With Election Day in Virginia less than three weeks away, former
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought her star power to Falls Church
Saturday, campaigning with family friend Terry McAuliffe before a boisterous
crowd sprinkled with Northern Virginia Democrats, soundly endorsing him in his second bid for the Virginia governor’s
office. The former DNC chair and businessman lost the 2009 Democratic primary to
Creigh Deeds, who lost the general election to Republican Bob McDonnell.
"If it's only about yourself — to get a job, the perks, have people stand up when you come into a room," she said to laughter, "that's not enough any more, politics is hard. People are wary, they're wondering, 'Can I give this person my vote and then, will he remember me? Will they do what I heard them say they will do?'"
The appearance by Clinton in Northern Virginia marks
her first public foray into political campaigning in years; she left the Obama
administration in February.
She was introduced by McAuliffe, 56, who told the crowd: "We must expand healthcare, we must invest in education, we must protect voting rights for all Virginians!" He was surrounded by supporters at the “Women for Terry” event, including his wife Dorothy McAuliffe, Latinos Con Terry member Leni Gonzalez and Prince William County science teacher Kellie Blair Hardt.
They made their remarks to a packed room of hundreds of supporters at The State Theatre, a movie house built in 1936 now used mainly as a nightclub for rock concerts. The first film to be shown there? Thanks a Million, about a man who, on a lark, runs for governor and wins. The City of Falls Church, population 13,229, is solidly Democratic, with 65 percent of the vote in 2009 going for Deeds over winner Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.
A poll out Friday by NBC4/NBC
News/Marist shows McAuliffe leading in the race by 8 points, 46 percent to
38 percent, against his Republican challenger Ken Cuccinelli, the commonwealth’s
attorney general. When it comes to female voters in Virginia, McAuliffe’s lead
widens by 20 points, leading 52 percent to Cuccinelli’s 32 percent. Libertarian
Robert Sarvis garnered 9 points
in the poll.
A Washington Post story published Friday delved into possible apathy by younger women voters in Northern Virginia who don’t seem to care or be knowledgeable about the election or the issues. Could it spell trouble for McAuliffe?
Women’s issues were the main topic Saturday. McAullife said: "As governor, I would veto any legislation that restricts birth control." On McAuliffe’s campaign Web site, he states that “divisive efforts by politicians to interfere with decisions better made by women and their doctors are bad for Virginia families and bad for business. We can’t put up walls or send the signal that Virginia is moving backwards on important issues like women’s health.”
Falls Church is home to the Falls Church Medical Center, an
abortion clinic that filed a lawsuit against Virginia to fight stricter
regulations forcing existing clinics to meet the same architectural
requirements as new hospitals. Virginia’s Board of Health, backed by Attorney
General Cuccinelli, had asked the court to throw out the case. But a judge last
week said appellate courts should decide the matter in a full hearing.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Cuccinelli is bringing
star power of his own to Virginia as Election Day nears, campaigning with
former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee Saturday in
Lynchburg and U.S.
Sen. Rand Paul Oct. 28 in Fairfax.
The Clintons, who have been close with McAuliffe for years, are pulling out all the stops in helping try to get McAuliffe elected. Politico notes that Hillary Clinton will attend a fundraiser Saturday night in McLean for McAuliffe. Former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser Oct. 28 for McAuliffe, also in McLean, at the home of Martha and Dwight Schar, according to Politico. Schar, founder of homebuilder NVAR Inc. and a part owner of the Washington Redskins, has flipped sides (he is a former finance chairman for the Republican National Committee). On Oct. 30, Hillary Clinton headlines a Beverly Hills luncheon fundraiser for McAuliffe, at $25,000 per couple.
McAuliffe and Cuccinelli will meet for a final debate Thursday in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech University. Libertarian candidate Sarvis, who was not invited to the debate, will also be on the ballot Nov. 5.