We'll see how much the Duggars will help voters forget about Cuccinelli's legal problems:The Duggar family from the TLC series "19 Kids and Counting'' is planning a three-day bus tour starting Monday. The Duggars will make stops in Lynchburg, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg and Woodbridge in support of Cuccinelli, the father of seven.
The tour is sponsored by Family Research Council Action. The executive director of the conservative advocacy group is 25-year-old Josh Duggar, the oldest of the 19 Duggar children. He, his wife and their own three children recently moved to the D.C. area, a transition chronicled on the family's show.
The Duggar family is familiar with the campaign trail: They publicly campaigned for former Sen. Rick Santorum in the 2012 presidential election, and family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar served as an Arkansas state representative from 1999 to 2003. He lost a primary bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002. - NBC 4 Washington, 10/11/13
Plus there's a few other reasons why Cuccinelli is not running on social issues now:Abortion Clinic Regulations
On Wednesday, a Virginia judge ruled that a lawsuit, brought by the Falls Church Healthcare Center over Virginia's strict new abortion clinic regulations, could go forward. The laws (often referred to as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP, laws) require clinics to meet some of the same standards as some hospitals. Though the bill was signed into law by current Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), Cuccinelli was instrumental in its strict implementation.
After the law was enacted on July 1, 2010, the Virginia Board of Health had 280 days to write regulations to meet the law's new standards. But Cuccinelli refused to accept the board's initial draft, passed by a 7-4 vote, taking issue with the fact that they exempted existing clinics from the new regulations. Cuccinelli sent the regulations back to the board, threatening to refuse to represent members of the board from any future lawsuits regarding the regulations, which would place the legal financial burden on the individual board members if they were sued by pro-life groups.
The board then reversed its vote and eliminated provisions for existing abortion clinics in an 13-2 vote, and outgoing board member Jim Edmondson blasted Cuccinelli's handling of the case, saying "One doesn't protect health by curtailing access to care ... But movement from apolitical to political follows the path this Board has had to take. My hope is that a change in the leadership of the Commonwealth will bring moderation to the regulation of this one major aspect of public health and keep women's health clinics open."
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling on Virginia's anti-sodomy law. Cuccinelli's office claimed that its pursuit of the case was about "using current law to protect a 17 year-old girl from a 47 year-old sexual predator," but they failed to mention that as a state legislator, he had opposed efforts in 2004 to reform the state's Crimes Against Nature law to only apply to "public sex, sex with minors, and prostitution."
When when the case was taken up in court, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the law was unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision.
Last week, Virginia's Democratic Party filed a legal complaint against the Virginia state elections board, arguing that Cuccinelli and McDonnell have wrongfully purged as many 50,000 registered voters from state rolls prior in advance of the November gubernatorial election.
Though climate change and the environment have flown a bit under the radar in the gubernatorial campaign, Cuccinelli is also on the defensive on these issues. He has been haunted by an investigation over a climate scientist at the University of Virginia.
Cuccinelli, who has previously been on the record as skeptical of climate change, began investigating the scientist, Michael Mann, in 2010 over whether Mann committed fraud in getting government funds to research climate change. McAullife's campaign has also campaigned against Cuccinelli on this. The campaign released an attack ad titled "Witch Hunt" that says Cuccinelli used taxpayer funds to conduct the investigation. - TPM< 10/11/13
Plus this might be another reason:But more telling was his reference in the next sentence to “the people I represent.” I read two things into that. First, he’s not running on social issues because he knows that the people he represents are a distinct minority in Virginia.
Second, he does not even attempt to represent all Virginians, as one would expect of a governor or gubernatorial candidate. Cuccinelli appears only to be focused on representing a narrow slice of the electorate. - Alexandria Times, 10/10/13
Meanwhile, Terry McAuliffe (D. VA) scored a great endorsement that will be helpful:Ken Cuccinelli is getting crushed on the Virginia airwaves, and it’s probably only going to get worse – a major factor thwarting the Republican’s hopes of a comeback in a governor’s race that’s been slipping away.
The left has spent $7.5 million more on television than the right up to this point, according to sources tracking the air war. The totals are $20.2 million from Democrats and affiliated outside groups to $12.7 million from the Republicans and their allies.
The attorney general is himself a relatively weak fundraiser who never adequately cultivated the major donors he needed in the business community. He’s also running against former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, one of the most prolific fundraisers in modern political history.
A string of polls showing Cuccinelli trailing — including a POLITICO poll conducted over the weekend that had him down by 9 points — has only made it harder to raise cash, while deterring some outside groups from spending as much as they might have in the year’s marquee contest.
The result is that Cuccinelli’s campaign has been making smaller and smaller ad buys over the past three weeks. He spent $1.2 million on broadcast in the final week of September, $716,000 last week and reserved $685,000 for this week. - Politico, 10/10/13
However I'm not sure about this news:Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder (D) endorsed Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race on Thursday.
The endorsement is something of a boon for the McAuliffe campaign as he refused to endorse Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate, four years ago. In an interview with TPM in 2009 Wilder said that if Bob McDonnell (R), now the governor of Virginia, won the race, "Virginia won't sink into the seas." And in May Wilder said that McAuliffe had "to get gravitas" in the race against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
In an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday Wilder said that the federal government shutdown and increased political tensions in Washington has moved him to support McAuliffe.
"The thing that's going on at the national level —we're so close to it— we could show that we are not affected by it and we are going to move forward," Wilder said according to the Post. "We are not going to separate into enclaves— this group, that grow. It's not a matter of pitting on group against the other group." - TPM, 10/10/13
But one has to wonder if the Virginia Governor's race will foreshadow what next year's midterm elections will look like:New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) may throw the weight of his gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns into the Virginia governor's race, according to a report in TIME magazine on Thursday.
The TIME cover story said that Bloomberg is considering whether to "sink more money into the Virginia governor's race this year to support the candidate more in favor of gun control." Democrat Terry McAuliffe has voiced support for strengthening background checks, while his opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), has taken a pro-gun position.
If Mayors Against Illegal Guns does jump into the race, it will join Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun control group run by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Americans for Responsible Solutions has reportedly sought to counter the National Rifle Association's $500,000 ad campaign against McAuliffe over his stances on gun restrictions. McAuliffe supports universal background checks and limiting the size of ammunition magazines. - TPM, 10/10/13
We shall see. The election is Tuesday, November 5th. If you want to donate or get involved with McAuliffe's campaign, you can do so here:Voters simply think Cuccinelli is too rightwing: 43% of voters believe he is too conservative, which is up significantly from when he led in the polls in spring. That compares with only only 35% who believe McAuliffe is too liberal (and that's more or less where it had been earlier in the campaign).
Therein lies the issue for Republicans nationwide, Cuccinelli embodies their present identity in many ways. Both are becoming deeply unpopular for conservative positions, and both are partying with Ted Cruz – even though they probably know that it doesn't look good from the general electorate's point of view.
Meanwhile, McAuliffe looks a lot like Democrats nationally. Both are not well-liked (you could even say, disliked), but they're not seen as extremist – and, crucially, they look great when compared to the other guy.
None is this is to say a McAuliffe win means Democrats in the 2014 midterms are going to break the historical loss trend – as McAuliffe looks as though he's going to do in Virginia. In fact, I don't think Democrats will win seats in the House and will almost certainly lose some in the Senate. It would be a victory of sorts, though, if they can keep any losses to a minimum.
So, Republicans should have a bit of a sinking feeling when looking at Virginia. When presented with the choice between ugly and uglier, Virginians seem to have decided to go with ugly. This may not end up being predictive of next year's midterms, but it should be unsettling, to say the least, to Republicans nationally. - The Guardian, 10/10/13