Just as the summertime temperatures are rising, so is the heat of the summertime campaign season.
This weekend candidates for the United States Senate will meet at the Virginia Bar Association's annual meeting for their first debate.
One of the quirkier traditions of Virginia politics is the summertime debate. They usually takes place on a weekend in the hottest part of the summer when people aren’t really paying attention to politics. It allows the candidates to perfect their lines of attack and counterattack far from the spotlight and the looming finish line of election day.
Geoff Skelley at the University of Virginia Center for Politics expects Republican Senate candidate Corey Stewart to come out swinging. “And so I would suspect he will be throwing many bombs in Tim Kaine’s direction to try to get a reaction out of Kaine," Skelley said. "It wouldn’t stun me if Stewart went for personal attacks.”
Others wonder which Tim Kaine will emerge. Will it be the calm and collected Tim Kaine who took on George Allen in 2012? Or will it be the aggressive in-your-face Tim Kaine who confronted Mike Pence in 2016?
Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington suspects former. “It did seem that the aggressive Tim Kaine of the vice presidential debate really fell somewhat flat," Farnsworth noted. "I don’t think that he was in his comfort zone.”
Farnsworth says Stewart is counting on all the free media he’ll get from the debates in part because Kaine has raised 12 times as much money.