Why Did it Happen?

What do the readers of Race to Richmond think? Why did Tim Kaine win? Was it his message? Were voters angry with Jerry Kilgore and his negative campaigning? Or did they want to send a message to George Bush?

And what kind of governor will Kaine be? He's made a bunch of promises during the campaign -- what he would do and what he would not do. Will he keep those promises?

And what do you think the 2006 General Assembly session will be like? Will there be a fight over transportation taxes? How will the Republican House and Senate treat Kaine?

Also, what do you think about the other statewide races. Bill Bolling won a narrow victory over Leslie Byrne, and it looks like Bob McDonnell holds a tiny, tiny lead over Creigh Deeds. What were the voters saying with those choices?

Here is your chance to weigh in.

By Michael Shear |  November 9, 2005; 11:18 AM ET  | Category:  Tim Kaine
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On a stretch of Route 28 south of Manassas, it takes up to 25 minutes to travel a half mile. This is not from accidents or from construction. It is from inept traffic planning.

Did Kilgore think all the people in these cars were spending their valuable time thinking about the death penalty????

Posted by: Stuck-on-28 | November 9, 2005 12:55 PM

Kilgore signs are plastered all along that section of roadway and many places like it where people are stuck in traffic. And all the while, Kilgore's attack ads are on the radio. Didn't he get it? I mean they say bad publicity is better than no publicity, but I dunno . . . I think he shot himself in the foot there!

Posted by: Sophie7 | November 9, 2005 01:01 PM

On the other side of the transportation fence (i.e. inside the Beltway,) I regularly use the exercise path along I66, and want Virginia to keep the promises it made to Arlington in the Coleman Decision to build I66. Thus I was negatively predisposed to Kilgore on that front.

However, I was inclined to Vote for Potts as a conscience vote prior ro receiving the misleading Official Democrat and Progreesive Voter Guide put out by the Kilgore campain, plus the misleading robocalls (one that sounded like it had been initiated by Tim Kaine and another by Naral on behalf of Russ Potts) that were actually from a Virginia arm of the Republican Governor's Assn and apparently designed to split the progressive vote.

It was a choice between voting for the person I thought was the best man for the job and voting to keep someone that I found to be despicable from taking that job because the opposition was split based on despicable acts. Instead of voting for the best candidate, I chose to vote for the lesser of two evils. It was not the first time I have wished our system allowed us to vote for more than one candidate.

Craig Pennington
Arlington

Posted by: Craig Pennington | November 9, 2005 01:25 PM

Even though, I don't live in Virginia, I was privy to all the negative ads on television because I live in MD.
Personally I think it was the negative campaining and the appearance with a President that is no so popular right now that was Kilgore's demise.

My other hope is that Maryland Governor candidates take notice and let's get that Republican Erlich out of office in 2008.

Posted by: bj | November 9, 2005 01:53 PM

Bill Bolling, the most anti-tax and conservative candidate of the three on the GOP slate, won his race for Lieutenant Governor, even as Kilgore lost.

Why? Bolling outspokenly opposed the 2004 Warner tax increase, which violated Warner's pledge not to raise taxes.

Kilgore promised a lot of new spending. Bolling didn't.

Kilgore lost. Bolling won.

Kilgore's own twin brother, a delegate, voted for the 2004 Warner tax increase that turned out to have been unnecessary in light of the current budget surplus.

So Kilgore could hardly denounce the tax increase at every opportunity, as Bolling did. Instead, he soft-peddled his opposition to the 2004 tax increase and lost.

Too bad, since none of the tax money from the 2004 Warner tax increase went to any new road project in Northern Virginia (or maintenance of Metro, either).

The 2004 Warner tax increase fleeced Northern Virginia, which received very little of the revenue resulting from the tax increase.

It went to fatten the wallets of public employee unions at the expense of transportation and our economic future.

Posted by: Hans Bader | November 9, 2005 02:54 PM

Northern Virginia motorists and Metro passengers are up the creek.

Kaine will take money that should have gone for transportation and pour it instead into his most prized unfunded mandate, universal pre-kindergarten, which will cost billions.

If the legislature is dumb enough to pass it, the entire surplus will be spent, and local property taxes will go up.

And with roads getting ever more congested, you won't be able to get to work, take your kids to an after-school activity, or go to a PTA meeting without spending hours in traffic.

To protect our economy and our kids' future, we need to focus on transportation.

But Kaine won't, accept to hold transportation funding hostage to force the House of Delegates to raise taxes.

Kaine and the State Senate hope that if they use up existing tax money for overspending in areas outside transportation, they can then force voters to raise taxes for transportation, even though the budget surplus logically could be used for transportation without raising taxes.

That's devious and underhanded, but it might work.

After all, voters rewarded Warner for breaking his promise and raising taxes, even though a surplus now exists that's even bigger than his tax increase.

Posted by: Guest | November 9, 2005 03:03 PM


I believe Kilgore lost, more than Kaine won because Virginia voters saw through the Karl Rove like tactics that have dominated the political landscape since the GOP took power in 1994. Senator George Allen used this tactic when unseating a conservative in Chuck Robb. That dog no longer barks in Virginia.

The "Dog" goes something like this. Find a hot buttom issue that divides the people who are not idealogues or generally are considered in the middle of the political spectrum, generally fiscal conservatives Democrats and Moderate Republicans. Rely on the Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell social conservatives to stir the faithful with false and misleading condemnation of candidates who do not think as they think ( if its not true create the impression it is true...ie the death penalty issue, abortion, guns, gay marriage etc).

Why hasn't this worked in the last two governors race? Simple, Kaine and Warner are mainstream pragmatic candidates. They are Democrats but are not Liberal leanding. In the case of Kaine, the religious right could not peg him as a liberal due to his religious faith as a Roman Catholic and missionary work. He opposes the death penalty and abortion on religious grounds. While Kaine may not have been a particularly impressive candidate, his convictions were more to the liking of true Christians. After all if you belief in life, there is nothing incompatible with opposing both abortion and the death penalty. I belive people saw through Kilgores smear and accepted Kaines convictions that he would uphold the law of Va even if he personally opposed these laws. That folks is character. If Gore and Kerry and not been such a flip-flopper on these issues, they may have won their races.

As for the Byrne, she is too liberal for Virginia.

As for Deeds, it was lack of name recognition.

Posted by: DB | November 9, 2005 03:10 PM

From the Commonwealth that produced, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe where are our leaders? Transportation issues need leaders with ideas neither of the primary candidates had any. We seem to not be able to attract anyone to politics that has a clear vision for the future. If we do not solve our road / transportation situation we will kill the economic activity and prosperity that we enjoy. Serious money needs to come back to Northern Virginia or the whole state will suffer when the tax revenue dries up.

Posted by: KWM | November 9, 2005 03:15 PM

Leslie Byrnes was not only too liberal for Virginia, she was too abrasive. As a Dem in VA, I've voted for candidates who were more liberal than I, but I just couldn't stomach her. Thank heavens for the ability to write in a candidate's name! It lets the powers that be know you want to vote, but only if they come up with a decent candidate.

Posted by: Beth | November 9, 2005 03:42 PM

Yesterday was unusually warm for November 8. Skies were clear. No rain, until 10 minutes before the polls closed. A 3 SUV motorcade drove up to the polling place, bringing with it a sudden downpour with the largest raindrops I'd ever seen. From one of the SUVs came Alberto Gonzales. Was the rain an omen that it was about to rain on Bush's parade?

Posted by: omen? | November 9, 2005 05:36 PM

Wow, some strong conservative opinions on here, but only after the election. Maybe they didn't want to hurt the chances of their pretty boy Kilgore?

Warner's tax reform was hardly "unnecessary" seeing as how the surplus it created wouldn't have been possible without it. And even that surplus isn't enough to address Virginia's transportation problems. We certainly weren't going to get anything done with an anti-tax ideologue in office.

Posted by: Mark | November 9, 2005 07:42 PM

"Why? Bolling outspokenly opposed the 2004 Warner tax increase, which violated Warner's pledge not to raise taxes."

This has to be a joke. Do you think ANYONE other than political junkies knew ANYTHING about Bolling's stances on ANYTHING? Bolling barely won against one of the weakest and worst candidates ever run, so out of touch with Virginia that it was laughable. In Virginia, that's known as "pathetic."

Posted by: Bell | November 9, 2005 11:29 PM

"It went to fatten the wallets of public employee unions at the expense of transportation and our economic future."

Virginia public employees don't have unions. Their handful of pay increases over the last decade don't even qualify as cost of living adjustments. They are less than inflation. Plus the state took it right back and then some in increased health care premiums and deductibles.

Do you really know any rich state employees? They make half the money that someone doing their job in the private sector makes. They're the poor slobs spending their nights plowing 2" of snow so the morons in this state can drive down the street to buy a 6 pack without crashing into each other. They're the state troopers taking a bullet for the morons who can't go out the door without twelve guns in their belts. They're the teachers who watch 40 kids in a draty, leaky trailer of a classroom who buy their own teaching supplies for school so the moron slackers in this state can buy a plasma TV and sit and fart and watch Redskins all day.

Posted by: Truth B. Told | November 9, 2005 11:43 PM

"The 2004 Warner tax increase fleeced Northern Virginia, which received very little of the revenue resulting from the tax increase.

It went to fatten the wallets of public employee unions at the expense of transportation and our economic future."

I moved from Northern Virginia to Southwest Virginia and the Virginians down here on the edge of the state are very appreciative that Warner even decides to come down here at all during his term while most governors in the past only travel to Mountain Empire during election times. More businesses and high-tech jobs are choosing to come to SW Va, some offering salaries twice the median income for these communities. After living in hectic, congested NoVa and rural SW Va, I think NoVa can stand to lose some extra money to help fund public education and schools here. That's why I didn't like Potts; sure, widening I95 and I66 is beneficial for Northern Virginians and probably the state in general but I know that Southern county delegates would not put much support behind that when they need better schooling and education first and foremost.

Posted by: MF | November 10, 2005 12:14 AM

"Southern county delegates would not put much support behind [widening I95 and I66] when they need better schooling and education first and foremost."

But they should! When Northern Virginia's economy booms, Virginia gets surplusses. Everyone in the state benefits. When Northern Virginia's economy goes flat, the state gets hit with deficits and must cut funding for many programs including those that SWVa needs so badly.

The completely inadequate transportation system in NoVA is holding it's economy down. Deliveries are delayed, meetings are missed, and workers are stressed and less productive. When companies start to locate in other states, SWVa will pay the price, too.

This is a state issue, not a regional one. The investment the state makes in NoVA transportation will come back to the state multiplied. But God help our children if they don't!

Posted by: Bealeton Tom | November 10, 2005 08:58 AM

The GOP ticket got trounced in all-important Nova -- and Republican House candidates got killed there, too -- because the state GOP has not adapted to that ever-changing demographic in the state's most populated, vote-rich region.

If anyone believes that a Republican nominee for a statewide office can win when garnering only 38% in Fairfax County, home to one in seven Virginia residents, then you're whistling Dixie.

That being the case, who belives that the ultra-right Bill Bolling can win statewide in four years? Or even the more thoughtful conservative, Bob McDonnell? If Nova has changed a good deal the last few years, just wait to see what it looks like in another four.

Virginia Republicans have got to realize that state governance comes from the middle (always has, always will). So until the GOP's nominating process, and those who run it, moves from the far right to reflect the real-world governance process, the GOP will continue to suck wind.

Posted by: JamesRiverGOP | November 10, 2005 09:17 AM

"Southern county delegates would not put much support behind that ..."

Wasn't Kilgore from SW Va? He lost cause he couldn't do the math in NoVa. Now he can chase ambulances back in SW.

Posted by: Sophie7 | November 10, 2005 05:47 PM

God bless America and the 51st state of Northern Virginia.

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Posted by: Successionitis | November 10, 2005 05:58 PM

Whoooaahhhh.....James RiverGOP ...Bob McDonnell "thoughtful"??
THOUGHTFUL ABOUT WHAT? About how to HIDE CAMPAIGN contributions from the Pat Robertson crowd? About whether he ever engaged in "an unnatural act" ...think "blow-job"....McDonnell said he "couldn't remember" !!! Thoughtful about the rights of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia? He clearly can't remember those either! Just what is McDonnell thoughtful about?

Posted by: SoccerMom | November 11, 2005 09:08 AM

For Kaine. I think he ran an honest campaign. There are a lot of people here who simply can't stand politicians. So having a governor candidate who was willing to talk straight came over really well. He made the independants happy- and quite a lot of the independants here are at least college educated.

Bryne was perhaps optomistic, but she was a candidate that would appeal to the growing and more professional suburbs. She did almost win which is good. There are a lot of cultural difference amongst the suburbs and the state, but as the area grows candidates like her could win later. She was pretty close: a lot closer then most cynics would have predicted.

I can't really say if people knew what Deeds or McDonnel stood for, there weren't that many ads up here and all we tended to focus on was the hot governor's debate.

Posted by: | November 11, 2005 05:32 PM

For Kaine. I think he ran an honest campaign. There are a lot of people here who simply can't stand politicians. So having a governor candidate who was willing to talk straight came over really well. He made the independants happy- and quite a lot of the independants here are at least college educated.

Bryne was perhaps optomistic, but she was a candidate that would appeal to the growing and more professional suburbs. She did almost win which is good. There are a lot of cultural difference amongst the suburbs and the state, but as the area grows candidates like her could win later. She was pretty close: a lot closer then most cynics would have predicted.

I can't really say if people knew what Deeds or McDonnel stood for, there weren't that many ads up here and all we tended to focus on was the hot governor's debate.

Posted by: Erica | November 11, 2005 05:33 PM

I think I posted this already, but it seems clear to me.

Kilgore made a big bet on negative campaigning in October, and it backfired.
He gave people a reason NOT to vote for him.
He led all polls until October.
Bolling won.
It appears McDonnell will win.

Virginians, even as we move center, are still conservative.
In the absence of a lot of information (such as with the Lt. Gov and AG races), they'll go with what's comfortable - (R). And this race certainly left those candidates out of the spotlight. Heck, I've been volunteering for months, and I was hard pressed to tell an inquiring voter anything about Byrne or Deeds while I was at the polls on Election Day.

I think Kaine's response helped him, too. When he attacked, he attacked Kilgore's record, and used facts. When attacked personally (like with the death penalty ads), he responded truthfully and directly. And his campaigning on slow growth in Loudon and Prince William obviously worked - Kerry/Edwards didn't carry either of those counties, and neither did Warner.

Posted by: William Edwards | November 11, 2005 08:37 PM

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