“I think we’re going to get to a point where, how many times do voters across the country need to send the tea party and the Republican Party a message?” Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told POLITICO at McAuliffe’s victory party. “Stop the divisiveness, stop the polarization, stop the obsessive focus on women’s reproductive health.”
Whether that line of argument can be replicated in the 2014 midterms may hinge on who the GOP candidates are and how they respond. Republicans note that many politicians on the ballot next year haven’t prioritized social issues the way Cuccinelli has throughout his career in Virginia politics — and they vow that their candidates won’t be defined by the subject.
“Being pro-life is a majority position in this country, or at least close to it,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring. “Candidates have to explain their positions without getting stuck getting nitpicked to death. … We fully expect the ‘war on women’ politics to be used and exploited by Democrats [and] we fully expect our candidates to be fully prepared for it.”
Democrats took to the Virginia airwaves and the campaign trail this fall to note Cuccinelli’s opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and to say he backed legislation that would have effectively banned certain kinds of birth control, drawing on his record in the statehouse and as attorney general.