As far as the Virginia race for governor 2013 goes, events don't get much more important than Wednesday's second televised debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates.
Moderated by political reporter Chuck Todd, the one-hour debate between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli will be televised beginning at 7 p.m. from the Capital One Bank headquarters complex in McLean.
For those who want to keep score at home, here are four things to know going into the debate.
1. These guys really don't like each other: That could be said about candidates in many races, but these two really, really don't seem to like each other. The campaigns have focused on scandal and personality more than issues, with attack ads dominating the political landscape. Expect more attacks during the debate — and right up to the Nov. 5 election.
As Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bluntly, each has to make the other as unacceptable a choice for governor as possible to motivate the troops. Let’s not pretend this is anything other than a process-of-elimination election.”
2. McAuliffe has more to lose: Which means Cuccinelli has more to gain, which means, again, expect both candidates to be on the offensive.
In a new Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll of likely voters in the 2013 election, McAuliffe leads 47 percent to 39 percent, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis polling 10 percent. Every poll on the Virginia governor's race compiled by Real Clear Politics shows McAuliffe ahead, though not by much.
3. McAuliffe and Cuccinelli are not your only choices: The 10 percent that Sarvis is attracting may not seem like a big number, but considering the huge money and wide exposure of the major-party candidates, it is.
Sarvis's relatively strong showing is explained, in part, by the attacks of the major-party candidates on each other. In the Capital expects more:
McAuliffe will certainly bring up Cuccinelli's ties to current Governor Bob McDonnell's gift scandal, as well as his right-wing beliefs when it comes to women's issues, abortion, and gay marriage, which will resonate with Northern Virginians' liberal sensibilities. Cuccinelli, on the other hand will mention McAuliffe's association with GreenTech, the green car manufacturer that has been under scrutiny for a slew of poor management and potentially illegal operational problems. This would likely resonate with Northern Virginian business owners.
4. It ain't over till it's over: A third and final debate will be held at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Oct. 24, less than two weeks before Election Day.
Patch readers have been sharing their thoughts on the candidates in a speak-out article we posted Patch. Read the comments thus far, and add your own.
SEE: Governor's Race Virtually Tied - Who Do You Support?
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