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Campaign dismays Bolling
He fears turnout will be affected
Clay Campbell (left0, president of Martinsville Speedway, talks with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling before the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 race on Sunday. Bolling said he thinks that the negative tone of the Virginia gubernatorial race may cause some voters to stay home on Election Day. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Monday, October 28, 2013
From Bulletin staff reports
Virginia’s gubernatorial campaign has “in many ways … been a rapid race to the bottom,” Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said Sunday in Martinsville.
Bolling, speaking before the start of the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 race at the Martinsville Speedway, said that could cause voters to stay home on Nov. 5.
“Both candidates have tried to define their opponent in terms of the lowest common denominator rather than define themselves as a higher denominator. So my concern is that it’s going to drop voter turnout, and that’s unfortunate,” said the Republican lieutenant governor who decided against a gubernatorial race of his own this year.
Bolling made that decision when Republicans decided to nominate their candidates for the top state offices at a convention, rather than a primary. The party tapped Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for governor; E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor; and state Sen. Mark Obenshain for attorney general.
They are running against Democrats Terry McAuliffe for governor; state Sen. Ralph Northam for lieutenant governor; and state Sen. Mark Herring for attorney general.
Bolling said Sunday that he is glad he did not run.
“Given the nature of this campaign, I’m delighted that I’m looking at it from the outside instead of the inside. It’s been a brutal campaign,” he said. “Campaigns are always tough, but usually there is something positive to go along with all the negative. But this campaign has been millions and millions of dollars on attack adds, and as a result of that has made a lot of people frustrated and turned off.
“That’s unfortunate because I would have liked to see both candidates run more positive and issue-oriented campaigns. But the nature of the campaign has been very negative and that’s unfortunate,” he added.
Cuccinelli had little choice but to fight the Democrats’ attacks, Bolling said.
“You knew coming in that this race the Democrats where going to attack Cuccinelli and paint him as being too extreme. So he’s had a hard time defending those attacks and so all he can do is fight back,” Bolling said.
He said he hopes people will vote Nov. 5 and that Virginians will rally behind whoever wins the election. Then, he said, they should move on to “bigger issues.”
“What I want to see the next governor do is focus more on the bigger issues that are a concern for Virginia,” Bolling said. “I want them to avoid the issues that divide Virginia and more on the issues that help unite the people of this state. Focus on jobs, the economy, improving educational opportunities for people. Those are what I think the people of Virginia care about and what their government should focus on.”