Politics & Policy

A McAwful Turn for Virginia

If you lose the spending war on the airwaves, you’re likely to lose on Election Day.

As Virginia’s gubernatorial race enters its final stretch, Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign has been re-running an ad from earlier in the year.

The ad, “Too Important,” is designed to promote McAuliffe as a bipartisan dealmaker, but it also features outgoing governor Bob McDonnell quite a bit, as one of the heroes of the story, bedeviled by Cuccinelli and “tea-party Republicans” until McAuliffe arrives to save the day:

To a Republican, these are asinine, nonsensical accusations. Cuccinelli said he “wasn’t touching contraception as governor” and pledged that “if a personhood bill did reach his desk, he would delete anything that might affect contraception.”

The down-ticket races will provide intriguing evidence of how much of Cuccinelli’s weakness among women is a reflection of his being the subject of a widespread, sustained negative ad campaign and of how much the problem is one for Republicans as a whole. The GOP’s six-way race for lieutenant governor yielded E. W. Jackson, a pro-life African-American Baptist minister who is one part Alan Keyes, one part Mark Levin. He compared Planned Parenthood to the KKK and on Twitter called Obama “anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, pro-Islam, anti-capitalist.” Yet a recent poll had him losing women 35 to 46 percent, not far behind Cuccinelli numbers, 37 to 51 percent.

Similarly, the statewide attorney-general’s race between Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring has gotten barely a fraction of the coverage the Cuccinelli–McAuliffe race has. The most recent poll on the attorney-general’s race puts Obenshain within the margin of error, trailing 42 percent to 45 percent (and actually leading among registered voters). Female likely voters are split evenly between the two candidates at 45 percent each.

In short, when a Republican runs for statewide office in Virginia and isn’t carpet-bombed on the airwaves as the return of the Spanish Inquisition, he does fine. Unfortunately for Cuccinelli, some significant segment of Virginia women find it plausible that he would attempt to ban divorce or contraception.

— Jim Geraghty writes the Campaign Spot on NRO.



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