2013 Governor Race May be Most Negative in VA History
March 20, 2013 06:43 PM EDT
Democrat Terry McAuliffe is drawing a line in the sand in his bid to become Virginia's next governor.
During a visit to Charlottesville on Wednesday, he had some tough words for his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli. Now, Cuccinelli is firing back.
There are more than seven months to go until Election Day, and the attacks are already flying. Leading up to November, don't expect anything less than a war of words in Virginia.
"I think you have the starkest contrast between two candidates running for the governor of the commonwealth, probably in the history of the commonwealth," McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe visited with small businesses on Charlottesville's downtown mall Wednesday.
"They're nervous; they want a governor focused on helping with economic development...not a governor focused on social ideological agenda that divides people," McAuliffe said.
In this war of words, that is becoming McAuliffe's battle cry.
"McAuliffe's game plan is entirely trying to cast Cuccinelli as an extremist ideologue while trying to portray himself as mainstream," said Geoff Skelley with the UVA Center for Politics.
The Cuccinelli campaign cast off criticisms, saying, "Ken Cuccinelli will continue to work to grow our economy, fight for middle-class taxpayers, and improve our educational system regardless of the political posturing from his opponent's campaign."
"I mean this is going to be a very negative campaign. I don't expect to see much positivity from either side," Skelley said.
Skelley says that's because both candidates are inherently flawed.
Cuccinelli has become widely known for his hyper-conservative opinions. And as a former Democratic National Committee chair, McAuliffe will have a difficult time appealing to the mainstream.
"When there's a lot to attack, you're going to attack. And both sides have plenty of ammo," Skelley said.
Analysts say this is just the beginning. This is the highest profile race in the country this year.
That means more attention and more money, potentially making this governor's race the most negative political campaign in Virginia's history.
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Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story