Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

October 20, 2013

Endorsement: Republican Ken Cuccinelli, governor of Virginia

— — Voters face a critical decision Nov. 5 when it comes to the future of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Two men — both arguably flawed candidates — are vying to succeed Gov. Bob McDonnell. But Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are worlds apart when it comes to what is best for the coalfields of Southwest Virginia.

As attorney general of Virginia, Cuccinelli has taken the federal Environmental Protection Agency to court, and has openly challenged the science known as climate change. And Cuccinelli is actively campaigning for coal — and for coal miners and their families — in the closely watched gubernatorial race. He correctly refers to President Barack Obama’s war on coal as also a war on Virginia’s poor and middle class.

Cuccinelli has stumped across the coalfields of deep Southwest Virginia. The same can’t be said for McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who also headed up Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.

Ahead in several statewide polls and proudly boasting support for President Barack Obama’s crippling new EPA regulations that would limit carbon emissions from gas- or coal-fired power plants, McAuliffe has arrogantly ignored repeated requests by this newspaper for an editorial board session. Voters across Southwest Virginia should be alarmed.

Historically, every candidate for governor in both Virginia and West Virginia has appeared before the Daily Telegraph’s editorial board. And the same goes for candidates for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Robert C. Byrd. Jay Rockefeller. Joe Manchin. Tim Kaine. Morgan Griffith. Rick Boucher. The list goes on and on. But apparently not Terry McAuliffe.

It seems McAuliffe has decided to write off the coalfield counties of deep Southwest Virginia. That’s a dangerous political strategy, and a tactic that could potentially backfire on him come Nov. 5.

Of course that’s not to say that Cuccinelli has not courted with controversy as well. In fact, he’s been a lightning rod for controversy. He has fought President Barack Obama in court over Obamacare, he has taken heat over the growing methane royalties controversy in Southwest Virginia, and has allowed himself to be snared in controversy by accepting thousands of dollars in gifts from a Virginia-based company that also gave McDonnell more than $124,000 in gifts and loans — prompting federal authorities to launch a probe into the governor’s mansion.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that both of the gubernatorial candidates are flawed. It is a shame that in a state as big as Virginia that a more moderate candidate for governor could not have emerged — someone that average Republicans, Democrats and independent voters could have connected with more easily.

However, after careful consideration and debate, we endorse Cuccinelli for governor of Virginia. And our endorsement is based upon his past and current support for the coal industry of Southwest Virginia. It is clear to us that Terry McAuliffe is aligned with Barack Obama when it comes to Washington’s destructive war on coal. He’s said as much to Richmond-based reporters by openly endorsing the Obama administration’s controversial new EPA rules.

 We would hope that it would be clear to voters that Ken Cuccinelli is the best and only logical choice for the future of the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. A vote for Ken Cuccinelli is a vote against Obama and his foolish war on coal. And it’s a vote for the future  of Southwest Virginia and the Commonwealth as a whole.

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