The Washington Post

Dueling ads in Virginia governor’s race take debate to television

A pair of new television ads in the Virginia governor’s race hit airwaves Tuesday, as both parties attempted to portray their candidate’s opponents as focused on their agenda and not the commonwealth.

The Republican Governors Association launched its first television ad of the race, aimed at Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe’s pledge to create jobs after opening a plant to build electric cars in China.

The 30-second spot opens with McAuliffe, a businessman who has run on a platform of job creation, declaring, “I know what it is to create jobs.”

A voice in the ad says, “But instead of creating jobs in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe is betting on China.”

The ad ends with the question, “Can you trust Terry McAuliffe?”

McAuliffe considered placing a GreenTech factory in Southside Virginia but chose to put it in Mississippi instead after getting a generous incentive package from that state’s government.

McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said Tuesday the ad is an attempt to “avoid talking about [Attorney General Ken] Cuccinelli’s extreme social agenda and ongoing ethics scandals.”

“Even their own donors know that Cuccinelli’s extreme agenda is too far outside the mainstream and makes Virginia less welcoming to business,” Schwerin said in a statement.

The Democratic Party of Virginia continued its attack on Cuccinelli, the GOP nominee, declaring in an ad that also debuted Tuesday that his goal is to “make all abortions illegal” in Virginia.

A female voice starts the ad, telling voters: “Ken Cuccinelli is on a mission” and ends with “Ken Cuccinelli. He’s focused on his own agenda. Not us.”

Spokesman Brian Coy declined to say when, where and for how long the ad will air, only that “Virginians across the commonwealth will see it.”

Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said the race will come down to which candidate voters can trust.

“While Terry McAuliffe and his allies have shown great interest in discussing divisive issues, they refuse to tell voters in the Commonwealth that McAuliffe supports extreme policies,” Nix said. “Virginians will not stand with a candidate whose word has no worth and who refuses to address important issues.”

With only two gubernatorial contests in the country this year — the other being in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie is seeking reelection — the Virginia contest is shaping up to be the main political matchup, drawing headlines and donors to the Old Dominion.

Tuesday’s ads continue strategies by both parties and their candidates, with Republicans hammering on jobs and the economy, and Democrats continuing to raise social issues including abortion, access to women’s health care and gay rights. Both themes were on display Saturday at the first debate of the race, streamed online and sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association in Hot Springs.

The Republican Governors Association reported a $717,000 media buy on July 22. Both parties’ governors associations have donated $2 million in cash to the campaigns this year.



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