Virginia Gubernatorial Race in National Spotlight

Rarely do state elections get national attention, but in the case of the 2013 gubernatorial race, there appears to be an exception. Current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) have run a rather interesting race, as issues from Obamacare, to transportation, and recently to Syria have come as key stances for each candidate. The question is why is this race so important compared to all others?

For one, this election happens in an off year, so there are no Congressional or Presidential elections during this cycle. Not only that, but the race has been called a comparison of the 2016 matchup. According to David Bossie, president of the conservative nonprofit Citizens United, “It’s a prelude to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.” Since speculation about the 2016 campaign has already started, it is accurate to compare Virginia’s race to the upcoming national race; a strong conservative candidate with grassroots support versus a well-connected, well-funded liberal candidate.

Virginia has been rated as one of the best states to own a business in and one of the best states to raise a family. In a survey done by George Mason University, the average migration was up 2.5% and personal income growth 2.48%. In this study, Virginia ranked 8th overall out of all 50 states. Looking at the debt level, personal freedoms and tax burdens, there is no question that its policies have been largely influenced by Conservative principle. Ken Cuccinelli is no different than the economic, personal and regulatory policies that are already in place.

Virginia's overall freedom rating according to George Mason University's study. \
Virginia’s overall freedom rating according to George Mason University’s study. \

A state comparable to Terry McAuliffe’s ideology would be New York. Overall, New York ranked 50th with a net migration rate of -9% and personal income growth of just .98%. Gun control laws ranked 48th, fiscal policy ranked 50th, and tax burden ranked 50th. Without it needing to be said, New York State has been controlled by the Democratic Party for decades, and their economic, governmental, personal rights and regulatory policy reflect that.

The question Virginians must ask and answer themselves is if they want a candidate that represents the policy that has made Virginia the 8th freest state in the union. Clearly Democratic policies in New York have not worked very well there as their debt is the worst in the union, and 9% of the population has left from 2000-2011. On the contrary, business-friendly policies and low tax burdens in Virginia have led to a migration to the state. Cuccinelli’s campaign platform has been on pushing for school choice, fighting Obamacare, and providing long term solutions to Virginia’s transportation projects. Terry McAuliffe has run on making government, not the private sector, more efficient, and expanding Medicaid rather than empowering the free market. The question will come down to if Virginians want more government, or the economic and personal freedom they have come to know.

2012 presidential election percentages for each candidate.
2012 presidential election percentages for each candidate.

Virginia has 13 electoral votes, which may not seem like an important amount. However, with a very important election coming our way in 3 years, and more states leaning towards the middle and left of the aisle, every electoral vote counts. Since Virginia is really a purple state, the northern parts around Washington D.C. are more Democratic in their voting while the rest of the state is primarily conservative, grassroots support is what will make or break Cuccinelli’s campaign in 2013, and the Republican nominee in Virginia in the 2016 race.

To read more on George Mason University’s study, and to see how your state rated, see here.

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