As Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine takes the debate stage in his home state tonight, Republicans are attacking his record on the death penalty, reports Roll Call. In a new web ad that recalls the Willie Horton attack on 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, the Republican National Committee is highlighting two of Kaine’s clients when he was a defense attorney. Richard Lee Whitley was convicted of murdering a 63-year-old neighbor, and Lem Tuggle was found guilty of raping, sodomizing,and murdering a 52-year old woman. The ad argues that Kaine has “a passion for defending the wrong people.”
While numerous executions took place while he served as Virginia governor, Kaine had worked a defense attorney to keep people convicted of capital offenses from facing the death penalty. The Republican release of the attack video yesterday is likely designed to ensure that the death penalty is a topic of conversation between Pence and Kaine tonight.