RICHMOND — Democrat Terry McAuliffe has released a series of new ads with small business owners, a Republican mayor and a self-described conservative supporting his bid for governor.
One of the ads features Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, a Republican who has endorsed McAuliffe. It is the second ad that includes Sessoms. The first showed him with other area mayors.
“For the first time ever, I am supporting a Democrat for governor,” he says in the ad, titled “Sessoms.” “I am proud to support Terry McAuliffe because he’s focused on creating jobs for the commonwealth. I hope you’ll join me and vote for Terry McAuliffe for governor.”
An entrepreneur and former Democratic National Committee chairman, McAuliffe has sought to position himself as a common-sense businessman in the governor’s race. His opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) has stressed jobs and education in the race, but McAuliffe contends the Republican would be focused on social issues as governor because of his history as an opponent of abortion and gay rights.
One of McAuliffe’s new ads hints at that theme, featuring a voter who says he doesn’t want “a politician who wants to be inside my home.”
Cuccinelli’s campaign said he has attracted support from some Democrats.
“Ken Cuccinelli is proud to have broad bipartisan support from people like Democrat Richmond School Board member Tichi Eppes, who recently recorded an ad on his behalf,” Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said in an email. “Just this weekend, lifelong Democrat Page Snyder hosted a rally for Ken at her home in Prince William County. She’s supporting Ken because she knows he’s the only candidate who will approach every issue honestly and with conviction.”
“I’m a conservative. I’ve always voted conservative,” Larry Ewan of Continental Terminals in Chesapeake begins in that 15-second spot. “I’ll vote for Terry McAuliffe this time. He’s a successful businessman who knows business inside and out. I don't want a politician who wants to be inside my home.”
Two other ads feature a seafood market owner and a man with a recycling business.
“As a small businessman in Virginia, I’m voting for Terry McAuliffe,” says Meade Amory of Amory Seafood Market in Hampton. “He’s the one that create jobs and grow Virginia’s economy. He will work with Republicans and Democrats to get the job done.”
Says Michael Benedetto, who has a recycling business in Chesapeake: “I’m a private businessman in Virginia, and to me the most important thing in a governor is to help create jobs. I trust Terry McAuliffe to work with businesses to help us create the jobs we need to move Virginia’s economy forward. And that’s why I’m voting for Terry McAuliffe.”