Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli embraced his Tea Party roots Tuesday winning the endorsement of top conservative radio host Mark Levin who charged that Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe wants to turn Virginia into Maryland where taxes are higher and liberal Democrats are in control.

“This is my county, this is my state, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch Terry McAuliffe be governor Virginia. If he want’s to run for governor of Maryland I’ll understand it. But this is Virginia and we have to draw a line somewhere in this country and we’re drawing it right here in Virginia,” said the conservative firebrand.

“Do you believe low taxes, individual liberty and family values are a radical, extremist point of view? You want to look like the state of Maryland? Well then damn it let’s do something about it,” he urged about 150 Cuccinelli backers at a suburban shopping mall campaign event in Sterling in eastern Loudoun County.

Where Maryland has endorsed a more liberal approach to government, recently expanding its taxes, Levin said Cuccinelli will preserve Virginia’s conservative roots. “This is the place of George Washington, not Terry McAuliffe,” said the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Liberty Amendments.”

Levin’s endorsement is a key one that should help rally Cuccinelli’s base of conservatives in a race that has had him chasing McAuliffe for weeks, both in the polls and in fundraising.

Cuccinelli noted his fundraising deficit to McAuliffe, but said he has never had more to spend than his opponents in previous races. “It’s not a goal,” he joked, “we just always seem to be out spent.”

He also said he would continue to challenge the Obama administration as governor, as he has on issues including Obamacare.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at