Virginia politics have gotten decidedly more divisive since the election of Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, back in 2009. Cuccinelli in particular has racked up an impressive number of uber-conservative, questionably legal moves, including his recent encouragement to pastors to get more involved in politics, his new regulations that could shut down most of Virginia’s abortion clinics, and of course, his declaration that Obama’s reforms were “tyranny.”
In light of his record, it’s disturbing to know that Cuccinelli may be considering a run against Senator Mark Warner, the beloved former Virginia governor who is up for re-election in 2014. Warner, although he’s only a freshman senator, was involved in the debt ceiling negotiations as part of the “Gang of Six.” Rumors are flying around that Warner may be dissatisfied with the way the Senate operates (he also wanted to be on the budget supercommittee, but didn’t make the cut).
Cuccinelli attacked Warner’s ability to influence Washington politics, saying that he was having trouble transitioning from the governor’s mansion to Capitol Hill. ”You’re not making executive decisions,” Cuccinelli said. “It takes a different outlook. Perseverance becomes more important, instead of decisiveness.”
He continued, “I understand from people he and I both talk to that he’s pretty frustrated with it. [But] I don’t see him doing anything to change that system. He hasn’t even tried.” He then speculated that Warner might be interested in running for president.
The question seems to be whether Cuccinelli will challenge current Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling in the 2013 gubernatorial race, or whether he’ll wait until 2014 to go after Warner. The latter option would be tough for Cuccinelli; Warner is one of Virginia’s most popular politicians, and although Cuccinelli does have a strong Tea Party following, I find it hard to believe that Northern Virginia would allow someone like Cuccinelli to make it into the Senate.
The fact that Cuccinelli is seeking after higher offices is disturbing in itself. This is someone who has shown that his ideology is far more important than following the law – a terrible quality in an Attorney General, much less a position with more influence. It’s bad enough that George Allen has decided to challenge former governor Tim Kaine for Jim Webb’s Senate seat in 2012. Whatever happened to the Virginia that went blue during the 2008 presidential election?
Photo from kcvaag via flickr.