Ken Cuccinelli

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Ken Cuccinelli
Ken Cuccinelli 1.jpg
Attorney General of Virginia
Former officeholder
In office
January 16, 2010 - January 11, 2014
PredecessorBill Mims (R)
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 3, 2009
Campaign $$6,155,706
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Virginia State Senate
August 2002 - January 2010
Bachelor'sUniversity of Virginia
Master'sGeorge Mason University
J.D.George Mason University School of Law and Economics
Date of birthJuly 30, 1968
Place of birthEdison, NJ
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Kenneth "Ken" Thomas Cuccinelli II (born July 30, 1968, in Edison, New Jersey) is a former Republican Attorney General of Virginia, having been sworn into office on January 15, 2010. Prior to this, he had been a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate since 2002, representing the thirty-seventh congressional district.

Cuccinelli was the Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia in the 2013 election. He was the only gubernatorial candidate to file for the party's statewide primary convention by the January 14, 2013 deadline.[1] He faced Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis in the general election on November 5, 2013, coming in a close second to McAuliffe.[2]

A February 2013 article in Governing named Cuccinelli as one of the top state Republican officials to watch in 2013.[3]


Cuccinelli is both the business owner and partner in the law firm of Cuccinelli & Day, PLLC, located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is a business attorney that specializes in intellectual property protection and patents, often serving as an independent counsel for smaller business owners. Additionally, Cuccinelli has served since 1997 as a court appointed lawyer for those individuals placed within the state's involuntary civil commitment process.

Other roles:

  • Member/Chair, Advisory Committee, Virginia's Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1994-1999)
  • Sully Representative, Advisory Committee, Fairfax County Public Schools Social Studies (1998-1999)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Families Incorporated (1998-2000)
  • Volunteer Coach/Referee, Basketball
  • Member, Defenders of Property Rights
  • Member, Fairfax Bar Association
  • Member, Fairfax Bar Association
  • Member, Saint Andrew's Catholic Church
  • Member, Virginia State Bar Association
  • Member, Commission on the Prevention of Human Trafficking
  • Member, Joint Subcommittee to Study Liability Protections for Healthcare Providers
  • Member, Public/Private Partnership Advisory Commission
  • Member, Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Project
  • Member, Virginia Supreme Court Commission on Mental Health in the Justice System


  • Graduated from Gonzaga College High School (1986)
  • Bachelor's degree, University of Virginia in mechanical engineering
  • Juris Doctorate degree, George Mason University School of Law
  • Master's degree, George Mason University in international commerce and policy

Political Career

Virginia Attorney General (2009-present)



On Monday, August 2, 2010, Cuccinelli published an opinion based on an inquest made by State Representative Bob Marshall concerning Prince William County's implementation of a "law that requires police to check the immigration status of everyone they arrest -- but not everyone they come in legal contact with."[4] Virginia's top law enforcer argued that state "law enforcement officers, including conservation officers may, like Arizona police officers, inquire into the immigration status of persons stopped or arrested."[5] Cuccinelli noted, however, that, unlike under Arizona's SB 1070, Virginia state law does not require them to do so.

Nearly two weeks after the United States Justice Department filed suit against the state of Arizona over its anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), contending that it "interferes with federal immigration responsibilities," Cuccinelli joined eight other Republican state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the measure.[6][7] The Virginia Attorney General remarked that he was stunned by the suit considering that "Arizona's law maintains the "joint federal-state cooperative immigration enforcement program" established by Congress," rather then combats it as United States Attorney General Eric Holder contends.[8]


Cuccinelli announced on February 17, 2010, that he had filed petitions with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to reverse a finding by the Obama administration that declared carbon dioxide a danger to public health that contributes to global warming. He is one of two state attorneys general, both Republican, openly challenging the Democratic White House on this issue.[9]

In his own state, Cuccinelli used Virginia's "Fraud against Taxpayer's Act," to bring a case against a climate scientist. On March 2, 2013, the Virginia Supreme Court announced that it had sided with the University of Virginia in Cuccinelli's investigation of Michael Mann, a former climate scientist at the University of Virginia. Cuccinelli claimed Mann committed fraud against taxpayers while studying climate change. Cuccinelli believed Mann manipulated his data in order to secure more federal grants. The court ruled first against the language of the law and it's inability to affect state agencies like the university. Supreme Court Justice Leroy Millette wrote "In sum, neither by express language nor by necessary implication does FATA provide the Attorney General with authority to issue CIDs to commonwealth agencies."[10]

Freedom of information laws

In May 2013, it was reported that Cuccinelli believes Virginia's freedom of information laws do not apply to the Office of the Attorney General. While the office has continued to respond to requests for documents under the law, the fulfilled requests began including information saying FOIA does not apply to the office, citing a 2011 Virginia Supreme Court case. The case in question, Christian v. SCC, ruled that since the Virginia State Corporation Commission's authority comes not from the legislature but is created in the Virginia Constitution, it is not considered a "public body" and is therefore exempt from public records law. Senior Assistant Attorney General James E. Schliessmann said that since the Office of the Attorney General is also constitutionally established, it is also exempt from FOIA.[11]

Healthcare reform
See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

One week after the Virginia General Assembly passed a "bill that would make it illegal for the [federal] government to require individuals [within the state] to purchase health insurance," a precautionary measure being considered by thirty-seven other states in case Congressional Democratic leadership in Washington D.C. were able to pass their far-reaching healthcare reform legislation, Cuccinelli announced "Virginia will file suit against the federal government if" the United States House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the healthcare measure, as was expected to occur before the Easter recess[12][13]

In addition to this, the Virginia Attorney General also issued a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) warning her that if she chose to enact the healthcare reform bill through the use of the "deem and pass" or Slaughter Solution, which would avoid the need for a conventional House vote, more constitutional challenges would be filed by the states, including Virginia. Speaking with Greta Van Susteren on her FOX News program on Thursday, March 18, Cuccinelli said he would appear in court the very next week after President Obama signed the bill if the House used the unconstitutional "deem and pass" rule to enact it.[14] Ultimately, the House decided against using the controversial tactic to pass the Senate's version of the health care bill.[15]

The morning after the United States House of Representatives narrowly passed the Senate reconciliation bill, Cuccinelli said he would follow through with his threat and file suit against the federal government. He was expected to "argue that the bill, with its mandate that requires nearly every American to be insured by 2014, violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution."[16][17]

After Cuccinelli filed suit in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebilius on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, the federal government responded by moving to have Cuccinelli's lawsuit dismissed. In a press release, Cuccinelli cited the Tenth Amendment, arguing that Virginia had sovereignty on healthcare policy because the Constitution of the United States did not give the federal government the power to mandate that all citizens purchase a product or service. Thus, Cuccinelli argued, under the Tenth Amendment, the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act should remain sovereign. He added this opinion to his argument based on the Commerce Clause.[18]

The Virginia Attorney General argued not only would the litigation against the federal health care measure cost no more than the $350 legally required filing fee, it could ultimately "save the commonwealth more than $1 billion in estimated costs."[19] The health care overhaul is expected to cost the state of Virginia $1.1 billion over seven years, beginning in 2015, mainly as a result of the new Medicaid requirements, according to estimates calculated by the governor's office.

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli told Greta Van Susteren that the ruling finding the individual mandate unconstitutional eliminates the funding mechanism for Obamacare.

On Monday, August 2, 2010, the Honorable Henry Hudson, a federal judge for United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, ruled "that the state of Virginia could proceed with its challenge to President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law."[20] Though refusing to comment on the arguments in the case at this point, Hudson did however note that the issue raised by the states, specifically whether or not the federal government has the authority under the Commerce Clause to force citizens to purchase insurance, had not yet fully been tested in the court system. Furthermore, he stated that he had "not [been] persuaded that the Secretary has demonstrated a failure to state a cause of action with respect to the Commerce Clause element."[21][22]

On October 18, 2010, the first day the suit was presented before the court, Judge Henry E. Hudson remarked that he would have a decision by the end of the year. However, he also acknowledged that his decision would be "only one brief stop on the way to the United States Supreme Court.”[23]

Nearly two months later, Judge Hudson had reached a decision, ruling that the requirement that all individuals purchase health care coverage under the "individual mandate" exceeded "the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."[24] He rejected the Obama Administration's argument that the federal government has the authority to implement the "individual mandate" under the provisions of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Judge Hudson noted that “same reasoning could apply to transportation, housing or nutritional decisions” and that “this broad definition of the economic activity subject to congressional regulation lacks logical limitation.”[25] In spite of his ruling striking down a key component of the federal health care reform measure, Judge Hudson refused to issue an injunction "stopping implementation of the entire law," noting that the unconstitutional elements of the law could be severed from the whole.[26] But since the "individual mandate" "collects most of the money that is supposed to flow into the system from millions of additional participants," analysts contend, the loss of this portion of the law makes its execution "severely compromised and could rock the foundation of other provisions in the legislation."[27]

State-funded charities

Cuccinelli's office released an advisory opinion in early 2011 regarding state funding for charities, which triggered scrutiny of how to fund charities with tax dollars as they develop criteria to weed through hundreds of nonprofits current receiving state funding.

Eleven agencies were involved in scrutinizing non-contracted services for potential problems. In the Health Department alone, 56 charities were flagged. Of those, 26 had their payments delayed until a formal contract could be drafted, state Secretary of Finance Ric Brown told lawmakers.[28]

State officials were to determine if funding for the three nonprofits — a hospice, a heritage trail and a historical preservation fund — was being lawfully given.

The state Department of Planning and Budget released a mid-review report of the 54 nonprofit organizations and programs slated to receive more than $23 million in 2011 and about $24 million in 2012. The report responds to Cuccinelli’s opinion that charitable giving by the government is unconstitutional.

As of May 20, 2011, 11 charities complied with the Virginia Constitution, while 14 nonprofits were encouraged to draw up contracts with the state for the services provided, according to the report. No opinion was listed for 26 charities, because they did not seek one from the attorney general’s office or did not provide that information to the state Department of Planning and Budget.[29]


Birther accusation

Though Cuccinelli didn't question Barack Obama's place of birth, he had to clarify a comment that critics contended was an endorsement of "birther" claims "that President Obama may not have been born in the United States."[30]

When questioned in an interview conducted by an online blogger about the Obama birth certificate controversy, Cuccinelli remarked that "it will get tested in my view when someone -- when he signs a law, and someone is convicted of violating it and one of their defenses will be it's not a law because someone qualified to be President didn't sign it."[31][32]

On the exact same day these allegations were made, Cuccinelli released a statement insisting that he believed President Barack Obama was born in the United States. He remarked that in the interview he "was asked a hypothetical legal question, and I gave a hypothetical legal answer in response." [33]

Virginia State Senate (2002-2010)

Cuccinelli was first selected to represent the public in the State Senate when he won the August 2002 special election held to replace Warren Barry, who resigned in order to serve on the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. During his tenure, he operated within the Senate Courts of Justice, Transportation, Local Government, and the Rehabilitation and Social Services committees.



As a state senator, Cuccinelli sponsored a number of pro-life/anti-abortion legislative measures designed to discourage the medical practice, including a requiring doctors to anesthetize fetuses after the first trimester and requiring physicians who perform abortions on pregnant girls 15 years old or younger to preserve the fetal tissue for the purpose of determining whether the pregnancy is the result of criminal behavior.[34][35]

Later, during the course of his 2009 campaign for Attorney General, he received the endorsement of the Republican National Coalition for Life.

Gun control

During his tenure as a member of the State Legislature, he sponsored several anti-gun control measures, including bills repealing the state prohibition on carrying a concealed handgun in a restaurant or club and recognizing concealed handgun permits or licenses issued by another state.[36][37]

For these and other actions, Cuccinelli received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in his 2009 campaign for Attorney General.


In the Virginia General Assembly, Cuccinelli introduced a measure calling upon the United States Congress to call for a constitutional convention to amend the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution to revoke the citizenship rights for children of illegal aliens born on United States soil in addition to a bill making an employee's inability or refusal to speak English at the workplace, in violation of a known policy of the employer, to be constituted as misconduct and disqualify that individual from receiving unemployment compensation benefits from Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).[38][39]

State song

On January 30, 2006, Cuccinelli filed an amendment to a bill to designate the official state song as "Taxman" by the Beatles. He said his constituents would feel a connection to the song as "they feel like all they ever get from Richmond is more taxes." The amendment was not taken up for consideration.[40]



See also: Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013

Cuccinelli was the Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia in the 2013. He was the only gubernatorial candidate to file for the party's statewide primary convention by the January 14, 2013 deadline.[1][41] Leading up to the general election, polls had Terry McAuliffe taking the victory by a solid lead. In the end, the race was much closer than anticipated. After his early lead slipped away, Cuccinelli conceded at 11pm on election night. Cuccinelli said that the close race was a testament to Virginians' opposition to Obamacare, one of the main issues Cuccunelli ran on. “Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare,” Cuccinelli said.[42]

  • General Election - 2013 Governor's Race
Virginia Gubernatorial General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTerry McAuliffe 47.8% 1,069,789
     Republican Ken Cuccinelli 45.2% 1,013,354
     Libertarian Robert Sarvis 6.5% 146,084
     N/A Write-in 0.5% 11,087
Total Votes 2,240,314
Election Results via Virginia State Board of Elections.

Race background

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) was ineligible to run for re-election in 2013 because of term limits. The term limits Virginia imposes on its governors are more strict than any other state in the country. Under the commonwealth's constitution, no governor may serve back-to-back terms. This means that McDonnell, unlike other governors in their first term, was ineligible to run for re-election.

There are no such term limits on the attorney general, and many were surprised at fomer AG Ken Cuccinelli's (R) decision to run for governor, rather than seek another term. If not for Cuccinelli, outgoing Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would have been the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to succeed McDonnell.[43] Due to the decision by the Republican Party of Virginia to change their candidate nomination method from open primary election to closed nominating convention starting in 2013, and "tea party darling" Cuccinelli's presence in the race, Bolling withdrew his bid for the GOP nod in November 2012.[44][45] About the alternative of seeking re-election to his current post, Bolling stated that “Under normal circumstances, I would be open to the possibility of running for another term as lieutenant governor, but I would not be interested in running on a statewide ticket with Mr. Cuccinelli.”[46] He later said he regretted dropping out of the race as early as he did.[47]

McDonnell had previously pledged his support for Bolling's candidacy, in part because Bolling refrained from challenging McDonnell for governor in 2009. After Bolling bowed out, McDonnell chose to endorse fellow Republican Cuccinelli for his successor, despite Cuccinelli's outspoken opposition to McDonnell's Transportation Initiative, which was considered to be the centerpiece of his gubernatorial legacy. Ironically, Cuccinelli's future general election opponent, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, had been equally outspoken on the issue, but as an advocate and defender of the outgoing governor's approach to amending the state's transportation funding policy.[48][49][50]

In response to the major party picks, the Libertarian Party held a special convention and nominated Robert Sarvis as the party's official gubernatorial candidate.[51]

Like Cuccinelli and Sarvis, McAuliffe faced no primary opponent. Days from the election, McAuliffe held a comfortable polling and fundraising lead over Cuccinelli and Sarvis. Aggregated polling data had the Democratic nominee with an average edge of seven percentage points over Cuccinelli--an advantage that could have been attributed in large part to female voters' 58-34 preference of McAuliffe, since he and Cuccinelli were almost neck-and-neck among men.[52][53] During the last campaign finance reporting period, ending October 28, McAuliffe reported raising $8.1 million to Cuccinelli's $2.9 million, and holding $1.6 million in cash on hand, which was twice the size of Cuccinelli's warchest. Sarvis was trailing both with a reported $81,595 raised and $58,584 on hand.[54][55][56] Hillary Clinton's decision to come out in support of McAuliffe on October 19 - marking her first campaign event appearance since stepping down as U.S. Secretary of State - further enhanced the Democrat's frontrunner status.[57] Former President Bill Clinton threw in his support soon thereafter, followed by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, who joined the McAuliffe campaign effort in the final week of the election season.[58]

The three contenders squared off in the general election on November 5, 2013, which McAuliffe won by a margin of 2.6% percentage points.[59]

Impact of US government shutdown on governor's race

The high profile federal government shutdown coincided with the home stretch of the expensive and high-profile 2013 Virginia governor race, which created a fresh backdrop for the battle between major party nominees Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli (R), and provided a brand new context in which to undermine each candidate's character and leadership potential.[60] Each campaign released an ad during the aftermath of the shutdown, which arrived on the heels of the candidates' second debate.[61]

With the nation paying close attention to its government in light of the perceived failure of Congress to work together in the best interests of their constituents, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli's ads each highlighted features of his opponent which most closely mirrored the type of stubbornness displayed by the House and Senate leading up to the shutdown, and to which the general public was, at that moment, so sensitively attuned. That moment, to be more specific, was one month before the general election. As the competition stood, McAuliffe had an overall average lead in the polls of 5.3 points over his Republican foe.[62]

Hoping to use the shutdown to further advance his edge by painting Cuccinelli in with the GOP ideologues in Congress, McAuliffe's ad emphasized Cuccinelli's strong ties to tea party leader U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), since Cruz was an outspoken supporter both of Cuccinelli and the far-right congressional insurgency which, in seeking to defund Obamacare, was regarded as causing the shutdown. The ad cited Cuccinelli's past effort to defund Planned Parenthood, apparently bringing the Virginia legislature "to a standstill," and also claimed Cuccinelli had been sufficiently opposed to Mark Warner's 2004 budget to call for a shutdown of the state government.[63]

Cuccinelli's ad aimed to discredit McAuliffe by referencing articles from The Washington Post and the Richmond-Times Dispatch criticizing McAuliffe's prospective budget plan, which he had allegedly threatened he would shut down the government over in order to get the plan passed. The radio spot also accused McAuliffe of being "against compromise, against working together to find solutions,” and noted how the Democrat sided with his fellow party members in Congress who had vocally dismissed opportunities to collaborate with the Republicans to avert shutdown.[64][65]

A unique opportunity was identified for the solo third party candidate in the race, Libertarian Robert Sarvis, in the shutdown atmosphere, where disillusionment with the standard of government operation ran rampant. Had Sarvis not been barred from participating in the third debate with McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, it was thought that he could have used the reflected spotlight to lure substantial number of voters who, already frustrated by Congress' showcase of two-party gridlock, would be more sympathetic than usual to a non-major party nominee.

"People are looking for other options they don't like what they have to see from those two parties and we're trying to fill that void with principled advocacy for more freedom in our economic sphere and personal lives," stated Sarvis. His passive warning about "obvious dysfunction of our [federal] government" also existing on the state and local level could have had an especially profound impact on swing voters and the average 9% of voters who were still polling as undecided at the beginning of November.[66][67]


February 2013-November 2013
All candidates

Governor of Virginia: All candidates
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)Robert Sarvis (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Christopher Newport University Poll of Likely Voters
(October 25-30, 2013)
Emerson College Poll
(October 25-20, 2013)
AVERAGES 43.5% 39% 11.5% 6% +/-3.12 956
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to
Governor of Virginia: All candidates
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)Robert Sarvis (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Poll/Harper
(October 5-6, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 2-8, 2013)
NBC4/NBC News/Marist Poll
(October 13-15, 2013)
Rasmussen Reports Poll
(October 20, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 15-21, 2013)
Wenzel Strategies
(October 21-22, 2013)
Old Dominion University Poll
Public Policy Poll (Early voters)
(October 19-20, 26-27, 2013)
Washington Post/Abt-SRBI Poll
(October 24-27, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 30, 2013)
AVERAGES 46.9% 38.1% 8.4% 5.6% +/-2.31 969.8
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to
Governor of Virginia: All candidates
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)Robert Sarvis (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Roanoke University Poll
(July 8-14, 2013)
Public Policy Polling
(July 11-14, 2013)
Emerson College Poll
(August 23-28, 2013)
League of Women Voters/Public Policy Polling
(August 27-28, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(September 9-15, 2013)
Harper Polling/Conservative Intel
(September 15-16, 2013)
Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll
(September 19-22, 2013)
NBC News/Marist Poll
(September 17-19, 2013)
Rasmussen Reports Poll
(September 23, 2013)
Christopher Newport Poll
(October 1-6, 2013)
AVERAGES 42.8% 37.7% 8.1% 10.5% +/-2.73 710.7
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

McAuliffe vs. Cuccinelli only

Governor of Virginia: Cuccinelli v. McAuliffe (June 2013 - present)
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports Poll
(June 5-6, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(July 11-15, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(August 14-19, 2013)
Internal Poll
(August 13-18, 2013)
Rasmussen Reports
(September 3-4, 2013)
Purple Strategies Poll
(September 6-10, 2013)
Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll
(September 19-22, 2013)
Public Policy Poll/Harper
(October 5-6, 2013)
AVERAGES 46.5% 41% 10.88% +/-3.36 764.88
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to
Governor of Virginia: Cuccinelli v. McAuliffe (February 2013 - May 2013)
Poll Terry McAuliffe (D) Ken Cuccinelli (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University
(Feb. 14-18, 2013)
Roanoke College Poll
(April 8-14, 2013)
Washington Post (Registered Voters)
(April 29-May 2, 2013)
Washington Post (Likely Voters)
(April 29-May 2, 2013)
NBC News/Marist Poll
(April 28-May 2, 2013)
Quinnipiac University
(May 8-13, 2013)
Public Policy Polling
(May 24-26, 2013)
AVERAGES 39.57% 40.71% 19.14% +/-3.49 906.29
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Campaign finance

Ken Cuccinelli[68] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Post-Primary ReportJuly 15, 2013$2,746,111.17$1,139,297.36$(5,019,045.31)$2,652,588.43
8 Day Pre-General ReportOctober 28, 2013$1,050,067.09$2,922,435.88$(3,368,339.02)$604,163.95
Running totals


Cuccinelli's 2013 gubernatorial campaign was endorsed by outgoing incumbent Gov. Bob McDonnell. Other supporters included, but were not limited to, the following individuals from government and/or the business community:[69][70]

  • Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, Roanoke-based Democratic* strategist
Saunders decided to endorse Cuccinelli over his party's nominee, Terry McAuliffe, because, "he and Cuccinelli agree 'on matters of economic fairness' and share concerns about the middle class."[71]

Campaign ads

2013 Campaign controversies
"Anti-women agenda"

Cuccinelli's record on women's issues, including his sponsorship of several pro-life/anti-abortion legislative measures while serving in the state senate, was a primary target for attacks by Democrats and other supporters of his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, in the 2013 gubernatorial race. Throughout the election season, McAuliffe's campaign invoked Cuccinelli's past efforts on laws to restrict abortion and defund planned parenthood, as well as his association with the Republican National Coalition for Life, which endorsed his successful candidacy for attorney general in 2009, in order to alienate some female and liberal voters. Cuccinelli's campaign made earnest efforts to debunk accusations from opponents that, if elected, the Republican nominee would impose his "anti-women agenda" on the governorship. For example, they ran an ad spot on October 1 before the general election that featured Tichi Pickney Eppes, an African-American woman and Democratic school board member, expressing her support for Cuccinelli as the next governor and calling the opposition's claims that he possessed an anti-women agenda "ridiculous."[74][75] Already trailing McAuliffe in polls and fundraising in the fall of 2013, a September 30 report from NBC news about Cuccinelli's anti-abortion stance accelerated his campaign's downward spiral. The report offered a blunt excerpt from Cuccinelli's 2012 Christian Life Summit speech, the entirety of which was published to YouTube. In the speech, Cuccinelli said, "Really, Given that God does judge nations, it's amazing that abortion has run as far and foully as it has, without what I would consider to be a greater imposition of judgment on this country...Who knows what the future holds?"[76]

Staying on as attorney general

It is the custom of Virginia attorneys general running for governor to resign in the final year of their terms. Without exception, the previous six consecutive elected attorneys general sought the governorship and stepped down early for campaign purposes. After Cuccinelli cemented his party's nomination for governor on January 13, 2013 (he was the only Republican to file the necessary paperwork by the convention's deadline), he stated publicly that he intended to serve the entirety of his current term as attorney general.[1] Cuccinelli's decision to break with tradition elicited criticism from Democrats and outgoing incumbent Bob McDonnell, who resigned the attorney general's post in February of 2009 before winning election as governor that November. Those criticizing Cuccinelli argue that absent this custom, the "full-time" demands of the attorney general's office cannot be met, and that taxpayers deserve more than a part-time leader.[77] Another reason attorneys general typically do not hold on to their jobs while seeking the top office is that there is a fundraising disadvantage associated with double duty. Virginia election law does not allow state officials running for state office to raise money for their campaigns during the General Assembly session, which began last week and will run 46 days.

Cuccinelli defended his decision, saying, “When I was running for attorney general, both I and my opponent promised to serve out all four years,” and reassured constituents that he felt confident in his ability to balance the roles of attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, as many others he consulted, such as Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), have managed to do without neglecting their responsibilities in the past.[77]

“Whether I stay or go, Democrats are going to criticize me,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “I’d rather they criticize me for keeping my word.”[77]


Lieutenant governor Bill Bolling (R) had also been in the race, but he suspended his campaign on November 28, 2012, citing his slim chances beating Cuccinelli, the tea party favorite, for the party's nomination under the newly instated nominating convention setting.[78] Effective in 2013, the Republican party nominates its gubernatorial, lt. gubernatorial, and attorney general candidates via convention (that is, delegate vote) rather than statewide primary election. Although Bolling was explicit about ending his pursuit of a place on the Republican ticket last November, he waited until March 12, 2013 before completely ruling out the possibility of running as an Independent candidate instead.[45]

Following his initial withdrawal from the Republican gubernatorial race, Bolling commented about the alternative of seeking re-election to his current post as lt. governor, stating that, “Under normal circumstances, I would be open to the possibility of running for another term as lieutenant governor, but I would not be interested in running on a statewide ticket with Mr. Cuccinelli.”[79] Bolling made a formal announcement on his decision to end his campaign altogether on his official campaign website on March 12, 2013.[80]

Term-limited Gov. McDonnell had previously pledged his support for Bolling's candidacy- in part because Bolling refrained from challenging McDonnell for governor in 2009.[81]


Cuccinelli defeated Democrat Stephen C. Shannon for attorney general in the November 2009 general election, earning 57.51% of the total vote.[82]

  • 2009 Race for Attorney General - General Election
Attorney General of Virginia, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngKen T. Cunccinelli II 57.5% 1,124,137
     Democratic Stephen C. Shannon 42.4% 828,687
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 1,772
Total Votes 1,954,596
  • 2009 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
  • Ken Cuccinelli ran unopposed in this contest

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Cuccinelli is available dating back to 2003. Based on available campaign finance records, Cuccinelli raised a total of $6,155,706 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 8, 2013.[83]

Ken Cuccinelli's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 Virginia Attorney General Not up for election $1,298,603
2009 Virginia Attorney General/VA State Senate* Won $3,152,043
2007 VA State Senate Won $1,109,717
2005 VA State Senate Not up for election $163,477
2003 VA State Senate Won $431,866
Grand Total Raised $6,155,706
*In 2009, Cuccinelli raised $68,661 for his Senate seat, which was not up for re-election, and $3,083,382 for the Attorney General race, which he won.


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Ken Cuccinelli's donors each year.[84] Click [show] for more information.


Cuccinelli currently resides in Fairfax County, Virginia with his wife of nineteen years, Alice Monteiro, and their seven children. He is also a practicing Roman Catholic. In 2008, he received the Legislator of the Year Award from Family Foundation.

Recent news

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See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Hill, "Cuccinelli only Republican to file for governor in Virginia," January 15, 2013
  2. ‘’FOX News,’’ “Democrat Terry McAuliffe wins Va. governor’s race, Fox News projects,” November 5, 2013
  3. Governing, "State Republican Officials to Watch in 2013," February 6, 2013
  4. FOX News "Virginia AG Rules Officers Can Check Immigration Status, Aren't Required" 2 Aug. 2010
  5. Politico "Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants immigration checks" 3 Aug. 2010
  6. FOX News "Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law" 6 July, 2010
  7. The Washington Examiner "Cuccinelli files amicus brief defending Arizona’s immigration law" 15 July, 2010
  8. Hampton Roads "Va. AG joins 8 other states backing Arizona immigration law" 15 July, 2010
  9. Hampton Roads "VA Challenge Obama Administration Over Global Warming Finding" 17 Feb. 2010
  10. Huffington Post, Academic Freedom Wins in Cuccinelli Climate Case, March 2, 2012
  11. Washington Post, "Cuccinelli says attorney general’s office is exempt from Virginia public records laws," May 19, 2013
  12. Washington Post "Va. assembly approves bill to bar health-insurance mandate" 11 March, 2010
  13. Washington Post "Cuccinelli's office confirms Virginia will sue over health care" 17 March, 2010
  14. YouTube "Virginia Attorney General: If Dems Ram Obamacare Through House He Will Be in Court Next Week" 18 March, 2010
  15. FOX News "House Opts Against 'Deeming' Healthcare Bill Passed" 20 March, 2010
  16. WSLS 10 "Cuccinelli says Virginia will sue over health-care bill" 22 March, 2010
  17. Richmond Times-Dispatch "Cuccinelli vows no letup to restrain federal power" 27 March, 2010
  18. Office of the Attorney General "Virginia Responds to Feds' Attempts to Dismiss Healthcare Suit" 7 June, 2010
  19. Richmond Times-Dispatch "Cuccinelli: Health-care lawsuit could save state $1 billion" 31 March, 2010
  20. Yahoo! News "Judge lets Virginia healthcare challenge proceed" 2 Aug. 2010
  21. Wall Street Journal "Challenge to Healthcare Law Advances" 2 Aug. 2010
  22. Hot Air "Breaking: Federal judge refuses to dismiss Virginia challenge to ObamaCare" 2 Aug. 2010
  23. Virginia Statehouse News "Federal judge to rule on health insurance mandate by year’s end" 18 Oct. 2010
  24. National Review Online "Breaking: Virginia Judge Rules Individual Mandate Unconstitutional" 13 Dec. 2010
  25. Yahoo! News "Judge in Va. strikes down federal health care law" 13 Dec. 2010
  26. National Journal" Federal Judge Rules Against Healthcare Law 13 Dec. 2010
  27. FOX News "Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Virginia's Central Challenge to Healthcare Law" 13 Dec. 2010
  28. "Virginia’s charity probe continues, will affect budget," Virginia Statehouse News via Statehouse News Online, May 16, 2011
  29. "Nonprofits come under microscope as Virginia funding review plods," By Amanda Iacone, Virginia Statehouse News, May 23, 2011
  30. The Huffington Post "Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General, Clarifies Obama Birther Statements" 15 March, 2010
  31. YouTube "Is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli a Birther" 15 March, 2010
  32. Not Larry Sabato "Cooch Gone Wild" 15 March, 2010
  33. TPMDC "Cuccinelli: 'I Absolutely Believe That President Obama Was Born In The United States'" 15 March, 2010
  34. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SB 371 Abortion; procedure if performed after first trimester
  35. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SB 315 Abortion; preservation of fetal tissue when performed on child under age 15
  36. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SB 579 Concealed weapons; abolishes prohib. on carrying in a rest. or club, excep. when alcohol consumed
  37. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SB 771 Concealed handgun permits
  38. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SJ 131 Birthright citizenship; memorializing Congress to amend Fourteenth Amendment of U.S. Constitution
  39. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SB 339 Unemployment compensation; employee's inability to speak English at workplace is misconduct
  40. Buzzfeed, "Ken Cuccinelli Once Filed An Amendment To Change Virginia's State Song To The Beatles' “Taxman”," May 2, 2013
  41. The Collegian, "Obama victory could cost Democrats Virginia governorship," November 15, 2012
  42. Politico, Terry McAuliffe edges Ken Cuccinelli; Chris Christie coasts, November 6, 2013
  43. Richmond Times Dispatch, "Bolling on Cuccinelli: 'Nothing he does surprises me'," December 6, 2011
  44. The Washington Post, "GOP Fratricide in Virginia," December 1, 2012
  45. 45.0 45.1 Washington Post, "Bill Bolling decides not to seek GOP nomination for VA governor," November 28, 2012
  46. The Roanoke Times, "Could Bolling run for governor as an independent?," November 28, 2102
  47. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bolling regrets dropping out of the race so soon," April 22, 2013
  48. The Collegian, "Obama victory could cost Democrats Virginia governorship," November 15, 2012
  49. NBC 12- Decision Virginia 2013, "Transportation battle creates awkward political triangle," March 26, 2013
  50. Washington Post, "Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe: Virginia governor’s race holds the eyes of the nation," March 29, 2013
  51. Independent Political Report, "Robert Sarvis Receives Libertarian Party of Virginia Nomination for Governor in 2013," accessed April 27, 2013
  52. Washington Post, "McAuliffe opens up double digit lead over Cuccinelli in Virginia governor's race," October 28, 2013
  53. The Huffington Post, "HuffPost Pollster: 2013 Virginia Governor: Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe," accessed September 18, 2013
  54. Politico, "Terry McAuliffe outraises Ken Cuccinelli by $3M," October 15, 2013
  55. The Washington Post, "McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli in fundraising race for Virginia governor," September 17, 2013
  56. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McAuliffe maintains cash edge over Cuccineli," September 17, 2013
  57. The Hill, "Hillary Clinton to campaign in Virginia with McAuliffe (Video)," October 14, 2013
  58. Washington Post, "Obama, Biden to hit the trail for McAuliffe Va. governor bid, first lady cuts radio ad," October 29, 2013
  59. Associated Press -, "Terry McAuliffe qualifies for Virginia June Democratic primary ballot," March 27, 2013
  60. Politico, "Virginia governor race 2013: Shutdown roils contest," October 4, 2013
  61. The Washington Post, "Five things to watch in the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe debate," September 25, 2013
  62. RealClearPolitics, "Virginia Governor - Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe," accessed October 7, 2013
  63. The Washington Post, "In Virginia governor’s race, McAuliffe calls on Cuccinelli to denounce shutdown, Cruz," October 7, 2013
  64. Terry McAuliffe for Governor YouTube Channel, "Terry McAuliffe Radio Ad: Cuccinelli and the Architect," October 5, 2013
  65. CuccinelliPress YouTube channel, "Shutdown," accessed October 7, 2013
  66. Real Clear Politics, "Virginia Governor 3-Way," accessed October 7, 2013
  67., "Robert Sarvis: I'm giving voters a better option," October 5, 2013
  68. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Campaign finance report: Ken Cuccinelli for Governor," July 15, 2013
  69. NBC 12- Decision Virginia 2013, "Transportation battle creates awkward political triangle," March 26, 2013
  70. Ken Cuccinelli for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Endorse Ken Cuccinelli For Governor," accessed August 1, 2013
  71. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Democratic strategist Dave 'Mudcat' Saunders backs Ken Cuccinelli," September 10, 2013
  72. Washington Post, "Mike Huckabee campaigns for Republican Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia governor’s race," October 18, 2013
  73. Washington Post, "Louisiana governor campaigns with Cuccinelli in Prince William," October 29, 2013
  74. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SB 371 Abortion; procedure if performed after first trimester
  75. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System - SB 315 Abortion; preservation of fetal tissue when performed on child under age 15
  76. Prolife news YouTube channel, "Ken Cuccinelli at Christian Life Summit 2012," September 30, 2013
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 The Washington Times, "Va. AG Cuccinelli will defy tradition, stay on job while campaigning," January 14, 2013
  78. The Washington Post, "GOP Fratricide in Virginia," December 1, 2012
  79. The Roanoke Times, "Could Bolling run for governor as an independent?," November 28, 2102
  80. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bolling says major announcement set for March 14," February 7, 2013
  81. The Collegian, "Obama victory could cost Democrats Virginia governorship," November 15, 2012
  82. Virginia State Board of Elections, "2009 General Election Results," accessed November 29, 2012
  83. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Ken Cuccinelli," May 8, 2013
  84. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Warren Barry
Virginia State Senate
Succeeded by
Dave Marsden
Preceded by
Bill Mims (R)
Virginia Attorney General
Succeeded by
Mark Herring