Why Ken Cuccinelli will be Virginia’s next governor

February 15, 2013
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It is better to be lucky than good. He’s lucky and good:

The Washington Post keeps waiting for the time when Cuccinelli will be sunk. It never comes. “He doubts the science of global warming,” wrote the paper in a 2009 editorial, endorsing his opponent in the attorney general race. “He peddles outmoded, half-baked and prejudicial theories about homosexuals.” He won by 15 points. He spooked any possible Republican rival out of this year’s gubernatorial race—they remembered 2009, when Gadsen-flag-waving Cuccinelli fans took over the state party convention—and in the most recent poll, he’s winning.

Cuccinelli’s secret is simple: He runs when things are good for Republicans. Virginia holds state elections in odd-numbered years, so their A-team—Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Cuccinelli—haven’t ever fought the tide of Obama turnout. In 2009, Virginia’s electorate was 78 percent white and 40 percent “conservative”; in 2012, those numbers fell to 70 percent and 31 percent. His Democratic foe this year will be Terry McAuliffe, who has all the populist appeal of a long-lost Romney brother.

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