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Marco Rubio said that no less than the American dream is at stake in this fall’s election.
BOB BROWN | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., (left) listens to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for Virginia’s governor, before they attended a luncheon in Richmond on Monday.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
RICHMOND — Rising GOP star Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pledged support for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s bid for governor during a fundraiser in Richmond on Monday designed to generate cash and excitement for the Republican cause.
With 50 days until Election Day, Cuccinelli trails Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the polls and in fundraising.
On his third trip to Richmond in 18 months, Rubio, a possible presidential contender in 2016, told the crowd of roughly 400 at the Richmond Marriott that no less than the “American dream” is at stake, beginning with the Virginia election — one of only two governor’s races in the country this year.
Rubio said the November election is not just about electing a Republican over a Democrat, but ensuring that the commonwealth is run by a candidate like Cuccinelli who supports free enterprise and limited government.
“If we lose this election, this individual running for governor will make Virginia a harder place to start a business or grow an existing one, and he will make it a harder place to innovate,” said Rubio, referring to McAuliffe but not mentioning his name.
Outside, more than two dozen Democrats and Planned Parenthood supporters were dressed in pink T-shirts and held signs saying, “Keep Ken Out” — a reference to the attorney general’s positions on women’s rights issues such as birth control and abortion.
Cuccinelli spoke for fewer than 10 minutes before introducing Rubio, and said the country’s “first principles” are at stake in the race.
He zeroed in on the president’s health care law and drew a contrast with McAuliffe, who has supported the health plan and a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to thousands more Virginians.
He vowed to stop as much of the implementation of the health law as “I possibly can” if elected and made a pitch for his education plan, saying it promotes “parental control and choice.”
He did not hold a news briefing after the luncheon, but campaign operatives were busy trying to put McAuliffe on the defensive over reports of Democrats’ arm-twisting following Cuccinelli’s endorsement by the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s political action committee.
According to the reports, leading Democrats, angered over the prized TechPAC endorsement of Cuccinelli, sent emails to the NVTC urging reconsideration of the endorsement and suggesting a frosty reception to their legislative agenda if they didn’t.
Cuccinelli’s campaign likened the backdoor discouragement to “bullying” by McAuliffe.
TechPAC endorsed the past three Republican candidates for governor. But the stir prompted the NVTC to distance itself from the endorsement of its political arm and issue its own statement.
“Given the deeply divided opinions of the NVTC membership concerning this race, NVTC is making no endorsement in the gubernatorial election,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, McAuliffe’s camp countered by releasing another Republican endorsement of his candidacy: Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms.
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