One such candidate, Duggar said, is Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican who is running for governor and is lagging in the polls. His photo was plastered on the side of a bus that carried the Duggar family — well, most of it — during a five-stop, three-day tour of the state this week.
The tour, sponsored by the Family Research Council’s political arm, started in Lynchburg and ended in Woodbridge in Prince William County, with stops in Richmond, Virginia Beach and Fredericksburg. The family spoke passionately about faith, family and freedom — plus abortion, education, health care, birth control and home schooling. The kids played religious tunes on violins and cellos and bowed their heads in prayer.
After each program, a swarm of women surrounded Michelle Duggar.
“She’s such a great role model,” said Stephanie Wallace, 26, who home-schools her three young children in Norfolk. “You have so many celebrities that will campaign for the liberal side, but not as many on the conservative side.”
This is just the sort of crowd that the Cuccinelli campaign wants to motivate to vote in less than three weeks — especially because Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe holds a sizable lead among women voters, according to recent polls. But the Duggars’ views on social issues are controversial and could alienate moderate voters.
The Cuccinelli campaign has said it did not invite the Duggars to Virginia. But Cuccinelli visited the family privately in Richmond on Tuesday, and his wife spoke during the family’s final stop Wednesday afternoon.
“This election is not going to be won on television,” said Tiero Cuccinelli, standing in the parking lot of Heritage Baptist Church in Woodbridge and encouraging the crowd of a few hundred to do their own research about her husband and his positions instead of listening to commercials. “That’s what I’m praying for, the truth will be revealed and the lies will be exposed.”
McAuliffe’s campaign blasted Cucinelli this week for associating himself with Jim Bob Duggar — the patriarch of the family — who compared abortions to the Holocaust during a speech in the District last weekend.
“Ken Cuccinelli needs to immediately ask his surrogate to leave Virginia,” McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said. “Mr. Duggar’s divisive, hurtful and extreme rhetoric has no place in this campaign for governor.”