A national figure in the Republican Party comes to Culpeper on the eve of the election to stump for the GOP pick for Virginia governor, generating mixed reactions locally.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, appears Monday in Yowell Meadow Park at 1 p.m. with gubernatorial candidate and attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, and the rest of the Republican ticket.
Local GOP officials were excited about the event attracting Rubio, a potential presidential hopeful in 2016.
"I had the chance to hear Senator Rubio speak a year or so ago in Richmond, and he's a dynamic speaker," said Del. Ed Scott, R-Madison, up for reelection on Tuesday. "I think he is one of the leading conservative leaders in the country right now and I think he will do a great job of reminding Republican voters of the importance of this election."
Culpeper County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Traci Dippert, running against Scott for the 30th District seat, was not so impressed with news of Rubio's appearance.
"I do not believe the people of Culpeper are swayed by Tea Party candidates whether they are national, state or local politicians," she said. "No one likes extremes and the polls will show this on Tuesday."
A Washington Post poll last week gave a double digit lead to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, but a local GOP leader said Friday the race is a dead-heat.
" All the polls I've seen the last couple days are even-steven, within the margin of error," said Al Aiken, chairman of the Culpeper County Republican Party. "It's very, very close."
He was appreciative that Rubio was supporting the party ticket for governor in Virginia and visiting Culpeper.
" I think it's going to be a wonderful event," Aiken said. "We expect quite a big crowd."
He said Cuccinelli is the better candidate for governor because, "He believes in the U.S. Constitution and McAuliffe does not — that's a good starter."
Prior to his appearance Monday in Culpeper, Senator Rubio will appear at a rally in Warrenton at 11:30 a.m. at the Stoneridge Events Center.
Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas, appears with Cuccinelli Monday at 8:30 p.m. for a rally at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
The Democrats are bringing out the big guns, too.
Sunday in Arlington, President Barack Obama campaigns for McAuliffe while Vice President Joe Biden stumps for him Monday in Annandale.
Senator Rubio, a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act like Cuccinelli, praised the gubernatorial candidate's crusade against the law in the courts at a fund-raiser last month in Richmond, according to politico. Rubio told the crowd of Cuccinelli supporters that the outcome of Tuesday's governor's race in Virginia would send an important message to the rest of the country.
"This is a precursor for what's going to happen in 2014 and what's going to happen after that in 2016," the Florida senator said, according to politico. "We can't wait until 2016 to start the work. We've got to start now. We've got to start in Virginia."