It’s time to bring out the big guns.
With a day before the much-anticipated Virginia governor’s race, high-profile lawmakers are hitting the campaign trail on behalf of Democrat Terry McAuliffe or Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
Three new polls give contrasting views, but show undecided voters and a Libertarian candidate could impact the result. Quinnipiac shows McAuliffe with just a four-point lead, while a poll from Hampton University shows him ahead by six points. Meanwhile, a Roanoke College survey shows the Democrat with a commanding 15-point lead over his opponent.
The wrench in the race is libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, who’s polling around 10%. All things being equal, libertarians tend to vote Republican. But in the case of a candidate like Cuccinelli – who is very far to the right on social issues like gay marriage—civil-liberty minded libertarians may look for other options. If this trend holds, and many young , would-be Republicans go libertarian instead, it could pose a big problem for the GOP.
Virginia is something of a bellwether for the national political mood. President Obama’s margin in Virginia in 2008 and 2012 matched the national popular vote. And the state’s demographic breakdown also closely mirrors the country as a whole. If McAuliffe pulls out a decisive victory, you can bet the Dems will tout it as proof of national momentum.
Here's a look at the heavy hitters stumping on behalf of the candidates.
Barack Obama: Voting for McAuliffe means voting for progress
The commander in chief appeared by McAuliffe at an event in in Arlington on Sunday. “Nothing makes me more nervous than when my supporters start feeling too confident,” he said, arguing the race could be close. “So I want to put the fear of God in all of you.” Obama told Virginians to choose progress by casting their ballots for the Democrat.
Joe Biden: Cuccinelli’s views are “from another era”
Speaking in Annandale, Va., on Monday, the vice president declared that the Republican attorney general’s views on women “are from another era.” McAuliffe has been ripping Cuccinelli’s strict opposition to abortion and his failure to support renewing the federal Violence Against Women Act. On Cuccinelli and the Tea Party, Biden said “Everything they talk about, without exaggeration, is about turning back what the rest of the country and the world thinks is progress,” he said. “It’s hard to fathom this state being led by a man who rejects all that this new thinking stands for. The whole nation is looking at this race, that’s not hyperbole.”
Bill Clinton: McAuliffe’s critics "make my blood boil"
The former president recently teamed up with McAuliffe for a four-day tour through Virginia. Clinton repeatedly brought up Cuccinelli’s anti-abortion stance and the fact that the GOPer is skeptical about climate change. McAuliffe’s critics “make my blood boil,” said Clinton in Dale City. “I believe with all my heart that Terry McAuliffe will be a great governor of Virginia, he added. “I believe that within a year, people who didn’t vote for him will wonder what they were thinking.”
Scott Walker: McAuliffe will bend to "union bosses"
The Wisconsin governor, who made national headlines for curbing the collective bargaining rights of state employees in 2011, rallied with Cuccinelli over the weekend. The GOPer criticized McAuliffe’s union donations, saying he was tied to “union bosses” who “want to own the table."
Marco Rubio: The race is a referendum on Obamacare
At a rally in Warrenton, Virginia, the Florida senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate painted the race as a referendum on Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
"This is the first election in America since the full impact of Obamacare has been felt," said Rubio, according to the Washington Examiner. "This is the first chance that people in America have to speak clearly at the ballot box about the impact this law is having on their lives and our economy."
The former Texas congressman and libertarian icon will appear at an event with Cuccinelli on Monday night in Richmond.