Conservatives Rip Virginia GOP Effort, But Kept Their Wallets Stowed

Tea Party groups are blaming tight-fisted mainstream Republicans for a close loss in Virginia's gubernatorial race. But many of the most vocal critics never gave the GOP candidate a dime.

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Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Ken Cuccinelli arrives to greet voters at a polling place at Smith Station Elementary School in Spotsylvania, Va., Nov. 5, 2013.

Since Republicans lost Virginia’s gubernatorial election Nov. 5, conservative and Tea Party groups have rushed to pin the blame on the party’s establishment, which reduced its financial support in the final weeks of the race. More money, they argue, may have made the difference in Ken Cuccinelli’s close loss to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

“There are a lot of questions people are going to be asking and that is, was leaving Cuccinelli alone in the first week of October, a smart move,”  Cuccinelli strategist Chris La Civita told the Washington Post shortly after the election. “We were on our own. Just look at the volume [of ads].”

One fact is undoubtedly true: the GOP establishment didn’t do all it could to help Cuccinelli as he was perennially down in the polls. His conservative social positions alienated some donors, while business groups like the Chamber of Commerce decided to sit out the race. Early in the cycle, the Republican National Committee said it would focus on its field game instead of television advertising, meaning in 2013 it spent one-third of what it did in 2009 to help elect current Gov. Bob McDonnell. (Spending by the Republican Governors Association, on the other hand, was up compared to 2009.)

But many of the most vocal critics of mainstream Republicans never actually contributed to Cuccinelli’s campaign.

In an email to supporters in the days before the election, the National Organization for Marriage blasted national Republicans and warned that a Cuccinelli defeat would be used to marginalize the conservative grassroots. Yet the organization spent under $2,000 on this year’s race, according to the latest Virginia campaign finance reports.

The Tea Party Patriots, another leading grassroots conservative organization, was similarly critical of party leaders. “Because the Republican establishment cut funding to its own candidate by two thirds from the 2009 election they robbed the people of Virginia of the good governor they almost had,” Jenny Beth Martin, the group’s national coordinator, said in a statement last week. “Over the past several weeks Terry McAuliffe has been campaigning with Big Business, Big Labor, and Big Government, yet the GOP establishment rather than come to the aid of Cuccinelli, left him out hanging to drive[sic].” Neither the Tea Party Patriots nor Martin appear in campaign finance records as having given to Cuccinelli.

Rush Limbaugh said the GOP “betrayed” Cuccinelli and fellow conservative radio personality Mark Levin called it “RINO sabotage,” a derisive reference to moderates considered “Republicans in name only.” Neither man is listed as a donor in Cuccinelli’s campaign filings.

The same pattern held for other establishment critics. “The truth is, the national GOP establishment left a man on the battlefield by having Ken Cuccinelli fend off the liberal Clinton juggernaut of Terry McAuliffe alone,” Todd Cefaratti, the founder of TheTeaParty.net, said in statement Wednesday. Cefaratti did not give money to Cuccinelli, according to finance records.

Senator Ted Cruz, the firebrand Texas Republican whose orchestration of the government shutdown enraged many leaders of his party, did campaign with Cuccinelli. Jason Johnson, a Cruz strategist, echoed the conservative analysis of the election, writing on Red State that “had the D.C. Establishment not abandoned Cuccinelli, leaving him with no money and attacking him themselves, more Republicans would have shown up and Cuccinelli would likely have won.” Yet Cruz did not donate to Cuccinelli, either.

28 comments
ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

This is really a case of not putting your money where your mouth is.

LouAZ
LouAZ

Couldn't have happened to a nicer more deserving fellow than Cuccinelli.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

How can we live our lives without Cuccinelli telling us what is okay to do in bed?

Our nation turns its lonely eyes to Ayatollah Rick Santorum.

BruceS78
BruceS78

Tea Party advocates are very good at throwing rocks are other members of the Republican Party but lately they haven't done  well supporting each other.  The organizations that didn't contribute to Cuccinelli didn't think he would win so they didn't waste their money.  However, true to their Tea Party roots they are very willing to blame every other Republican for the loss.   I often wonder why any mainstream Republican would support any Tea Party candidate given the abuse they give mainstream Republicans.

Hermione
Hermione

This all boils down to one thing - the Tea Party is not always effective in practicing what it preaches.

The Tea Party and other conservatives should have raised their own money, and used their own resources to help their candidate - period!

These people should not be sitting around passing the buck, or the blame, for this one.

ursusrexx2
ursusrexx2

{apologies for the accidental double post!}

ursusrexx2
ursusrexx2

Mr. Cuccinelli, in some sense, reminds me of the Delaware governor-wanna-be, Christine “I-am-NOT-a-witch” O’Donnell…

Ms. O’Donnell’s bizarre, confusedpolicy platform & declaration that she is/was NOT one of the exalted clergy, (in ‘NeoPagan’ circles), somehow…

Alienated the voters; gee, what a surpriseNOT!

A democrat, (Jack A. Markell November 26, 1960-Present), is governor today!


I DON'T understand...

Mr. Cuccinelli was, (for a republican)…

Relatively ‘upfront’ about what an uninformed, ‘too-much-heaven-for-others, regardless of consent’, theologian-wannabe he is;

How removed from reality / ‘Christian’ or other ‘morality’ his past-current-future policies/the Republican party-platform IS/has beenvoters looked the ‘Cuccinelli - concept’ over; their neck/arm hair, ‘stood on end’;

They decided they no longer viewed Virginia as the 'evangelical-failed-state of Virginia-stan’, and...

 the rest, as 'they' say, is...'history'!

Obviously, republicans are free to continue displaying their (‘patented’) contempt for Americans of gay / racial-or-other minority-status / women… 

Is this ‘Cuccinelli-loss’ a portent of, (much anticipated…), 2014-16-20-losses, re Republicans??

Is this the republican row boat, completing it’s first lap, ‘round the toilette-swirl?

Wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest!

ursusrexx2
ursusrexx2

Mr. Cuccinelli, in some sense, reminds me of the Delaware governor-wanna-be, Christine “I-am-NOT-a-witch” O’Donnell…

Ms. O’Donnell’s bizarre, confused ‘stealth’ policy platform & declaration that she is/was NOT one of the exalted clergy, (in ‘NeoPagan’ circles), somehow…

Alienated the voters!

Hence, a democrat, (Jack A. Markell November 26, 1960-Present), is governor today!

Gee, what a surpriseNOT!

 I DON'T understand...

Mr. Cuccinelli was, (for a republican)…

Relatively ‘upfront’ about what an uninformed, ‘too-much-heaven-for-others’, (on-his-mind),…

What an intolerant D-Bagg he is / how removed from reality / ‘Christian’ / other ‘morality’ his past-current-future policies/the Republican party-platform IS/has been…

Voters looked the ‘Cuccinelli - concept’ over;

Their neck & arm hair, ‘stood on end’;

They decided they no longer viewed Virginia as the 'evangelical-failed-state of Virginia-stan’, and...

A democrat became VA governor!

Obviously, republicans are free to continue displaying their (‘patented’) contempt for Americans of gay / racial-or-other minority-status / women

Is this ‘Cuccinelli-loss’ a portent of, (much anticipated…), 2014-16-20-losses, re Republicans??

Is this the republican row boat, completing it’s first lap, ‘round the toilette-swirl?

Wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest!

LeslieParsley
LeslieParsley

Maybe the GOP din't purge enough Democratic voters.

notsacredh
notsacredh

The Tea Party continues to destroy the GOP. Thank you baggers. We'll take good care of the Supreme Court.

tkulaga
tkulaga

Does Cruz have money to give?

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

Far. far, far right wing Republicans want to have their cake and eat it too.  They'll be in the faces of less extreme candidates but demand that people who are less extreme still must support their loony zealots financially.

It seems that the truest believers of the self-proclaimed Party of Individual Freedom can't abide it when people vote with their pocketbooks.

jcq707
jcq707

I don't like senator Ted Cruz at all, on the other hand he might have not contributed $$$, but says on the article that he campaigned with Cuccinelli and gave him some of his time. Be fair with Cruz. 

HowthCastle
HowthCastle

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."-- Aeschylus.  Here's hoping that the TeaPartyists remain delusional!

notsacredh
notsacredh

@Hollywooddeed, the most terrible things that Cuccinelli could possibly think of are probably only warm-ups for us. 

manlyman
manlyman

@BruceS78 As a proud member of the Teaparty (I didn't have to sign or pay anything) I can confidently assure you that we are alive and well, and united, and growing in leaps and bounds! You have no idea brucy!

voiceof76
voiceof76

@LeslieParsley It's true. They are trying their damndest in the AG's race, which was always projected to be closer.  Last update I had it was a 17 vote difference with some "provisional" ballots (form those without ID or other voting issues) sill to be decided on (counted or thrown out) , form mostly Democratic areas. The only statewide candidate still clinging to a lead, for AG, was the one who ran the furthest away from the Republican social record. And even he will need their purge plus ID disenfranchisement to get over the finish line.     

voiceof76
voiceof76

@jcq707 It should also be noted that Cruz campaigned with Cuccinelli DURRING the gov shutdown, and Cuccinelli was put in an awkward position, and had to watch his comments/direct appearances with Cruz. So, really Cruz was a double drag, didn't pony up the $$$ and likely did more harm than good in federal worker heavy VA.   

jmac
jmac

@jcq707 Cruz is a Senator and knows where his bread is buttered.   He's not going to fall on his sword for the Tea Party and he made that clear when he let the vote on the debt ceiling proceed.

He urged the House to make a fool of itself - and then he stepped back.  That tells you what kind of guy he is.  

reallife
reallife

@jcq707 "Be fair with Cruz"

Ha! Good luck with that. This is Pravda


notsacredh
notsacredh

@manlyman, yes. we're taking the country back and making it safe for democracy.

reallife
reallife

@jmac @jcq707 Yeah... that's why you guys can't keep talking about the guy, or his family


LOL

BlueRock
BlueRock

@reallife @jcq707

"Pravda", he says. What a cop-out. Whenever conservatives can't argue a topic on its merits, they just complain about "the mainstream media" being biased against them.