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ABC: Anybody But Cuccinelli
ABC: Anybody But Cuccinelli, by Richard Amrhine.

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Date published: 5/19/2013

I PREDICT that by the time you read this, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will have been anointed the Virginia GOP's nominee for governor. Too easy, I know. Predicting the nominee for lieutenant governor is the real challenge, of course, and I don't even know if there's a front-runner among that motley crew.

But now that Cuccinelli officially heads the Republican ticket, we can go ahead and consider the implications of a race pitting him against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. These guys are polar opposites politically, McAuliffe having been chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Cuccinelli a tea party sweetheart. It promises to be an incredibly nasty, partisan campaign in an incredibly nasty, partisan era.

Recent polls generally favor Cuccinelli, but most telling is that the vast majority of Virginia voters haven't started paying attention yet, much less decided how they'll vote or even how they lean. I get the feeling they are actively procrastinating because they're wary of the choices before them.

The New York Times recently spoke with Roanoke College political scientist Harry L. Wilson, who notes that Virginians elect the candidate they find most likeable, but that this year may be different:

"This may be the first time we don't like our governor the day after the election," he said. Now there's a non-endorsement if I've every heard one.

So, although both candidates have their work cut out for them, the voters really need only remember their ABCs: Anybody But Cuccinelli.


Cuccinelli's rise to GOP gubernatorial candidate sums up everything that is wrong with Republican politics, not just nationally, but clearly right here, right now, in Virginia.

If the Virginia GOP had wanted to set the precedent of backing the candidate who might have bridged the partisan gap, it would have gone the primary route and backed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for governor. But it didn't.

There's something about today's Republican conservatives in that they love to shut themselves off in a mirrored room, see nothing of world except themselves, and decide that they've got it all figured out.

The result in Virginia is that an ideological few have boarded a right-wing gridlock bandwagon.

No wonder Cuccinelli has emerged as their crown prince. He fits the mold: self-righteous and confrontational.

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Richard Amrhine is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.