Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Eleven days from now, Virginia voters will choose between two starkly different candidates for governor: The Republican nominee, former state attorney general and state secretary for public safety, Jerry Kilgore, is an energetic conservative and a proven leader who has worked tirelessly to make Virginia a safer place by bringing lawbreakers to justice. He has also proven his willingness to challenge those in his own party (particularly the Republicans-in-name-only who dominate the state Senate) who seem obsessed with the idea that Virginians need tax increases.

The Democrat, Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, isn’t steadfast. Listening to him, as he attempts to reconcile and explain the various positions he has taken on issues such as abortion, taxes, illegal aliens, capital punishment and homosexual “marriage,” can be something of an ordeal. At times the former Richmond mayor sounds like he would be more comfortable running for statewide office in Massachusetts or New York.

For his part, Mr. Kilgore would bring a solid record of accomplishment to the governorship. When Gov. George Allen appointed Mr. Kilgore, then 32, to be state secretary of public safety in 1994, critics questioned whether he was old enough for the job. Mr. Kilgore proved the skeptics wrong by overseeing the highly successful implementation of Mr. Allen’s plan to abolish parole in Virginia. After voters elected him attorney general four years ago in a 20-point landslide, Mr. Kilgore proved to be an activist in the best sense. He pushed the General Assembly to enact legislation making it easier to prosecute violent street gangs like the MS-13 and worked closely with the federal government to coordinate efforts to prosecute illegal aliens and remove them from the country.

Mr. Kilgore also worked with the General Assembly to enact, over Mr. Warner’s objections, legislation banning lower in-state tuition and driver’s licenses for illegals. He opposed efforts by state colleges and universities to institute racial preferences. Mr. Kilgore also has been extraordinarily active in prosecuting serial sexual predators.

Jerry Kilgore has made clear his opposition to the tax increases rammed through the General Assembly by Mr. Warner and Senate Republicans like Finance Committee Chairman John Chichester. He has been resolute in his support for capital punishment and his opposition to abortion on demand and homosexual “marriage.”

Mr. Kaine, by contrast, has a disconcerting tendency to talk out of both sides of his mouth. On the homosexual “marriage” question, for example, he has said he supports amending Virginia’s constitution to ban the practice. But he has opposed a federal constitutional amendment banning it — effectively leaving the door wide open for the federal courts to impose it at a time of their choosing. On abortion, Mr. Kaine depicts himself as pro-life, yet he has excoriated General Assembly Republicans for refusing to pass partial-birth abortion legislation with an exemption for the “health” of the mother — a loophole permitting, in essence, abortion on demand. He claims to be against illegal immigration, but opposes Mr. Kilgore’s efforts to do anything about it until an unresponsive federal government can be roused from its lethargy. He’s against the death penalty, but issues murky promises that he will “enforce the law” when it comes to executions.

By every measure, we know where Mr. Kilgore stands. He is the superior candidate. The Washington Times is pleased to endorse Jerry Kilgore for governor of Virginia.

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