Backers of Virginia's candidates for governor traded hard-edged humor Monday,
issuing false April Fools' Day statements at their rival's expense.
Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccineli's campaign struck first, issuing a trumped-up release under the headline: "McAuliffe to open job-rich plant in Virginia."
The Republican spoof claimed that Terry McAuliffe had announced "a major commitment to bringing manufacturing jobs to Virginia" and that GreenTech, his electric car company, would soon open a factory outside of Fredericksburg.
Then, under a headline of "APRIL FOOLS!" the statement noted that McAuliffe "chose to base his electric car company in Mississippi."
The Democratic Party of Virginia responded in kind, issuing a prank release that falsely claimed Cuccinelli had resigned as attorney general, headlined: "Breaking: Cuccinelli resigns office over Star Scientific and transportation conflicts of interest."
The Democratic spoof claimed Cuccinelli said in a statement that "issues like his conflict of interest with drug company Star Scientific and his ideological attacks on the bipartisan transportation compromise are making it impossible for him to do his job impartially."
The Washington Post has reported that Cuccinelli delayed disclosure of his stock holdings in the Henrico-based drug company because he did not know his holdings topped $10,000, the threshold for disclosure under state law.
In 2011, Henrico-based Star Scientific Inc. sued Virginia's Department of Taxation in Mecklenberg Circuit Court over a $700,000 tax dispute with the state.
Democrats have called on Cuccinelli to follow the example of Virginia's most recent attorneys general and resign while campaigning for governor. Cuccinelli says he will serve out his term as attorney general.
The barbs between Cuccinelli and McAuliffe did not begin on April Fools' Day.
On Saturday, Cuccinelli tweaked McAuliffe, hoping to portray the Democrat as an outsider by tweeting congratulations for Syracuse making the Final Four: Congrats to @Terry_McAuliffe for his school making the final 4. Hope my orange & blue team -- UVa -- makes it next year.
McAuliffe was born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y., but he did not attend Syracuse University. He received his undergraduate degree from Catholic University and his law degree from Georgetown. Cuccinelli holds a degree in mechanical engineering from U.Va.
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