Saturday, October 08, 2005

Gubernatorial Campaign Brings TRD Bias To Front And Center

Today, at the top of The Roanoke Times front page, an article by Lawrence Hammack can only be classified as a “hit piece” on Jerry Kilgore’s mother.

Willie Mae Kilgore is the Voter Registrar for Scott County. She has committed the unpardonable sin of contributing monetarily to her sons campaigns (Jerry’s twin brother Terry is running for the House of Delegates in the 1st District as an incumbent).

Jerry Kilgore receiving the endorsement of two of the state’s most influential groups in a single day (one having previously endorsed Mark Warner, which had to cut Tim Warnerkaine to the quick) merits page 3 of the second section of Friday’s paper.

But, in traditional Roanoke Times fashion, a non-story about possible, maybe, could be, there oughta be a law, why isn’t it, sort of innuendo regarding his mother is front page material.

Hammack states (or quotes others) no fewer than four times in his article that such contributions are perfectly legal. Also, almost everyone he questions from the Democratic Party, as well as other Registrars, see little to no ethical problems with her activity on behalf of her sons. (With the primary and notable exception of Terry’s opponent.)

The Roanoke Times has a disturbing habit of “hiding” information harmful to their preferred candidates or issues deep inside a story. (I have demonstrated this in a previous post). Mr. Hammack has continued this tradition with this article.

Hammack waits until the 31st paragraph to inform his readers that Ray H. Davis, Registrar for Stafford County, has also contributed to the Kaine campaign. I’m sure there are people reading this who know each individual better than I, but I am reasonably certain that Mr. Davis is not Tim Kaine’s mother.

He then waits until the 56th paragraph (yes, it’s an extremely long article, essentially saying nothing) to let us in on the secret that Leslie Byrne, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has received over $10,000 from her husband, who serves on the Electoral Board for Fairfax County. (Being that there is a real family connection, I see no problem with Ms. Byrne’s acceptance of these donations.) He tells us that Electoral Board members are held to a lower threshold concerning the legality of their partisan activities than Registrars face. But what he does not tell us, and I feel it is extremely relevant considering the tone he sets with his attack on the Mother Kilgore, is that a County’s Registrar is appointed by the Electoral Board.

Relevant Notes:
(courtesy of Mr. Davis' Stafford County Regisrar's Office Website)
The duty of the Electoral Board is to insure all elections are conducted fairly and impartially. It is the duty of the Registrar to provide for voter registration and voter education. The Registrar performs many electoral duties including managing efficient elections while protecting the integrity of the election process. The Constitution of Virginia requires the appointment of Electoral Boards and Registrars. The Code of Virginia, Section 24.2-114 defines the duties and powers of the Registrar. However, many other duties have evolved and are contained in various parts of Section 24.2 of the Code.

The Electoral Board members appoint the Registrar of Voters, who serves a four-year term. The Registrar and his Assistants may be members of a political party but are not allowed by the Code of Virginia to campaign actively for any candidate. The Registrar and his Assistants are not allowed to offer legal advice or voice partisan opinions. Any activity which can be construed as a conflict with the nonpartisan nature in which the Office of the Registrar of Voters should be maintained is avoided. The public should never be able to question that the performance of the Registrar's duties is carried out in a nonpartisan, fair and legal manner.

Of course there can be dissenters to any opinion....
And Brian posts his dissent here.

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