Virginia Lt. Gov. Charles S. Robb says he has "taken stands on the really emotional and controversial issues" in his state and resents suggestions that he is too much of a fence-straddler to run for governor in 1981.
"I have never failed to tell people where I stood on any issue," Robb, who lives in McLean, told the Associated Press in an interview made public yesterday.
Though the 41-year-old lieutenant governor is postponing any formal announcement until after the 1981 General Assembly session, he is considered the Democratic Party's most likely nominee. Since his landslide victory in 1976, Robb has been the only Democratic statewide officeholder.
The Rebulicans are expected to nominate State Attorney General J. Marshall Coleman, creating the prospect of a gubernatorial contest between two of the state's most popular politicians.
Contrasting his campaign style with Coleman's., Robb said the two were "obviously different." But the lieutenant governor said he was not "aware of any vast ideological differences between him and Coleman," Robb said, however, said he did not know where Coleman stands on many issues.
A successful campaign for either, Robb conceded, could depend on party organization. "I would hesitate to suggest we'll be on an even basis with the Republican Party in terms of money or technical campaign support mechanisms," said Robb.
"But we're going to be in much better financial shape than ever before and there is a spirit of rebuilding in our party ranks which will make us very fomidable.
Robb, son-in-law of the late Lyndon B. Johnson, said the name identification is "a mixed blessing" and actually weighed against him in one 1976 poll.
"Association with a well-known name can create unrealistic and almost unfillable expectations. People will often react negatively until you have proved yourself."
Despite his considerable wealth, Robb said he does not have the kind of assets that would allow him to bankroll his own statewide campaign. "I expect to have to raise whatever monies I might need should I become a candidate," he said.
Robb, who said he always has announced his position on key issues -- "more so than many other state figures," gave a stock answer to a question about whether his political ambitions include Washington.
"I have an immediate interest in state government," he said. "Beyond that, I have no agenda."