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AG News Round-Up

In light of a busy, busy week in the AG’s race, and with just minutes to go until today’s forum at the YRFV convention (which I will be live-blogging), I wanted to note and comment on three interesting developments in the race:

-John Brownlee was endorsed by former Attorney General and 2005 Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Kilgore this week. I think the strategic considerations here are rather dubious. Certainly the Kilgore name already carries some weight in southwest Virginia; however, that’s not a part of the state where Brownlee should have any problem, given his former job as Assistant United States Attorney. Additionally, Kilgore is known not only for losing the election in large part due to the misfire of an ad on the death penalty, but also in conservative circles for being insufficiently conservative, particularly on the abortion issue. (It should also be noted that he was a finance chair for the Rudy Guliani campaign) This not only ties Brownlee to the questionable past of the party, but it also exacerbates issues with conservatives in the western part of the state. He has issues in the upper and middle part of the Shenandoah Valley, although he has the backing of law enforcement in many of those localities. The Kilgore endorsement allows conservative leaders to raise those questions while saying “Hey, we have a TRUE and PROVEN conservative over here.” (I’m not questioning Brownlee’s conservatism–I’m simply saying that Cuccinelli has led on these issues). However, it is interesting to note that Kilgore was not a prosecutor was indeed a federal and state prosecutor but was in private practice when he ran–making this endorsement all the more interesting for a candidate who is clearly running a “top cop” strategy for the seat. Perhaps Brownlee wants to signal that he can run a “holistic” office?

-Speaking of Cuccinelli, he sent out the first of “several” issue papers on jobs. Curiously, this issue paper was not on guns or abortion, two of Ken’s key areas, nor on the death penalty, an issue where Ken has taken a beating of late. Rather, it was on jobs. You’ll recall that we’ve discussed here before that Dave Foster has already staked out territory on this issue. Are Cooch’s people hearing that this issue may have traction in the AG’s race after all? 

-Finally, Dave Foster had his own curious endorsement this week–well, not so much an endorsement but a special guest for an upcoming fundraiser. Former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, who served under Reagan and continues to be a rock star amongst social conservatives, has attached his name to the Foster effort. Foster has been stuck in third place from the very beginning–for him, the most viable path to victory is being strong enough to be in a position to cut a deal with one of the other two, most likely Brownlee if he fails to stay close to Cuccinelli. Brownlee’s people would be the most likely to cut a deal based on electability. However, by bolstering his conservative credentials, Foster opens up the possibility of drawing from both camps in the event that all three candidates end up near 33% on the first ballot. 

I couldn’t post about this race without talking about the money race. In raw numbers from VPAP:

Cash On Hand
Brownlee $117,894
Cuccinelli $160.844
Foster $22,499

Money Raised First Quarter
Brownlee $105,205-256 Donors
Cuccinelli $86,021-486 Donors
Foster $44,354-164 Donors

Money Spent 1Q
Brownlee $113,629
Cuccinelli $145,173
Foster $75,729

Analysis later

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