Cuccinelli, McAuliffe square off on energy in Arlington Thursday

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are set to discuss Virginia's energy future at the latest forum in the bitterly contested race for governor.

Thursday's forum in Arlington is sponsored by the Consumer Energy Alliance.

At previous forums, the candidates have strayed far from the topic at hand to attack each other's character and integrity.

A poll released last week showed the businessman and Democratic fundraiser McAuliffe with a six-point lead over Cuccinelli, who is Virginia's attorney general.

The candidates have hammered each other in television ads, with each trying to link the other to scandal.

Leading up to the forum, Republicans have tried to paint McAuliffe as anti-coal, while Democrats have said Cucinnelli's office sided with energy companies in disputes with Virginia landowners over natural gas royalties.