Va. GOP hires new director and touts $25,000 donation from Ken Cuccinelli

The Republican Party of Virginia hired a new executive director Wednesday and announced that former attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II had made a $25,000 donation to boost the organization’s depleted coffers.

Party Chairman Pat Mullins appointed Shaun Kenney, a veteran Virginia political operative, former party spokesman and blogger, as executive director. He replaces Anthony Reedy, who left March 31 after a little more than two years on the job. The party said Reedy left to “pursue other opportunities.”

Kenney served as the party’s communications director in 2007 under then-chairman Ed Gillespie, who this year is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). He has been frequent contributor to the conservative blog Bearing Drift.

Kenney takes a top job at a party eager to change its fortunes after losing the last two presidential contests and seeing Democrats sweep all three statewide offices last year.

The state GOP is also trying to overcome fundraising woes that it blames on the 2013 election cycle, which went into overtime with a recount in the attorney general’s race and several special elections. Before Cuccinelli’s donation, the state GOP had less than $70,000 in cash on hand between its state and federal accounts, compared to about $230,000 available to the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Mullins announced that Cuccinelli, who lost last year’s governor’s race to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, had donated $25,000 to the party. It was not immediately clear if the donation, which was not yet listed in public records, was from Cuccinelli personally or from his campaign account. Party spokesman Garren Shipley was not immediately able to determine which it was. Cuccinelli could not be reached for comment.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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