Two prominent northern Virginia business leaders got into a heated exchange with Virginia Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli in front of a few hundred top GOP donors at a closed-door meeting Friday, multiple sources told POLITICO.What did they berate Cuccinelli over? Exactly what you'd expect:
Bobbie Kilberg, a longtime Republican donor and CEO of Northern Virginia Technology Council, and Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Arlington-based Consumer Electronics Association, stood up separately to confront Cuccinelli about what is on the minds of many Virginia and national Republicans: whether the Tea Party-backed attorney general can, or wants to, run a pragmatic campaign in the increasingly moderate Old Dominion.The best part is that it sounds like Cuccinelli has no intention of backing down or softening his approach:
Cuccinelli fiercely defended himself, noting his accomplishments and election as a state senator from Fairfax County and as attorney general in 2009.This wasn't the only instance of Cuccinelli damaging himself with the GOP establishment over the weekend. A massive bill that overhauled Virginia's transportation funding cleared the legislature on Saturday, but not before Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion sua sponte that declared the legislation unconstitutional.
"He was angry and hostile," said an attendee. Another Republican in the room said Cuccinelli "handled it ok" and pointed out that the attorney general also got some more favorable questions during the session.
The reforms were spearheaded by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and passed—on the last day of the legislative session—only on the strength of Democratic votes (the GOP "broke the Hastert Rule" in getting the bill through the Senate and nearly did so in the House), so Cuccinelli was obviously doing his best to derail a delicate arrangement. McDonnell refused to criticize the Kooch ("It's a diverse party," he said—hilarious), but surely he must have been pissed.
So I gotta ask: Aside from having the good fortune to run for attorney general in 2009, does Ken Cuccinelli have any genuine political skills? Or does he just want to be the Mitt Romney of the Old Dominion?