RICHMOND, Va. – Faced with a choice among Republican Kenneth Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAullife and Libertarian Robert Sarvis in the race for governor, a growing number of Virginia newspapers are encouraging residents to refrain from voting, dissolve their local governments and stock up on food, water and ammunition, or else move out of the commonwealth entirely.
“Though we have a longstanding tradition of backing gubernatorial authority, the electoral process and respectable, civilized behavior, desperate times call for desperate measures,” wrote the editorial board of The Williamsburg Gazette. “Run! Run for your very lives! McAullife is an empty-suit professional fundraiser who clearly moved to Virginia just to establish residency and run for office. Cuccinelli makes Rick Santorum look like Mr. Rogers. Both are still dealing with financial scandals. We’ve never even heard of Sarvis, and that scares us most of all.”
The largest publication to throw up its hands in response to the 2013 ballot is The Richmond Times-Dispatch, which, for the first time in modern history, refused to endorse any candidate. Sarvis “has neither embarrassed himself nor insulted the commonwealth,” which sets him apart, the paper wrote, but “he lacks the experience the job demands.” Clinton family crony McAullife obviously chose a state with a single-term limit in order to use the governor’s desk as a stepping stone to national office, the editorial published this week added.
“On social issues such as abortion and homosexual rights, Cuccinelli not only takes stands we find objectionable but pursues his divisive agenda with a stridency that was unbecoming in an attorney general and would be unbecoming in a governor,” wrote The Times-Dispatch, which traditionally endorses Republicans for governor. “Ammo,” the 150-year-old publication added. “Lots of ammo – buy it.”
In addition to “whoever has the biggest pitchfork,” papers and other news organizations have in recent days endorsed “nomadic tribes,” Cthulhu, Thomas Jefferson’s bones and “Jim, I guess” in the race to be Virginia’s next governor.
Not everyone has completely given up on the democratic process, however. The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, acknowledging all the “disgusted voters” out there, is encouraging a write-in campaign for Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who opted not to run as an independent after losing the Republican nomination when Cuccinelli changed the system from a primary to a convention.
“Neither of the two-major party candidates is palatable,” The Progress said, and they “have waged [the] nastiest, most destructive campaign in memory … The result is an electorate that says, ‘A pox on both their houses.’”
“This is the worst,” said James Pearl, managing editor of The Fredericksburg Star, which on Thursday endorsed “a four-year trip to Carolina” for governor. “Chris Christie is pretty much a lock for re-election in New Jersey, which means Virginia has the only really relevant race this fall, and what do we offer for the national spotlight? A full-on disaster. If our readers choose to stay in the state after November, we urge them to remember that bottled water always runs out; you really need a well or a desalination machine.”