RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli has challenged his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, to 15 debates.
Cuccinelli made the challenge Thursday as both candidates spoke at a luncheon put on by the Virginia Public Access Project, or VPAP.
Cuccinelli spoke first and while neither candidate outright attacked his rival on stage, the Republican urged McAuliffe to release all his taxes for the past eight years.
"It's no fun," said Cuccinelli. "But I did it because it shows voters how we would serve."
McAuliffe's speech centered on luring businesses and 21st century jobs to Virginia by having the best-educated workforce in the country.
"I don't consider education an expense," said McAuliffe. "I consider it an investment."
After the event while talking to reporters, McAuliffe called Cuccinelli's debate challenge a gimmick. "We agreed to five debates weeks ago."
McAuliffe has released tax summaries for the past three years, which his aides call the customary practice in Virginia politics.
"I have been transparent," McAuliffe told a gaggle of reporters. He also added that Cuccinelli failed to report $18,000 in gifts from a company called Star Scientific. Cuccinelli has said it was an honest mistake and that as soon as he realized it, he reported it himself.
Meanwhile, the Cuccinelli campaign on Thursday released a satirical poll showing the Republican leading the race by 12 points according to the "newly formed polling firm Republican Republican Republican (RRR)."
Campaign Strategist Chris LaCivita is quoted as saying the survey has a margin of error of +/- 0.00 percent.
This was in response to a recent poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) which showed McAuliffe leading by 5 points.