ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) When Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and former 5th District Congressman Tom Perriello met onstage at Virginia Western Community College Thursday night, they were dueling in the second of five debates.
As their campaigns close in on the June 13 primary, they are also turning to television advertisements.
Northam was the first to make a major ad buy on broadcast TV stations in the state, airing a biographical spot. Perriello isn't too far behind, with an issue ad that criticizes Republican leaders in Washington, while crushing an ambulance in the background.
Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 political analyst Bob Denton says he expects a hundred yard dash in the final few weeks of the campaign. And not just among the Democrats
Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart and Frank Wagner already have videos online, and broadcast ads should be coming soon.
"Right now, it's softening bio ads," Denton said Thursday night. "Then you're going to see issue and contrast ads. and then before it's all over we will see outside money coming in and that's where the negative and the hard-hitting ads will come."
And what we're seeing in the primary campaign is just a preview of coming attractions. Denton says the general election campaign could be the most expensive in Virginia history.