Why Conservative Crusader Ken Cuccinelli Can Win Virginia

t’s possible that no Republican in America, save Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich, engenders more open abhorrence from Beltway Democrats than Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Talk to strategists for Democratic groups and abortion-rights organizations about Cuccinelli, and the GOP gubernatorial candidate’s name usually evokes sarcasm or audible shivers.

It’s easy to see why. He challenged President Obama’s health-care law and helped push it to the Supreme Court. He supports regulations on abortion clinics and defunding Planned Parenthood. He labeled the Obama administration “the biggest set of lawbreakers in America” and he dubbed the Environmental Protection Agency the “agency of mass destruction.”

All of that has endeared Cuccinelli to conservatives like the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, which is airing ads in his support, and it’s made bitter enemies of Democrats.

“The Democrats live in existential dread of Ken Cuccinelli,” one Virginia Republican told ABC.

A governor’s race doesn’t typically hinge on social issues, and Cuccinelli and his opponent, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, have kicked off their TV campaigns with ads that avoid them, showcasing the candidates as a devoted public servant and a job-creator, respectively. The governor’s race, as Republican and Democratic operatives told ABC News, will be about state management: roads, bridges and jobs.

The race has begun in earnest, with McAuliffe appearing in Richmond today with Sen. Tim Kaine, the former governor who also formerly headed the DNC, in the first of a series of public events this week to officially launch his campaign.

Cuccinelli’s candidacy, against a former Democratic fundraiser and strategist, raises a question: Even if he sticks to a public-service script, can an alleged megaconservative win in a purple state?

Virginia has now voted for Obama twice in a row, giving the president 53 percent in 2008 and 51 percent in 2012. It hadn’t gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, and before that 1948.http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/why-conservative-crusader-ken-cuccinelli-can-win-virginia/