National Republicans agree on this much about the 2013 campaign in Virginia: It wasn’t supposed to go like this.
Well before the last votes are cast in the state’s off-year governor’s race, GOP leaders are already engaged in a spirited debate over why, exactly, a fight against a Democrat as flawed as Terry McAuliffe has turned into such a painful slog of a campaign. Even Republicans who haven’t yet counted out their nominee, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, view the governor’s race as a profile in frustration for the GOP – an election that should have leaned toward the Republicans, but where Democrats have held a persistent lead in polling, money and tactical prowess.
The GOP’s internal discussion about the race mirrors much of the broader national tug of war within the conservative coalition, between officials and strategists who want the party to trim back some of its most confrontational tactics and hard-edged rhetoric, and activists bent on drawing the starkest possible lines of contrast with the Democratic party of President Barack Obama.
What a contrast! When I was coming of age I don’t think people even said the word ‘abortion’ out loud. The procedure wasn’t legal and only girls “who got themselves in trouble” had them. In case you don’t believe me, watch Dirty Dancing for the refresher course.
Of course, back in those days you had to be married to get the pill. Things loosened up and you could get parental permission if you were under 21. Is it any wonder that the vintage women were the trail-blazers? Many of us simply rejected the paternalism of the medical profession and of course the state houses and have spent most of our adult lives keeping abortion safe and legal.
Abortion wasn’t the only issue. The vintage women (and men) also fought for safe reliable contraception and access to that contraception. Our issues remain, but it’s time to pass the baton to the younger set. Too many younger women took a great deal for granted. They never knew the old days, when girls got sent away to their aunt’s house to bear that shameful child out of wedlock. We were always told they were spending a year in Europe or helping out an aunt with her children because she was going back to work or some other lie.
The younger generation never knew the days when contraception was unattainable or when abortion was illegal. I think they have gotten a wake up call. Throughout the United States thousands of anti choice bills have been drafted and hundreds have made it to the governors’ mansions for a signature and have become law.
Here in Virginia, we have seen some of the most virulent anti choice legislation ever. Who has been leading the charge? Ken Cuccinelli. The Cooch Watch folks will not let him forget it either. Young women and men simply don’t have the filters that the vintage women had/have. We all but handled things like this with white gloves. Not the Cooch Watch women. They tell it like it is. While it isn’t MY way, more power to them!
Throughout Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, has cast Cuccinelli as a tea party extremist, incapable of forging the centrist consensus necessary to manage the commonwealth. The portrait has stuck, according to recent polls; McAuliffe appears to be ahead in the race — and Cuccinelli’s conservatism is a leading reason.
For years, he articulated that conservatism in the Cuccinelli Compass, honing a combative political persona and providing opponents with material that has now driven up his negative poll ratings and lifted McAuliffe. At the same time, Cuccinelli has accused Democrats of turning him into a caricature, seeking to scare off voters by distorting and lying about his record as a state senator and Virginia’s attorney general.
The Cuccinelli Compass is where Cuccinelli presented himself as an unbridled firebrand, venting about the “left-leaning media,” “gun-grabbing liberals” and “liberals wigging out” over, say, his proposal to allow employers to fire workers for speaking inadequate English.
Cuccinelli (R), the state attorney general, trails businessman Terry McAuliffe (D) by 12 percentage points among likely voters, the survey shows. And Cuccinelli’s decline comes as Virginians are increasingly turned off by the movement that has backed him strongly and with which he shares many views.
The tea party is opposed by 53 percent of registered voters in the commonwealth, up a slim three points from last year and up 10 points from a May 2011 Washington Post poll. Just 36 percent support the movement, down from 45 percent two years ago. Among those with the most intense feelings, voters who strongly oppose the tea party now outnumber those who strongly support it by more than 3 to 1.
Independents have soured most dramatically on the tea party: Fifty-five percent oppose the movement, up from 37 percent in May 2011. It’s also opposed by 80 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has opened a double-digit lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli II in the race for Virginia governor, in a new poll capturing increasing dissatisfaction among voters with Cuccinelli’s party and his conservative views.
According to a new Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll, McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli 51 percent to 39 percent among likely voters in the Nov. 5 election. McAuliffe led by eight percentage points in a poll taken last month. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who has capitalized on voter unrest with the two major-party candidates, is at 8 percent, according to the new poll.
The margin between the two major-party candidates is driven by a huge gender gap. Among men, the two candidates are running even, with Cuccinelli at 45 percent and McAuliffe at 44 percent. But among women, Cuccinelli trails by 24 points — 58 percent to 34 percent.
Bob Lewis, the Associated Press political reporter who last week published an erroneous report about Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, has been temporarily suspended, POLITICO has learned.
Lewis, a highly respected veteran on the Richmond political scene, will no longer cover the race between McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli, and may be suspended through the election. His last story on the race was published Oct. 14.
Lewis did not respond to a request for comment regarding the suspension. The Associated Press declined to comment on personnel matters.
On Oct. 9, Lewis published an exclusive report for the AP alleging that McAuliffe had lied to a federal official investigating a death benefits scam, seemingly upending one of this year’s most contentious political races. The Associated Press retracted the story one hour and thirty-eight minutes later, on the grounds that the initials referenced in the indictment did not identify McAuliffe. Lewis immediately took responsibility.
There are some interesting facts in this video. The most dangerous thing to either candidate is that each man’s respective base grow complacent and stay home.
With less than a month until the election, the heat is on for the heart and soul of the Old Dominion. I never like calling an election. I feel it jinxes things up. However, it might be a subtle reminder to those who want to play a little ‘war on women’ that there can be deadly electoral paybacks.
What the women don’t take care of, the shutdown will. Unfortunately for Cuccinelli, the antics of his party have bled over into his campaign. That actually seems a little unfair. The banana republicans should have thought of that before trying to ignore rule of law. Their attempt to play hardball to get their own way definitely has had unintended consequences. The Cooch just might be one of those consequences.
A recent Washington Post story explored Cuccinelli’s relationship with the fathers’ rights movement, which seeks to influence state and federal laws to give men a better position in divorce and custody cases. Many fathers’ rights groups have pushed to end or reform no-fault divorce laws, and Cuccinelli did the same during his time in the state Senate.
“2008. Ken Cuccinelli writes a bill to give Virginia among the most extreme divorce laws in America,” says the announcer in McAuliffe’s (D) new ad. “If Cuccinelli had it his way, a mom trying to get out of a bad marriage, over her husband’s objections, could only get divorced if she could prove adultery or physical abuse or her spouse had abandoned her or was sentenced to jail. Why is Ken Cuccinelli interfering in our private lives? He’s focused on his own agenda. Not us.”
Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said her boss was proud of his record.
Fellow lawyers viewed the appearance at the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in January 2010 as unusual because attorneys general almost never handle private cases. At the time, Cuccinelli’s deputy told The Washington Post that the case involved “some sensitive issues and some child witnesses, and the client wanted some sensitivity, and he wanted Ken Cuccinelli, so he finished out that matter.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe holds a 6-percentage-point edge over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the first Quinnipiac University poll of the campaign among voters likely to cast ballots in the November election.
McAuliffe holds a lead of 48 percent to 42 percent in the survey released this morning, while the down ticket candidates are still unknown to a majority of Virginians.
McAuliffe is viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 33 percent, but 31 percent of voters had not heard enough about him to give an opinion.
Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, is viewed favorably by 35 percent of voters and unfavorably by 41 percent while only 22 percent hadn’t heard enough to form an opinion, according to the poll.