The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Cuccinelli Campaign
1:58 PM, Oct 28, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Or could it be that Cuccinelli, who has never lost an election, just hasn't run a very good campaign and hasn't been a very good candidate? The Republican attorney general struggles to find a simple, coherent message for his candidacy, as outlined in this week's issue:
Cuccinelli, like the current Republican governor Bob McDonnell did in 2009, is running on "jobs" and economic issues, but the unemployment rate in Virginia is 5.8 percent, below the national average and closer to what economists consider "full employment."
While Cuccinelli's tried to make the race about jobs, McAuliffe's made it about Cuccinelli--and the Republican has been all but silent at the onslaught. Ad after ad from the McAuliffe campaign has called Cuccinelli too extreme for Virginia, and Virginians have come to agree. (Cuccinelli's unfavorability rating in the most recent Quinnipiac poll is 52 percent, worse than McAuliffe's). There's much truth to Gallagher's point that by choosing not to engage on social issues, Cuccinelli has let the Democrats define what's extreme.
Speaking of McDonnell, the current governor's ethics problems have muddled Cuccinelli's chief line of attack against McAuliffe: that the Clinton-connected former DNC chairman is a wheeling-and-dealing hack for whom government is way to repay your friends. It wasn't just that McDonnell took gifts from a business executive. It was that Cuccinelli had received gifts (of lesser value) from the same executive, and took longer to admit the ethical conflict and send a check to a charity for the values of the gifts.
It's worth noting that in an NBC poll last month, McDonnell's job approval rating was 51 percent, 20 points higher than Cuccinelli's favorability rating among Virginians at 31 percent.
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