Virginia governorship


David Broder is excited today about the prospects for the Democrats to hold onto the governorship of Virgiania.

Democrat Mark Warner is leaving after a successful four—year run in which the state has climbed out of a financial hole, added thousands of jobs and notably improved its education system.

The contest to succeed Warner pits Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine against Republican former attorney general Jerry Kilgore. Kilgore has minor opposition in the GOP primary but a potentially more serious problem with state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., a maverick Republican, running as an independent in November.

Virginia was part of President Bush's sweep of Dixie last November, when the South also elected five new Republican senators to formerly Democratic seats. The Kaine—Kilgore race will signal whether the momentum of those victories continues. Should Warner be able to help Kaine keep the governorship in Democratic hands, it would enhance Warner's growing reputation

Kilgore, the Republican is actually running 8 to 10 ponts ahead in Virginia polls.  Mark Warner was the odd Democrat who was pro gun rights, moderate on social values issues, and spent a lot of time campaigning in southwest Virginia (Roanoke area), the most conservative part of the state in its voting.  He is a very capable, smart guy, and if the national meida had any interest in promoting him, could a competitive candidate against Hillary in 08. But of course they won't, for that very reason. 

But he is Presidential material, and unlike Carter or Clinton, the real thing, a southern  moderate.  There has been speculation that Warner might run against George Allen next year, but probably won't: too much risk he would lose and destroy his career. Warner is the only threat to Allen's re—election.  But it would be an  upset for Dems to hold the Governors seat in  Vriginia.

Richard Baehr  5 01 01