Ken Cuccinelli is accustomed to winning political races against the odds. Now the conservative Virginia attorney general faces what might be his longest odds yet in his bid for his state’s governorship in the election eight days from now. But wise conservatives won’t count him out just yet.
First, the bad news: Both of the two most recent two polls on Cuccinelli’s campaign against Terry McAuliffe, an infamous political fixer during the Clinton presidency, show Cuccinelli trailing by seven points, and an outlying poll on October 20 had him down 17. It is a campaign where all the luck has seemed to go against the Republican attorney general: a scandal enveloping current Republican governor Bob McDonnell; a GOP nominee for lieutenant governor who has done more to hurt than help his party’s brand; and the horribly mismanaged federal-government shutdown that left Republicans politically battered nationwide and that particularly angered the hordes of federal workers who live in northern Virginia.
The worse news is that while McAuliffe proved yet again to be a prodigiously talented fundraiser, Cuccinelli has been hampered by the bizarre reluctance of conservatives and Republicans to fully fund the only highly competitive race of the year, anywhere in the country, that featured a clear-cut choice between Left and Right. All year long it has seemed that right-leaning groups have been more interested in funding internecine warfare than in actually winning general elections. McAuliffe’s $26.3 million raised through September dwarfed Cuccinelli’s total of $16.8 million raised during the same period.
When combined with the predictable efforts of the Washington Post and other media to paint a caricature of Cuccinelli as antediluvian on issues relating to women, McAuliffe’s own onslaught of negative campaigning has effectively marginalized the AG in the consciousness of much of the voting public.
So why, then, should anybody still give Cuccinelli a chance?