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Florida Senator Joins Ken Cuccinelli at Fundraiser Luncheon - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Florida Senator Joins Ken Cuccinelli at Fundraiser Luncheon

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Virginia Republicans are hoping a little star power will help hype the GOP base, with just seven weeks until Election Day.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio joined Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli at a luncheon fundraiser Monday. Rubio told a group of about 500 people in attendance Virginia Republicans have a big weight on their shoulders this November.

"I want to give you a perspective as to why a race for governor in Virginia has such dramatic implications for the future of our country," Rubio said.

Virginia touts the most politically important and contentious races in the country this year. The race for governor will be the first big political face-off since Republicans lost their bid for the White House in 2012. It is also a precursor to the 2014 congressional elections, with every House seat up for grabs.

"We can't wait until 2016 to start the work," Rubio said. "We've got to start now, we've got to start in Virginia, we've got to start with Ken Cuccinelli."

Rubio says Cuccinelli will stand up for Republican values, free enterprise, and oppose "Obamacare" - all big buzzwords that resonate with the Republican base. And in an off-year election where turnout could fall below 40 percent, it's that base of supporters Cuccinelli will need to turn out to win.

"We're 50 days, six hours, and 23 minutes away from the close of the polls," Cuccinelli said Monday afternoon.

"Fifty-one days from now it will be too late. Fifty-two days from now it will be too late to look back and say, my goodness, could we have made a difference," Rubio said.

But as the clock counts down, Cuccinelli is fighting to keep the race close heading into November. An average of recent polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics puts Democrat Terry McAuliffe up seven points over Cuccinelli. Reports last week also indicated a reorganization of responsibilities within the Cuccinelli campaign, which some say is part of an effort to reinvigorate the campaign.

And indeed, new efforts are being put forth by the campaign. It announced Monday a new Hampton Roads leadership team composed of conservative lawmakers and community leaders - likely part of a larger strategy to drive up votes in some of the state's largely Democratic urban areas.

Money, too, will be a factor moving forward. Click here for newly released campaign finance numbers - and what they mean.

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