Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for Virginia governor has made Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II ‘s stance on divorce the focus of its latest ad, continuing its efforts to portray the Republican as an extremist on issues important to women.
A recent Washington Post story explored Cuccinelli’s relationship with the fathers’ rights movement, which seeks to influence state and federal laws to give men a better position in divorce and custody cases. Many fathers’ rights groups have pushed to end or reform no-fault divorce laws, and Cuccinelli did the same during his time in the state Senate.
“2008. Ken Cuccinelli writes a bill to give Virginia among the most extreme divorce laws in America,” says the announcer in McAuliffe’s (D) new ad. “If Cuccinelli had it his way, a mom trying to get out of a bad marriage, over her husband’s objections, could only get divorced if she could prove adultery or physical abuse or her spouse had abandoned her or was sentenced to jail. Why is Ken Cuccinelli interfering in our private lives? He’s focused on his own agenda. Not us.”
Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said her boss was proud of his record.
“Terry McAuliffe’s campaign strategy is simple: focus on false attacks that divide Virginians,” Nix said. “Ken Cuccinelli believes that children are best served having both their mother and father in their lives and he will not apologize for his efforts to encourage strong Virginia families.”
The spot refers to a measure Cuccinelli introduced in 2008 that would prevent couples with children from getting a no-fault divorce if one member of the marriage objects. (Divorces would still have been permitted in cases of adultery or abuse.) The bill never made it out of committee.
Three years earlier, Cuccinelli offered a different bill on the same topic, which would have made it so a person initiating a no-fault divorce could have that fact used against them when determining custody of the couple’s children.
The focus on Cuccinelli’s views on divorce comes after Democrats have already attacked the Republican for his positions on abortion and “personhood” legislation, in hopes of boosting what polls have shown is a sizable lead for McAuliffe among women voters.