Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) met at an energy forum Thursday. I found the discussion very convincing.

Terry McAuliffe (Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post) Terry McAuliffe (Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post)

Cuccinelli convinced that me McAuliffe has flip-flopped on off-shore drilling.

McAuliffe convinced me that Cuccinelli overreached (conducted a “witch hunt,” in his lingo) in using his power as state AG to demand documents from a climate change researcher at the University of Virginia.

Cuccinelli convinced me that it’s a bad idea to elect someone with federal investigations hanging over his head, and McAuliffe has a few.

McAuliffe convinced me that Cuccinelli is out of step with the most populous parts of the state when it comes to social issues.

You see my problem — which, based on numerous conversations, is shared by a great many voters, both Democrat and Republican. Boiled down, the arguments amount to “McAuliffe is sleazy” and “Cuccinelli’s too extreme.” These, we are learning, are not mutually exclusive. Nor are they minor matters.

Virginia is experiencing what it’s like to see scandal ensnare the usually very clean state house at the end of the incumbent governor’s term. And it does become a barrier to business and universities if the face of the state projects a divisive image. It’s just not what you want for 2013 Virginia.

So, between us, I’m contemplating not voting for governor. This would be the first time in decades that I wouldn’t select someone for a key office, let alone for the top of the ticket. Critics would say that this is a cop-out and that you must decide. No, not at all. Sometimes you reach the point when the politics has gotten so low and the candidates so cruddy that you can’t in good conscience help foist someone on your fellow citizens.

I hope things change. I hope one of them convinces me that he will bring something to the table. But for now, I’m voting “no” for governor.