Cuccinelli Campaign Gives Up on Moderates, Comes Home to Tea Party Base

To:          Interested Parties
From:     Lily Adams, Deputy Communications Director
Re:         Cuccinelli Campaign Gives Up on Moderates, Comes Home to Tea Party Base

It’s been a rough week for Ken Cuccinelli. The press, conservative commentators, and even his own campaign have come to the same conclusion: he’s losing. His fundraising numbers continue to lag badly behind Terry McAuliffe and poll after poll shows he is trailing. In the last week, we have seen Ken Cuccinelli, already the head of what Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling called, “not just the most conservative, but the most ideologically-driven ticket that the Republican Party has ever put forth”, move even further to the right. Virginia has a long tradition of winning candidates appealing to the middle in order to bring people together, but the Cuccinelli campaign appears to believe that is no longer a viable option, so they are doubling down on appealing solely to their base.

In a tell-tale sign of a campaign in trouble, last week Ken Cuccinelli shook up his staff and decided to shift his focus to discussing his “service to Virginia.” Democrats are more than happy to help Cuccinelli talk about what his “service to Virginia” has entailed. He pushed for a “personhood” bill that could go as far as banning certain types of birth control and has advocated restricting abortions even in the case of rape and incest, his anti-gay rhetoric “jeopardized” efforts to bring defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and the jobs that come with them, to Virginia, and his anti-science climate change witch hunt cost the University of Virginia $600,000 in legal fees.  Cuccinelli’s singular focus on a far-right social agenda may play well with the Republican base, but there is no evidence from his time in government that he has done anything to help average Virginians get ahead.

This past weekend, Cuccinelli further embraced his controversial running mate E.W. Jackson. Jackson’s offensive comments on gay people, comparing Planned Parenthood to the KKK, and President Obama being a Muslim have made him an embarrassment to a Republican Party trying to restore its severely tarnished brand. But in his ongoing effort to shore up the right-wing of the base, Cuccinelli and Jackson were campaigning together last weekend. Instead of distancing himself from Jackson and his incendiary positions, Cuccinelli proclaimed, “we are running together. We’re running hard.”

And today paints a perfect contrast on the focus of the two candidates. Terry McAuliffe received the endorsement of Will Sessoms, the Republican Mayor of Virginia Beach. They toured an innovative technology facility and discussed bipartisan ways to spur economic growth and job creation in Virginia. Meanwhile, Ken Cuccinelli campaigned with Mark Levin, the nationally syndicated right-wing talk show host.

With fewer than 50 days before Election Day, Terry McAuliffe continues to gain bipartisan support and momentum for his focus on building an economy through bipartisan ideas, innovation, and technology. Ken Cuccinelli has finally given up trying to pretend he is anything other than a right-wing ideologue. So he is hunkering down and focusing all of his energy on the narrow Tea Party base of the Republican Party.