After it became increasingly clear he would lose, Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination for governor. That leaves Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli with a clear path to the general election. Liberals typically ding Cuccinelli as too socially conservative, but the Democratic Governors Association today had a different knock on him: “The people of Virginia need a governor who will be business-friendly and focused on creating jobs and growing the economy…” they wrote.
This has been a theme throughout Cuccinelli’s career: significant portions of the business lobby have turned against him, not because he’s too pro-life, but because of his economic conservatism.
Before running for office in 2002, Cuccinelli made a name for himself campaigning against a tax hike for new roads. Cuccinelli explicitly called out the developers lobbying for the tax hikes: “They are asking you to pay for their driveway,” he said. One developer funding the campaign for the tax hike had substantial holdings along the routes where the new tax-hike-funded roads would be laid.
The developers didn’t take kindly to Cuccinelli’s efforts, and when Cuccinelli entered a special election for the state senate later that year, developers gave $10,000 to his primary opponent — the most of any industry. In the general, Democrat Cathy Belter raised $25,000 from developers.
When Cuccinelli ran for AG, his Democratic opponent raised $64,000 from developers — his second biggest industry, and 2.5 times the amount Cuccinelli raised from them. Shannon’s top individual donor was a real estate investor.
The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce endorsed Shannon in that primary, while lobbying for tax hikes that Cuccinelli opposed.
This year, Cuccinelli rallied behind a ballot initiative that limited the state’s power of eminent domain. So in next year’s general election, especially if Democrats nominate K Streeter Terry McAuliffe, expect to see the business community again lining up against the Cooch.