October 24, 2013
Democrat Terry McAuliffe and republican Ken Cuccinelli came out swinging in the final debate before the election. The candidates for governor met in Blacksburg Thursday night, where their stances on jobs, Obamacare, education and abortion were front and center.
With less than two weeks until election day, McAuliffe went into Thursday's debate with about a nine-point lead in the polls, leaving Cuccinelli with some catching up to do.
Despite his somewhat comfortable lead in the polls, McAuliffe came out on the attack, accusing Cuccinelli of inaccurately portraying himself and his opponent during opening statements.
"As this campaign has gone on, my opponent has become increasingly desperate. That includes false attacks about his own record," said McAuliffe.
Cuccinelli fought back, focusing on McAuliffe's inexperience and questioning his motive for running for office.
"Unlike my record of service to Virginians, Terry McAuliffe literally did nothing for Virginia or Virginians before deciding to run for governor -- nothing. Some people run to do something and some people run to be something," said Cuccinelli.
McAuliffe highlighted his bipartisan support, saying it is something he will take with him to Richmond.
"I'm honored to have earned the support of a historic number of republicans, many of whom have not supported a democrat for governor," said McAuliffe.
Cuccinelli later turned the focus on the Affordable Care Act, saying he was the first to fight it while his opponent didn't think it went far enough.
"He wanted to federal government providing your health insurance. Look how bad they're doing with the health care exchanges. Now he insists that Obamacare has to be expanded in Virginia. Why would we expand failure?" said Cuccinelli.
Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis was not part of the debate, though his polls numbers have been increasing as the election nears.
After the televised debate, Sarvis released the following statement:
"The debate didn't offer much value for voters. This is what two men without ideas or depth look like. Virginia voters were prevented from hearing me discuss the problems and challenges we face. The Commonwealth's electorate was deprived of an opportunity to hear about my vision of a Virginia that's both 'Open-minded and Open for Business.'
We've allowed our political system to become closed off from competition and good ideas, by letting the major-party candidates choose the terms of debate and exclude candidates like me.
It's long past tragedy. It's become a complete farce."
Election day is November 5.