WASHINGTON (CNN) — The right-leaning Richmond Times-Dispatch decided to endorse no candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race, a little more than two weeks before Election Day.
“The major-party candidates have earned the citizenry’s derision,” the editorial board wrote. “The third-party alternative has run a more exemplary race yet does not qualify as a suitable option. We cannot in good conscience endorse a candidate for governor.”
The biggest blow goes to Republican nominee and state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who’s been behind in the polls and needed a boost as the race winds down to an end on November 5.
Two other major newspapers in the region, The Washington Post and the Virginian-Pilot, both backed Cuccinelli’s opponent, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe.
The Times-Dispatch blasted Cuccinelli for ‘rigging’ the nominating process by having “his minions” switch the system from a primary to a convention, where conservative activists nominated the attorney general.
As for McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman “received the Democratic nomination by default,” as being the best candidate on a “weak bench.”
The editorial board wrote that if Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling had remained in the race, they would have endorsed him. Bolling dropped out in November, after state GOP officials made the transition from a primary to a convention, which favored the more conservative Cuccinelli. Bolling later considered running as a third party candidate, but decided against it.
The paper praised Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis for not embarrassing himself or insulting the commonwealth, but added “he lacks the experience the job demands.”
“Still, a vote for him would not be wasted but would serve notice to Republicans and Democrats that the electorate rejects their surly antics,” the board wrote. “Citizens whose votes reflect their ideals do not throw away their ballots.”
McAuliffe has an advantage over Cuccinelli, according to a recent NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll that showed 46% of Virginia’s likely voters support the Democrat, while 38% back the Republican and 9% support Sarvis.
The editorial further elaborated on why it stands against Cuccinelli and McAuliffe, and ultimately concluded that if the board wouldn’t urge a family member to vote for any of the candidates, then it couldn’t do the same to the paper’s readers.
“In the past, The Times-Dispatch has endorsed candidates with varying degrees of enthusiasm,” the editorial stated. “We find it impossible to endorse any of the 2013 candidates with even minimal zeal.”
The winner of the election will succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.
CNN’s Steve Brusk contributed to this report.
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.