WASHINGTON (CNN) - With just over a month to go until election day in Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is deploying the state's most popular elected politician in a big way.
The Deeds campaign debuted a new television ad featuring Sen. Mark Warner - also the state's governor from 2002 to 2006 - vouching for the Democratic nominee and talking about the economy. The ad is airing throughout the commonwealth, according to a campaign aide, but is not yet running in the pricey Washington, D.C. media market.
"The choice in this election for Governor is really pretty simple," Warner says, speaking directly into the camera. "Do we move Virginia forward by continuing the pro-business economic policies that I helped put in place? Or do we go backwards with the failed economic approach that ruined our economy?"
Recent polls suggest that nearly two-thirds of Virginia voters have a favorable opinion of Warner, and he enjoyed sky-high approval ratings by the time he left the governor's office in January 2006 - thanks largely to his success at creating jobs and his efforts to fix the state's budget. Warner ushered through a bipartisan budget package in 2004 that included a tax increase. an effort that rescued the budget and maintained the state's precious AAA-bond rating.
In the ad, Warner goes on to tell tells viewers that Deeds supports "keeping taxes low and controlling spending" - a point that Republican Bob McDonnell's campaign took issue with.
"Unfortunately it appears the Deeds campaign has given the senator some bad information regarding Creigh's position on taxes," McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said in an e-mail. "Creigh has made clear he will raise taxes on Virginians by one billion a year if elected. With this in mind, the Deeds campaign should think about re-shooting this spot in order to help clear up the confusion it creates."
Deeds has said he is open to increasing taxes to pay for transportation reform if necessary, but he has not guaranteed a tax hike.
Along with the ad, Warner has promised to campaign for Deeds "almost every weekend" until election day in November, according to the Deeds campaign.