It's been two decades since Democrats simultaneously held the top three statewide offices in Virginia, but momentum suggests that streak may soon be snapped, with gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and his down-ticket mates polling well less than two weeks before the Nov. 5 election.
The Democrat McAuliffe has extended his lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in most surveys in the campaigns' final weeks, and McAuliffe has called in the star power help of his friends Bill and Hillary Clinton on the trail in the lead-up to the election.
Moreover, President Barack Obama will appear with McAuliffe in Northern Virginia Sunday, followed by an appearance from Vice President Joe Biden in Annandale on election eve.
The Oct. 31 polling average on RealClearPolitics.com shows McAuliffe with an 8.5 percent lead over Cuccinelli, the state's attorney general. In the first week of September, that margin was less than 4 percent.
Still, the Cuccinelli camp expressed no early signs of defeat a week from Election Day, and the Republicans received encouraging news Wednesday in a Quinnipiac poll that showed McAuliffe's lead down to four points.
“With a week to go in the race, Ken's positive vision for Virginia's future is gaining significant support and grassroots enthusiasm ... As more voters hear about his record of service in Virginia and substantive plans to create 58,000 new jobs, support for Ken's candidacy is gaining momentum at a critical moment in the race,” Anna Nix, a Cuccinelli campaign spokeswoman, said Oct. 29 as her candidate was joined by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at an event in Bristow.
The GOP's best hope to snag one of the big three state offices may be Harrisonburg state Sen. Mark Obenshain, the attorney general candidate squaring off against state Sen. Mark Herring, of Leesburg.
Obenshain has bested the Democrat in several statewide polls on the attorney general race, though a Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll released Oct. 28 found Herring leading Obenshain by 3 percentage points, a figure still within the margin of error.
In the lieutenant governor's race, Democratic state Sen. Ralph Northam of Norfolk has held a commanding lead in the polls. Northam's dueling with conservative preacher E.W. Jackson to be the state's second-in-command.
The notoriously negative gubernatorial race has led to disillusionment among some Loudoun County voters. Neither Cuccinelli nor McAuliffe have managed strong favorability ratings in recent polls.
Andrea Lucas, a communications manager at the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, said she hasn't heard enough from either major candidate on the issues most important to her – jobs and education.
Lucas, who plans to vote Nov. 5, said she's less than thrilled with the candidates on the ballot. She wouldn't say with certainty who she'll be voting for.
“The negative tone of the race is undeniable and doesn't make me want to vote for someone because they are pointing out someone's flaws,” Lucas, 26, said. “I am discouraged more because all I can remember in my head when I'm thinking of certain candidates is what the other pointed out wrong about them as opposed to what they actually want to do for the state.”
Stacy Rice, a 39-year-old educator, said she'll vote Nov. 5 despite not researching the candidates as intensely as she'd like. A college instructor, Rice lists education and women's rights as her top issues. Given this, she said she'll be voting Democrats across-the-board.