Cuccinelli's ideological crusade creates rift with Cantor


In case you missed it, see the article below featuring Ken Cuccinelli's latest effort to purge the Republican Party of mainstream leadership and the rift it seems to have caused with Eric Cantor. Cuccinelli has begun his gubernatorial race by running so far to the right that even conservatives like Cantor and Bill Bolling can't stomach the moves he's making.










Cuccinelli throws brushback at Cantor


<abbr title="2012-12-05T06:00">12/5/12 6:00 PM EST</abbr>


Virginia Attorney General and presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli sent a curt note this week to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) regarding how the party should nominate candidates - an issue that has become a stand-in for the broader fight in the state between establishment and conservative Republicans.


In a three-sentence message obtained by POLITICO, Cuccinelli, a Tea Party-backed crusader, said he has "never supported any effort to eliminate primaries as a method of nomination" before throwing a brushback at Cantor, a Richmond establishment powerhouse:  "In the future, should you have any concerns, I would appreciate a call."


Advisers to both Cuccinelli and Cantor were tight-lipped about what prompted the terse missive, but sources familiar with the situation say the House's second-in-command has been openly about concerns that the Virginia GOP's 2013 standard bearer favors permanently doing away with primaries in favor of conventions.   Cuccinelli will be officially nominated at a convention next year. His supporters on the state GOP's central committee engineered a switch from the planned primary.


Cuccinelli's message, sent Monday, was delivered just days after Republican Lt. Gov Bill Bolling withdrew from the gubernatorial contest, citing his disadvantage in a convention setting that typically favors conservatives.    Cantor, who shares many of the same Richmond-area financial and political backers as Bolling, endorsed the lieutenant governor's abortive gubernatorial bid in June.


But whether it's the would-have-been Bolling-Cuccinelli race or the nominating process itself, the tensions are only a symptom of the purity vs pragmatism debate taking place in both the Virginia and national Republican Party.   Conservatives convinced that their leaders have been too accommodating of Democrats, have no appetite to moderate.   But establishment Republicans believe they'll be consigned to minority status without making changes to the party.

Read the entire POLITCO piece here: