Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli speaking at CPAC 2012. (Source: Gage Skidmore under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license)
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican's candidate for governor in the state this year, has done much to galvanize Virginia Democrats by just doing what he does, though it may not be enough to deter independents from voting for him in the fall. He is a heavy believer in states' rights to the point of using the 10th Amendment to claim that Obamacare is illegal. Cuccinelli is a climate change/global warming denier, to the point of attempting to indict and convict a leading researcher on the subject on fraud charges (this sounds familiar). He thought President Obama stole the 2012 election because of the lack of voter ID laws. He wants guns allowed in restaurants, possibly for Godfather reenactments. Cuccinelli has also been a poster child for social conservatives, seeking to uphold the state's anti-sodomy law, which includes bans on oral sex, out of "principle."
Attorney General Cuccinelli continued his penchant for the crass aspects of social conservatism during the first gubernatorial debate in Virginia between himself and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe last night in the town of Hot Springs last night, this time on matters of gay rights. In the past, Cuccinelli attempted to strike "sexual orientation" from University of Virginia antidiscrimination policies, and has been a heavy supporter of a Federal Marriage Amendment which would legally define marriage nationwide as one man, one woman. He also believes that there exists a "homosexual agenda," and that gays are "soulless" and "self-destructive." When called to discuss this set of beliefs at the debate following attacks by McAuliffe that his beliefs have hurt state businesses, Cuccinelli said that his beliefs on "the personal challenge of homosexuality" have not changed, but he would "create an environment" economically that benefits all Virginians.
Of course, this streak of homophobia may not deter Virginia voters. Only in the past decade has Virginia, a previously conservative state, been turning more moderate, due to an influx of federal government workers living in the northern part of the state, close to the border of the nation's capital. The state Democrats' voter base is primarily in this area. Given the "battleground state" status Virginia has received in recent years, the governor has an advantage in swaying voters in presidential elections, thus making this election important for both parties at the national level. Virginia's off-year gubernatorial election may make it difficult for Democrats to get voters to the polls. Ken Cuccinelli faces off against an opponent, Terry McAuliffe, whose only significant claim to fame in politics is being an advisor to President Bill Clinton and leading the Democrats at the national level without any direct political experience. McAuliffe, while he holds a significant war chest in campaign funds, is rather weak as a candidate. Polls currently have him leading Cuccinelli, but his leads are within the margin of error, making it too close to call. With the election four months away, Ken Cuccinelli could still very much take this election, even if he runs off his mouth.