HARRISONBURG, Va. (WJLA) – Ken Cuccinelli had quite the busy and far-reaching schedule Tuesday, beginning with an early morning stop in Abingdon to talk about coal issues and then on to Roanoke and Harrisonburg to talk about his K-12 education platform.
After the final stop of what he dubbed his “I-81 tour,” at James Madison University, Virginia’s soft-spoken Republican candidate for governor was asked about a couple of polls that came out today, both of which show him falling further behind Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe. POLITICO has him down by nine points.
Cuccinelli softly chuckled and shook his head as he walked to his car after the brief JMU session. Are the latest polls ominous?
“I haven’t even seen them – you’re the first person to mention them to me,” he said. “So the short answer is no. I mean, for us, we’re focusing on turning out our folks, and that means everybody who agrees with us on an issue like education. . .
“A lot of people are just now starting to turn and pay attention, so we’ve got to be staying busy and getting our message out for the duration of these four weeks, and I’m confident that when we get to election day, we’re going to be on (top in) the poll that matters.”
Indeed, a lot of people are, in fact, beginning to pay attention to the race – which happens to be occurring at the same time U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is making national headlines almost daily because of his tactics that helped lead to the government shutdown.
Cruz, a Tea Party Republican, was the featured speaker at an ultra-conservative dinner last Saturday in Richmond where Cuccinelli also delivered comments – comments in which never referred to Cruz by name.
Asked if the reason for that was to get a bit of separation between him and the controversial Cruz, Cuccinelli laughed.
“I don’t think he’s dragging me down,” Cuccinelli said. “He’s a Texas senator. . .(so) it doesn’t have a whole lot of resonance in my race.”
Cuccinelli confirmed he didn’t stick around for Cruz’ speech or subsequent photo ops.
“I left after I spoke,” he said. “I spoke first.”
Pressed, Cuccinelli dismissed any potential Cruz effect on his campaign.
"I’m running for governor of Virginia, and so I stay focused on Virginia, and I don’t know why that should surprise you," he said.