Ken Cuccinelli is losing his bid for Virginia governor to Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe. Badly. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, Cuccinelli trails McAuliffe 12 points, 39 percent to 51. The McAuliffe campaign has been successful in copying the Obama campaign's ground game and appealing to women and minorities (Cuccinelli is strongly opposed to abortion and immigration reform). And McAuliffe has what Cuccinelli can't get — universally appealing surrogates to campaign for him. Right now, the GOP doesn't have a Barack Obama or a Clinton family.
James Hohmann at Politico puts it this way: "the [Republican] party lacks a single unifying figure who appeals to every wing of the party, let alone matches the star power of the Clinton-Obama tandem." Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Ron Paul will all campaign for Cuccinelli in the final days of his campaign, but none of those guys inspires the same excitement (and desire to donate) that the Clintons do. And the Clintons have been happy to help McAuliffe out. McAuliffe has raised a lot more money and consequently spent a lot more money on TV ads in Virginia, which is also a help.
Cuccinelli couldn't even use Ted Cruz's star power to give him a boost, because so many Northern Virginians see themselves as victims of the shutdown. Cruz and Cuccinelli were both featured speakers at the Family Foundation gala dinner in Richmond recently, but Cuccinelli made sure not to share the stage with his fellow Obamacare hater.
Of course, Cuccinelli represents only a small part of the GOP. He's marketed himself as anti-establishment, pursued anti-sodomy laws as Virginia's Attorney General, and is strongly opposed to abortion. His views on social issues have him losing women by 24 points.
What could have helped Cuccinelli, perhaps, is a universally-appealing GOP figure to campaign for him. But that person doesn't exist with such a fractured party — his surrogates only appeal to small parts of the GOP, just like Cuccinelli. And in a consistently purple state, that's not enough to win.