Kaine embraces McAuliffe in Richmond as candidate most focused on jobs, economy

RICHMOND — Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe continued to rollout his campaign platform on Monday, stopping in Richmond with U.S. Senator Timothy M. Kaine, who embraced McAuliffe as the candidate most focused on jobs and the priorities that matter to Virginians.

The nod of support from Kaine — former governor who is among the state’s most popular Democrats — is significant for McAuliffe, a businessman who has never held public office and is unopposed for his party’s nomination. The November election between McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II to succeed Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) is one of only two gubernatorial races in 2013 and seen as the year’s marquee contest.

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The commonwealth’s junior senator shook hands and posed for pictures before taking the stage to address a crowd of about 200 enthusiastic supporters gathered at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park in Richmond.

“We want somebody who wakes up thinking about jobs, thinking about the economy, thinking about finding a great deal, thinking about training the workforce,” Kaine said. “That’s why I’m supporting Terry McAuliffe to be the next governor of the Commonwealth.”

Kaine, who left the governor’s office in 2010, said successful Virginia governors of both parties have focused on the economy, and he pointed to McAuliffe as someone who would continue that tradition. “I don’t think this is a campaign primarily about personalities,” he said. “I think it’s fundamentally a campaign about visions and about priorities. I know what Terry’s priority is. It’s economic opportunity for Virginia.”

McAuliffe used his stop in the Virginia capitol to highlight community colleges, which he said are “on the front lines” of training the state’s next generation of workers. He noted that he has visited 18 of the state’s 23 community colleges during his campaign, and plans to visit them all.

“They are on the front lines . . . preparing our workers for jobs, to retool their skills for new jobs, and to attract new employers to the commonwealth,” McAuliffe said. “I would have no higher priority for the next four years than to make community colleges the engine of workforce development here in Virginia.”

Enthusiasm will be key to victory in this fall’s off-year election, as voter turnout traditionally plummets in the year following a presidential contest. A Washington Post poll shows an early lead for Cuccinelli, though many voters are undecided about whom they will support.

To that end, McAuliffe urged the audience to show their support at the polls this fall.

“Do not sit at home and think that last year mattered more than this year,” he said. “Folks, we need that intensity again.”

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