- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 6, 2005

While Timothy M. Kaine campaigned for votes yesterday in Jerry W. Kilgore’s native Southwest Virginia, Mr. Kilgore glad-handed tailgaters at the Redskins game in Landover.

The two men who are aiming to be Virginia’s next governor were losing their voices after a weekend of statewide stumping before tomorrow’s election.

Before the football game, Mr. Kilgore, a Republican raised in Gate City, met voters at two churches in Northern Virginia.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, visited Breaks Interstate Park on the Kentucky-Virginia state line yesterday morning before attending four rallies. He was planning a hike with his family to take in the view of the mountains, but rain thwarted his plans.

The two main-party candidates stayed on message all weekend.

Cecil Roberts, president of United Mine Workers of America, fired up the Democratic crowd in the Grundy High School auditorium, criticizing Mr. Kilgore, President Bush and Republicans nationwide.

“This is a party that sold us a bill of goods about values,” Mr. Roberts told the crowd. “We have the party that stands up for working-class people and jobs in America, defending the rights of working-class Americans, and our candidates will do the same thing when they go down to Richmond to represent you.” At the rallies in Grundy, Richlands, Big Stone Gap and Clintwood, Mr. Kaine linked himself to the success of Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat who is pulling approval ratings of more than 70 percent in state polls.

Mr. Kaine said the Warner administration rescued the state from the “horrible mismanagement” of Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican.

Mr. Kaine also repeated a stump line, his own version of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “If it was broke and you fixed it, don’t break it again,” he said to cheers in the crowds of about 200 at each rally.

Mr. Kilgore spent yesterday morning shaking hands outside the Falls Church, a historic Episcopal church known for its influential members, and later at McLean Bible Church.

Mr. Kilgore urged supporters to get out the vote.

“Winning a close election is about getting our base out, and that’s what I’m doing,” Mr. Kilgore told reporters. “It’s turnout, turnout, turnout. That’s what it’s going to be.” Mr. Kilgore did not formally address constituents at either church, and church officials escorted him into the sanctuaries. No campaign signs appeared on either church property. Direct support to a candidate from a church breaks Internal Revenue Service laws and jeopardizes the church’s nonprofit status.

Tonight, President Bush joins the Republican candidate at a rally at Richmond International Airport.

The Kilgore campaign is counting on the president to solidify the party base. Mr. Bush’s approval rating is 37 percent nationwide, according to a poll released Friday. But the president is still popular in Virginia, where he had a 53 percent approval rating as of Wednesday.

Mr. Roberts said the president’s visit is “good news” for Democrats.

“That’s like throwing a drowning man a big rock” he blared at the crowd in Grundy, criticizing the president on deficit spending and Republican scandals.

Several statewide polls show Mr. Kaine and Mr. Kilgore tied or with Mr. Kaine having a slight edge over his Republican challenger.

Mr. Kaine spent Saturday with Mr. Warner, and Mr. Kilgore was joined by U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican, the entire weekend. Mr. Warner yesterday was campaigning for Mr. Kaine in Winchester, Richmond and Charlottesville.

At FedEx Field in Landover, Sen. George Allen urged the hundreds of tailgating Virginians on hand for the Redskins game to “Vote for Jerry.” When some of the fans turned out to be Marylanders, Mr. Allen didn’t miss a beat, telling them to “Vote for Steele.”

That would be Michael S. Steele, the Maryland lieutenant governor who is seeking the Republican nomination next year in the race for the U.S. Senate.

Also running for governor is H. Russell Potts Jr., a Republican state senator from Winchester. Mr. Potts is running as an independent.

Polls open tomorrow at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

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