Wedged between presidential and midterm election cycles, off-year gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey can easily fly below the radar of Americans living outside of those two states. According to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, though, these races — especially the on in his state — will have an impact nationwide.
Cuccinelli, who is battling former Democrat Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe for governorship, detailed his platform during a Thursday morning conference call hosted by the Legacy Political Fund. He also stressed the importance of grassroots support as he squares off against a Democrat heavyweight.
While in-state fundraising for both candidates is comparable, Cuccinelli said his opponent is able to attract more donors from outside of Virginia due to his insider connections.
“The other side is pounding the daylights out of us,” he explained, noting “the environmentalists, Planned Parenthood, and the unions have come in like crazy.” Among his many fundraisers was a recent event at the home of Hillary Clinton.
Despite support from high-profile Democrats, Cuccinelli said McAuliffe cannot compete in the arena of ideas.
“We have methodically taken away every argument he’s got,” the candidate said, noting he has remained consistent in embracing conservative values such as the defense of marriage, opposition to abortion, and support of school choice.
“We also put forward an economic plan,” he explained, which includes a reduction in marginal, personal, and business taxes. “We put in place a spending reduction plan and also a plan to close about 15 percent of our tax loopholes and exemptions.”
Economists have estimates that Cuccinelli’s economic growth program will foster the creation of 58,000 new jobs in the state.
“I’m the only candidate who has put forward a plan you can describe that will grow jobs,” he said, noting McAuliffe is “trying to bribe them to do business here” by promising government handouts.
Given his state’s proximity to Washington, D.C., Cuccinelli noted it has become more difficult to make his message as the federal government shutdown continues. Despite that obstacle, he is still committed to informing voters about important issues.
“In Virginia, the government shutdown affects so many people that it has really inhibited our ability to get to the discussion of healthcare,” he said, invoking the monumentally unpopular ObamaCare legislation currently being rolled out nationwide.
“We are focused on talking to people about what this law implementation means to their life,” he said. Sticking to the subject of healthcare, Cuccinelli also blasted his opponent for his desire to expand the Medicaid program.
“We need to be reforming Medicaid, not expanding it massively,” he said, “and I actually have plans to do that.”
Cuccinelli has also been dedicated to protecting the coal industry, saying the “war on coal is a war on our poor, it’s a war on our middle class.”
Negatively affecting those living near coalfields in the impoverished Appalachia region of the state, he said “it affects the potential for job creation right where we need it more.”
By embracing public and private school choice programs, he said he has been able to attract support from across party lines — especially in areas with chronically failing schools.
“I am the first person to ever run on school choice statewide,” he said, indicating he has spent time in southside Richmond and Petersburg, among other areas, spreading his message to parents upset about the quality of education.
In general, the Cuccinelli ground team is far more effective than that of his Democrat rival. While nearly twice as many Virginians voted during the 2012 presidential election than are predicted to vote next month, Cuccinelli said his campaign has reached more potential voters in the state than Mitt Romney did last year.
“We’re getting to more doors and talking to more voters than we did last year in a presidential cycle,” he said, though he admitted McAuliffe is “bringing in so much out-of-state money it’s been hard to compete with.”
As with most leftist campaigns, Cuccinelli said his opponent resorts to name calling and the invocation of a phantom “war on women” being waged by Republicans.
“They don’t have a positive agenda to advance,” he said. “They just continue to beat the snot out of me.”
To remain competitive, he explained that he needs to increase his support outside of Virginia.
“We don’t expect to match Terry McAuliffe’s money, but we need to stay close,” he explained.
Calling the Virginia gubernatorial race the “most important race for conservatives in America in 2013,” Cuccinelli said he would welcome any donations to his campaign as he fights for conservative values in the state. He also asked for Americans to pray for him and his family as they approach election day.
–Western Journalism staff writer
Photo credit: tango.mceffrie (Creative Commons)