Kilgore Spin on Potts Candidacy

The Kilgore team is moving quickly to put its own spin on the soon-to-be-announced candidacy of Sen. Russell Potts of Winchester. In a press release issued 2:46 p.m. this afternoon, Kilgore’s office stated:

The announcement today that Russ Potts (I-Winchester) will run for Governor [as] an Independent can only be seen as a tremendous setback for the Kaine for Governor campaign. Now, the High Tax/Big Government Spending lobby has two liberal candidates to choose from in the race for Governor. What we have here today is not a split within the Republican Party, but rather a colossal fissure among the High Tax/Big Government Spending coalition.

Russ Potts will only take votes away from Tim Kaine’s base of supporters who believe a $1.4 billion tax increase and a $1.5 billion budget surplus is not enough for their big government appetite.

The Kilgore spinmeisters have a point. Now, all they have to do is get past He Who Must Not Be Named — the “other” fiscal conservative — George Fitch.


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  1. Senator Russ Potts is about to throw the biggest monkey wrench into Virginia elections since Harry Byrd fractured the VA Democratic Party in the 1970s.

    Because we live in strange times, where fiscal conservatism means, “I can tax and spend better than you, because I love Virginia more.”

    AND if his happens, Democrat Tim Kaine has a free ride to the Governor’s mansion and Republican Jerry Kilgore will lose the general election.

    SIDE BAR: If Senator Russ Potts runs as an Independent, he loses his seniority in the state senate.

    Btw, Senate Bill 952, authored by Virginia Senator H. Russell Potts Jr., would require that students be instructed on the responsible treatment of animals.

    Does that Pott’s legislation including ELEPHANTS and DONKEYS and RINOS – Republicans in Name Only?

  2. Will Vehrs Avatar

    I have a hard time understanding Potts’ candidacy, especially if he runs as an independent.

    A third party candidate usually needs at least one of these three factors to gain a significat slice f the vote: disaffection with the major party choices, a clear issue, or a compelling personality.

    I haven’t seen widespread dissatisfaction with the Kaine-Kilgore choice yet. Neither man has formally kicked off his campaign and identified their plans. There is scattered dissatisfction with Kilgore in places like Bacon’s Rebelliion, but let’s wait until April to see if it becomes broader. I don’t see any Democrats unhappy with Kaine.

    There doesn’t seem to be a clear issue for Potts. Spend more on infrastructure? The Republicans are too far right? This is not the stuff of bumper stickers.

    Finally, Sen. Russ Potts is no Jesse Ventura in the personality department.

    The Blue Dog may be right; if Potts gets any traction, he could throw the race to Kaine. As with presidential third party challenges, appearing in a debate between the two major candidates is key. Surely Kaine would welcome Potts. Kilgore, who has been shaky in debates, would likely resist. A “Fraidy Jerry” charge would hurt.

    That’s all the more reason for Kilgore to consider debating Fitch for some good experience. The Kilgore campaign is unlikely to take that risk.

    Maybe what we’ll see is Kilgore promising that George Fitch will head a Wilder-like task force on state spending/efficiency if he is elected–and actually promising to take some of the recommendations.

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar

    I agree with you guys. I don’t see the appeal of a Potts candidacy. Potts is more willing to raise taxes than Kilgore, and he’s less culturally conservative than Kilgore. Basically, he’s Tim Kaine — without the charisma. If you’re a voter, why wouldn’t you just vote for Kaine?

  4. This week, a Shenandoah Valley GOP member questioned the Blue Dog about Gubenatorial candidate, George Fitch, he wrote: Why’s he doing it? Its one thing to build up your name recognition, but it is self defeating if you piss off every Rebublican in the state in the process. Is it a delusional/ego issue??

    Delusional or ego issue? Neither. At first glance, I say he’s legit.

    Fitch’s motivation could be to box Kilgore in a corner with the tax issue — and specifically, the “no tax pledge” which Kilgore has attempted to … publicly ignore, and back off his previous signing of the ‘lifetime’ no-tax pledge.

    Kilgore’s new campaign slogan: Always an anti-tax bridesmaid, never an anti-tax bride.

    But that tax increasing Republican from Winchester, Senator Russ Potts, is the true spoiler in the race for the Governor’s mansion. He’s set to attempt an independent candidacy and is rumored to have a independent slate running with him.

    Yes, a slate of pro-tax GOP members.

    Potts has the money, a PAC “Vision for Virginia” and will have support from pro-business PACs and a few Democratic-leaning 527s organizations who have nothing better to do.

    Red Dog, a conservative GA House member, told me several pro-tax Republicans have meet with another former VA Independent, Harry Byrd, about running as independents. But that hot tip to the Blue Dog could be nothing more than a roorback *.

    *Roorback (N) : False rumor premeditated to smear an opponent.

    Red Dog also whispered that Sen. Cha-Ching-Chester and his fellow pro-tax Republicans have brokered another political deal with the Governor to split the GOP vote this election so choirboy Tim Kaine can win.

    Is Virginia transportation funding the root cause/effect?

    Tonight, the Kool-aid is being passed around the table at Kilgore’s Richmond HQ.

  5. That’s something I’ve been wondering about…will Chichester pull the trigger for Kaine?

  6. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    Guys, rumor has it that a deal was struck between Kaine and Potts long ago. I believe that the Blue Dog was the first one to alert us to this sweetheart of a deal, so I’m surprised that no one is mentioning it in this thread.

    It’s a known fact that Potts is hurting for money. He’s hawked his house at about 130% above its assessed value. He needs money and his $18K a year Senate salary isn’t cutting it. He also wants to retire with a large pension. So how does a wheel-dealer like Potts get out of this mess?

    Simple, you strike a deal with the devil—only that in Potts’ world Tim Kaine probably doesn’t look as devilish as he does to true conservative Republicans. The nasty deed is for Potts to enter the fray as an independent in order to sway away enough votes from Kilgore. In all likelihood, he doesn’t have to draw too many votes away from Kilgore to ensure a Kaine victory.

    The payback: Once Kaine is crowned, he appoints Potts in the Kaine administration and Potts gets a six-figure salary. But more importantly, Potts annuity is calculated on his six-figure income instead of his meager Senator’s pay.

    Who said that politics doesn’t pay?

  7. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    Paul said: “… will Chichester pull the trigger for Kaine?”

    Why bother? Chichester can’t lose no matter who wins in November!

    If Kaine wins he continues his triangulation strategy and is successful in raising taxes.

    If Kilgore wins, he’s got him in his back pocket!

    Remember, Kilgore’s campaign manager (Ken Hutcheson) was responsible for getting Chichester and his band of tax-increase mongers re-elected. Kilgore refuses to sign the pledge not to raise taxes and hasn’t said a word that could be interpreted as an admonishment towards Chichester and his band of tax-maniacs.

    For more details on this, please read “A
    Backroom Deal?
    ” on Bacon’s Rebellion.

  8. Mattaponi Avatar

    Whatever Potts’ limitations, this has to be a disturbing development for the Kilgore crowd. An independent bid keeps Potts out of the no-win environment of the Republican primary, but constrains Kilgore on the degree to which he can get away with mouthing the sorts of platitudes that seem to satisfy a lot of our party activists at primary time. If he bends to far to the right, he’ll start alienating moderate Republicans, particularly in vote-rich Northern Virginia. Jerry will need these folks in November. Potts as an Independent can’t win in November, but he sure can alter the dynamics of the race. It’s getting interesting around here.

  9. Phil:

    You’re right, I forgot about Ken working for Chichester a couple of years ago.

    But I still think that Chichester’s thinking legacy and he’s thinking about tax increases for transportation next year. And without Kaine, he can’t do it…

    By the way – if you’ve never been to the Apple Festival up in Winchester, you should go. Potts has a hand in putting it on. It’s in April, I think. I’ve talked to some young people up there and they’re considering voting for Potts just because they enjoy the apple festival so much…

  10. Here’s a quote from Potts (courtesy of Commonwealth Commonsense):

    “I’ve had five members of the House come up to me to tell me personally that they were glad that we had killed a number of the more controversial bills that had passed the House. They told me that they had voted for them because they felt pressured to by the political environment, but that they thought it was terrible legislation. My thought to that was, ‘How disgusting.’ If they felt it was bad legislation, then they should have voted against it in the first place themselves. –Sen. Russ Potts (R-Winchester)

  11. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    That’s the same Sen. Potts who was pro-life a few years ago, but is now the darling of the pro-abortion moderates. Or the same Sen. Potts who campaigned against tax increases but voted for the largest tax increase in the history of our State last year. That’s one principled politician!

    Frankly, Potts is saying nothing new about some of the House members. There are 19 of them in the House that are RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). For a listing of their names please click here. I bet if Pott’s story is true, those five are included in the list of 19.

  12. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    Paul, what makes you think that Chichester can’t get his tax increase next year if Kaine isn’t elected? Are you really convinced that if Kilgore wins he can and will stand up to Chichester? I have my doubts. And as long as Kilgore refuses to sign the tax pledge as well as refuses to chastise Chichester and his band of tax-crazy Senate Commissars, I have no faith that Kilgore can’t be compromised into signing a tax increase next year.

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