ICYMI: Kaine For Virginia’s New Digital Ad “Came Out Swinging” At Hung Cao

Richmond, VA – A new report from the Staunton News Leader highlights Kaine for Virginia’s new digital ad, “Not Podunk,” that will remind Virginians about Hung Cao’s condescending elitism. The ad emphasizes Tim Kaine’s deep roots in Virginia, noting that Tim and his wife Anne honeymooned in Staunton, and Anne’s aunt lived in Abingdon.

The report lays out the timeline of Hung Cao’s elitism on the campaign trail, starting with the News Leader’s reporting about Cao’s scam PAC. Cao promised to use the PAC to boost Virginia Republicans, but instead, nearly all of the funds the PAC raised went to Cao’s advisors and consultants and not a dime was spent to support Republican candidates. After the News Leader exposed Cao’s scam PAC, Cao refused to answer questions, and then lashed out at the paper, calling the News Leader “podunk.”

Cao has since doubled down on calling the paper “podunk” and snubbed the Staunton even further by skipping a candidate forum held there during the primary. Cao has also turned up his nose at Southwest Virginia, saying it would be “ridonkulous” for him to drive to Abingdon to answer questions from voters he seeks to represent in the U.S. Senate.

Read more below:

Staunton News Leader: Virginia Sen. Kaine takes aim at his newly crowned Republican opponent Hung Cao
Elizabeth Beyer
June 19, 2024

  • Sen. Tim Kaine’s reelection campaign came out swinging against his newly crowned Republican opponent Hung Cao, in Kaine’s first ad of the General Election on Wednesday. 
  • The ad highlights some of Cao’s most prominent gaffs on the primary campaign trail, including his use of a pejorative against the Staunton News Leader after the paper reported questionable spending by a super PAC that Cao helped to launch. 
  • Cao called the paper “podunk” and dismissed the reporting as a “hit job” by “the left” but failed to answer material questions about spending by the super PAC he helped to launch. 
  • “Staunton isn’t podunk! We spent our honeymoon here,” Kaine said in the ad. 
  • The ad also points out that Cao said it was “ridonkulous” to drive five hours from his home in Purcellville to Abingdon to take part in a Republican U.S. Senate primary forum, during a teleforum hosted by the Fauquier County GOP in May. 
  • “Abingdon isn’t ridonkulous! My wife’s aunt lived there,” Kaine said in response, in the ad. 
  • “Elitists who won’t show up for you will never stand up for you,” Kaine says in the ad, referring to Cao. “I stand up for all Virginians, and I always will.” 
  • Cao’s gaffs drew ire and attacks from his four opponents during the primary. Regardless, Cao, who resides in Northern Virginia, handily won the primary election on Tuesday. He gained more than 60% of the votes between five candidates in the race. 
  • In Kaine’s first campaign ad against Cao, at least, no lies appear to have been uttered. Cao has repeatedly called the Staunton News Leader “podunk,” and the Fauquier County forum, when he said driving from Purcellville to Abington for a candidate forum was “ridonkulous,” was recorded.
  • With Cao’s campaign coffers nearly empty after a hard-fought primary race, he will need to do some significant fundraising to compete with Kaine, who is entering into the General Election with more than $8.5 million cash on hand, according to the Federal Elections Commission. 


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