Les Smith Reports: Governor’s race is expensive – and annoying

Posted at 4:37 PM, Oct 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-22 06:19:45-04

Two weeks from Tuesday, Virginians will go to the polls to elect a new governor.

This will go down as the most expensive and perhaps the least enjoyable campaign in modern history.

It’s safe to say voters aren’t too happy with the way the candidates have marketed their races.

“They’re annoying. They’re just annoying. I’m tired of it,” says voter Jasmine Jones.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli have raised boatloads of money. At the end of September, Cuccinelli and his party raised nearly $17 million, but that’s chump change compared to McAuliffe’s haul of more than $26 million.

Both have spent lavishly on TV ads. Money may be the mother’s milk of politics, but ads are the dairy farm. Cuccinelli has spent $6 million while nearly $11 million has been spent by McAuliffe.

“But for voters, the ads are sound and fury, signifying nothing,” says voter Joyce Hardy.

And it’s not likely to get any better. Both candidates still have millions in the bank, and you can count on no let-up before Election Day.

There is a third-party candidate – Robert Sarvis, a Libertarian. He hasn’t raised much money, but a recent CNU poll showed him with double-digit support.

That’s just another sign that a lot of people this year are looking at the major-party candidates and saying “none of the above.”

Four years ago, voter turnout was just over 40 percent, the lowest ever. Turnout is expected to be even lower this year which means this could be the most expensive race for Governor ever in Virginia and the lowest percentage of Virginians who actually vote.