News4's Northern Virginia Bureau covers the races

McAuliffe, Cuccinelli Rely on Star Power in Last Weeks of Campaign

By Julie Carey
|  Thursday, Oct 31, 2013  |  Updated 3:23 PM EDT
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Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on how support from women is giving Terry McAuliffe the edge in the campaign for governor.

Julie Carey

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on how support from women is giving Terry McAuliffe the edge in the campaign for governor.

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Both candidates for Virginia governor are relying on some star power this week to pump up supporters three weeks before Election Day.

On the Democratic side, supporters could pick up free ticket to a Saturday rally in Falls Church, Va. where long-time friend Hillary Clinton will endorse candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Dozens were lined up outside a Democratic campaign office in Springfield, Va. when the tickets became available Tuesday morning.

Elaine Conner made the drive from Reston, Va. to grab a ticket. She thinks bringing Clinton to Northern Virginia could help motivate Democratic voters to get to the polls in this off election year.

"I volunteered for Terry in the past and I worked for Hillary very hard so it gets people excited," said Conner. "Again, with the Virginia race in an off year people tend to stay home and I think this helps galvanize the troops. "

Republican Ken Cuccinelli's high profile support comes from the Duggar family of reality show "19 Kids and Counting."

They are driving around Virginia as part of what they are calling a "Values Bus Tour."   Cuccinelli stopped briefly to pose with the family during a Richmond stop. The GOP candidate also got an important endorsement Tuesday from the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police.

But the latest poll from Christopher Newport University shows McAuliffe with a seven point lead over Cuccinelli and a 14 point advantage with Virginia women surveyed.

The numbers are disappointing to Erika Dyer who heads "Women for Ken Cuccinelli." She believes McAuliffe's television ads have misrepresented Cuccinelli's record on women's issues.

"I tell undecided voters he's really for common sense reform. He wants to make sure when a woman visits one of these [abortion providing] clinics they are safe. He does not want to ban contraceptives whatsoever," said Dyer. "He's there for us every step of the way and wants to make sure we are healthy, secure and happy."

But University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato said it's Cuccinelli's positions on social issues taken over the years as a state senator and then as attorney general that have now put him at odds with a far more moderate Virginia electorate, especially in vote-rich Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

"The mistake was made years ago in taking positions that no longer sell in a moderate swing state," said Sabato. "Ken Cuccinelli's positions don't fit Virginia at least on the social side that's the fundamental error."

Sabato believes there is little the Cuccinelli campaign can do in the final three weeks to erase McAuliffe's advantage.

"The only real race at this point is the one for attorney general," Sabato said. "That's the close race. It's the only one where Republicans have a chance to win and they can only win that if the coattail effect doesn't pull the other Democrat into office."

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