Terry McAuliffe brought his campaign rollout to Northern Virginia Thursday, standing with Sen. Mark Warner and making clear that he would use his fellow Democrat as a role model if he wins the governorship in November.
McAuliffe actually began his gubernatorial effort against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) last year, but he has held a series of events this week to unveil a policy platform and give his bid fresh energy. McAuliffe appeared with Sen. Timothy M. Kaine Monday in Richmond and joined Warner at George Mason University’s Arlington campus Thursday, as he hopes to replicate the electoral success of the commonwealth’s last two Democratic governors.
McAuliffe and his allies are seeking to paint Cuccinelli as too conservative and uncompromising to govern an increasingly moderate state, and McAuliffe praised Warner for his “focus on a bipartisan approach.”
“I hope to continue the legacy of sound stewardship that Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and yes, even Bob McDonnell have established here in Virginia,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe played up his backing of Gov. McDonnell’s (R) transportation package, which passed the General Assembly on a bipartisan vote. Cuccinelli has criticized the measure for raising taxes, though he said last month he would not seek to overturn the bill if he’s elected governor.
In his own remarks, Warner praised McAuliffe as the candidate in the race who would be “focused on trying to make sure we actually bring folks together,” and would avoid “divisive social issues.”
Warner also took jabs at Cuccinelli, particularly for his recently unveiled tax reform plan. The Republican is proposing to cut individual and corporate tax rates and pay for those reductions by having a new commission identify “outdated exemptions and loopholes that promote crony capitalism.”
Warner likened Cuccinelli’s plan to that of former governor Jim Gilmore (R), saying it was easy to promise tax cuts if you don’t have to explain how you’ll make the numbers work.
“Remember when Virginia maybe went down the primrose path one other time with a three-word tax plan — No Car Tax? ... And suddenly we got there and found there was a six-billion dollar hole in the budget?” Warner said. “Well, [Cuccinelli] laid out the 21st-century version of that a few days ago, promising [an] enormous plan to cut this tax, cut that tax.
“And then, in classic political mode [he] said, ‘How are you going to pay for that?’ ‘Well, I’ll get back to you on that.’”
“While Ken Cuccinelli has been very clear about how his tax plan will eliminate loopholes and identify efficiencies, Terry McAuliffe has refused to even answer basic questions about his personal taxes and hidden them from public view,” Nix said. “As McAuliffe’s dishonest statements about his job-less, car-less and pellet-less business record are exposed, it is not surprising his political allies will seek to attack the attorney general, as well as manipulate his record and policies. Virginians will not be fooled.”