Sadly, the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor of Virginia to be decided next month in the country's key off-year election are no Thomas Jefferson.
Few people rise to the status of Virginia's second governor but the GOP candidate Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli and the Democratic candidate former DNC leader Terry McAuliffe are certainly nowhere in Jefferson's league in any respect.
Obviously, one of these two candidates will become the new governor of Virginia after the votes are counted this November but a majority of Virginians would have preferred other candidates but none showed up.
Neither candidate has run a positive campaign. In fact, this has been one of the most negative political campaigns I have seen in my career covering national politics and teaching politics at the college level.
The television ads of both candidates are really disgraceful.
McAuliffe' television ads blast Cuccinelli for being against women. They distort the Attorney General's face in these offensive ads. And, in fact, Cuccinelli is the father of five daughters, so the ads seem a bit absurd.
Cuccinelli's television ads make McAuliffe look as if he is a flim-flam man who is living in China running an electric car company and has nothing to do with Virginia.
The issues of importance to the voters of the Virginia on education and transportation are largely ignored by both candidates for governor.
In their televised debates they mainly have bashed one another. McAuliffe says Cuccinelli is too far to the right and too extreme to govern and to attract business to the state.
Cuccinelli, on the other hand, says McAuliffe is really a failed businessman whose business career has mainly centered on laying people off from their jobs.
It is a totally lackluster campaign and I will be surprised if there is much of a turnout of voters next month. Many voters are hardly aware of the campaign and other voters are just plain disgusted by how negative the campaign has become.
In an article in the Washington Post, they ask, "Why does he (McAuliffe) want to preside over a state in which he has lived less than half his life? What compelled McAuliffe, beginning in his 50s, to become a candidate for public office? Why, after suffering a humiliating defeat is he back for more?" McAuliffe tried and did not gain the nomination four years ago in his first bid to become Virginia's governor.
McAuliffe is seen as a carpetbagger by many voters with few or little ties to his adopted state. He is mainly known as good friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton. In fact, the multimillionaire successful entrepreneur "offered to guarantee the $1.35 million loan the Clintons were seeking to buy a house in Chappaqua, New York."
McAuliffe, like former Senator and former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, could be called the "Happy Warrior." He is always smiling and talking and being optimistic. At the present time, McAuliffe is leading in all the polls and is on the path to winning his first election.
The GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli is the current Attorney General of Virginia and is given credit for being more in touch with the values of the state or at least the more conservative values.
Cuccinelli has been known for his more extreme views and as being a tea party favorite. During the campaign, when he is not bashing his opponent in negative ads and in negative comments, he has tried to move more to the middle.
However, as the Washington Post article on Cuccinelli states, "Legislators who served with him in Richmond, Democrats and Republicans alike, say Cuccinelli would often rather be right than win, making it hard to find middle ground."
The Virginia governors' race could be a testing ground for the upcoming 2014 congressional elections and the 2016 presidential contest.
If McAuliffe wins, Hillary would be given a huge boost in Virginia if she runs for the Oval Office in 2016 as is widely expected. Having her former top fundraiser in the governors' office in Richmond would be a big plus for Hillary in 2016.
If Cuccinelli wins, it would show the rest of the country that Virginia is still mainly a conservative state and would most likely go into the GOP presidential candidates' electoral column in 2016.
The lack of interest and the negative campaigns of both candidates are having many voters considering voting for the Libertarian candidate for governor.
If Patrick Henry, the state's first governor or James Monroe, the 12th governor of Virginia or if Thomas Jefferson, the second governor were still around, voters would be pleased.
However, there seems to be no pleasure or happiness in Virginia voters' minds as they get ready to go to the polls in a few weeks to vote for either McAuliffe or Cuccinelli.
The good news is that Virginia governors can only serve one term!