DALE CITY, Va. — Conservative ideologues are reliable voters who could threaten Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s political chances, former President Bill Clinton warned Sunday as he joined his longtime buddy’s campaign for Virginia governor.
With little more than a week before Nov. 5’s Election Day, McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli each have sought to energize their strongest supporters. McAuliffe has opened a lead in polling and is heavily outspending Cuccinelli on television ads, but turnout is expected to be low and the result could be decided by a few thousand votes. es
“Political extremism does have one political virtue,” Clinton said. “Once you get people all torn up and upset, steam coming out of their ears, people will show up and vote.”
It was a shift in roles. For decades, it has been McAuliffe championing the personal and political futures of Bill Clinton and, later, his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now, he’s here to pitch in during the campaign against Republican Ken Cuccinelli during its final week even though Clinton joked he is “in my dotage.”
“Terry’s gotten so good on the stump, I don’t think he needs me anymore,” Clinton said to laughter at the pair’s first stop.
Clinton planned other stops throughout the state with his longtime pal and fundraiser during the coming day. Former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is considered a strong contender for 2016’s presidential nomination, used her first political event after stepping down as secretary of state to endorse McAuliffe earlier this month.
Bill Clinton predicted that Cuccinelli’s supporters, who are deeply conservative and align to the tea party, would be reliable, and he urged Democrats to be just as motivated.
“Just remember, the people who aren’t here today, who go to the other fella’s rally, they will be there on Election Day,” he said. “I’ve dealt with it all my life.”