A conservative PAC called Women Speak Out Virginia is offering free bus rides for Virginia women to GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli's debate against Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday night.
The group, affiliated with the anti-abortion advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List, sent an email Monday to women offering rides on two free shuttles, and free "Women for Ken" T-shirts.
"Planned Parenthood is gathering outside the debate, claiming to speak for ALL Virginia women," the email says. "If Planned Parenthood doesn't speak for you, and you are proud to support Ken, we need YOU there! This will be the first televised debate of the campaign, so we need a big presence!" A representative of Women for Ken, part of Women Speak Out Virginia, wasn't immediately available for comment.
A spokesman for McAuliffe's campaign said he was unaware of anyone offering to bus women supporters of the Democratic candidate to the debate.
Contraception and reproductive rights have been a focus of Virginia's gubernatorial race, as new polls show that women voters prefer McAuliffe over Cuccinelli by 24 percentage points. McAuliffe's campaign has called Cuccinelli "extreme" for his opposition to legal abortion and his promise to defund Planned Parenthood.
As state attorney general, Cuccinelli pressured the Board of Health to pass stringent abortion clinic regulations that have caused the busiest clinic in the state to close. Before, as a state senator, Cuccinelli sponsored a fetal personhood bill that would have outlawed abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
A conservative super PAC, Virginia Principles Fund,fired back this week with an ad hitting McAuliffe for supporting abortion rights, claiming the Democrat "supports abortion on demand at any time for any reason."
As the candidates face off in Wednesday night's debate, Cuccinelli will at least have some "Women for Ken" in the crowd.
CORRECTION: This article previously stated that Cuccinelli's campaign released an ad about McAuliffe's support for abortion rights. The ad was paid for by the Virginia Principles Fund.