Governor Ad Allegedly Attacks Accent

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

April 25, 2005

"If I have something to say, I say it myself, but Jerry Kilgore has been making things up about me and letting slick radio announcers do his dirty work," states Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine. This is the controversial statement in his most recent radio ad.

Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore alleges the ad makes fun of his southern accent.

"This is regional prejudice. How can he say to the rural part of the state, 'vote for me,' when he thinks they talk funny?" asked Kilgore's press secretary Tim Murtaugh.

Kilgore's voice is only heard in compulsory statements that precede or follow his radio ads.

Political analyst Joshua Scott from the UVa Center for Politics said this might be because Kilgore's southern twang could be a liability in more urban areas.

"The conventional wisdom in the gubernatorial election is that Jerry Kilgore's accent might be something that could hamper his efforts with the implicit understanding being that when he talks it makes him sound kind of like a hick," said Scott.

Delacey Skinner, Kaine's press secretary, called Kilgore's accusation "absolutely ridiculous." She added, "The ad is speaking to the lack of leadership of someone who won't speak for themselves. It has nothing to do with background."

Skinner said the ad is being aired on rural stations, so it would not make sense for the ad to poke fun at an audience it is made for.

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