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Terry McAuliffe kicks off campaign

Published On: May 06 2013 08:48:42 PM CDT

Six months after Democrat Terry McAuliffe entered Virginia's gubernatorial race, he's barnstorming statewide with Democratic luminaries in an "official" campaign launch.

He also announced a fundraiser a month away with First Lady Michelle Obama.

McAuliffe began his five-day blitz Sunday in Norfolk and continued it Monday morning with Sen. Tim Kaine at a Richmond biotechnology research center.

He also campaigned Monday in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, pledging to put job-training and job-development efforts forefront if elected. He made no mention of an electric-car company he established last year in northern Mississippi.

Tuesday takes him to Roanoke and Danville, he's in Bristol Wednesday, and Arlington on Thursday.

His fundraiser with the first lady is set for June 6 in Tysons Corner.

McAuliffe began his tour Sunday in Norfolk, looking to rouse Democrats and allied independents who turned out for Kaine and President Barack Obama in November. That morning, a new Washington Post poll showed him trailing Republican rival Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli 46 percent to 41 percent.

"Please do not sit home and don't think that last year mattered more than this year," McAuliffe said.

He recalled working a suburban Richmond polling place last fall for Obama and Kaine, and people who kept their spots in long lines after the 7 p.m. cutoff on a chilly night to cast Democratic ballots.

"Folks, we need that intensity again this year," he said.

His statewide campaign swing and Cuccinelli's first policy news conference on job creation and taxation scheduled for Tuesday at a Richmond yogurt shop come as both candidates seek to shift the focus from unflattering issues.

McAuliffe has been dogged by questions about his tenure with GreenTech Automotive, while Cuccinelli has struggled to explain his links to a nutritional supplements manufacturer that's the subject of a federal securities probe.