In their only scheduled debate of the campaign, the candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor -- Republican John H. Chichester and Democrat L. Douglas Wilder -- delivered their sharpest attacks against each other's campaign styles and issues.
Chichester, a state senator from Stafford County, attempted to portray Wilder, a state senator from Richmond, as a liberal who has supported collective bargaining and who has a weak voting record on criminal issues. Wilder, denying both charges, lashed out at Chichester's references to his plans to bring new jobs to Virginia if elected. "He's never done anything to get jobs for Virginia," charged Wilder. "He's running now to say he's running for jobs."
Chichester attacked Wilder for opposing legislation that would have provided protections for battered spouses and children, an issue that the Republican National Committee has raised in recent newspaper ads.
Wilder shot back that he opposed the original law because it was poorly drafted and said he voted for an "improved" measure that was approved by the legislature two years later. He said that at least one newspaper found the RNC advertisement so "bad" that it refused to run it.
The candidates for attorney general also met at a statewide public television station here tonight for their only scheduled debate of the campaign, an appearance that was far less politically charged than those of their running mates. Democratic state Del. Mary Sue Terry of Patrick County and Republican state Del. W.R. (Buster) O'Brien of Virginia Beach attempted to stress their experience as attorneys rather than break new ground on how they would operate the office of the state's chief law enforcement official.
While O'Brien repeatedly turned his answers to his plans for combating crime and drugs, Terry tended to focus on plans for better management of the attorney general's office. At one point, Terry denied an assertion by O'Brien that she had prosecuted only two cases when she was commonwealth's attorney of Patrick County and said she had prosecuted many.
O'Brien, making an apparent reference to Terry's $1 million campaign war chest, told voters to expect to be "deluged by slick and expensive media" in the final days of the campaign. O'Brien has raised less than half the amount Terry has amassed, prompting concern among some Republicans that he will not be able to match her paid television commercial time.