On the morning after the final debate of his Senate race with Republican George Allen, Democrat Tim Kaine is announcing endorsements from two former GOP state legislators and a former Republican who served in the House of Delegates as an independent.
Former state Sen. Brandon Bell of Roanoke County, former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Vince Callahan of Fairfax County and former Del. Katherine Waddell of Richmond have declared their support for Kaine in video statements and a news release from Kaine’s campaign.
“Working very closely with him as a State Senator, I feel like that Governor Kaine was someone that really wanted to do the right thing and wanted to put Virginia first and really look past the ideology,’ Bell said. “Unfortunately, I don’t feel as inclined that Governor Allen would do that. I feel like he is much more intertwined with the ideological base within his party and that’s where he would really take his marching orders from.”
Bell said he had a good working relationship with Allen, a former governor who appointed Bell to the state board of education in the 1990s. But, Bell said, “When it came down to solving the great, vast problems we have, particularly financially—and that’s my background is a financial background—is we’ve got to solve the financial issue between taxes and spending. I just felt like Governor Kaine was someone that’s going to sit down and say what do we need to do to solve that.”
Kaine also achieved a policy objective that Bell had fought for and failed to finish during his last term in the state Senate — enacting a ban on smoking in restaurants. Kaine also appointed Bell to the Radford University Board of Visitors after Bell lost his Senate seat in 2007.
Callahan, who served in the General Assembly for 40 years, also endorsed Democrat Mark Warner in the 2008 election over another former Republican governor, Jim Gilmore.
“When Tim Kaine was elected to office, I took control of the budget he introduced, I sponsored it as required by law in Virginia,” Callahan said. “It was a bipartisan budget that ultimately passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, preserving Virginia’s fiscal integrity, balancing the budget, maintaining our top credit rating, making Virginia the best place, by national recognition, to educate your children and the best place to do business and ultimately provide jobs in Virginia.”
“Tim Kaine is somebody that can do something like that,” Callahan added. ” We need somebody in Washington that can do something like that, to get rid of the gridlock. And he—I served with eleven governors over my term of office and he was right there at the top and I cannot praise him enough for the kind of work he did across the aisle and across the Commonwealth.”
Waddell, who served one term in the House of Delegates, broke with the GOP over the issue of abortion rights and has been an outspoken critic of legislation passed earlier this year requiring women to submit to an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion.
“I used to call myself a life long Republican but this year, I’m supporting Tim Kaine,” Waddell said. “In this election, women have a clear choice between George Allen and Tim Kaine. When Virginia women were threatened by the transvaginal ultrasound legislation in the Virginia General Assembly, Tim Kaine stood up for Virginia women. He said it’s bad for Virginia businesses and bad for Virginia women. George Allen did not stand up for women.”
In a news release announcing the endorsements, Kaine said: “Since my days as a city councilman in a diverse city like Richmond and through my time as lieutenant governor and governor working with a Republican legislature, I’ve put progress and partnership ahead of party to get results for Virginia. In the Senate, I’ll join members like Mark Warner and the Gang of Six who are building bridges between the two parties in order to create growth and reduce our deficit, and will never let a disagreement over one issue stymie cooperation on another. Congressional gridlock continues to be the great ankle weight on our economy but I know with the right leaders in place we can move the economy forward.”
The Callahan and Waddell statements appear after the jump.