Ken Cuccinelli could become the face of the problem within the Republican Party. Thanks to gerrymandering and redistricting, many Republicans are going to be able to hold on to their state and national seats, but any statewide or national office is going to be nearly impossible to hold on to or win.
Cuccinelli’s anti-gay attitudes is causing a major backlash among Republican donors who are leery of supporting a candidate who is so obviously toxic to the growing majority of Virginians and Americans that they are backing away from him as fast as they can, and by backing away, we mean that it appears that the normal GOP donors are running so fast away from him in the other direction that they run the risk of slamming into him coming the other direction.
Bloomberg News is reporting that Cuccinelli currently has less than half the cash on hand that his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe does, and what is more, some of the Republican donors that Cuccinelli needs are not sitting out the election, but are donating to McAuliffe instead.
Cuccinelli has been trying to rebrand himself and his campaign to focus more on economic issues than on social issues, but years of pursuing nothing but social issues such as his opposition to same-sex marriage, his attempts to recriminalize homosexuality and to ban abortion have left people associating him not with economics, but rather with those social issues.
Virginia Beach developer Bruce L. Thompson, the CEO of Gold Key/PHR Hotels and Resorts noted that “Mr. Cuccinelli’s very hard stance on some of the social issues is a concern for me.” Gold Key/PHR donated heavily to current VA Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, but has backed McAuliffe to the tune of $25,000 this year.
Thompson also said that “I believe personally in a woman’s right to choose, but I also think from an economic development standpoint, we’re trying to attract businesses from other areas of the country, and we’re telling women that we’re going to regulate the way that they run their life? I just don’t think we can be exclusionary when it comes to women” as well as LGBT people.
Currently, McAuliffe has $6 million on hand while Cuccinelli has $2.7 million. So far, only ten of McDonnell’s top twenty-five individual donors have donated to Cuccinelli’s campaign.
Part of the problem for Cuccinelli is his anti-business past. He tried to derail a $6 billion transportation package backed by McDonnell and his culture warrior stances are likely to deter businesses and tourists from coming to Virginia. Many businesses would rather set up shop in Vermont, which is heavier on regulation but far more accepting of women as well as racial and sexual minorities, than Virginia.
Cuccinelli and his campaign have tried to sound optimistic about their chances. During a recent debate, he went after McAuliffe saying “You’ve made this same attack throughout the race. Your notion that this somehow chases business out of Virginia would be laughable if it weren’t so offensive.” Unfortunately for Cuccinelli, that debate’s biggest take away ended up being his continued loathing for LGBT people.
His campaign also maintains that he has been out fundraised before and campaign adviser Chris LaCivita stated “We always knew that in this particular race, D.C. insider and professional Democrat fundraiser Terry McAuliffe would cash in all his IOU’s — the majority of his money, funneled to him from out-of-state donors and labor unions, is just the tip of the iceberg. . .We are confident Ken will have the resources to communicate his pro-growth, pro-jobs message that reduces taxes on the middle class and small business,”
It is largely true that McAuliffe’s funds are largely coming from out of state. Only about 26% ($3 million) of his funds have come from inside Virginia with 74% ($8.6 million) coming from outside the state. The problem is that Cuccinelli’s raised only about $3 million from within Virginia, or about 47% with the remaining 53% or $3.4 million, coming from outside the state. This severely hampers the ability of Cuccinelli to spread his message, especially in the increasingly LGBT friendly suburbs of Washington DC.
Making matters worse for Cuccinelli, Virginia has been hit hard by the sequestration cuts thanks to their reliance on the military industrial complex, and Governor Bob McDonnell has been hit hard by recent scandal involving taking illegal gifts from donors.
McAuliffe has been hitting Cuccinelli hard claiming that his pro-business message is really a front for his actual desire to run a governorship that will push through extreme anti-LGBT and anti-women laws. McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin stated that “Ken Cuccinelli’s opposition to the mainstream transportation compromise and his career-long focus on an extreme social agenda have really created a rift with the business community that he hasn’t been able to mend.”
Some business owners are really not happy, especially in the tech industry. President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association Gary Shapiro stated that “I’m an employer in Virginia, and Cuccinelli terrifies me. . .To attract the best employees, you don’t want to have the most backward policies in the country.” Shapiro was speaking specifically about the anti-women and anti-LGBT policies of Cuccinelli, which businesses have been largely leery of nationwide. Shapiro also said “I don’t know anyone who’s going to give him money. I said it to Cuccinelli’s face: He’s anti-business, anti-woman, anti-employer, and he’s not going to get the support of business leaders.”