The Humble Travel Style of Candidates for Governor in Virginia

November 1, 2013

The next governor of Virginia stoops to conquer, right at the door of a very small plane.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli II must crouch to get inside the four-seater flying machines winging them across the commonwealth in search of votes. There is no room to stand in the cabin — and nothing to get up for anyway. No bathroom. No place to fix a snack. Some of the planes have tattered upholstery and carpeting.

In a state as congested and wide as Virginia — sprawling from the Atlantic to west of Detroit — an airplane can be a candidate’s ticket to the governor’s mansion. But it is by no means a first-class ticket. This is travel that makes flying coach in the era of baggage and pillow fees feel like Concorde-style coddling.

“My pilot was kidding me today, ‘A lot of the pilots wouldn’t even fly that thing,’” said C. Richard Cranwell, a former Democratic state delegate who has let McAuliffe use his Piper Aztec at least four times since spring.

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