McAuliffe and Cuccinelli debate
McAuliffe and Cuccinelli in happier times last week. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Anyone still wondering why Ken Cuccinelli has already lost his campaign for Virginia governor? It’s because he backed away from abortion as an issue, seemingly afraid of getting called an extremist (implying to his conservative base that he considers their shared opinions too extreme for his campaign); it’s also because he was a polarizing attorney general in a purple state, however moderately he’s tried to campaign; and now, Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman write for the op-ed page, it’s really about a poorly run campaign without a positive message.

The state is getting bluer in national elections but is still pretty red  in smaller races; Virginia traditionally elects a governor from the opposite party of the president, which would mean a Republican win this year; and Terry McAuliffe isn’t a spotless candidate himself. But Cuccinelli is down seven points or so in the polls with about a week to go. Leahy and Goldman have a rundown of a campaign that never really found itself, reacted too late to implications of corruption, tacked to the center even though Cuccinelli seems to be an evangelical-values true believer and never explained that oddity to voters.

The commenters, though, have even MORE reasons why Cuccinelli has already lost by now.

bethg1841 says the media did it.

“As McAuliffe’s summer ad campaign methodically wrecked Cuccinelli’s image…” Don’t be so modest, WaPo. You did your part. Fact: Cuccinelli was cleared of all ethics charges brought by the Dems. But, that didn’t stop The Post from reminding readers daily what those charges were.

Hoya7292, though, says a competent campaign could have come clean with the voters:

He was cleared in the state ethics charges under the extremely weak ethics laws of Virgnia. The federal probe continues. If he was cleared, why did he donate the value of his in-kind gifts from Jonnie Williams to charity? You have a coherent explanation for that?

And hitpoints says the media weren’t nice to McAuliffe, either:

You act as if the news media falsely reported that Cuccinelli had lied to a federal investigator in a fraud investigation. Whoops, sorry, that was what the media did to McAuliffe.

JoeyTranchina says it’s not just how the campaign handled Cuccinelli’s hard-right views, it’s the views themselves:

This article speaks of Ken Cuccinelli as if he were a tabula rasa, a blank slate, to write new campaign promises in fresh chalk. That is absurd. Ken Cuccinelli is a religious fanatic who had worked from the AG’s office as a religious partisan who misrepresented deeply held opinions of the majority of the citizens in his state. Ken Cuccinelli is an ideologue who should not be in politics because he is incapable of representing those who do not share his narrow sectarian views.

daver20121 agrees:

Don’t forget the sodomy laws that would make oral sex illegal. What woman (or man) would vote for that?

As does cococo:

Yeah, and using his office as attorney general to go after a climatology prof at UVa, and closing women’s clinics by changing the rules for them but no other clinics. I dunno. Seems it gets on most peoples nerves.

Lorddunsmore1 finds a silver lining for Republicans. Cuccinelli’s many reasons for losing means McAuliffe wins by default–not because Virginia supports him or his plans

It’s just as well that fast Terry becomes the next VA governor as he’s likely to be an inept and embarrassment to VA in the coming years, allowing more GOPers to win the General Assembly and governorship in 2017.

PostScript is already working on her column on why the Democrats will have already lost by now in 2017, but the verb tenses have gotten very tricky.