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Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe addresses the Virginia Energy and Opportunity Forum in Arlington, Va., Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
So as we all know, the government shutdown is playing a big role in the Virginia Governor's race:

Less than a week after the federal closure started, both candidates are running ads that blame the other for the federal furloughs — never mind that neither one really had any say in the matter.

“It’s a failure of leadership … and Terry McAuliffe deserves part of the blame,” a narrator says in a radio spot for Republican Ken Cuccinelli, aired widely Friday on D.C. stations. “McAuliffe said he is against compromise, against working together to find solutions.”

The Democrat wants voters to know Cuccinelli will appear this weekend with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). McAuliffe released a radio ad Friday – which followed a TV ad that went up the day before – to draw attention to a gala at which the two are scheduled to speak.

“Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas who’s the leader of the government shutdown, is coming in to campaign for another radical Republican: Ken Cuccinelli,” a narrator says. “So don’t believe Cuccinelli’s ridiculous ads.”

The attorney general has increasingly tried to distance himself from congressional Republicans, and he’s used harsher language to decry the shutdown as it continues with no end in sight. He has come out for legislation to pay federal employees during the shutdown, prodded members to not accept their salaries and declared for the first time Thursday that the fight over funding Obamacare should be separated from the fight over the budget.

“Strangling government to do this is not an appropriate course to go,” he told a group of reporters, according to the Associated Press. “Holding one part of government hostage to another part, I don’t think is a proper way to govern.” - Politico, 10/4/13

And of course Ted Cruz's (R. TX) visit puts Ken Cuccinelli (R. VA) in a tough spot:

Mr. Cuccinelli has spent the campaign walking a fine line between the rock of Virginia’s purple-state moderation and the hard place of his unstinting conservatism. As the first attorney general in the country to file suit challenging Obamacare, he is a hero to the tea party. But to align himself with like-minded Republicans, who have pushed Congress to its current impasse, risks infuriating everyday Virginians, to say nothing of the state’s 170,000 federal civilian employees, who dislike the government shutdown much more than the health-care law.

That’s why Mr. Cruz, the architect of the current showdown in Congress and the tea party’s champion, is a problem for Mr. Cuccinelli. A bear hug will alienate swing voters. The cold shoulder will incite tea partyers. Perhaps Mr. Cuccinelli will try for a warm but brief handshake.

Mr. Cuccinelli has tried, unconvincingly, to split the difference, and his handlers have been at pains to emphasize that the Family Foundation dinner is not a campaign event. He continues to heap scorn on the health-care law, while suggesting, sotto voce, that he opposes the shutdown. “I’d like to see Obamacare pulled out of federal law,” said Mr. Cuccinelli. “But, you know, we’ve got to keep moving forward and make compromises to get the budget going.”

Mr. Cuccinelli’s rabble-rousing running mate, E.W. Jackson, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, has tried to navigate a similar course, insisting that a video clip of him chanting, “Cut it or shut it,” at a tea party rally in Washington two years ago was a mere aberration. (Pay no attention to the man in the footage!) - Washington Post, 10/4/13

And while the government shutdown is one of several big reasons for Virginians to get out and vote on November 5th, Terry McAuliffe's (D. VA) been highlighting another major reason this election is important: Medicaid Expansion:

Democratic candidate for Governor Terry McAuliffe was in Roanoke Friday touting his plan agriculture plan.

But the only thing anyone wanted to hear were his views on the government shutdown and the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia.

McAuliffe called for politicians to work together for progress, followed immediately by placing the blame on the shutdown on the Tea Party.

He went on to say the shutdown was a tool for their "ideological battle."

McAuliffe also called for bi-partisanship to work together to expand Medicaid, a move that would cover 400,000 more Virginians. But it's also a move that would free up millions of dollars in Virginia's general fund that could be used for other things like education - including SOL reform.

"This Medicaid expansion, to bring $21 billion of our money back to Virginia, over the next several years to roll through our economy is critical and it's one reason why folks need to come out and vote," said McAulliffe. - WSET, 10/4/13

McAuliffe has long been a firm supporter of expanding Medicaid in Virginia as part of the Affordable Care Act's implementation.  McAuliffe has stated that he would not sign any budget that didn't include expanding Medicaid and Cuccinelli has tried to accuse McAuliffe of wanting to shutdown Virginia's government over expanding Medicaid.  McAuliffe has shot back by stating that he could reach a bipartisan deal to expand Medicaid.  I'm happy McAuliffe is not only on the right side of this issue but is also emphasizing why expanding Medicaid would be good for the state and also emphasizing why it's a big reason people need to get out and vote.  Especially since Virginia Republicans really don't want to expand Medicaid:

The vice chairman of a panel exploring Medicaid reform and expansion in Virginia told fellow House Republicans this week that the program is unlikely to be broadened anytime soon.

It could take months, if not years, to determine if the federal-state health-care program has been sufficiently reformed to merit expansion, Del. Steve Landes (R-Augusta) said in a confidential memo to his caucus. A copy of the memo was obtained by The Washington Post.

“I believe an important part of that [reform] process is evaluating the impact of those reforms in the months and years ahead,” Landes wrote in a letter dated Monday. “With the timeline for reform implementation already extended well into 2014, it is very unlikely we will be in a position to move forward with Medicaid expansion in the near future.”

Landes, an opponent of expansion, serves as vice chairman of that panel, the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. In his memo to House Republicans, he said that expanding the program could eventually cost the state more than $1 billion a year if the federal government only reimbursed the state for 50 percent of the cost, as opposed to the promised 90 percent.

“The national debt is nearly $17 trillion,” Landes wrote. “Eventually, the federal government is going to have to address its spending problems. When it does, Virginia taxpayers will almost certainly get stuck with the bill for Medicaid expansion.”

But Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), who also serves on the panel, said in an interview that she is optimistic that Medicaid can be expanded in the budget that begins in July. She said Bill Hazel, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Resources, has been working with the federal government to win approval for the reforms that the General Assembly required as a condition for expansion.

“Secretary Hazel has been working diligently to have us ready to accept Medicaid expansion next year,” Howell said. “He’s on track and doing exactly what he was requested to do in the state budget. So I am optimistic that we will be ready to go.” - Washington Post, 10/3/13

With McAuliffe, Medicaid expansion has a real chance of happening.  Under Cuccinelli, it's DOA.  So lets be sure to make sure our base gets out the vote on November 5th.  If you would like to donate or get involved with McAuliffe's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 11:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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