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The campaign season is in full swing in Virginia, as candidates enter the final push toward Election Day. Several statewide candidates made some familiar refrains at a Fairfax County forum Sunday night.
The forum was hosted by a coalition of minority business groups — an unprecedented cooperation between blacks, Asians and Hispanics. But when the candidates arrived, voters heard attacks that are beginning to sound familiar to residents of the commonwealth.
Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli said his opponent was not qualified: "I will not need on the job training if you elect me on Nov. 5, and I'm the only candidate who can say that."
Democrat Terry McAuliffe criticized Cuccinelli for appearing at a fundraiser with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who many feel is the architect of the government shutdown.
"It's the obligation of Virginians to send a message to Washington," McAuliffe said. "A government shutdown should never be a bargaining chip."
Meanwhile, Libertarian Robert Sarvis was struggling for attention. He says he didn't hear much from what the candidates had to say to the audience here at the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College.
"A lot of negative attacks, not a whole lot of substance," Sarvis said. "And if you want to see dysfunction of voting out of fear for the lesser of two evils, look at the federal government right now."
Deborah Williams lives in Fairfax City. She also says she didn't hear much to help her make up her mind about which candidate to support.
"Politics have become a blame game. They are always saying what the other candidate says and how that's not working, but they never say how they can fix it or what is going to lead to fixing it," she said.
Several of the candidates and their advisors say now is the time that most voters start paying attention to the election, which is only four weeks away.