A new technique of voter outreach in the era of high gas prices, pioneered by the ever-struggling Virginia Senate candidate Jim Gilmore:

In Roanoke County, the Republican spoke with about a dozen people, many of whom said they had not expected to see their former governor at the gas station. Wearing a blue blazer and tasseled loafers, and trailed by reporters and television cameras, Gilmore pumped their gas and heard their frustrations about the economy and high gas prices. Gilmore is emphasizing those issues in his campaign.

"I'm tired of the gas prices going up and wages ain't going up. Everything's going up but wages," said Tony Huffman, a Roanoke County scrap metal hauler who was wearing a Confederate battle flag do-rag and driving a black Chevrolet pickup truck. "You stick with me, we'll win this thing," said Gilmore, as he wrapped up Huffman's gas service at the Orange Market on Thompson Memorial Drive in Roanoke County, near the site of the Civil War's Battle of Hanging Rock.

The rather droll Roanoke Times writer seemed put off that Gilmore didn't offer full service, reporting that "Gilmore did not pay for motorists' gas. ... he did not clean windshields or check the oil," which sparks the thought -- this gas-empathy shtick has room to escalate! "Wearing an axle-grease-stained white tee-shirt and cleats, former Governor Mark Warner heard Manassas-area voters' frustrations as he pedaled them to work in a 'Warner '08' bicycle rickshaw ..."

P.S.: Post originally said Gilmore was a gubernatorial candidate. He's run for so many things I got mixed up. Apologies.

--Eve Fairbanks