Obama Stumps to Make Va. Gov's Race a Tea Party Referendum

"I have five daughters. I want them to have every opportunity that everyone else has," Cuccinelli said "They have been lying about a lot of my record they have been lying in contraception ads that have been 100 percent lies, that they know are lies.

"They've done other things to try to scare women in this race," he added.

Virginia was traditionally seen as a red state until presidential wins by Obama in 2008 and 2012 cast it into battleground territory. Now, high polling numbers for McAuliffe affirm the Old Dominion's rapidly changing demographics, particularly as its northern reaches become younger and more urban.

A Democratic win would also confirm local and national dissatisfaction with the tea party, which counts the social and fiscal conservative Cuccinelli among its champions. Sarvis' numbers, meanwhile, highlight the ongoing divisions within the Republican Party.

Despite the added scrutiny and publicity from both sides, however, the decision on who will fill the governor's mansion next year will ultimately be made by a distinct minority of people living in the commonwealth. Virginia's Board of Elections expects only 30 percent of registered voters to show up to cast their ballots.

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