Ken Cuccinelli lost the governor's race in Virginia, but here's the thing — he didn't lose by that much. Only 3 points. Because the race came so close, far right Republicans blame the GOP establishment for not doing more to give Cuccinelli a boost. The Republican National Committee put $9 million into Gov. Bob McDonnell's campaign in 2009. This year, Cuccinelli got $3 million. Cuccinelli "was betrayed by his own party," Rush Limbaugh told listeners on Wednesday afternoon, but the betrayal was not a surprise. Limbaugh said:
"In Virginia the GOP simply didn't want a Tea Party candidate winning there. They just didn't. 'Cause they coulda won that race, folks. I mean, it's really a shame. I was gonna say stunning, but it really isn't stunning."
Limbaugh, like many other conservatives, argues that contrary to the media narrative — Republicans win when they're moderates like Chris Christie and lose when they're conservatives like Cuccinelli — the opposite is true. Conservatives just need to be given a chance to thrive. But instead, resources were withheld from Cuccinelli, "So now the Republican establishment can run around and claim the Tea Party is an albatross around their neck."
Conservative radio host Mark Levin tweeted Wednesday morning that Cuccinelli's loss was "RINO sabotage." Levin referred to reports that Chris Christie refused to campaign for Cuccinelli, and linked to a Breitbart.com story noting that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's former chief of staff joined the McAuliffe campaign.
And according to one Cuccinelli advisor, it was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Republican Governors' Association who really dropped the ball. The advisor told the Daily Caller:
"Bobby Jindal and his political team totally blew it. Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign is over. He screwed this up so bad. And I don’t know why. The campaign knew it was moving numbers over ObamaCare. And the RGA was not very far from that information, they could have obtained it themselves. They should have given the money to the campaign to spend as opposed to running these stupid China ads. They just blew it."
The RGA ran an ad questioning McAuliffe's dealings with Chinese investors.
RedState editor Erick Erickson is equally alarmed that the establishment didn't do more to beat McAuliffe. Because to Erickson, Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, is the ultimate outsider (more outsider-y than gay people, even!):
Cuccinelli had all the insiders aligned against him. He was the outsider. The gays hated him, the Chamber of Commerce hated him, the kid killers hated him, the GOP establishment hated him — all the insiders hated Cuccinelli and his campaign made the strategic blunder to try to work their way inside instead of dancing with the folks who got him to the dance.
Cuccinelli wasn't the only Tea Partier to lose a close race last night. Establishment candidate Bradley Byrne beat Dean Young in the Republican run-off in the race to represent Alabama's First Congressional District.
But really, these losses just come down to framing. Virginia GOP chairman Pat Mullins assured Cuccinelli supporters last night, "This isn’t a total loss at all. ... looking at the House races … we still have a House that will block any crazy ideas [McAuliffe] may have."
And Democrats are the real enemies anyway. Mullins continued, "Our candidates are decent, honest family men. They love their families, they love their God, they love their country and this commonwealth but for the last six months they’ve been nonstop demonized by Democrats." Limbaugh agrees. He just thinks they've been demonized by elite Republicans, too: "I never thought I would live to see this kind of self-sabotage."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.