Planned Parenthood endorsed Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe Thursday hours after the Democrat bashed opponent Ken Cuccinelli on the abortion issue.
McAuliffe painted his Republican opponent Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, as an ideologue Wednesday night at a campaign stop in Lorton. Specifically, McAuliffe focused on abortion.
"I'm running against a guy who has a social, ideological agenda," said McAuliffe of Cuccinelli. "He has said that it is his goal to see abortion disappear in the United States of America."
The political arm of Planned Parenthood so far has donated a little more than $30,000 to McAuliffe's campaign in Web services, according to Virginia Public Access Project. It has a Web site called Keep Ken Out. Web ads by Planned Parenthood's political arm launched this week PPAF's web ads show an image of Cuccinelli popping up in places "where he doesn't belong," such as weddings and doctors' offices, the Huffington Post reported.
On a federal level Planned Parenthood was the most effective political group in the 2012 elections according to a report by the Sunlight Foundation.
McAuliffe launched "Women for Terry," Thursday in Richmond, a group of Democratic supporters headed up by former Virginia first ladies. Cuccinelli's campaign is backed by a group called Women for Ken which launched in April.
When Virginia Republicans meet Saturday in Richmond to select its party’s nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general, Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC says its supporters are planning a rally “to amplify the message that Ken Cuccinelli is wrong for women’s health and wrong for Virginia,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
McAuliffe, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, spoke to about 50 members of the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee Wednesday night at Lorton's Pane e Vino restaurant.
Other attendees included Lt. Governor candidate Aneesh Chopra and Attorney General candidates Sen. Mark Herring and Justin Fairfax. The final Democratic candidates will be chosen by Virginia voters in the June 11 primary.
Cuccinelli "has led the effort to shut down 20 women's health centers here in Virginia," said McAuliffe. "These women's health centers in Virginia take care of thousands of Virginians, gets them access to quality care. Ninety percent of the work that is done is cancer screening, affordable birth control, preventative medicine, things that women need."
The Cuccinelli camp maintains that McAuliffe's electronic car venture has failed, and that discussing social issues is a diversionary tactic.
“Ken Cuccinelli has been all around the state visiting small businesses and talking about the issues that are top of mind for Virginians: the economy, jobs and empowering middle class families,” said Anna Nix, a Cuccinelli spokesperson, to Politico. “The only candidate focused on social issues, as a diversion from his recent business failures, is Terry McAuliffe.”
Cuccinelli has been attorney general of Virginia since 2010. He was a state senator representing the 37th District in Fairfax County, from 2002-2010.
McAuliffe pledged that, if elected, he would accept federal Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
"My opponent is 100 percent against it. I am 100 percent for it. Beginning in January, we can cover 400,000 more Virginians with access to quality, life-saving care," he said. "It's paid for by the federal government for the first three years - 100 percent; 90 percent every year thereafter for 10 years. It will create, with $21 billion coming into our economy over the next seven years… 33,000 new jobs here in Virginia."
With five months left in the race, McAuliffe has $5,184,962 in on-hand cash as of March 31, versus Cucinelli's war chest of $2,964,620.
Aneesh Chopra, the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, said that if elected, he would operate as a tie-breaker in a 20-20 state Senate, would support Medicaid expansion and increased investments in education.
"As the 21st Senator, as the tie-breaking vote, I will put every ounce of my parliamentary maneuvering energy to make sure that our Democratic values are protected," he said. "We've got to make sure that women have rights and access to healthcare."
Chopra is the former chief technology officer at the U.S. Commerce Department, and from 2006-2009 served as the fourth Virginia secretary of Technology (appointed by former Gov. Tim Kaine). He is running in a Democratic primary against state Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk), who did not attend the event in Lorton.
The Republican Convention
There are seven Republican candidates vying for lieutenant governor. The candidate will not be chosen in a primary, but instead at the Republican State Convention this week.
The Republican Candidates
- Corey Stewart (chair, Prince William County Board of Supervisors)
- Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-31st)
- Tech businessman Pete Snyder
- State Sen. Steve Martin (R-11th)
- Former State Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis
- Susan Stimpson, chair of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors
- E.W. Jackson Sr., minister and former U.S. Senate candidate