Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine unveiled his first television ad of the campaign this morning, a 30-second spot in which the former governor talks about positive aspects of his record running the state during a severe economic downturn.
“During the worst recession in decades, I worked with both parties to cut Virginia’s budget by $5 billion,” Kaine says in the ad. “I cut my own pay to lead by example. We were fiscally responsible while advancing our most important priorities, like education.”
The ad kicks off a sustained advertising campaign that will continue until the November election, according to Kaine’s campaign. Kaine so far has bought $4.5 million worth of television advertising time through Election Day as he battles Republican George Allen.
“While outside groups and secret donors have spent more than $8.5 million in negative, misleading ads designed to prop up George Allen’s campaign, we’re thrilled to begin our advertising campaign with Tim Kaine speaking directly to the people of Virginia with a positive message about his record of bringing people together and sound fiscal management,” said Kaine campaign manager Mike Henry.
Kaine’s first television ad follows weeks of attack ads aimed at him by well-funded outside groups that are spending millions to influence elections in Virginia and key battleground states. Two liberal groups independent of Kaine’s campaign joined the fight last week with ads attacking Allen, a former governor and U.S. senator.
Allen’s campaign called Kaine’s opening ad part of an “extreme makeover” campaign by the Democrat.
“Tim Kaine isn’t telling Virginians that his budget was called a ‘shoddy little trick’ that used one-time gimmicks,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis, who was repeating the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board’s description of Kaine’s final budget proposal.
“He isn’t telling Virginians he has admitted making ‘significant cuts’ to higher education leading to 30 percent tuition increases,” Davis added. ” And Tim Kaine isn’t telling Virginians that over 100,000 jobs were lost under his watch as he tried to raise taxes on Virginians making as little as $17,000 a year.”
– Michael Sluss