(National Journal) Can a hardline conservative still win a governor's race in Virginia? Demographics suggest those days are gone.
Republican Ken Cuccinelli has acted on his passions and convictions throughout his political career, and that's now creating challenges for him in a state that's gone through profound changes for more than a decade. In a dyspeptic campaign between two flawed candidates, former national Democratic chairman Terry McAuliffe's positions are more in tune with the state's diverse, swelling population centers – and that could make the difference.
When Cuccinelli won a special election to the state Senate in 2002, Northern Virginia was at the start of an explosive decade of growth that transformed its people and politics. The four-county, suburban Washington region accounted for more than half of the state's growth from 2000 to 2010, as professionals and minorities flooded in. One third of the state now lives in Northern Virginia, and most of the rest live in the Richmond and Norfolk areas.
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Diversity, meanwhile, has skyrocketed.