In a state that has become a battleground in presidential politics, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is facing off against Virginia's Republican attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli. Mr. McAuliffe is backed by his close friends Bill and Hillary Clinton, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul are stumping for Mr. Cuccinelli.
Democrats are calling the race a "tea party referendum," and Republicans are calling it an "Obamacare referendum," suggesting that its outcome will say more about national politics than state-level issues. Others have suggested that the high number of government workers living in Virginia may be nursing ire toward the Republican Party, blaming it for the recent government shutdown. That could work against Cuccinelli, who indeed has lagged behind McAuliffe in most polls.
It has been such an ugly race that The Roanoke Times and the Richmond Times-Dispatch have both declined to endorse either candidate. "The major-party candidates have earned the citizenry's derision. The third-party alternative has run a more exemplary race yet does not qualify as a suitable option," the Times-Dispatch said. "We cannot in good conscience endorse a candidate for governor."