Virginia Democrats immediately began attacking Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) Thursday after we reported that he expects to run for governor in 2013.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) (MARVIN JOSEPH /THE WASHINGTON POST)

Cuccinelli, a tea party hero who garnered national attention for suing the federal government over the health-care law, had flirted with running for reelection or against Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) in 2014. But in recent weeks he had turned his attention to the governor’s mansion.

 “Should he break his promise to run for reelection and beat Bill Bolling in a primary, Ken Cuccinelli will offer Virginia Democrats a real opportunity to expose the Republican Party for what it is and to offer a clear alternative,’’ Moran said. “While Cuccinelli and the Republicans would rather pick fights with Washington and curry favor with the Tea Party than fight for middle class families, Democrats are focused on creating jobs and opportunity by improving education, fixing transportation and investing in clean energy.”

Several Democrats have expressed an interest in running for statewide office in 2013, but only businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has told supporters he will run for governor.

“Nothing has changed for Terry,’’ said his spokesman Levar Stoney. “He remains committed to his number one priority of creating jobs and bringing opportunity to working families through his efforts with Franklin Pellets in Tidewater and his hybrid/electric vehicle company, GreenTech Automotive, headquartered in McLean. I'm sure you can still count on him to continue to travel the commonwealth to meet and listen to community and business leaders in the coming months about how we remain competitive in the global economy.”