The fight for the soul of the GOP in Virginia is splitting the gubernatorial ticket between Republican Ken Cucinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis, and helping liberal Democrat Terry McAuliffe sail to an easy victory. Separating Republicans and conservatives into separate groups to steer the GOP to the right is actually driving Virginia to the left.
And, as Tim Carney notes, Cucinelli is hardly a RINO:
Virginia’s Ken Cuccinelli would arguably be the most libertarian governor in the United States if he wins on Nov. 5 — which makes it odd that he’s become a top target for many libertarians.
Cuccinelli trails Democrat Terry McAuliffe in all polls, while Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is pulling 10 percent of the vote. One national libertarian group is spending big to back Sarvis and attack Cuccinelli.
But Cuccinelli has libertarian bona fides: As attorney general he led the states aiming to kill Obamacare, with all its mandates, taxes, regulations, subsidies and intrusions. He wants to cut the state income tax rate by 15 percent for individuals and 33 percent for corporations.
Cuccinelli has an A rating from the NRA — earned while representing Fairfax County in the state Senate. He opposed smoking bans as a senator.
To a libertarian, all of the above looks good, but not extraordinary for a Republican. But there's more.
Republican governors who sing paeans to the free market almost always make exceptions in order to be more “pro-business.” Cuccinelli, meanwhile, has angered much of his state’s business lobby by running against corporate welfare, opposing the tax hikes that Northern Virginia developers are seeking to pay for roads and public services and pledging to put special-interest tax credits on the chopping block.
Cuccinelli also often chooses government restraint over “law and order.”