During the last Virginia governor’s debate last night, Attorney General and anti-sodomy crusader Ken Cuccinelli touted his “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. Unfortunately, the debate was held at Virginia Tech, putting Cuccinelli in the awkward position of bragging about how much the gun lobby likes him at the site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
“I’m an ‘A’-rated NRA candidate,” Cuccinelli boasted. “I’m running against the only — the only — ‘F’-rated candidate running statewide. And that’s Terry McAuliffe.”
In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho stormed the halls of Virginia Tech with two handguns and went on a rampage, killing 32 people and injuring 17 others. This prompted then-governor Tim Kaine to close the loophole that had allowed the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, to purchase the guns despite having been found mentally unstable by a court. Incidentally, Kaine subsequently received an F-rating from the NRA, but this didn’t dissuade Virginian voters from electing him to the U.S. Senate a year ago.
While McAuliffe isn’t particularly well-liked in Virginia, he’s more popular than Cuccinelli, who wants to get rid of things like no-fault divorce, consensual oral sex, and the separation of church and state. The once-close race has now tilted thoroughly in McAuliffe’s direction; while the candidates’ support amongst men is roughly even (44-42 in Cuccinelli’s favor), women favor McAuliffe over Cuccinelli by a 15-point margin, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.
When confronted with Cuccinelli’s NRA jab, McAuliffe said that the gun lobby’s opinion of him doesn’t matter.
“I don’t care what grade I got from the NRA,” McAuliffe replied. “As governor, I want to make sure our communities are safe. I never want to see another Newtown or Aurora or Virginia Tech ever again.”