Home 2019 Elections Memo: State of the Campaigns

Memo: State of the Campaigns


From the McAuliffe campaign: 

To: Interested Parties
From: Brennan Bilberry, McAuliffe Communications Director
Memo: State of the Campaigns 

It is clear that the Cuccinelli campaign is seeing the same things in their internal polls that Virginians see in public polls: Terry’s position continues to strengthen while Cuccinelli’s position continues to slip as a result of his ethics scandals and extreme social agenda. Just today, the Virginian-Pilot reported that Cuccinelli is shifting his campaign staff and focus in an effort to reverse the decline.

Those facts have caused major changes in Cuccinelli’s tactics and we wanted to provide an update on what we expect to see going forward:

1.     Desperation leads to strange tactics. This week, Politico reported that the Cuccinelli campaign is considering spending their resources on 30-minute infomercials across Virginia. This expenditure is designed to earn media coverage for advertising that will have no impact on the race.

News of 30-minute infomercials came shortly after a hastily put-together web video and interview that saw Cuccinelli simultaneously apologizing and saying he did nothing wrong while admitting for the first time that he has been questioned by the FBI about his ties to Star Scientific.

2.     Second guessing becomes more common. After weeks of resisting calls for him to return gifts from Star Scientific – at first suggesting he shouldn’t have to – Cuccinelli made the political decision to give the value of the gifts away. While he guaranteed another week of news dominated by his unethical relationship with Star, Cuccinelli’s tactic was also transparently political, coming just 8 weeks out from Election Day. Voters notice when politicians only do the right thing under pressure from polls. And editorial boards already have.  

3.     Attacks become more shrill. Cuccinelli’s strategist issued an 800-word agitated memo Wednesday attacking the Virginia media for covering his candidate’s ethical lapses. Strangely, it was released the day after the Cuccinelli campaign was asking media to cover his relationship with Star by issuing a press release and video about his gifts.  

4.     The Tea Party is BackAfter months of publicly seeking to paper over his Tea Party ideology, Cuccinelli has shifted gears. Cuccinelli’s new campaign leadership just announced a Tea Party rally being organized on Tuesday with a national right-wing radio host.

I wanted to highlight these changes because we know that the attacks from the Cuccinelli campaign are going to become more desperate and more outlandish. It already started when Cuccinelli’s campaign lied to workers to trick them into appearing in an attack ad they wanted nothing to do with.

As the Cuccinelli campaign is struggling in the final weeks, they’ll likely to engage in even more inaccurate and over-the-top attacks.

Our message is and will continue to be the same: Terry is focused on bipartisan solutions to mainstream issues like jobs, education, and transportation while Cuccinelli has spent his political career focused on an extreme, divisive social agenda. 


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