Election Day is more than seven months away, but the Virginia Governor's race is beginning to heat up. And with Bill Bolling's decision not to enter the race as an Independent, the head-to-head match-up between Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe is beginning to take shape.
The latest exchange comes over a video Virginia Democrats highlighted this week, in which Cuccinelli compares the fight against abortion with the struggle against slavery.
McAuliffe issued a statement Wednesday, in which he said Cuccinelli's remarks "rightly offended many Virginians." "His comments reflect a career-long focus on an extreme ideological agenda that has nothing to do with Virginians’ top concern: the economy," said McAuliffe.
The Cuccinelli campaign responded in kind. Spokeswoman Anna Nix said Cuccinelli has always been an opponent of abortion. McAuliffe, she said, "wants to take his experience as DNC Chairman and Democratic fundraiser and run a contentious campaign that divides Virginia."
Roanoke College Political Science Professor Harry Wilson says he expects both campaigns to hit each other hard. "And for both of these candidates, frankly, it's probably going to be easier for them to raise the unfavorables of their opponent than it is to raise the percentage of people who view them favorably," Wilson said in an interview, "so I would expect to see a lot of negative campaigning on both sides."
As one of only two Governor's races in the country this year, the election will get plenty of national attention. And Wilson says both campaigns should have little trouble raising as much money as they want.