The Virginia gubernatorial election of 2005 was a race for the Governor of Virginia, United States, held on November 8, 2005, and won by Democrat Tim Kaine. Virginia is the only state in the United States to prohibit governors from serving successive terms, so the popular incumbent, Mark R. Warner, could not run for reelection.
The primary election was held on June 14, 2005. Tim Kaine was unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and Jerry Kilgore easily defeated George Fitch with 82.5% of the vote for the Republican nomination.
The general election itself was expected to be close with Independent candidate Russ Potts as a possible spoiler candidate. Kaine remained behind in polls throughout most of the campaign, at one point 10 points behind Kilgore, but captured a slight lead in the final weeks of the campaign, due in part to a series of gaffes by the Kilgore campaign.
Some of these gaffes included:
The final results of the election were 51.72% for Kaine, 45.99% for Kilgore, 2.22% for Potts, and 0.08% for other candidates.
|Source||Date||Kaine (D)||Kilgore (R)||Potts (I)|
|Survey USA||November 7, 2005||50%||45%||4%|
|Mason-Dixon||November 4, 2005||45%||44%||4%|
|Rasmussen||November 4, 2005||49%||46%||2%|
|Roanoke College||November 2, 2005||44%||36%||5%|
|Washington Post||October 30, 2005||47%||44%||4%|
|Rasmussen||October 28, 2005||46%||44%||4%|
|Mason-Dixon||October 25, 2005||42%||44%||5%|
|Rasmussen||October 24, 2005||46%||48%||2%|
|Hotline||October 18, 2005||40%||38%||5%|
|Survey USA||October 17, 2005||47%||45%||4%|
|Rasmussen||October 12, 2005||44%||46%||1%|
|Rasmussen||September 28, 2005||45%||45%||5%|
|Survey USA||September 19, 2005||43%||46%||4%|
|Mason-Dixon||September 18, 2005||40%||41%||6%|
|Rasmussen||September 16, 2005||40%||43%||5%|
|Survey USA||August 9, 2005||43%||48%||3%|
|Rasmussen||August 4, 2005||39%||45%||5%|
|Mason-Dixon||July 24, 2005||38%||37%||9%|
|Rasmussen||July 14, 2005||41%||47%||4%|
|Survey USA||June 30, 2005||39%||49%||5%|
|Rasmussen||June 16, 2005||40%||46%||2%|
|Survey USA||May 17, 2005||40%||44%||5%|
Official results from the State Board of Elections: An underdog for most of the race, Kaine led in some polls for the first time in October 2005, and held his lead into the final week before the election. While the previous Democratic Governor, Mark Warner, was credited with doing especially well for a Democrat in rural areas of the commonwealth, Kaine's win featured surprising triumphs in traditionally Republican areas such as Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and the Northern Virginia exurbs of Prince William County and Loudoun County, as well as impressive showings in Democratic strongholds such as Richmond and Norfolk.
Kaine closely associated himself with popular outgoing Democratic Governor Mark Warner during his campaign; he won his race by a slightly larger margin than Warner. He promised homeowner tax relief, centrist fiscal leadership, and universal pre-kindergarten. . A number of factors, from the sagging poll numbers of President George W. Bush to a public disgust over the death penalty ads run by Kilgore, have also been cited as key to his decisive win. Kaine was inaugurated in Williamsburg on January 14, 2006. This makes Kaine the first Governor since Thomas Jefferson (in 1779) to be inaugurated in Virginia's colonial capital. Virginia's Capitol in Richmond was under renovation at the time, with the process completed in mid-2007.