Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II appeared alongside conservative talk radio show host Mark Levin in Northern Virginia on Tuesday as his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, campaigned more than 200 miles away with the Republican mayor of the state's largest city.
Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, was marking Constitution Day — the day the U.S. Constitution was signed 226 years ago on Sept. 17.
"We will get government right," he told a crowd in Sterling. "And to do that, we need to elect people who believe that those first principles ought to be our value principles."
Mr. Levin, known for his often acerbic tongue, mocked Mr. McAuliffe for ads the Democrat is running suggesting Mr. Cuccinelli wants to intrude into people's bedrooms, saying he might be mixing him up with his friend President Clinton, who has had to deal with his own high-profile peccadillos.
"This is my county. This is my state," Mr. Levin said. "And I'll be damned if I'm going to watch Terry McAuliffe be governor of Virginia. This is Virginia. We have to draw a line somewhere in this country, and we're drawing it right here in Virginia."
On the same day Mr. Levin was rallying in Loudoun, a crucial swing county, Mr. McAuliffe was touring the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach with Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim. The McAuliffe campaign says that this year marks the first in more than 20 that Mr. Sessoms, a Republican, has endorsed a Democrat for governor.
"Terry McAuliffe's focus on diversifying and growing Virginia's economy will help foster economic growth in Virginia Beach, and help Hampton Roads to become a greater center of commerce in the Commonwealth, and I am proud to give him my full support," Mr. Sessoms said.
Brian Coy, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said the two events sum up the difference in the race.
"Terry McAuliffe is running to be a mainstream, jobs-focused governor for Virginia, while Ken Cuccinelli is running to put his extreme, Tea Party agenda and attacks on women's access to health care first," he said.
In that vein, the McAuliffe campaign released a new television ad Tuesday featuring a woman identified as Dr. Holly Puritz of Norfolk, who has worked as an obstetrician/gynecologist for 30 years.
"I want a governor who's focused on schools and creating jobs, not someone who wants to do my job," she says. "Who's Ken Cuccinelli to interfere in the lives of women across Virginia?"
Mr. McAuliffe has consistently argued throughout the campaign that Mr. Cuccinelli's positions on social issues like abortion and gay marriage would drive businesses out of the state. On Monday in Richmond, Mr. Cuccinelli called that line of argument a "false theme" that is "completely gutted" by his securing the endorsement of TechPAC, the political arm of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC).
Mr. Cuccinelli argued that the nonpartisan council "came out on a substantive basis for the candidate who was better prepared to answer questions to deal with policy issues."
"And that was me," he said. "And that's what I think should matter to voters is the real meat of this and the reason for this endorsement — not merely the fact of it but the reasons for it."
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