VIRGINIA RACE 2013

Cuccinelli and McAuliffe scurrying here and there on holiday trail

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Virginia’s Democratic nominee for governor, Terry McAuliffe, continued his college-campus offensive Tuesday, this time at Norfolk’s Old Dominion University.

And as was the case the previous day at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, he was accompanied by former U.Va. climate scientist Michael Mann, he of the infamous clash with the state’s Republican nominee, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who three years ago tried and failed to successfully challenge Mann’s research grants.

Once again, the visit was plenty good for photo ops. There’s McAuliffe looking through a microscope. There’s McAuliffe looking all scholarly, roaming the halls of an academic building at ODU’s campus.

Also once again, there was Mann sounding the alarm about Cuccinelli.
Here’s a snapshot, courtesy of today’s Virginian-Pilot:

"Terry is going to put an emphasis on scientific innovation. He's going to encourage the best scientists and innovators to come to the state of Virginia," Mann said. "Contrast that with Ken Cuccinelli, who goes after scientists like myself whose findings don't conform to his ideology. I don't think there could be a greater contrast between the two candidates."

Chris LaCivita, a Cuccinelli strategist, responded by characterizing McAuliffe and Mann as threats to Virginia's coal industry.

"Michael Mann knows full and well the Attorney General's investigation had everything to do with the potential defrauding of taxpayers and nothing to do with a disagreement over science," LaCivita said by email. "What is indisputable is that Terry McAuliffe and Michael Mann joined together to campaign in support of an energy policy that will raise energy prices for all Virginians and put people in Southwest Virginia out of work." 

Cuccinelli, meanwhile, was happily content to dish about the one-year postponement of one of the requirements in President Obama’s Affordable Car Act having to do with health insurance and small businesses.
His statement, in part:

“. . . Today’s announcement that Obama Administration officials are delaying implementation of a key aspect of the President’s unprecedented federal government intrusion into our healthcare system is further proof that the law rushed through the legislative process is fundamentally flawed. As premiums increase and taxes are hiked, it’s clear that in addition to creating mountains of new regulations, costs are also increasing. As Virginians begin to learn about Washington’s failure to implement the unconstitutional disaster it created, it’s important they know that my opponent not only championed the president’s plan, but wanted to go even further in socializing the healthcare of hardworking Virginia families. My opposition to the Affordable Care Act and my opponent’s support for government-run healthcare is a clear contrast in this race.”

But Cuccinelli also awoke Wednesday morning to the following headlines in the Washington Post: Main header -- “Several big GOP donors hold back on Cuccinelli.” Subheads – “Candidate’s positions blamed by some,” and “McAuliffe is $4 million ahead in governor’s race.”

Here are the first two graphs of the story, as well a link to it: “Many of the most generous donors to past Virginia Republican campaigns are holding back in the heated race for governor, underscoring Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s challenge as he tries to keep financial pace with opponent Terry McAuliffe.

“Cuccinelli (R) is specifically having trouble luring many of the key contributors who backed the 2009 bid of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), according to an analysis of the most recent campaign-finance records. For months, Cuccinelli has lagged in fundraising behind McAuliffe (D), a businessman with a long history of raising millions for the Democratic National Committee and Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton.” 

In response, LaCivita told the newspaper, “Comparing our fundraising to Governor McDonnell’s, who had the benefit of being the Republican nominee eight months longer than Ken, is like comparing apples to bowling balls . . .Of course, we expect to be outraised by Terry McAuliffe, who has made a career of cashing in political chits, landing sweetheart deals and making promises to union bosses and contractors. At the end of the day, Ken will win this campaign based on a stronger, forward-thinking message and authentic grassroots support across Virginia.”

Cuccinelli will be busy both for votes and for money during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. He’ll appear tonight in Chesapeake at a couple of events, and spend a busy Thursday making stops in Fairfax, Harrisonburg, Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport News.

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