Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign, which has agreed to five debates against Mr. Cuccinelli, responded that the Democrat has visited 18 of the state’s 23 community colleges talking about their workforce training programs and that he rolled out a workforce development policy a month ago as part of his jobs agenda.
Mr. McAuliffe is hoping to cash in on the tremendous party organization President Obama has introduced to the state in the past two election cycles, which for years had been written off as a lock for Republican presidential nominees. Before Mr. Obama won in 2008, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Virginia. Before last year, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the last Democrat to carry it twice consecutively.
But after Mr. Obama’s historic win in 2008, in which about 75 percent of registered voters turned out in Virginia, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell romped to victory in 2009 in an election that saw a turnout of about 40 percent.