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Friday, December 9, 2016

After President Obama became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state of Virginia in 2008, Republican Bob McDonnell defeated State Senator Creigh Deeds to become the state’s governor less than a year later.

McDonnell’s right-wing credentials were firm. He had all the social conservative and small-government policies of a man who was positioning himself to be a solid running mate to the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. But he ended up having to moderate a Virginia Republican Party that took Tea Partying to new extremes, with Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli acting as the instigator in a constant fit against President Obama and modernity.

Virginia’s Republicans came up with a law that required an invasive ultrasound before any abortion. Some called this “government-sanctioned rape” and McDonnell was to come out against the bill and claim he didn’t understand what was in it. By that time, his 2012 hopes were over.

You could call Cuccinelli “Goofus” to McDonnell’s “Gallant.” While they share many of the same policies — they both oppose abortion even in the cases of rape and incest — “Cooch,” as the attorney general is known, feels no desire to moderate his views to appeal to anyone. He’s a hero of the far right across the nation because he represents the kind of extremism that helps the Tea Party win Republican primaries and blow general elections.

President Obama won Virginia handily again in 2012. The question in 2013 as Cuccinelli runs for governor is whether the coalition of young people and minorities that came out for Obama will come to vote again.

The more Virginians know about Cuccinelli’s extreme stands, the more likely it is that Virginians come out to vote against him. Here are five of his worst positions.

Correction: Bob McDonnell defeated State Senator Creigh Deeds in Virginia’s 2009 gubernatorial election, not Terry McAuliffe as this post originally stated.

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