Ads in Virginia governor’s race cast McAuliffe as dealmaker, Cuccinelli as frugal choice

With less than a week to go in the Virginia governor’s race, both major-party candidates have launched new ads, with front-runner Terry McAuliffe (D) casting himself as a consensus builder, and underdog Ken Cuccinelli II (R) reminding voters of the stark differences between them.

The new ad from McAuliffe, a McLean businessman and former chair of the Democratic National Committee, opens with a panorama of mountains and runs through snippets of several newspaper endorsements he has received.

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“Under McAuliffe Virginia will remain open, tolerant and pragmatic, friendly to business and committed to job growth,” the ad says, quoting from an editorial in The Washington Post. (The full sentence in the Post’s editorial is: “Mr. McAuliffe, who is nothing if not a deal-maker, holds out the credible promise that Virginia will remain open, tolerant and pragmatic, friendly to business and committed to job growth.”)

Other editorials quoted in the ad include those from the Virginian-Pilot, the Daily Press, the Loudoun Times-Mirror and the Falls Church News Press. The ad closes with a shot of McAuliffe seated at a desk.

“With just six days to go until the polls close, the bottom line is this: Terry McAuliffe’s entire campaign is based on false attacks backed by an unprecedented onslaught of negative TV ads,” Cuccinelli campaign spokeswoman Anna Nix said in an e-mail. “He’s done this because he lacks a positive vision for Virginia’s future or a single credible plan to move the Commonwealth forward. Ken Cuccinelli, by contrast, is the only candidate with a record of fighting for Virginia and the only candidate with serious plans to create 58,000 jobs and ease tax burdens by $700 for every Virginia family.”

Cuccinelli’s new ad, meanwhile, draws attention to sharp differences between the men, including McAuliffe’s support of President Obama’s signature health-care law, the Affordable Care Act.

“To stop Obamacare and higher taxes, there’s only one choice,” Cuccinelli’s ad says.

Cuccinelli, who is the state’s attorney general, has spotlighted his early opposition to the health-care law and its flawed rollout this month. The candidates also differ on whether to expand Medicaid under the law, with Cuccinelli opposed to broadening the state-federal health-care program. McAuliffe believes Virginia should expand Medicaid using mostly federal money because the program would benefit more low-income families and create new jobs.

Cuccinelli’s ad also attacks McAuliffe as a big spender whose agenda could cost Virginians $1,700 per family, an assertion based on a tally by the Cuccinelli campaign of McAuliffe’s proposals. Cuccinelli, the ad says, would cut taxes — by $1.4 billion, according to his platform — and spur the creation of new jobs.

“Ken Cuccinelli’s irresponsible tax gimmick would blow a $1.4 billion hole in the Virginia budget and could starve localities of revenue they depend on for education, transportation, and public safety funding, which is why it has been criticized by mainstream Republicans like [former delegate] Vince Callahan and Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling,” McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said in an e-mail. “Terry, on the other hand, is committed to governing in a fiscally responsible way, and will invest in our education systems so all Virginians have access to quality education. Ken Cuccinelli’s false and desperate attacks may appeal to his extreme Tea Party base, but they won’t fool mainstream Virginians who want a governor focused on creating jobs and keeping Virginia competitive for future generations.”

A series of polls show McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by anywhere from four to 15 points ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

 
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