One day after endorsing Republican George Allen in Virginia’s big U.S. Senate race, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is buying television time to attack Democratic candidate Tim Kaine.
The 30-second ad — the second anti-Kaine ad funded by the U.S. Chamber – is just the latest example of the efforts outside groups are making to influence federal elections in Virginia. So far, the bulk of the outside ad spending in the Senate has been directed against Kaine by groups that are not required to disclose their donors.
The U.S. Chamber is going after Democratic incumbents in multiple states. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce, unlike the national organization, does not endorse political candidates.
The anti-Kaine ad goes after the Democrat for proposing tax increases as governor and for supporting President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. It also accuses Kaine of supporting “increasing regulations on businesses and higher energy costs for Virginia families.” The U.S. Chamber says it based those assertions on Kaine’s support for the health care law and for a cap-and-trade system to curb pollution emissions.
The cap-and-trade bill cited in the ad was a measure introduced by former Virginia Sen. John Warner, a Republican, and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.
“Free enterprise, not more government, will lead the American recovery,” said Rob Engstrom, the U.S. Chamber’s senior vice president and national political director. “Unfortunately, Kaine has been a leading proponent for big government, even calling the recent health care law one of the president’s greatest achievements.”
Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine issued this rebuttal to the chamber ad:
“As governor, Tim Kaine helped guide Virginia through the worst recession since the Great Depression,” said Hoffine. “He cut $5 billion, including his own pay, and balanced Virginia’s budget all four years. He brought jobs to Virginia by recruiting numerous corporations to expand or relocate and made historic investments in education and transit that put people to work on projects that have made Virginia a better place to live and do business. That’s why Virginia was Governing magazine’s ‘Best Managed State,’ Education Week’s best state to raise a child, and Forbes’ ‘Best State for Business’ all four years of his term. He’s offered a forward-focused vision to do the same as a senator in Washington, while George Allen has admitted he helped create our economic mess during his first term in the Senate and has offered no new ideas to fix it. That’s a pretty clear choice.”
– Michael Sluss