BY WESLEY P. HESTER
On the heels of last night’s debate, Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen is launching a new push in Southwest Virginia, labeling opponent Timothy M. Kaine an enemy of the coal industry.
The Allen campaign has released two new ads in Southwest Virginia featuring the voices of Jay and Elaine Swiney, members of a fourth generation coal mining family.
“Our current administration in Washington has put a lot of regulations on the coal industry,” says Jay Swiney, mayor of Appalachia, in “Forced.”
“They’re basically being forced out of business,” adds Elaine.
“Tim Kaine stood beside President Obama, supporting cap-and-trade [legislation],” says Jay. “Tim Kaine wants to be President Obama’s Senator, not Virginia’s.”
“George Allen will fight for us,” adds Elaine.
In the other ad, “My Life,” Jay says that “Tim Kaine claims that he represents Southwest Virginia and the coal miners, but we never see Tim Kaine.”
But Kaine has campaigned regularly in Southwest Virginia, attending the United Mine Workers’ annual fish fry over the weekend. Allen has not been to the region in weeks, though he is expected to campaign there later this week.
The new ads follow a batch of similar coal-related attacks by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Obama.
In response to the ads, the Kaine campaign sent out a release with quotes from Kaine, United Mine Workers representative Mike Kennedy and state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell.
“I support coal as part of a comprehensive energy approach that utilizes all our domestic energy resources to propel our economy and become more energy independent,” Kaine said. “This is the approach I took when implementing Virginia’s first statewide energy plan and it’s why I supported the permitting of the Virginia City coal facility in Wise that created thousands of jobs.”