December 28, 2005 News & Features » Cover Story

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Getting the Red Out 

ut it didn't. Warner's wide popularity — which one newspaper reported at an 80 percent approval rating — apparently was enough to put Kaine over the top. In four years, Warner had managed to patch a giant hole in the state budget while shooting ducks on ESPN, and now he's being primed as a presidential candidate.

Kaine's victory, and pro-choice Republican Katherine B. Waddell's court-affirmed win over the more conservative Delegate Bradley P. Marrs by just 42 votes, suggests that something's afoot in the commonwealth. Sure, it's not a great time to be running as a Republican, with Bush stumbling in the polls after Hurricane Katrina and the mess in Iraq. But Waddell's success can be attributed, at least in part, to Marrs' political attack ad highlighting the homosexual tendencies of a campaign donor, which must have been worth at least 42 gay votes.

What does it all mean? Are we actually more concerned about issues such as schools and state finances than bashing gays and frying murderers? What's next — are voters going to start asking politicians to raise taxes?

Who cares. For Richmond, Kaine in the Executive Mansion must be good. With a former governor across the street at City Hall, Richmond now has a one-two punch of political might that can only propel the city's stature in the General Assembly.

"I'm an unapologetic booster of the city of Richmond," Kaine says. "I'm a booster of Richmond not just because I live here and I love it and I was mayor, but I'm a booster because I think every one of Virginia's 7.5 million people have a right to feel really proud and excited about their state capital. What I can do as governor working in tandem with Mayor Wilder, with the Richmond legislative delegation and others in the business community … to help Richmond succeed, I'm gonna do, because it's the right thing for the state."

Oh, the platitudes. Now, if we can only get the gubernatorial inauguration back from Williamsburg in 2010. S

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