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Kaine airs first ad in Virginia Senate race

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Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine is up with his first television ad of the campaign season and it's a positive one.

The 30-second spot began airing Tuesday and features Kaine, a former governor, talking about his record and his willingness to work across party lines, a central message of his campaign. "During the worst recession in decades, I worked with both parties to cut Virginia's budget by five billion dollars," Kaine says in the ad. "We were fiscally responsible while advancing our most important priorities, like education."

Titled "Best," the commercial will run in major media markets throughout the state to launch a sustained presence on TV stations through the Nov. 6 election.

Kaine has already reserved $4.5 million of ad time for the fall.

The ad is Kaine's first response to a barrage of attacks from conservative outside groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which spent $8.5 million tearing down Kaine and allowing his Republican rival, George Allen, to remain largely positive in his own ad campaign.

Allen has been up with his own ads since June 21, shortly after capturing the GOP nomination.

Allen's campaign characterized the Kaine ad as misleading.

"Tim Kaine isn't telling Virginians that his budget was called a 'shoddy little trick' that used one-time gimmicks," Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis said. "He isn't telling Virginians he has admitted making 'significant cuts' to higher education leading to 30 percent tuition increases. And Tim Kaine isn't telling Virginians that over 100,000 jobs were lost under his watch as he tried to raise taxes on Virginians making as little as $17,000 a year."

While Kaine's ad makes no mention of Allen, there is backhanded criticism of the former U.S. Senator. Kaine notes that, as governor, he "cut my own pay to lead by example." Kaine's campaign frequently mentions that Allen voted to raise his pay while in Congress.

The Kaine-Allen race is one of the most closely watched in the country and could ultimately determine the balance of power in the Senate.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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