Monday, September 16, 2013

Why Ken Cuccinelli is Losing the Virginia Governor's Race

I continue to hope that Democrats do not get cocky and/or indifferent and fail to get out and vote on election day.  It is VITAL that the GOP slate of Cuccinelli, Jackson and Obenshain lose, but that they lose disastrously.  Over and over again we hear whiners in the GOP claim that the GOP loses because it fails to nominate sufficiently conservative candidates.  In this year's Virginia GOP slate ALL of the nominees are far to the right of Attila the Hun, so if they go down in flames, that tired platitude will go down with them and hopefully send a message to the GOP nationwide.  Politico looks at what one can only hope is Ken Cuccinelli's rapidly collapsing campaign.  Here are excerpts:

Republicans can’t believe this is happening: Democrat Terry McAuliffe — whose controversial business dealings and past life as a party moneyman make him a walking negative ad — has taken command of the Virginia governor’s race.

More than a dozen interviews last week with longtime Republican insiders around the Commonwealth yielded near-unanimous consensus that their candidate, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, lost significant ground over the summer and would lose if the election were held today.

The only real point of disagreement is how wide a margin it would be.  “It’s going to be a bath,” one prominent state Republican who wants Cuccinelli to win went so far as to say. Like several others, the person sought anonymity to speak candidly about the state of the race.

But a contest that looked winnable for Cuccinelli for much of the year has broken against him. Here’s a look at how it happened.

1. The gifts scandal

Gov. Bob McDonnell was expected to be a big asset for Cuccinelli. Instead, the Star Scientific scandal has turned the incumbent into a major liability.

The constant drip-drip of revelations by The Washington Post — of gifts and loans totaling more than $124,000 from the dietary supplement maker’s CEO, Jonnie Williams, to the governor and his family — was bad enough for Cuccinelli. But the candidate couldn’t easily distance himself from the scandal because he, too, accepted some $18,000 worth of gifts from Williams — and failed to disclose a chunk of them, as required by law.

2. A divided GOP

A significant number of Republicans remain on the sidelines in the race. A nonpartisan poll released last week by Purple Strategies, which had Cuccinelli trailing by 5 percentage points overall, found that only 77 percent of self-identifying Republicans currently support him.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who dropped out of the race for governor after the state GOP changed its nominating procedure to ensure Cuccinelli would win, said Friday he still isn’t comfortable endorsing Cuccinelli.

“Clearly, this is not just the most conservative, but the most ideologically-driven ticket that the Republican Party has ever put forth,” Bolling said in an interview. “There are a lot of Republicans, like me, very concerned about the direction of the party. We believe for the Republican Party to be a viable party in Virginia, we’ve got be a more mainstream party and communicate a more mainstream message.”
3. Northern Virginia has been neglected

Several Republicans complained that Cuccinelli has not spent nearly as much time campaigning in Northern Virginia as McDonnell did four years ago. A review of all his public events during the month of August shows only a handful of publicly announced appearances in the D.C. suburbs. He made far more stops in places that should be reliably red.

Cuccinelli‘s controversial views on abortion, gay marriage, skepticism of global warming and advocacy for the rights of fathers don’t play well in Northern Virginia, especially with women. He has tried not to emphasize those issues but also not backed away from his stances.  Operatives say that Cuccinelli has never created an identity beyond being a rock-ribbed social conservative.

4. Teflon Terry
“They’ve sold him as a businessman rather than a political fundraiser or a Clinton stooge,” said Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia political scientist, who switched the race to “Lean Democratic” before Labor Day.
5. The left is outspending the right

Democrats have significantly outspent Republicans on television so far, which has helped drive up Cuccinelli’s negatives, and that disparity is expected to continue for the duration of the race.
Through the end of June, Cuccinelli raised $7.7 million for the race and McAuliffe raised $12.7 million. The next fundraising report is due Monday.

Cuccinelli is beloved by the tea party, but he does not have an extensive donor network and has never built the deep relationships that McDonnell cultivated with many in the Richmond business community.

“The fundraising operation is sound, but they don’t have the brand and it’s too late to build it at this point,” said a Virginia Republican.

Again, it is CRUCIAL that gays, women, minorities and those who do not want a Christofascist inquisition state government turn out in mass and vote on election day.  Cucinelli, et al, need to lose by a landslide.s

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