Virginia Governor’s Race Nasty, They Say
TIME says Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe is "The Dirtiest, Nastiest, Low-Down Campaign In America."
When I stumbled on TIME‘s headline “The Dirtiest, Nastiest, Low-Down Campaign In America: Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe” earlier, I was somewhat surprised. I live in Virginia and have been only vaguely aware of a campaign at all. Since neither party opted to hold primaries, instead selecting their candidates in proverbial-smoke-filled rooms (smoking in public spaces is illegal in Virgina nowadays) and I watch essentially no live television outside of football season, I’ve been blissfully unassaulted. Thus far, none of the robo-calls that brought me THIS CLOSE to canceling my phone service during last fall’s presidential race and hardly any bumper stickers or yard signs have come out yet.
But, apparently, what campaigning there has been has been dirty, nasty, and low-down. Or, elsewise, all the other campaigns have been clean, polite, and high-brow. Then again, it’s an off-off year, so how many campaigns could there be?
At any rate:
The campaigns of Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, the two major candidates for Governor in Virginia this year, both claim to be focused on positive messages about growing the economy and creating jobs in the Old Dominion. But nobody believes them.
“It’s a race to the bottom,” said one Republican operative close to the Cuccinelli campaign, a feeling shared by McAuliffe aides as well. A poll released Wednesday by the Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling found both candidates suffering from underwater favorability ratings. More Virginia voters have become undecided on the race over the past five months.
A day later, when both men spoke at a luncheon in Richmond about government transparency, they spent their time attacking each other. Cuccinelli challenged McAulliffe to 15 debates, instead of the agreed upon five, and demanded the Democrat release more tax records. McAulliffe harped on Cuccinelli’s failure to disclose gifts and stock holdings in a Virginia dietary supplement company. It was just another day in what is shaping up to be the ugliest campaign in the country this year.
Not all of the nastiness is the fault of the candidates. Both campaigns have been at the receiving end of two of the most brutal outside opposition research and attack efforts by dueling Super PACs: Democratic-leaning American Bridge and Republican-backing America Rising.
The report goes on to recount in excruciating detail the back-and-forth that has ensued and somehow escaped my attention. I got bored before coming across anything that struck me as beyond the banal.