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Warner, Gilmore Prepare for First Senate Debate

Anita Kumar

In 2005, Richmond lobbyist David Hallock spent weeks pretending to be Jerry W. Kilgore, the Republican nominee for governor, as a way to help Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) prepare for the first gubernatorial debate.

This year, Hallock is back to help his old boss, former Gov. Mark R. Warner.

Hallock, who had been one of Warner's top lawyers, is playing Republican nominee James S. Gilmore III as Warner prepares for his first debate in this year's U.S. Senate debate.

The candidates are spending hours in behind-the-scenes mock debates, using stand-ins for their opponents in the Nov. 4 election.

Ana Gamonal, a Gilmore spokeswoman, refused to disclose who is playing Warner. But she jokingly said that the campaign was trying to book actor Jim Carrey, the star of the 1997 movie Liar Liar. Yesterday, Gilmore's camapign called Warner a liar for claiming in his most recent ad that he supports more domestic oil production.

Kevin Hall, a Warner spokesman, declined to comment.

The first Senate debate, sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association, will take place Saturday at the Homestead resort in the western part of the state. The association has a decades-long tradition of hosting an early debate in statewide political contests at its annual summer meeting.

Gilmore and Warner, both former governors, are running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican John W. Warner.

By Anita Kumar  |  July 16, 2008; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Debates , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner  
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This is a no contest race. Gilmore will try and make it a contest by promising tax cuts and calling Warner names. However after Gilmore's failure as a Governor during his first term and his leaving the State in a financial mess, citizens will see through his gimmicks and unrealistic promises and vote for Warner.

Posted by: dbax | July 16, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Gilmore is already up to his old gimmicks, using push polls to create the fantasy that he can somehow lower taxes if he is elected to the Senate. Sure he will, at the risk of ruinous deficits such as those that he caused in Virginia with his car tax debacle. His performance during the debate will most likely represent someone living in an alternate universe, one in which Jim Gilmore was a fiscally responsible governor who left the state with only sunshine and rainbows on the horizon. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Posted by: HisRoc | July 16, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The Independent Greens of Virginia have the best candidate on the ballot for U.S. Senate.

Gail "for Rail" Parker is a retired U.S. Air Force Officer, grandmother, mother, and businesswoman.

Gail should be included in the debates!

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