Both candidates for Governor are bringing their campaigns to southwest Virginia this week.
Monday, Republican Ken Cuccinelli focused on economic development, and fielded questions about lingering controversy in Richmond.
Like Bob McDonnell before him, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is trying to make jobs and economic development the centerpiece of his campaign for Governor, but Democrats continue to hammer away on the gifts he received from the CEO of Star Scientific, a company involved in a tax dispute with the state.
Monday in Botetourt County, Cuccinelli said his failure to include all of the gifts on his financial disclosure forms was "an honest mistake."
Cuccinelli received a quick tour from Titan America's Robert Sells. "This is our outgoing silo. This is the finished product in this direction," Sells said as he pointed out some of the plant's facilities. The only active cement plant in Virginia, Roanoke Cement Company provided the backdrop for a discussion of economic development, and excessive regulations.
"And as Attorney General I have been busier than perhaps I would like to have been pushing back on some of that," Cuccinelli told the audience.
Like Democrat Terry McAuliffe on a previous visit, Cuccinelli fielded questions from employees, vendors and customers. He also answered reporters questions about the Star Scientific story.
"Well you always worry about your mistakes getting modified and blown up," Cuccinelli said in an interview, "and let's face it, I made a mistake here in terms of my own recollection."
Cuccinelli said he never traded influence for the gifts worth more than $18000, and he noted he reported the mistakes himself, when he realized his financial disclosures were incomplete.
"And I think we either need a system in place that allows reliable tracking in place so voters can see it. That is the point, we're a disclosure state, and I have been a strong supporter of transparency for years. Or we need to cut it off at a certain point, above $500 for instance, something like that."
Cuccinelli said it's a legitimate issue for voters to consider, but he doesn't believe it will be a major factor in November.
Democrats disagree, and their candidate for Governor, Terry McAuliffe, will be in the area on Tuesday, promising his own plans for economic development in Virginia.