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Lastest squabble in Governor's race spans southern Virginia

Published On: Jul 29 2013 09:04:44 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 29 2013 10:13:49 PM EDT

The latest topic is Route 58.


More than a week after their first debate, Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are still sparring over the meeting. The latest squabble involves improvements to Route 58, and what the candidates' statements reveal about their knowledge of Virginia.

At issue is a statement McAuliffe made calling for additional improvements to the highway.

"What Martinsville and other areas need is they need to open up their communities," McAuliffe said during the July 20th debate at the Homestead Resort." "And how you do that is, I say, four-lane 58 all the way out from the port, so we can get the goods from the port all the way out to the commerce of America."

On Sunday, Cuccinelli's campaign released a video noting that Route 58 already is a four-lane highway fromTidewater to Martinsville.

"What do you think of Terry McAuliffe's economic plan for Virginia," an announcer asks.  "I think we do have four lanes," said one person interviewed in the video. "The 58 I know is four lanes," said another. "I don't think that's going to help, because it's already four lanes," said a third.

“Last Saturday during the recent gubernatorial debate, candidate Terry McAuliffe stated that we need a four-lane highway to Martinsville from the port," said 5th District Congressman Robert Hurt in a written statement. "This may come as a surprise to Mr. McAuliffe, but Route 58 is already four lanes from the port to Martinsville. We need a governor who knows Virginia. We need a governor who will bring jobs to Virginia. We need a governor who will always put Virginia first. And Ken Cuccinelli is that man,” he said.

The two campaigns spent most of Sunday trading charges.

McAuliffe's supporters say it was Cuccinelli who showed his ignorance, because portions of Route 58 west of Martinsville are in fact still just two lanes wide.

"It’s unfortunate that, instead of proposing a solution to strengthen Route 58 as a corridor of economic growth by expanding it across the Commonwealth, Ken Cuccinelli has decided to use it for his false political attacks," said former State Senator Roscoe Reynolds. "Anyone who understands Southside Virginia recognizes that it will take commerce flowing through our region from all directions in order to create the jobs and economic growth need."

"Ken Cuccinelli should know that we’ve got a long way to go on Route 58, he’s been watching from the sidelines while serious leaders have been working on a fix for years," said former Delegate Whitt Clement. "Cuccinelli is missing the point. A jobs governor has got to open up the port and expand Route 58 to I-77 and across the entire state. Virginia needs a Governor who understands the basic economic benefit of expanding and modernizing our infrastructure, not one whose only contributions are obstructionism and cheap attacks."