Polls continued to show McAuliffe ahead in the race, but his lead varies widely depending on the survey, and Cuccinelli said he believes the race is tightening.
On Saturday, the attorney general focused heavily on the troubled start-up of the health-care exchanges, which he predicted will bring critics of the landmark legislation to the polls Tuesday. Cuccinelli has also called attention to President Obama’s scheduled visit to Virginia on Sunday, when he plans to campaign with McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, at an Arlington County high school.
“I want you to wake up and think, ‘Thank you, Mr. President, for coming to Virginia,’ ” he told more than 100 Henrico County Republicans over breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe, located in a suburban Richmond town center built around a Whole Foods Market.
Accompanied by his wife, Teiro, Cuccinelli said his campaign had momentum on its side. He urged supporters to spend the whole day knocking on doors, even if the gray skies started to produce rain.
“You get extra points when you show up [on doorsteps] looking like a drowned rat,” he told them.
At a couple of his rallies, Cuccinelli — in jeans, cowboy boots and a blue blazer — had another national tea party star at his side: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).
In Prince William County, Walker said Virginians should think carefully before supporting McAuliffe because of what Walker characterized as McAuliffe’s liberal bent, his ties to big labor and his transactional view of politics.
“Who do you want in charge?” Walker asked. “Do you want somebody who’s going to side with the big government special interest? Do you want somebody who’s going to side with the big government labor unions? Do you want someone who’s not just offering a seat at the table but essentially is offering to buy the table? And that is Ken’s opponent who said to big government union bosses, ‘You’re going to be right at the table in Richmond.’”
McAuliffe started the day with state Sen. Mark R. Herring (Loudoun), the Democratic candidate for attorney general, in Fairfax. They were accompanied by Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D), a former governor, and they fired up about 50 supporters preparing to fan out and knock on doors. McAuliffe said the campaign deployed about 12,000 canvassers Saturday.
McAuliffe depicted Cuccinelli as a tea party extremist and reiterated a pledge to govern from both sides of the aisle. “My opponent has no history of that whatsoever,” McAuliffe said. “He has said you want to fight abortion, you have to fix potholes. I want to fix potholes because we need to fix potholes for transportation. I just think they have a tea party ticket — rigid ideologues on the other side from top to bottom — and this is not what the public wants.”