Election 2012: A Tight Race in Virginia
Two former governors compete for a coveted Senate seat
With November 6, Election Day, fast approaching, politicians across the country are stepping up their campaigns in local, state, and national races. One of the most closely watched among these races is the contest in Virginia for the United State Senate between former governors Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and George Allen, a Republican.
Kaine and Allen are vying for the seat currently held by Senator Jim Webb. Webb, a Democrat, is retiring after only one term in office. Political pundits predict that this close race will be a key predictor of how the national electoral picture will look on November 7. In recent polls, Kaine holds a lead of only 3 points.
Recently, Scholastic News spoke with Kaine about his views on the upcoming election and issues influencing the race.
One of the themes that Kaine has stressed both as Governor and during his campaign is the importance of education. Kaine has made it clear that his greatest concern for Virginia education involves "greater funding and smarter strategies for early childhood education," he told the Kids Press Corps. The Governor added that he wants "to work very closely with teachers and parents to figure out what the right changes are."
The Allen campaign declined a Scholastic News Kids Press Corps request to interview the Republican candidate for this article. But Allen has asserted his views on matters such as education and the economy through his speeches and interviews.
"As a father of three children, I know how important a quality education is to the future success of our children," Allen has said.
Some of Allen's key goals in improving Virginians' education are to ensure that Virginia maintains its high educational status, and to prevent the educational system from slipping into a one-size-fits-all standard.
"It is important that our government enhances educational options for parents and does not act as a barrier to choosing the method of learning which is best for their family," Allen has contended.
For his part, Kaine said that the support and relationship he has with Mark Warner, the other Senator from Virginia, makes him the best choice for the state. And they have worked together before — Warner was Lieutenant Governor when Kaine was Governor.
"We have a very similar attitude," Kaine affirmed. "We would be very good partners in the Senate just as we've been good partners when we've worked in the same government."
President Barack Obama has been an big part of Kaine's campaign as well. Kaine was unabashed to admit that while he remains an avid supporter, he and the President "don't agree on everything."
But even though the Governor and the President don't see eye to eye on all issues, Kaine still vows that, "I will always work if I'm in the Senate to be a partner with the President of the United States."
The Virginia Senate election remains a tight race, and will likely remain that way until Virginians head to the polls. Both Kaine and Allen promise favorable futures for Virginia, but who the state votes for as President might have a big influence on how this Senate contest is decided.
And with Virginia in the role of a swing state in 2012, there's a lot to pay attention to in the Old Dominion State this election year.
Scholastic News Kid Reporters are on the campaign trail! Keep up with latest election news on the Election 2012 website.
NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.