On Saturday, VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli formally accepted the GOP nomination for Governor at the party convention in Richmond. Cuccinelli will face Democrat fundraiser Terry McAuliffe in the November election, the premier political contest of 2013. In a speech to convention delegates, Cuccinelli made it clear that voters face a clear choice in the election.
“So for Virginians who think Washington works well, they have a candidate in this race,” Cuccinelli told delegates, referencing McAuliffe’s insider status in Washington. “And the Virginians who don’t think Washington works well, also have a candidate in this race. I have been fighting for the people of Virginia because I believe in the people of Virginia.”
McAuliffe has tried to downplay his deep roots in DC and the national Democrat party, which he once led, and promoted himself as a businessman. His private sector experience, however, exists at the nexus of politics and business. Cuccinelli reminded delegates of McAuliffe’s most recent venture, GreenTech Auto, which based its production out of the Commonwealth.
“When my opponent was faced with the choice of investing in Virginia, with one of the best business environments in America; or investing in Mississippi, with one of the worst business environments in America, what did he do,” Cuccinelli asked delegates.
“He dropped us like a hot brick for Mississippi moola – Mississippi tax money. And now he can’t keep his story straight about why he abandoned Virginia.”
McAuliffe announced the formation of GreenTech, a maker of electric cars, with great fanfare soon after he lost the Democrat nomination for Governor in 2009. Earlier this year, questions arose about the company’s decision to base its manufacturing operations in Mississippi, instead of Virginia where it is headquartered. Additional questions were raised about the financial health of the company. In response to these questions, the Democrat’s campaign reported that McAuliffe had quietly stepped down as Chairman at the end of 2012.
Cuccinelli’s speech on Saturday didn’t only address McAuliffe’s record of crony capitalism, but articulated a clear vision for Virginia. He called for tax and regulatory reform and greater parental control over education.
“In the months ahead,” Cuccinelli said, “the people of Virginia will have a clear choice to make between two very different visions of our future, and it’s a debate that everyone should see.”
Cuccinelli challenged McAuliffe to a series of debates across the Commonwealth. While the debate would be principally focused on the future of Virginia, the ideas expressed resonate across the country. The nation is at a cross-roads, with each party articulating very distinct visions of the future.
The race for Governor in Virginia will give us an early read on which way the public is moving.