RICHMOND (WRIC)—With election day just over a week away, 8News teamed up with Radio One to sponsor a community forum featuring all three gubernatorial candidates.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian Robert Sarvis all shared one stage—a rarity in this year's campaign. During the community forum, the candidates largely stuck to their messages heard throughout the campaign.
"We need to focus more on workforce development," McAuliffe said.
"I have a plan to create 58,000 new jobs," said Cuccinelli.
"The most important thing we can do to grow jobs is to have an open and competitive market," Sarvis said.
In previous debates, the candidates attacked each other when it came to their plans; this time, they were instructed to speak strictly about their own messages.
"Allow parents, for the first time, to take control of their children's educational destiny, so they're not stuck by where they live in a failing school, in an unsafe school," Cuccinelli said.
"We've got to look at teacher pay, we gotta look at teacher accountability," McAuliffe said. "I talk about the SOLs—they don't work in their present form. Our children are learning how to memorize, our teachers are teaching to tests; it's not the teachers' faul—that's how they get judged."
"Make sure the public schools are spending money wisely," Sarvis said. "One of the things that we do is allow the public schools to increase the administration. We have low teacher pay, but we're in the top half of school spending per pupil."
Other issues, including abortion, same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, came up; on those issues, the candidates stuck to their party platforms.
After the debate, Cuccinelli questioned McAuliffe's leadership experience.
"I mean, what did he do for Virginia, period, before he ran for governor?" Cuccinelli said. "Nothing. Literally not a thing. Didn't go help an old lady cross the street as far as I know. I mean, I fought sexual assault, juvenile delinquency—worked on prevention of that for years."
8News tried to allow McAuliffe to respond, but he left as soon as the event ended, citing another event he had to attend. But a McAuliffe campaign staffer questioned Cuccinelli's performance in the forum, saying he read off of his notes a lot.
Sarvis questioned Cuccinelli's belief that a vote for anyone other than Cuccinelli is a vote for McAuliffe.
"I don't know what his polling advisors are telling him, but I'm certainly a numerate individual" Sarvis responded. "I look at the polls and they very clearly show that I'm pulling people from both sides and most of my votes are coming from Independents who are totally sick of the two major parties."
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Virginians will decide which of these three candidates will become the 72nd governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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