Republican Donner Seeks Webb’s Senate Seat

Tim Donner
Tim Donner

by Valerie Garner

After the 2010 elections, businessman Tim Donner says he “believes that there is an appetite for people outside of the traditional political sphere.” He is seeking the Republican nomination to fill retiring U.S. Senator Jim Webb’s seat in 2012.

Tim Donner is a businessman and broadcast journalist. He established Horizons Television, Inc., a media production company, and founded One Generation Away, a free market education and public policy organization. He and his wife Leesa are 25-year Virginia residents. They live in Fairfax and have two sons.

As a constitutional conservative with a broadcasting career and knowledge of the issues, he is confident that these credentials give him an edge to coherently communicate a message. He has held no prior political office.

Donner says that he admires President Ronald Reagan because “Reagan changed the debate from how much are we going add to the size and scope of government to how much are we going to reduce it.”

“We know what we will get from George Allen as a senator,” said Donner. He complained that former Governor and Senator Allen had six years to reduce the size of government but instead supported expansion of federal power, raised the debt ceiling four times and voted for ever-increasing government spending.

Donner knows he has a name recognition challenge. In response to that he said he plans “to wear out a lot of shoe leather and talk to anyone who will listen.”

He blames both the Bush and Obama administrations for the debt crisis. “If what [Bush] did was a misdemeanor, the Obama administration is a felony,” he said. He refuses to entertain any thoughts of adding more debt by raising the debt ceiling. “We’ve done it enough – we’re not going to do it anymore,” he said.

He likes the Cut, Cap and Balance bill that passed in the House. It includes adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and limiting spending to 18 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). “Revenue and spending would be at equal levels – that’s the kind of change that I’m interested in,” said Donner.

The CCB bill never made it to the floor in the U.S. Senate but he still wants to see a bill that produces permanent change.

“The defense budget can’t be immune from cuts,” said Donner. He would seek justification for overseas military bases on a case by case basis. “Bureaucracy in the Pentagon is costly and prevents military flexibility,” he said.

All subsidies to industries should be targeted for elimination. Donner advocates for a simplified flat tax system – more people paying taxes but at lower levels. Tax loopholes lobbied for by special interests would be eliminated under his plan.

Donner would repeal Obamacare and hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will find it unconstitutional.

In place of Medicare Donner would institute Retirement Health Savings Accounts. Implemented over time, the 2.9 percent payroll withholding would be placed into an RHSA. The accounts would be supplemented by high deductible catastrophic insurance policies and high risk pools for the chronically ill.

However he admitted that it would disproportionately favor higher income brackets as the level of funds amassed in the RHSA depends on the employee’s income level.

Medicaid would go to states in the form of block grants to administer as they do now.

He favors increasing the retirement age for social security gradually and instituting a form of “means testing.” Donner does not support raising or eliminating the annual income cap on FICA withholding.

He would institute a “red card” system for immigrant workers. Workers would be subjected to a screening process. They could then be tracked through employers’ records.

To repatriate jobs and dollars back to the U.S., Donner would provide incentives to corporations. He strongly believes in reducing the corporate tax rate to 15 percent.

Donner is 100 percent pro-life with no exceptions. “I don’t believe in compounding the crimes of rape and incest with the tragedy of abortion,” he said. Sex education is the responsibility of the parents and not the schools.

On education Donner doesn’t like Obama’s national Common Core Standards. “I don’t believe one size fits all … Washington does not have the ability or the right to dictate what the standards should be.”

Virginia is one of seven states that have opted out of the standards, relying instead on the Standards of Learning. Race to the Top grants are tied to the Common Core Standards. Eventually Title One funding will require participation and cities like Roanoke rely heavily on these funds for improving the academic achievement of disadvantaged students.

Donner will face George Allen who lost his U.S. Senate seat in 2006 to Jim Webb. Two others are also seeking the nomination – Jamie Radke, Head of the Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots, and David McCormick, a Virginia Beach attorney and business owner. The primary winner will face former Governor and DNC chair Tim Kaine.