Cucinelli leads the GOP AG pack out of the gate

Bad news for Republicans in ’09 – Ken Cuccinelli is organized.
The state senator and ’09 attorney-general nomination candidate submitted more than 20,000 signatures to the Republican Party of Virginia on Monday to become the first AG candidate to qualify for the Republican Convention next spring.

The GOP is determining its statewide-office nominees next spring via the convention route. Democrats are holding a primary to come up with their ticket. To date, only one Democrat, Northern Virginia State Del. Steve Shannon, has announced for the party’s attorney-general nomination.

On the Republican side, Cuccinelli is joined by former Arlington County School Board member Dave Foster and former U.S. attorney John Brownlee.

Cuccinelli, a staunch social conservative, won re-election to his State Senate seat in 2007 by 101 votes in a race with Democrat Janet Oleszek. From the outside looking in, Brownlee would appear to be the most attractive GOP candidate with his law-enforcement credentials, which I bring up even as I am well-aware that the attorney-general position in Virginia is not as is often assumed by folks the state’s top cop but rather the head of essentially the state’s law firm that represents and provides legal advice to state agencies.

The flip side is that Brownlee doesn’t have the electoral credentials of Cuccinelli or Foster, who served on the school board in heavily Democratic Arlington County. The flip side to that flip side – Foster doesn’t have experience outside of the local level, and Cuccinelli had to run for his life to win re-election by the skin of his teeth last year.

And then there’s something that might not sit too well for those under the Republican tent who hold the peculiar view that the framers of the Virginia Constitution got it right when they sat down and did business a couple hundred years back. Cuccinelli told me in an interview earlier this year that as attorney general he would “tend to interpret the law in a way that is the least expansive, and would have the most tendency to rein in government activity, without completely handicapping agencies from performing their functions and their role.”

“That’s a very subtle opportunity to help shrink, or keep small, government. And that’s something that I believe very much in,” Cuccinelli said.

Like I said above, bad news for Republicans. Because there’s no way he’s going to be able to sell the November electorate on this theory of attorney-general nullification, no matter how much the ‘Pub diehards eat it up come this coming May.

 

– Column by Chris Graham


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