ASHLAND, Va. — Former Gov. Tim Kaine spent an hour today in a Democratic town within a heavily Republican county in an effort to encourage his supporters to persuade the remaining undecided voters to vote for him and to increase turnout among Democrats.
Standing on a stage where live bluegrass bands often play, Kaine, who is running against former Gov. George Allen (R) for the state's open Senate seat, said that 3 percent of voters are probably still undecided. He said "person-to-person contact" is vital at this point in the campaign. Kaine said that more than $20 million in outside money has been spent against him by rich individuals from out of state who can write checks with a lot of zeros, and said he wants to "show there aren't enough zeros in the world" to beat a grass-roots campaign run by Virginians.
Truman Parmele, the owner of the coffee shop and music venue, said bands play there five nights a week, performing any kind of music but hip-hop. Parmele, 67, said he's independent, formerly in the Air Force and moderate on social issues. He told Roll Call that Obamacare scares him, and he asked Kaine whether he would support a flat tax. Parmele said Kaine is "very personable" and said he will probably support him.
It wasn't Kaine's first visit here. The former governor, who served as President Barack Obama's first Democratic National Committee chairman, came to this venue with one of his sons the Saturday after the 2008 elections to hear music.
Today, Kaine's parents, Al and Kathleen, sat at the back of the audience of about 50 people. They're in town from Kansas City, along with his two brothers, until the election. Wayne Powell, a Democrat taking on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was here recently on a campaign stop as well, Parmele said.
Kaine is holding two more meet and greet events like this one today in Culpeper and Warrenton.
Allen visited a coffee shop in Springfield this morning as part of his final tour of the state.