Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II (R), lagging well behind his Democratic opponent in support among women, is launching a new television ad Tuesday featuring a female member of Richmond’s school board who explains why she is backing his campaign.
“Speaking as a mother and a Democrat, there are some things you need to know about Ken Cuccinelli,” Tichi Pinkney Eppes says on camera. “The attacks against him are false and misleading. That Ken has some agenda against women? Ridiculous. I support Ken Cuccinelli because he’s fighting for a better Virginia for all of us.”
Snippets of news articles scroll on screen as she speaks directly into the camera. Eppes, who represents Richmond’s 9th District, also wrote an op-ed in The Richmond Times-Dispatch earlier this year in support of Cuccinelli’s K-12 education plan.
Cuccinelli’s ad is an attempt to counter a heavy rotation of TV advertising put up by Terry McAuliffe (D) and his supporters arguing that Cuccinelli’s record has been hostile to women. The McAuliffe campaign has spotlighted Cuccinelli’s opposition to abortion, his support of a personhood bill that opponents said could also prohibit some forms of birth control, and his failure to join other state attorneys general in advocating for renewal of the federal Violence Against Women Act.
“Ken Cuccinelli’s new ad won’t whitewash his career-long record of trying to block women’s access to preventive care, his refusal to support the Violence Against Women Act, and his near derailing of the state budget over his crusade to defund Planned Parenthood,” McAuliffe campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said in an e-mail.
A recent Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll shows a 24-point gender gap in support for McAuliffe from women voters that has helped to give him a lead overall. The same poll found that 54 percent of women have an unfavorable view of Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli, who is the state attorney general, has responded with ads of his own featuring several women, including a recent spot featuring Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lisa Caruso. Caruso talks about Cuccinelli’s campaign against human trafficking. Other ads attempting to soften Cuccinelli’s image include one with Sue Garbarino, who is the widow of slain Fairfax County Officer Michael Garbarino. Cuccinelli introduced his campaign on TV with an ad featuring his wife, Teiro.
Throughout the campaign, Cuccinelli has also talked up his work combatting sexual assault when he was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, creating a team in the attorney general’s office to combat human trafficking, and backing initiatives against domestic violence. Cuccinelli has said he did not write in support of the Violence Against Women Act because he has followed a policy of not signing any such letters.
Here’s the script for his ad “Tichi”:
“Speaking as a mother and a Democrat, there are some things you need to know about Ken Cuccinelli. The attacks against him are false and misleading. That Ken has some agenda against women? Ridiculous.
“I support Ken Cuccinelli because he’s fighting for a better Virginia for all of us.
“He has a plan to create 58,000 new jobs. And improve schools for our children.
“I’m a lifelong Democrat but Ken Cuccinelli is the candidate I trust to do what’s right.”