Guinn goes national
Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn has become a bit of an issue in the Virginia governor’s race.

Guinn chairs the Republican Governors Association (RGA), which decided in April to endorse former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore in that state’s campaign for governor. Unlike most states, Virginia holds its governorship elections in odd-numbered years, and as a result those campaigns get attention out of proportion to what they would otherwise receive.

On April 26, Guinn and RGA Vice Chairman Mitt Romney of Massachusetts announced the endorsement, with Guinn saying, “Endorsing Jerry is something that we have discussed at length with our fellow Republican governors, and there was a clear consensus that Jerry Kilgore is the candidate that will provide the leadership that Virginia deserves. … We are going to spend whatever is necessary to win Virginia. We want to make sure that the commonwealth has the best possible leadership—and that is Jerry Kilgore.”

Endorsement brought with it substantial dollars, including a $282,000 media buy on Kilgore’s behalf by the RGA. That triggered an angry blast from Virginia Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, who is also running for governor. (Kaine is a Democrat but seems to be trying to get through the campaign without ever admitting it. His campaign graphics don’t mention his affiliation, nor does his Web page.)

Kaine issued a statement that the NGA was “airing the first negative television ad of the 2005 Virginia Gubernatorial campaign, attacking Tim Kaine on the issue of homeowner taxes.”

He then fired at Govs. Guinn and Romney: “According to the Washington Post, Guinn pushed through the biggest increase in Nevada history. He defended himself by saying: ‘Some people say that makes me a bad Republican,’ said the former banker and corporate executive. ‘Well, I would be a worse Republican, and a worse grandfather, and a worse citizen, if I didn’t find enough money to educate our children and fund our Medicaid program and provide decent prenatal care.’ ”

There was also a Kaine attack on a “2-cent-a-gallon backdoor gas tax increase in Massachusetts” under Romney.

Attacks on Guinn and Romney then proliferated across the Internet, and variants—most of them using the Washington Post quote—now appear on a couple of dozen Web pages.