In a closely-watched race that many believe showcases the decline of the tea party-backed Republican party, President Barack Obama is lending his political heft to Terry McAuliffe‘s campaign for Virginia governor while Republican Ken Cuccinelli is flying from airport to airport in search of votes.
McAuliffe continues to hold a comfortable lead in most polls and both he and Cuccinelli planned using the final Sunday of their bitter campaign trying to motivate their most ardent supporters for an election that is going to be decided by the few Virginians who choose to vote on Tuesday. The state Board of Elections chief says turnout could be as low as 30 percent of registered voters and the campaigns see 40 percent turnout as the ceiling.
In addition to the polls showing Cuccinelli in trouble, ampaign finance reports report a dramatically lopsided dynamic, with the Democrats far outraising and outspending Cuccinelli and his allies. Television airtime was tilted in McAuliffe’s favor by a 10-to-1 margin.
Obama’s final-hours effort is slated to take place near Washington.
McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, has had help from former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Current DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz planned to join McAuliffe later Sunday, and Vice President Joe Biden is to do his part on Monday.
Cuccinelli, meanwhile, planned rallies at airports throughout the state, hopscotching from airfield to airfield to rally his supporters.
Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, has turned to his tea party base in the final weeks. Cuccinelli was the first attorney general to sue to stop the Democrats’ health care law and, while unsuccessful, the move made him somewhat of a hero to those deeply conservative voters.
Cuccinelli campaigned Saturday with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian favorite, were set to join him in the final days.
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