Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Senate race puts Truth-O-Meter in late-October mode

The U.S. Senate race heats up with Election Day 19 months away.
The U.S. Senate race heats up with Election Day 19 months away.

It’s 19 months to Election Day and the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign already has us swamped.

The Truth-O-Meter and the Flop-O-Meter went into late-October mode last week when former Gov. Tim Kaine announced he would run for the seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Jim Webb.

George Allen did not take the announcement lightly. Allen, a Republican, held the Senate seat for one term before being edged out by Webb in 2006. He’s determined to win the seat back next year. The day Kaine announced, Allen accused his rival of proposing $6 billion in tax increases as governor.

We’re looking into that claim this week.

We’re also probing Kaine’s boast that, as governor from 2006 to 2010, he cut $6 billion from budgets. On Sunday we wrote about an almost identical claim by Kaine’s successor, Gov. Bob McDonnell, and rated it Barely True.

We found much of the $6 billion McDonnell was counting as budget cuts during the recession were actually accounting maneuvers that did not reduce overall spending levels. Actual budget cuts totaled $2.3 billion.

We’ll let you know how Kaine’s numbers work out.

Also last week, we gave Kaine a Half-Flip for deciding to run after saying in January he was not interested in the Senate seat. And we rated as True Kaine’s statement that Virginia was named best-managed state, best state for business and best state to raise a child when he was governor.

But consider this: Virginia has tradition for competent for government and was named best-managed state under each of the four governors who preceded  Kaine -- including Allen, who ran the state from 1994 to 1998.

We won’t forget that there are a number of candidates vying with Allen for the Republican nomination. We’ve already done a number of stories on Jamie Radtke, a Tea Party activist.