One of the many bipartisan knocks on Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe — aside from his many scandals — is that being a non-Virginian, he doesn’t know Virginia, its traditions, its history or how its government works. Apparently, he doesn’t know what Virginians expect from candidates, either. Despite the closing in the polls, McAuliffe has cooled off his campaign schedule — no media interviews, a canceled press conference, a skipped event with college students and no campaign events the last few days except for his Obamacare celebration rally with President Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, Republican Ken Cuccinelli has round-the-clock events up to election day on Tuesday with national conservative stars such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, capped by a Monday night rally with former Congressman from Texas and libertarian Republican icon Ron Paul, the former presidential candidate at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
Ken Cuccinelli II is planning a frenetic schedule with a handful of big-name Republican surrogates as the race for Virginia governor draws to a close. Terry McAuliffe, by contrast, is mostly staying out of sight aside from a pair of high-profile events.
The differing strategies illustrate the pecking order as the hard-fought contest nears its end. Cuccinelli (R) is consistently trailing in the polls and can’t afford much of an advertising presence on the airwaves, so he’s counting on word-of-mouth and media coverage from live appearances to stay afloat.
McAuliffe (D) is nursing a lead and has the cash to keep up a steady drumbeat of ads, giving him little incentive to expose himself to the press more than necessary. Cuccinelli is planning to do multiple daily events around the state from Friday through Tuesday. His itinerary includes events Saturday in Spotsylvania and Prince William counties with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and appearances in Warrenton and Culpeper Monday with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). And former representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.) will join Cuccinelli in Richmond on Monday evening.
McAuliffe’s campaign has said that he will appear at a rally with President Obama on Sunday afternoon at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, and he will join forces with Vice President Biden on Monday morning in Annandale to kick off a day of canvassing.
McAuliffe has announced no public events for Thursday, Friday or Saturday. His campaign has not responded to requests for comment about his schedule.
On Wednesday, McAuliffe wrapped up a four-day campaign swing with former president Bill Clinton, but he did not take questions from the media at those appearances. McAuliffe has done a handful of individual interviews, but aside from a brief gaggle following last Thursday’s debate in Blacksburg, he has done no other media availabilities in the past three weeks.
Is McAuliffe taking Virginians for granted? Has he started measuring the Governor’s Mansion’s drapes and called the moving trucks? Virginians don’t appreciate that, something McAuliffe would know if he knew Virginia.