Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate, says his likely Democratic opponent is being as evasive as a shady used car dealer about the reason his electric car company set up its plant outside Virginia.
On Monday, Cuccinelli’s campaign accused Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic Party chairman running for governor in Virginia, of trying to shirk responsibility for locating his green car company’s plant in Mississippi instead of Virginia. The campaign cited an interview McAuliffe gave on the “Kojo Nnamdi Show.”
When McAuliffe appeared on the “Politics Hour” with Nnamdi last week, the host asked him about a fact checker’s report that said McAuliffe had falsely blamed a Virginia economic development agency for why GreenTech Automotive was building cars in Mississippi.
“I mean, I disagree” with the report, McAuliffe replied. “Listen, the folks who were in charge of moving it, they had many meetings down there. How you decide to move a plant comes down to incentives and what you need to do. They made the decision, the company made the decision, to go there. There’s nothing I can do about it today. ”
But McAuliffe didn’t offer specifics as to why he disagreed with PolitiFact Virginia or how the report was mistaken.
McAuliffe, the only Democrat in the field in 2013, based GreenTech Automotive in McLean but put its plant in Tunica, Miss.
The story of how it landed there first made the rounds last December when McAuliffe told reporters that he had wanted to open his plant in Virginia but that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership “decided they didn’t want to bid on it.”
E-mails obtained by PolitiFact suggested that the agency had raised concerns about the venture – including its refusal to provide due diligence – but not closed the door to a bid. The fact checker reported that, if anything, VEDP officials seemed to have been caught off guard by the plant opening in Mississippi, having learned about it through media reports. PolitiFact rated McAuliffe’s claim as false.
The Associated Press, which also examined the e-mails, found that McAuliffe’s company never supplied the requisite data to the agency.
“Terry McAuliffe is definitely in the car sales business, because first he falsely claimed that Virginia wasn’t interested in his car company, and now he’s blaming his company for the decision,” Cuccinelli campaign manager David Rexrode said in a statement. “Given that Terry McAuliffe was the Chairman of . . .GreenTech, he only has himself to blame for creating jobs in Mississippi that could have been created in Virginia.”
When asked about McAuliffe’s remarks about the plant’s location, the Democrat’s campaign press secretary, Josh Schwerin, replied: “On the eve of his book release, you’d think Ken Cuccinelli would be touting his treatise on the evils of public pools, Social Security and Medicare instead of making false and desperate attacks in an attempt to change the subject.”