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Republican Klinge Hits Gilmore in Debate Flap

Tim Craig

Republican strategist J. Kenneth Klinge called GOP Senate candidate James S. Gilmore "a hypocrite" today over Gilmore's criticism of Mark R. Warner for not yet agreeing to a statewide, televised debate.

Klinge, an ally of U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), noted that Gilmore refused to debate his opponent for the Republican nomination, Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), in the weeks leading up to the state GOP convention in June.

"I am sick and tired of seeing (Gilmore) act like something he isn't," said Klinge, who has been critical of Gilmore in the past. "On this subject, he is definitely a hypocrite."

On Monday, Gilmore said it's not fair to compare his stance on debates with Warner, the Democratic nominee for Senate, to the one he held this spring. Gilmore noted that only 5,000 delegates selected the GOP nominee whereas several million people will vote in the general election.

"We had a small universe of people" during the nomination fight, Gilmore said. "This is a debate for the entire population. This is where the difference is."

Klinge, who work behind the scenes in support of Marshall at the GOP convention, responded by saying, "Boss Tweed used to say, 'I don't care who gets elected as long as you let me pick the candidates'."

"His argument that this was just a convention and only 5,000 people showed up is just fallacious," Klinge said of Gilmore.

Klinge is widely expected to support Warner instead of Gilmore in November, but he said yesterday he is so far neutral.

In an interview Monday, Warner never directly answered questions from reporters about whether there would be a debate that would be aired statewide.

But Warner and Gilmore have both agreed to a debate September 18 in front of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. The two also debated in July in front of the Virginia Bar Association.

(An earlier version of this positing had an incorrect date for the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce Debate. The debate will be held on September 18.)

By Tim Craig  |  September 2, 2008; 1:58 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Thank you, Gov. Gilmore, for also highlighting the fact that your campaign fought to have the nomination decided by 5000 people at a convention rather than letting the people of Virginia decide. Or did you think we'd forgotten?

Posted by: Redshift | September 2, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The debate is on June 13th? Or it happened on June 13th?

Posted by: Ali | September 3, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Jim Gilmore could not even govern the state of Va. as Governor, was appointed by Geo. Bush to take over the job of the RNC, could not handle that, was let go, and then ran for the office of President, no one supported him there, and now, the Republicans are running him against Mark Warner, the best Governor in the state of Virginia since Jefferson, what is the GOP in Va. thinking? Do you not have a better candidate?

Posted by: Dorothy Dreger | September 5, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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