Tea party mega-star and Virgina Attorney General Ken Cucinelli may be planning to bring his climate change scientist-suing, LGBT worker rights-scrapping and health care law-challenging ways to the United States Senate.
In a new interview with the Washington Post, Cucinelli says he’s considering taking on Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in 2014.If he does, that would give Virginia two very high-profile Senate races in a row. Next November, former governor and senator George Allen (R) is expected to meet former governor and DNC chair Tim Kaine in a battle royale to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb (D). That race is expected to cost millions and draw national attention.
There’s little doubt that a Cuccinelli-Warner race would be just as big. Cuccinelli has become a national star on the tea party circuit, popping up all over the place at national conservative conventions and met with applause from big audiences. His particular brand of legal advocacy — using his power as the state’s chief law enforcement officer to enforce an extremely right-wing brand of legal and social policy — is right at home among the national GOP base, and it’s likely he could raise big money if he sought the office.
He’s already taking Warner on, claiming the first-term Democrat has failed to live up to his promise as a centrist leader on Capitol Hill. Warner is a member of the “Gang of Six” bipartisan group of Senators that often draws fire from both progressives and conservatives. Cuccinelli told the Post that Warner has not emerged as the Senate powerhouse some had suggested he would be when he entered the Senate in 2009, just a couple years after Democrats had urged him to run for President.
“Warner was given the back of Reid’s hand on this debt thing,” Cuccinelli told the paper. “He was out there playing himself as leader, leader, leader [and Reid said] Mark who?”
The normal course of action for Virginia AGs is for them to seek the governor’s mansion, but as the Post reports, the term-limited Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has already put his support behind his Lt. Gov. to succeed him in the 2013 race. That potentially limits Cuccinelli’s options, but it also may open the door for him to try for the national stage in the Senate.
Read the Post interview with Cuccinelli here.