Terry McAuliffe, Ken Cuccinelli in first Va. Governor debate

10:42 PM, Jul 21, 2013   |    comments
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HOT SPRINGS, Va. (WUSA9) -- Virginia's Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates agree Governor Bob McDonnell should "consider" resignation.

They stopped short of calling for his resignation over the more than $200,000 in gifts and loans he and his family received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

They made the comments in their first debate, which seemed more like a boxing match without the fists.

The Virginia's Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates sparred over the looming gift scandal, gay marriage, abortion, taxes, spending and jobs in their first debate at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.

"Ok, so you picked Mississippi. Why don't you run for Governor of Mississippi?" taunted Republican Ken Cuccinelli to his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe, who moved his Genentech car company from Martinsville, Virginia to Mississippi.

Cuccinelli also accepted gifts from Williams: trips and an expensive Thanksgiving dinner, reportedly. 

Williams gave more than $200,000 in gifts to Governor Bob McDonnell, who is under both federal and state investigation.

Cuccinelli called the gifts from Star Scientic CEO a "quid pro quo."

"You had a fiduciary responsibility when you took gifts from Jonnie Williams. Instead, he's taking you to Smith Mountain Lake, NY, and giving you Thanksgiving dinners. You were buying his stock and not disclosing any of it," said McAuliffe.

"I made several mistakes. And who brought them forward? I did and asked for an independent review," explained Cuccinelli.

McAuliffe attacked Cuccinelli's social agenda and said letters Cuccinelli wrote to state colleges about sexual orientation caused Northrop Grumman to almost back out of moving its headquarters to Fairfax County. He said the governor had to intervene to save the deal.

And Cuccinelli blasted McAuliffe for deciding to locate his car company in Mississippi instead of Virginia.

"The only candidate who is chasing businesses out of state is you... the day before you walked right over Martinsville and over to Mississippi... you put Terry first. So instead of putting Virginians first, you put Terry first," said Cuccinelli.

But the issue that may overshadow all others in this race...is the gift scandal. The governor's ex chef, who first revealed the gift giving goes, on trial in October... three weeks before the election.

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