Planned Parenthood group to rally at Va. GOP convention

RICHMOND — Planned Parenthood’s political arm plans to crash the Republican Party of Virginia’s state convention this weekend as part of its ongoing effort to convince voters that GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli II is “wrong for women’s health and wrong for Virginia.”

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund will rally at the convention on Saturday, when the current attorney general — who is the sole Republican candidate — is expected to accept his party’s nomination for governor. The group has launched a Web site, KeepKenOut.org and president Cecile Richards said defeating Cuccinelli is one of the organization’s top priorities.

“Building on our successful 2012 electoral work in Virginia, we plan to educate thousands of voters about Ken Cuccinelli’s dangerous agenda for women’s health and economic security,” Richards said in a statement.

State Democrats also raised the issue of abortion heading into the convention in a robocall sent to Republican and independent voters on Wednesday. The transcript, provided by the party, is as follows:

Female Narrator: “Hi, this is Michelle calling on behalf of the Virginia Democratic Party. This week, at the Republican convention, Ken Cuccinelli is going to claim he’s focused on the economy. But here he is talking about his real priority. . .

Cuccinelli: “. . . All the while keeping in mind the ultimate goal, which is to make abortion disappear in America . . . We aren’t changing our principles for anybody.”

Female Narrator: “Ken Cuccinelli says he’s focused on the economy, but his real priority is pursuing an ideological tea party agenda that bans abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.”

Cuccinelli will face Democrat Terry McAuliffe in this fall’s high-profile gubernatorial contest, one of only two this year. A recent Washington Post poll shows Cuccinelli with a slim early lead in the race — five points among overall voters and 10 points among likely voters — though nearly half of the electorate says they’re either undecided or could change their minds.

On Thursday, the “Women for Terry” bipartisan coalition will announce their launch in Richmond. According to a release, the group “will launch and discuss how McAuliffe will champion the issues women care about and protect the rights of Virginia’s women” and “highlight Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme record on women’s issues.”

Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said the attorney general has been traveling the state, talking about issues that matter to voters, including the economy and jobs.

“The only candidate focused on social issues ... is Terry McAuliffe,” Nix said.

Errin Whack covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post, including the commonwealth’s General Assembly and the 2013 gubernatorial race.
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