Va. parties lob union, abortion challenges

Virginia Republicans and Democrats will really go at it in the 2013 elections, but at least they’re talking to each other for now. Not directly, mind you. But on Thursday, both parties kinda, sorta reached out by publicly addressing the other camp.

Addressing them in a way meant to put them on the spot, but heck, it’s a start.

The latest on Virginia politics

Poll: Support for Medicaid expansion down sharply in Va.

Poll: Support for Medicaid expansion down sharply in Va.

Virginians are souring on McAuliffe’s top priority, a Christopher Newport University survey finds.

Va. lawmakers fail to override any of governor’s vetoes

Va. lawmakers fail to override any of governor’s vetoes

But they rejected more than a dozen of McAuliffe’s amendments in the legislature’s annual “veto session.”

Reconvened Va. Assembly unlikely to solve biggest divides

Reconvened Va. Assembly unlikely to solve biggest divides

Medicaid expansion and the budget are not on the agenda, raising the prospect of a government shutdown.

Read more

The Republican Party of Virginia opened the dialogue with a news release that began:

“As Democrats continue to celebrate and rally around President Obama, his actions in Michigan raise a critical question for Virginia voters: Where do the 2013 Democrat candidates stand on Right to Work? Do they stand with President Obama, or do they stand with Virginia?”

The state’s right-to-work laws prevent workers from being required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

The release went on from there to pose that question specifically to gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe and other Democrats seeking statewide offices, noting that some had received sizeable campaign donations from labor unions.

“For decades, Virginia’s status as the northernmost Right to Work state on the East Coast has given us a distinct economic advantage,” the release said. “... There’s not a single Republican candidate running who doesn’t stand 100 percent behind Right to Work. We know where Barack Obama stands. How about Terry McAuliffe and his potential ticket- mates?”

Just as Republicans were issuing that news release, Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), the newly installed chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, held a conference call with reporters.

The purpose: “[T]o call on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Republican leaders to leave radical anti-women’s health legislation like Personhood out of the 2013 session in order to focus on more critical issues to Virginia families.”

Herring was referring to the so-called personhood bill that Cuccinelli, the presumptive GOP nominee for governor, supported during the last General Assembly session. The anti-abortion measure, sponsored by Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), would have defined life as beginning at conception and granted legal rights to a fertilized egg.

“I would like to issue a call on behalf of the Democratic Party of Virginia to Ken Cuccinelli, as the likely nominee for governor, to break with his past ideological crusade on issues like women’s health and urge his fellow Republicans to step back from bills like Bob Marshall’s personhood legislation in order to focus our attention on the issues that matter most to Virginia families,” Herring said.

The McAuliffe and Cuccinelli campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment. At least not to me. Maybe they’ve responded directly to enemy camp.

 
Read what others are saying