Terry McAuliffe opened, simply: "I have proposed common sense solutions." During his opening remarks, he drew strong distinctions between himself and Cuccinelli, noting his support among Republicans while the party abandons Cuccinelli. McAuliffe called out Cuccinelli's personal attacks during the race, saying, "I expect more of those kinds of attacks tonight." The conflict in the federal government came up at the end of McAuliffe's remarks, as he assured his audience that the state "cannot afford the next four years in Richmond to be like the last four in Washington" and that a government shutdown would be "devastating" to Virginia.
Ken Cuccinelli, during his turn, stressed his own personal dedication to the state, including a "lifetime of fighting for Virginians." He undercut McAuliffe's inexperience in office, highlighting his own extensive government service and "10 years in state government." Cuccinelli promised voters that they will "always know where I stand," blasting McAuliffe's reliance on political connections and favors. Cuccinelli told the audience that his time as governor will return "the dignity of work" to Virginia.