Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine says he is "absolutely" planning to discuss former Sen. George Allen's views on women's issues in the Virginia Senate campaign, something he has already begun to do.
"One of the areas where George and I are going to differ very sharply is on some of these social issues, which got a lot of torque in Virginia this year," Kaine said on Tuesday at a breakfast sponsored by the centrist think tank Third Way.
Earlier this year, two controversial measures introduced in the state legislature by Republicans caused headaches for Allen and popular Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. One was a personhood measure that would define life as beginning at conception and another was a measure that would have required transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. Sensing the political firestorm erupting, McDonnell intervened, amending the abortion measure so that it called for external ultrasounds 24 hours before having an abortion.
Kaine opposes all of the measures, including the amended one on abortion, calling it "a horrible policy." The backlash against the legislative actions in the state allowed Kaine's campaign to go on offense, and his campaign sought to tie Allen to the state Republican policies.
In a race where both Allen and Kaine are already very well-defined in the eyes of most voters, turning out base support at the margin will really matter. According to the latest Washington Post poll of the race, Kaine is winning female voters by seven points, 49 percent to 42 percent, while Allen is winning men 51 percent to 43 percent.
Among Virginia adults polled in the latest survey, 50 percent said they opposed the abortion measure while 46 percent said they support it. Notably, a slightly higher percentage of men (51 percent) than women (49 percent) said they opposed it.