The airwaves are getting more crowded in the Virginia governor’s race, as businessman Terry McAuliffe and the Republican Governors Association each released new ads Wednesday.
At least five new spots have been unveiled just this week, as this is McAuliffe’s (D) second ad and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) has also launched two spots. And it’s still only August — before the traditional post-Labor Day blitz of advertising.
McAuliffe’s latest entry is focused on the news that Virginia’s inspector general is investigating whether a lawyer in the attorney general’s office improperly gave legal advice to energy companies battling Southwest Virginia residents over gas royalties. With GreenTech, the electric car company co-founded by McAuliffe, under federal investigation, the spot seeks to push back on the notion that it’s McAuliffe whose integrity is in question.
“Ken Cuccinelli’s attacks on Terry McAuliffe twist the facts, and have been called false and ridiculous,” the ad’s narrator says.
“The truth is, it’s Cuccinelli who has an ethics problem. Cuccinelli’s office is now under investigation by the Inspector General of Virginia for secretly helping an energy company that’s taking gas from landowners, but refusing to pay them. The same company that’s given Cuccinelli’s campaign over $100,000. Ken Cuccinelli — he’s not for us.”
Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix called it “laughable” that McAuliffe ”is even muttering the word ethics.”
“The Attorney General’s job is to protect Virginia’s law, and that is exactly what Ken Cuccinelli has done in this case,” Nix said. “Terry McAuliffe’s struggling car company is currently embroiled in two federal investigations for receiving special treatment concerning visas with national security implications and allegedly guaranteeing returns to foreign investors.”
“Terry McAuliffe built his factory in China. Why not Virginia?” the ad asks, later adding: “State officials under Democrat Governor Kaine likened McAuliffe’s factory financing to a visa-for-sale scheme, with potential national security implications, now federal investigations. Using political connections for preferential treatment? Selling visas to wealthy Chinese investors? Terry McAuliffe: A bad deal for Virginia.”
McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin responded that Cuccinelli’s “Washington allies are desperately trying to change the subject from Cuccinelli’s refusal to return $18,000 worth of gifts from Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams” as well as the IG investigation of Cuccinelli’s office.