guy that says he is not going to pass slots. I don’t know when he was elected governor. Nobody did that to me,” Mr. Schaefer said at a meeting of the Board of Public Works, which consists of the governor, comptroller and State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.

“You’re a nice guy,” the comptroller told Mr. Ehrlich. “You don’t like to blackmail anybody. You don’t like to hurt anybody. But I would bring [Mr. Busch] in and club him with a club.”

Mr. Ehrlich told one of his aides to make a note of the suggestion.

Mr. Busch did not return a call seeking comment.

Potts backs middle

Independent Virginia gubernatorial candidate H. Russell Potts Jr. on Friday endorsed centrist Republicans in the June 14 primary election.

Mr. Potts, a state senator from Winchester, still considers himself a Republican even though he is not running as one in the November election. But he said he has become disenchanted with the party, which he believes has moved too far to the right.

He endorsed Sean Connaughton, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, for lieutenant governor and Richmond lawyer Steve Baril for attorney general.

He also endorsed all of the incumbent Republicans facing primary challenges for their House of Delegates seats because they voted last year for a $1.38 billion tax increase.

Mr. Potts said the endorsements in the statewide races are to praise centrists.

He said lieutenant governor candidate Sen. William T. Bolling of Mechanicsville and attorney general candidate Delegate Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia Beach are “far-right” and “extremist.”

“Virginia is a moderate political state, not an archconservative, far-right state,” he said.

Mr. Potts also said he filed an absentee ballot last week, voting for Warrenton Mayor George B. Fitch over former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore for the gubernatorial nomination. Mr. Potts will face the winner of the Republican primary and Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, in the Nov. 8 election.

Endorsements

The Virginia Citizens Defense League’s (VCDL) political action committee has endorsed a host of political newcomers in their bids to unseat centrist Republican incumbents.

The gun-rights lobby’s PAC endorsed Chris Oprison over Delegate Joe T. May of Leesburg; Steve Chapman over Delegate Harry J. Parrish of Manassas and Chris Craddock over Delegate Gary A. Reese of Fairfax.

VCDL’s political action committee also endorsed Arthur Purves and Michael Golden, Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for two open House of Delegates seats in Fairfax County.

Developer develops

A Montgomery County developer on Friday said he is doing polling on whether to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Maryland in 2006.

Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat, is retiring and many have stepped up as potential candidates to replace him.

Josh Rales, appearing on WTOP Radio’s “The Politics Program” with Mark Plotkin, said Friday he is committed to spending $5 million of his own money if he decides to run. He pledged to serve no more than two terms if elected.

Mr. Rales, a Democrat who has been a Republican in the past, has never held elected office.

Griffin honored

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Kate Obenshain Griffin was honored last week with an award from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

The institute hosts the Conservative Leadership Seminar, which promotes the “up-and-coming” leaders of the conservative movement, according to organizers.

Mrs. Griffin, a stay-at-home mother of three children, was presented with the group’s annual Conservative Leadership Award. Past recipients include Laura Schlessinger, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.

Twin powers

Virginia Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine is taking a political swipe at his main gubernatorial opponent’s twin brother.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, last week endorsed Rex McCarty, a Democrat who is trying to unseat Delegate Terry Kilgore, Gate City Republican, in the November election.

Mr. Kaine is expected to face former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, Terry’s twin brother, in the November election.

Iffy on stadium

D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp says she could support a public financing plan for a baseball stadium.

“I am still waiting for some data and information on one other package to come before us to see exactly where I will be, and I, as always, will look at the issue and the one that is most cost-effective for the District of Columbia,” the at-large Democrat said last week.

Mrs. Cropp last year nearly derailed Major League Baseball’s return to Washington after a 33-year hiatus by demanding private funding for the stadium’s construction.

Last week, she said her intention all along had been “to reduce the risk and cost to the District.”

In an unrelated matter, Mrs. Cropp said she would announce by the end of the summer whether she will run for mayor and is not waiting for Mayor Anthony A. Williams to decide whether he will seek a third term.

“I don’t know what his timetable is,” she said. “Regardless of what his timetable is, mine is the end of the summer.”

Fenty jabs Williams

The first jabs were thrown last week in the District’s November 2006 election when D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams was told that D.C. Council member Adrian Fenty would be seeking his job.

Mr. Williams, a Democrat who has not said whether he will seek re-election, blasted Mr. Fenty’s handling of the future of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“I am somewhat surprised that he is busy with his campaign, that I haven’t received a call from Adrian regarding the disposition of Walter Reed. I mean this in Ward 4 … but maybe he’s too busy,” he said.

But Mr. Fenty, a Ward 4 Democrat, responded, “We sent a letter to the mayor. I don’t know why he hasn’t read it.”

Gambling lobbying

Gambling interests in Maryland again poured more than $1 million into the battle over slot machines this year, but the rate of spending may have fallen short of the previous two years.

A review of records received through Wednesday at the State Ethics Commission showed lobbyists reported receiving more than $1.4 million from racetracks, casino companies and other firms such as manufacturers of slot machines with a stake in the slots battle.

While some reports still had not been received by the commission one day after the Tuesday filing deadline, most of the lobbyists who are traditionally at the top of the earnings list had submitted records for the six-month period beginning Nov. 1, which included the 2005 General Assembly session plus the special session held between Christmas and New Year’s last year.

The total could go higher when late reports are received, but may not match the spending of more than $2 million each of the past two years.

The big spender was the state’s two major tracks — Pimlico and Laurel Park — which each paid Baltimore lawyer Alan M. Rifkin $102,500 for representing them in Annapolis. But owners and breeders of horses also invested heavily in the lobbying effort.

While there was some shuffling within the ranks, the top lobbyists from recent years were once again at the top of the pack, with at least two — Annapolis lawyer William J. Pitcher and Baltimore lawyer D. Robert Enten each collecting more than $600,000.

Donations pour in

Virginia attorney general candidate Steve Baril received $72,500 in large donations Wednesday, including $50,000 from his wife, while Republican primary opponent Delegate Robert F. McDonnell collected $43,695, most of it from a conservative political action committee.

Mr. Baril’s wife, Mary Dalton Baril, is the daughter of former Gov. John Dalton. The candidate, a Richmond lawyer, also received $10,000 each from Tomac Corp. and developer Gary W. Fenchuk of Midlothian and $2,500 from Horace A. Gray III.

Mr. McDonnell, a state delegate from Virginia Beach, received $41,195 from the Virginia Conservative Action PAC and $2,500 from Service Distributing Inc.

Between June 1 and June 13, candidates for statewide office are required to report all contributions of $1,000 or more within 24 hours. The primary is June 14.

Mr. Baril held a slight fundraising lead with $1,462,440 as of March 31, the last date for which totals are available. Mr. McDonnell had raised $1,393,403.

Candidates must file updated reports today.

• Christina Bellantoni, S.A. Miller and Robert Redding Jr. contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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