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Tim Kaine, George Allen Banking on Sophisticated Ground Game in Virginia

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine works the crowd at a grass-roots rally with President Barack Obama on Saturday at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va.

“I can tell when [the phone banks] switch universes,” state party spokesman Garren Shipley said. “My answering machine at the office will be filled up with 20 people, ‘Don’t you ever call me again, I am a hard, dedicated Democrat.’ We’ve been very, very aggressive.”

The $50 Million Campaign 

The Kaine campaign views the “one-on-one” approach to the field program as vital to help cut through the noise and hold off the nonstop attacks on the airwaves. Nationwide, this race is second only to the presidential in terms of the amount of outside spending. Including party committees, super PACs and nonprofits, more than $50 million has been spent on the Virginia Senate race, including $28 million against Kaine and $19 million against Allen, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The outside spending has helped Allen, who has been outraised and outspent by Kaine. As Kaine added another $1 million to his media buy, Allen opened a $500,000 line of credit in the closing days to help cover late donations and fund the remainder of his campaign.

In Ashland on Wednesday, former Hanover County Supervisor John Gordon, who left the Republican Party the previous day, officially endorsed Kaine. On Thursday, Wayne Hazzard, the conservative Republican who ousted Gordon, was at the Romney-Allen event in Doswell and made the argument against split-ticket voting that the Allen campaign has been hammering home since early last year.

“I just find it hard to believe if you’re a Republican voting for Gov. Romney that you’re going to switch over and vote for Kaine,” Hazzard said. “There’s no one person that has represented Obama more than Kaine.”

Dave and Diane Stoakley left the Kaine event in Ashland with campaign signs in hand. They’re exactly the kind of moderate and potential swing voters Kaine has sought with his constant message of the need for compromise on Capitol Hill. Both in their early 60s, they used to vote for Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) before he retired in 2008. 

But they were turned off this year by the new Republican majority in the state Legislature that, the Stoakleys said, pivoted to focus on social issues.

“Compromise — from a Republican perspective, that’s a dirty word,” Diane Stoakley said. “I think we have far two few statesmen. Kaine is one who still tries to fit that role.” 

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