By Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, August 7, 2013
On an otherwise serene Sunday recently, Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates were embroiled in the kind of needling and jabbing that is defining their race to lead the commonwealth.
The subject: whether Democrat Terry McAuliffe proved that he’s masquerading as a Virginian when he said a highway along the southern edge of the state — Route 58 — needs to be widened to four lanes.
“Grab the popcorn,” Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s team announced in an e-mail to reporters just after noon, promising the “World Premiere” of a video with a “new reminder” of McAuliffe’s “lack of Virginia knowledge.” Route 58, the Republicans insisted, is already four lanes. “Welcome to Virginia, Terry,” the video proclaims. McAuliffe’s team, in its own e-mail at 1:41 p.m., dismissed the film as “false” and accused Cuccinelli of caring “more about attacking his opponent than he does about the truth.”
Even by the standards of modern political combat, the race to succeed Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) is an ugly contest between two candidates who are devoting vast resources to disparaging each other as unsuited for the job…..
“We’re looking at the Washingtonization of Virginia politics,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington professor. “The nasty partisan attacks, the astonishing gridlock that marks the nation’s capital is increasingly the shape of Virginia, as well.
“If you want collisions, you’re living in the right time,” Farnsworth said, comparing the campaign to a NASCAR race. “But if you want a government capable of dealing with problems and coming up with solutions, maybe the car crashes aren’t so great.”