Kaine pays visit to Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2005

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine visited, glad-handed, and spoke to approximately 100 supporters Friday morning in Suffolk.

Kaine made the stop fresh with the same-day release of a Rasmussen poll that showed him 2 percentage points ahead of Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore.

At Art’s Kitchen, on West Washington Street, Kaine compared his campaign’s momentum with the fourth quarter of a football game, or the final round of a golf tournament.

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Paraphrasing Tiger Woods, Kaine said, &uot;The point of a golf tournament is to be ahead at the end of Sunday.&uot;

He said his campaign is the one with the momentum, and he pointed to an Oct. 9 televised debate as the turning point, which he believes gave him a slight lead in recent polls.

&uot;We only had one (debate), and we had to make the best of the one,&uot; Kaine said.

The final question of the debate, from moderator Dr. Larry Sabato, from the University of Virginia, was whether each candidate would pledge to run campaigns and advertisements which were at least more than half positive.

&uot;I’ve never been asked an easier question in my life,&uot; Kaine said.

On the other hand, according to the candidate, Kilgore stood by his advertisements and, &uot;You might have noticed a lot of sweat formed up on his forehead.&uot;

&uot;He didn’t say one positive thing about himself in his entire answer.&uot;

Rasmussen polls from June through early September showed Kilgore with a steady 6 or 7 percent advantage over Kaine.

The poll released Friday morning, just prior to Kaine’s Suffolk stop – showing Kaine at 46 percent, Kilgore at 44 percent and Independent Russell Potts lagging behind with only 4 percent – was the group’s first such survey favoring the Democrat.

Kaine also spoke briefly on the concerns of small businesses, especially in terms of the burden of rising health-care costs.

Ed Beardsley, owner of Art’s Kitchen, said he first received a call from Kaine’s staff Wednesday.

&uot;It was really exciting they picked our restaurant,&uot; Beardsley said.

&uot;They wanted to come to a place where locals are known to come, and it’s good we were recognized for being that type of place.&uot;

Beardsley said he was a supporter of Kaine, but, &uot;I would certainly welcome either candidate.&uot;

Joe Justice and Michelle Malven and daughters Alexandra and Jacqueline Justice were among those awaiting Kaine’s arrival.

&uot;They are home-schooled,&uot; Malven said, &uot;so this is part of their school. Last night, we got a phone call from (a member of) the Democratic committee I think, that was inviting us and let us know about this.

We had no plans and we were very interested to hear him speak.

&uot;This is the first election that I’ve been interested in an Independent candidate, Potts, but I’m a lifelong Democrat, so I figured I’d come see what he had to say.&uot; Joe Justice added.

James and Maxine Thornton also met and spoke with Kaine prior to his remarks.

James said, &uot;I told him if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.&uot;

&uot;We loved his positive message,&uot; Maxine said.

&uot;He’s been there for four years and we’ll put him on the top seat for the next four years,&uot; James added.

Kaine’s stop in Suffolk was one of five on Friday, which had the candidate beginning earlier in the morning in Emporia and finishing the whirlwind tour at a Radford University rally.

&uot;We have 11 days to talk to as many voters as possible,&uot; Kaine said. &uot;It’s a very exciting opportunity to have and we feel very positive about the way this race is going.&uot;