Ken Cuccinelli's suprisingly close race for Virginia governor has Tea Party Republicans steaming about a lack of support from the national party. Few Republicans in Washington gave Cuccinelli a chance in the race and most big money men kept their checkbooks closed.
This has led to a painful examination of the outcome and the asking of an uncomfortable question; could Cuccinelli have won with better siupport from the establishment?
"The Republican candidate's surprise showing touched off a round of recriminations among the GOP's conservative and moderate wings - between Republicans who say Cuccinelli's strict profile on social issues antagonized critical middle-of-the-road voters and those who say a good conservative candidate was tossed overboard by his party leadership. A lopsided Democratic victory might have given moderates a clear leg up in that debate; instead, the battle between the two factions over what - if anything - needs to change is bound to rage on.
"This isn't a total loss at all," Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins told the crowd after Cuccinelli conceded the governor's race. "Keep in mind that Terry McAuliffe got less than 50 percent of the vote, so he does not have a mandate to do anything. And looking at the House races ... we still have a [Republican-led] House that will block any crazy ideas he may have."
Mullins blasted out-of-state Democratic money and media bias as the major sources of Cuccinelli's problems in the race..."
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