Sen. Ralph Smith at Rep. Goodlatte Balanced Budget Press Conference
Press Release: Campaigns with former Sen. John Chichester
Chief Advocate of Virginia’s Record Setting $4 Billion Tax Increase
ROANOKE, VA– Senator Ralph Smith’s (R) re-election campaign today noted the featured guests at tonight’s fundraiser to benefit the campaign of J. Brandon Bell II as illustrative of the former senator’s longstanding record of supporting higher taxes
and increased government spending.
Former Senators John H. Chichester and H. Russell Potts, Jr. are the featured guests at a fundraiser for the Bell campaign this evening. Chichester, who served as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, promoted a $4 billion package of tax increases in 2004, the single largest tax increase proposal in Virginia history. Chichester’s insistence on adopting his tax hike plan – which was four times the size of then-Governor Mark Warner’s $1 billion proposed tax hike – led to a legislative deadlock that delayed approval of the budget for months that year.
Senator Potts, who strongly supported Chichester’s tax scheme, ran an unsuccessful independent campaign for Governor in 2005, receiving just 2% of the vote.
“Brandon has found the most appropriate featured guests possible to promote his candidacy,” declared Smith campaign manager Steve Mabry. “Senator Chichester sponsored what would have been the biggest tax increase in Virginia history. His insistence on higher taxes and ballooning government spending led to unnecessary budget deadlocks in 2004 and 2006. His behavior during his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee gave new meaning to ‘obstructionist.’
“When Senator Potts found few Republican voters interested in his commitment to higher taxes and bigger government, he bolted the party to run for Governor as an independent. Not surprisingly, Virginia voters were not interested in Senator Potts’s determination to take more of their money, and his campaign became an inconsequential footnote.”
Bell is attempting to win what would be his third non-consecutive term in the Senate of Virginia, having previously represented the 21st and 22nd Districts. He was defeated for re-election both times. An erstwhile Republican, Bell was defeated in the Republican Primary by Senator Smith in 2007. The issue of taxes was the major dispute in that primary campaign, in which Bell outspent Smith by more than three to one. Bell made news again in 2009, earning the dubious distinction of endorsing Democrat nominee R. Creigh Deeds for governor when he was ahead in the polls, then switching to the Republican nominee, now Governor, Robert F. McDonnell when his campaign pulled ahead in the polls a few months later.
“The voters of the 19th District know they can count on me to fight tax increases and wasteful government spending,” noted Senator Smith. “My opponent’s candidacy offers those voters who want higher taxes and increased government spending a champion of their own. That Brandon has invited these two former Senators, both of whom are relentless advocates for big government and high taxes, to promote his candidacy tells voters everything they need to know about their choice on November 8.”
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Election 2011, Elections, Politics, State Politics
Tags: Election 2011, Elections, republican, state_senate