Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is a longtime conservative culture warrior, but according to one Virginia-based Tea Party leader, the reason that he is trailing in the polls behind his Democratic rival is because his hard-right record simply isn’t conservative enough.
Larry Nordvig, Executive Director of the Richmond Tea Party, told Breitbart News last month that “conservatives are highly concerned about Obamacare, immigration, and moral decline, and are looking for reassurance and leadership in those areas. Attorney General Cuccinelli has not taken a hard stand on those issues. The net effect is that he’s not exciting his base, which dampens campaign volunteer activism.”
But for Nordvig when he spoke with Breitbart in September, “re-engaging his base” was “even more critical for Attorney General Cuccinelli.”
“Cuccinelli is not going to win the money race,” Nordvig said. “That means he will stand, or fall, based on grassroots support. He has got to start reassuring conservatives that he will fight for their deepest-held beliefs. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to court the Tea Party a little more,” Nordvig added. “We’re the major component of the grassroots support he needs to win.”
We’ve seen this pattern before, where conservative activists are so utterly convinced that the majority of Americans support their political endeavors that the only way they can explain electoral defeats or bad polling numbers is to blame it on Republican candidates who they say were too liberal and failed to energize conservatives to turn out and vote.
That’s why we see Nordvig making the patently absurd claim that Cuccinelli “has not taken a hard stand” on topics such as Obamacare, immigration and social issues.
Cuccinelli was the first state attorney general to file a lawsuit challenging Obamacare — even winning a case on the district court level against the individual mandate before the Supreme Court ultimately upheld the mandate as constitutional — and has called for civil disobedience against the law.
On immigration, he sided with Arizona’s SB 1070, sought to overturn birthright citizenship, offered legislation that would make it easier to fire workers for not speaking English and likened immigrants to rats.
Opposition to abortion rights and gay equality has defined Cuccinelli’s political career. The Republican gubernatorial candidate has talked about how he believes God will punish America for legalizing abortion and backed the criminalization of certain forms of birth control, along with denouncing what he calls the “homosexual agenda,” supported sodomy laws and tried to rollback job protections for LGBT employees and health benefits for gay couples.
With a record like that, it is no wonder that polls show that over half of Virginia voters believe his is “too conservative” while a mere 5 percent think he is “too liberal.”
But even if Cuccinelli campaigns with Mike Huckabee at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University or with a Family Research Council-sponsored event with the fundamentalist Duggar family, Nordvig and his Tea Party group are still unsatisfied and want Cuccinelli to move even farther to the right.
If Ken Cuccinelli is not conservative enough for the Tea Party, then who is?