It seems the continuing debate debate misses a crucial point. Larry Sabato and others suggest that Russ Potts shouldn’t be included in debates until he garners about 15 % of the hypothetical vote in polls, and even then it’s doubtful Kilgore the pansy would debate him. But the hypothetical is the nut. Judging from what I’ve heard about the polls, few people say they know either Tim Kaine, Jerry Kilgore or Russ Potts. I’m willing to bet the only reason Potts is getting so little support is that when people are asked who they support in the November election the question is, “Do you support Tim Kaine, the Democrat, Jerry Kilgore, the Republican or Russ Potts, the independent?”

Now keep in mind a huge number of people vote based on party ID alone. Even by November, people know little of the candidates and just vote for the party. So when asked the hypothetical question, they choose either the Dem or the GOPer. As far as they know, Russ Potts, “the independent,” could be a left wing wacko or a right wing ideologue. Kaine or Kilgore could be wackos, too, but at least they have a tag that goes with them, somehow describing what they’re all about.

(Of course, with Tim Kaine wandering around in some vague conservative, moderate, I-won’t-offend-anybody purgatory, I keep wondering how many Democrats recognize him.)

Since conservative bloggers have picked up statements like the previous one to suggests that we’re so disaffected with Kaine that we’ll stay home or vote for Kilgore, for the record let me say, no, I won’t vote for Kilgore.

But about that Russ Potts. The Washington Post editorial page thinks he’s the only straight shooter.

State Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. (R-Winchester), who is running for governor as an independent, is the only one in the race calling for swift action now. He would convene a special legislative session on transportation, as Gov. Gerald L. Baliles (D) did nearly 20 years ago; not since then has the state faced up to its transportation needs. Mr. Potts says he would press the lawmakers until they produced a long-range financing package. That’s what it will take, and the longer Virginia leaders dodge and dawdle, the costlier the solution will be.

Do I hear an endorsement in the making?

But still, by November only a few more people will really know anything more about Kaine and Kilgore than their party ID. So maybe Potts is destined for only 5%, among them The Post’s editorialists.