|Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for governor, addressed dozens of local business leaders and Republicans Friday in Ashburn. Cuccinelli stressed his view that this year’s race is “all about jobs.” Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Trevor Baratko|
It's a belief President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney expressed on the 2012 campaign trail: Loudoun County is special. And its more than 210,000 registered voters hold a lot of power in statewide elections.
Republican gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, reiterated that mindset Friday when he addressed dozens of local business leaders and Republicans at a breakfast event at Belmont Country Club in Ashburn.
“In 2012 when I saw that the president won Loudoun, I went to bed,” Cuccinelli said. “You all, politically, are really the bellwether county ...”
“How we're doing in Loudoun really tells us how we're doing … the way Loudoun goes for a lot of races” is how the state goes, Cuccinelli said.
The attorney general presented largely the same message he touched on the day before in Reston, where both Cuccinelli and his gubernatorial race challenger, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, spoke at a technology town hall hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council.
While conservative firebrand Cuccinelli has taken heat for his firm ideological stances on everything from gay rights and climate change to abortion clinics and women's health, he stressed Friday his view that this races is focused around jobs and the economy.
On that front, the attorney general highlighted the basis for his economic plan that includes dropping Virginia's personal tax rate from 5.75 percent to 5 percent and the business tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent.
“When we talk about tax cuts … it isn't really about the money,” Cuccinelli said. “It's about the opportunity. It's about letting the small businesses reinvest. It's about letting all of our businesses reinvest, so more Virginians can go to work.”
Cuccinelli found himself in something of an equivocal position Friday because of his strict opposition to this year's landmark transportation bill passed in the General Assembly and his disapproval of Metro's Silver Line project, which will extend track to the Dulles airport and into Loudoun County.
Many of the breakfast’s attendees were supporters of both measures, which are aimed at clearing up the famously congested roads of Northern Virginia.
But Cuccinelli, who at one point earlier this year questioned the constitutionality of the new transportation bill, explained that he still believes both transit initiatives are bad policy and the commonwealth may not see an adequate bang for its buck.
He would not, however, lead an effort to repeal the legislation, and moving forward he said he'll work to “make every [public] dollar scream” for both Dulles rail and new transportation projects.
While the Republican repeatedly stressed his vision for an austere state government, there was one topic he said the commonwealth could take a significant role in – mental health.
“You will hear frugality out of me until the cows come home,” he said, “but there's some things that I intend to go in and move more dollars into, and mental health is going to be one of them.”
Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) introduced Cuccinelli and quickly made a general note of Cuccinelli's – and his own – positions on social issues.
“Ken and I agree on many things on the social issues, but that's not what this race is about,” York said. “What this race is about is about jobs. It's also about jobs. And it's also about jobs.”
Cuccinelli continued Friday on his campaign's claim McAuliffe is unwilling to debate him, despite the fact McAuliffe's campaign has announced five debates they'll participate in. Cuccinelli has said he wants 15 debates, something well beyond the four debates candidates in the two previous gubernatorial races agreed to.