By Margaret Chadbourn
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton will campaign this month for his longtime friend, Terry McAuliffe, who is running for governor of Virginia.
McAuliffe's campaign on Sunday said Clinton will join the Democratic gubernatorial candidate on October 27 for a three-day tour around Virginia. Recent polls have given McAuliffe a lead over his Republican challenger, Ken Cuccinelli, going into the November 5 election.
"President Clinton will discuss the importance of voting in the 2013 gubernatorial election and the clear choice facing Virginia voters between Terry McAuliffe's mainstream plan to create jobs and invest in education and Ken Cuccinelli's extreme ideological agenda," the McAuliffe campaign said in a statement.
On Saturday, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State and a potential 2016 president candidate, endorsed McAuliffe at a campaign event in Virginia.
McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, is a close ally of the Clintons and was the co-chairman of Bill Clinton's 1996 presidential re-election campaign and Hillary Clinton's failed 2008 presidential campaign.
A spokeswoman for Cuccinelli's campaign responded by saying that McAuliffe needed Clinton "to speak for him" because, she said, his campaign has focused on attacks and he "has been unable to present a positive case for Virginia's future."
Separately, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the main paper in the state's capitol, said on Sunday it would endorse neither McAuliffe nor Cuccinelli.
"The major-party candidates have earned the citizenry's derision," the newspaper, which has typically backed Republican candidates in recent years, said in an editorial with harsh criticisms of both men.
It said a third candidate, Libertarian Robert Sarvis, lacks the experience the job demands.
(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Stacey Joyce and Eric Walsh)