I had a hunch Ken Cuccinelli was going to join the long list of crazy-base martyr/heroes, and the Daily Caller proves me right:
Ken Cuccinelli urged to run for SenateUm, in 1976 Ronald Reagan lost his party's presidential nomination to the sitting president of the United States. The fact that he failed said nothing about his ability to win in a subsequent race. Cuccinelli just lost a race for an open seat against an ethically challenged party hack whose backers didn't even like him much. That should not have been a tough challenge.
It's only been hours since Republican Ken Cuccinelli narrowly lost his bid for governor to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, but some conservatives are now arguing that Cuccinelli should turn his focus to a 2014 Senate campaign.
Conservative writer Quin Hillyer is the first person to openly make a full-throated case for Cuccinelli to throw his hat into the ring to take on incumbent Sen. Mark Warner, a popular Democrat in the Commonwealth.
"The best news from Ken Cuccinelli's hugely disappointing loss in Virginia's gubernatorial contest yesterday is that Cuccinelli is now free to run for U.S. Senate against Mark Warner," Hillyer wrote.
" ...Cuccinelli is actually well positioned, politically, to make a go of it, even against an incumbent as seemingly bulletproof as Warner has been.”
"Cuccinelli's loss this week surely isn't the end of his political career," Hillyer said. "It has more the feel of Ronald Reagan's loss to Gerald Ford in 1976, laying the groundwork for triumph to come."
But it doesn't surprise me that there are some Republicans who think this is a good idea -- the party that treated Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as plausible presidential candidates in 2012, and may treat Allen West as one in 2016, loves to embrace anyone of sufficient ideological purity who seems unbowed and claims to have been driven from office as a result of sinister, evil liberal forces. (For modern wingnuts, "sinister, evil liberal forces" now include the Republican party establishment.)
If Cooch were more of a firebrand, I think Wingnuttia would be talking him up as a presidential contender. No, really -- if he were egomaniacal enough to fall for the notion that he could win nationally, and started doing angry, Cruz-like speeches denouncing party bosses, no one in the crazy base would think he was delusional, and he'd actually outpoll Rubio and Bush in a few polls. The base would welcome his candidacy and take it very seriously. Ask Rick Santorum.