Gubernatorial Candidates Take Different Tacks in TV Ads - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Gubernatorial Candidates Take Different Tacks in TV Ads

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left: Terry McAuliffe, right: Ken Cuccinelli left: Terry McAuliffe, right: Ken Cuccinelli

Don't believe everything you hear leading up to this year's state elections - that's the message from some political analysts, as new advertisements in the race for governor hit airwaves this week.

Early advertisements in the race for governor have been pretty tame; no major attack ads have hit television screens yet. But analysts say it's only a matter of time, and no matter what the message is, voters should take it all with a grain of salt.

New ads hitting your TV this week offer a new glimpse into the governor's race, and the strategy to win undecided voters.

A one-minute ad for Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli touts his relationship with the family of a slain police officer Michael Garbarino. In the ad, one of Garbarino's daughters says, "Every time I was in the hospital, I would see Ken Cuccinelli."

"I think it sort of tries to humanize Ken Cuccinelli through the death of his friend and going to the hospital," said University of Virginia political analyst Kyle Kondik.

Kondik says his early ads are trying to give Cuccinelli a non-political identity with voters. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is doing just the opposite.

McAuliffe's 30-second spot touts his involvement in lobbying for new transportation funding. Unlike Cuccinelli, McAuliffe has never held office. And Kondik says this ad is one attempt to establish a political history. "Which sort of gives him something of a political achievement, even though he wasn't really involved in it," Kondik said.

And as the ads get more frequent and, inevitably, more negative, Kondik says voters should watch with a discerning eye.

"They're certainly providing one side of the story in generally kind of a slanted way, and I would advise voters to sort of do the research for themselves if they're actually undecided about these candidates," Kondik said. He says it's only a matter of time before the negative ads begin.

This year's governor's races could become one of the most expensive in Virginia history, with more money and national attention expected heading into November.

Cuccinelli and McAuliffe will meet on the morning of Saturday, July 20 at the Homestead in Hot Springs for their first face-to-face debate, hosted by the Virginia Bar Association.

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