Northam presents upbeat bio, while Herring socks it to Cuccinelli in two new ads

October 22, 2013

RICHMOND — Democrats running for lieutenant governor and attorney general both released TV ads Tuesday, one an upbeat biographical spot and the other an attack on that candidate’s Republican rival.

State Sen. Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk), who is running for lieutenant governor against Chesapeake minister E. W. Jackson, highlighted his military service and work as a pediatric neurologist in a 30-second ad titled “Service.”

“After graduating from VMI, I made two decisions: to attend medical school and to join the Army,” begins Northam, a veteran of the first Gulf War and a graduate of Virginia Military Institute. An image of a young Northam in his VMI uniform flashes on the screen, along with pictures of him today in his white doctor’s coat.

“I have treated wounded soldiers and children with brain injuries,” he says. “I believe in service, especially to those who have fought for our freedom, and to those who are our future. Right now we need to put that same care into Virginia. We must work together to better our schools, attract good jobs, and keep Virginia’s budget balanced.”

Jackson’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in a fundraising letter, Jackson took issue with Northam’s description of himself as a fiscal conservative.

“When you vote for the two biggest tax hikes in 6 years in the state senate, you are many thing,” Jackson says in his letter. “But fiscal conservative is not one of them. When you vote to shut down the Virginia government for the first time in history in 2012, because it just doesn’t spend as much as you want … many things you might be, but fiscal conservative is not one. Make no mistake my friends, electing Ralph Northam would be a disaster for Virginia. If you like big tax hikes, no government accountability, and government shutdowns, ‘Wreck-it Ralph’ is your guy.”

In the race for attorney general, State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) focus exclusively on his opponent, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), in his ad. Titled “Footsteps,” the 30-second spot seeks to link Obenshain to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), who is running for governor against Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Featuring snippets of text from newspaper editorials, it refers to the two Republicans’ support for a “personhood” bill, which would have declared that life begins at conception. Opponents have said the legislation could have banned forms of birth control pills that prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

“Virginia newspapers on Mark Obenshain: ‘Ideology over the common interest;’ proposals on ‘shaky legal ground;’ ‘would follow in the footsteps of Ken Cuccinelli,’” it begins. “Together Obenshain and Cuccinelli sponsored a bill to ban birth control pills and outlaw abortion, even for rape and incest. Making the office a ‘platform for ideological crusades.’ Obenshain and Cuccinelli: When you focus on their record it’s clear they’re wrong for Virginia.”

Paul Logan, spokesman for Obenshain, said that the ad shows Herring has nothing positive to offer.

“Virginia voters are looking for what the candidates will do in office to keep our communities safe, not for yet another negative political attack ad,” Logan said via e-mail. “While Mark Obenshain is traveling Virginia, securing the support of the Fraternal Order of Police and 116 Republican, Democratic and Independent Sheriffs and Commonwealth’s Attorneys, Mark Herring is engaged in the same negative politics as usual that has him down in the polls, behind in fundraising, and without a positive reason for voters to support him.”

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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