Ken Cuccinelli may have lost his bid for Virginia governor in 2013, but unlike most losing politicians, he’s managed to remain relevant by helping elect conservatives through the Senate Conservatives Fund.
I sat down with the former state attorney general at the Young American’s Foundation conference Thursday, and while he is polite and well-spoken, he's still a politician.
Below are the takeaways from our discussion:
1. Cuccinelli really loves former Sen. Jim DeMint
“I’ve known Sen. DeMint for awhile. [He’s] probably the only person I can think of off the top of my head I’d use the word ‘admire’ to describe who regularly exists in Washington, D.C.,” Cuccinelli said.
2. Cuccinelli really dislikes billionaire Tom Steyer
“A big part of the defining battle is affected by money. You know, Steyer alone spent half as much money as everyone and everything on my side,” Cuccinelli said.
“We spent 23-point-X million, and Steyer spent 11-point-something million. I mean, he literally alone spent almost half as much,” he added. “And had no problems lying through his teeth to an extraordinary degree — and the media never called him on it. They never called him on it.”
3. He is also not a fan of his former opponent, Gov. Terry McAuliffe
“One thing Terry’s very good at is fundraising,” Cuccinelli said. “He’s professed that he knows nothing about governance, that he knows nothing about legislating. But, he knows about fundraising.”
4. Or a fan of the media
“And when [Steyer and McAuliffe] willing to lie, and they have more money, and the media helps them ...” Cuccinelli said.
“They report a lie as if it’s equal to a fact. You know, ‘Tom Steyer says Ken Cuccinelli hates women, what do you say, Ken?’ That’s the old ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ question,” he added. “And that’s the way the media handled it, and we don’t have much other than the liberal media in Virginia.”
5. He might just have a point about the media
“I mean, in every debate, I hammered [McAuliffe] on being for public funding for abortions, sex-selective abortion, not supporting parental consent. I mean, very basic things that are 60-70-80 percent support items among ordinary Virginians,” Cuccinelli said.
"And it wasn’t reported anywhere. Anywhere,” he said. “And, I mean, I brought it up to him face-to-face, hammered him with it, and it wasn’t reported anywhere.”
6. He really, really thinks the Left is full of liars
“Unfortunately, lying is working for the left — it worked in 2012, it worked in 2013 — and they’re going to keep lying until it doesn’t work anymore,” Cuccinelli said.
“They’re an ‘ends justify the means’ mentality and philosophy, which is totally contra American history,” he added.
7. He has a very high opinion of conservatives (natch)
“Conservatives are the heirs to the Founders’ vision,” Cuccinelli said. “But we have to act like it.”
8. He is super optimistic about the future
“These pendulums swing back, and the truth has its own power,” Cuccinelli said.
9. He is proud to be pro-life
“I don’t believe you back off being pro-life, you don’t stop being pro-life because they say you’re mean because you’re pro-life,” Cuccinelli said.
“I’m not mean,” he added. “I want to keep children alive, how mean is that?”
10. He in part blames former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s tax hikes for his loss in 2013 (and is also not his fan)
“That really undercut me,” Cuccinelli said.
“That was devastating to me with the base,” he added. “Even though I opposed it, it was devastating to me with the base. People don’t realize what that does to your whole team.”
“He really, really damaged the Republican brand.”
11. He’s ‘meh’ on that awful, awful Virginia car tax we all hate
“Well, I mean, it’s a local tax,” Cuccinelli said.
“I didn’t say I like it,” he added. “I would rather we limited — for the sake of transparency — we limited the number of taxes that we had and we were right up front about what they are, how much they are and so forth.”