Governor's Race Analysis

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

November 10, 2005

Just two days after the election for the Governor of Virginia, the Center for Politics hosted an analysis luncheon. The host, Larry Sabato said both candidates made good and bad political moves during the campaign.

Guests at the luncheon said it was a long campaign, filled with negative ads, and some even called it an 'issueless race.' Campaign officials thought there were also some high points in the campaign that helped boost their popularity.

One issue in particular involved Sabato himself. During the October 9th debate Sabato asking each of the candidates to pledge to cut their negative ad campaigns in half, and this was Kilgore's response.

"We'll be doing comparative ads as we go through these final few weeks," said Kilgore.

"Ok that was a no," said Sabato. "Mr. Kaine?"

Kaine elect to say yes and his chairman Larry Roberts said that was the turning point in the election.

"He pretty much ran the campaign trail from there on out, really took that and made that 'this is a positive message and this is a message about successes in Virginia and Jerry won't commit even on half his campaign," said Roberts.

On the other hand, Kilgore's manager Ken Hutcheson believes the death penalty ads helped the Kilgore campaign.

"We would not have run the ads if we didn't stand by them and believe that they were legitimate," said Hutcheson.

Some of the guests felt where both the candidates went wrong was when they started focusing on attacking each other rather than focusing on the issues. But, both representatives disagreed with that.

"I don't think we ran a negative race, I don't think we ran an issueless race. We fought day after day," said Roberts.

"I think we ran the best race could, given the environment we were in," said Hutcheson.

Ultimately the Kilgore camp feels they failed to convince Virginians to vote for him.

In the end, Tim Kaine won 51% of the vote, while Jerry Kilgore only took 46%.

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