Ken Cuccinelli Isn’t Trying to Disappear

He may have lost the Virginia governor’s race, but he’s not going anywhere.

RICHMOND, VA - NOVEMBER 05: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, appearing with his wife Teiro and family, concedes the Virginia Governor's race to Terry McAuliffe during an election night appearance before supporters November 5, 2013 in Richmond, Virginia. Cuccinelli became the first state attorney general to file a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act when it was passed in 2010.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
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Elahe Izadi
Feb. 28, 2014, 8:02 a.m.

Former Vir­gin­ia At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Cuc­cinelli may have lost the gov­ernor’s race in 2013, but don’t ex­pect him to fade in­to the pages of his­tory.

Al­though ini­tially low-pro­file after his loss — when he de­livered a com­bat­ive con­ces­sion speech and de­clined to call the win­ner — the Re­pub­lic­an has taken on a few, quite pub­lic, causes in re­cent weeks. The latest: He’s star­ted a law firm, Vir­gin­ia Self De­fense Law, fo­cused on Second Amend­ment cases. The slo­gan? “De­fend­ing those who de­fend them­selves.”

Not only that, but the firm’s bar­gain-base­ment prices have gen­er­ated lots of at­ten­tion: For less than 10 bucks a month, you, too, can re­tain Cuc­cinelli as your law­yer.

Then there was Cuc­cinelli’s role as lead coun­sel on Sen. Rand Paul’s law­suit against Pres­id­ent Obama and oth­ers over the NSA, an­nounced just a couple of weeks ago.

And no bet­ter way to make head­lines than to be among the few Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers to ac­tu­ally call for New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie to resign from his Re­pub­lic­an Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation chair­man­ship. He may not have meant it as a story-gen­er­at­ing quote, and some of his de­cision could be linger­ing bad blood, giv­en Cuc­cinelli cast some blame on es­tab­lish­ment Re­pub­lic­ans for not do­ing enough for his Vir­gin­ia bid. Re­gard­less, even tea-party firebrand Ted Cruz says he likes Christie, and called Bridgeg­ate “non­sense.”

A num­ber of post-de­feat politi­cians have man­aged to do quite well for them­selves after los­ing. Take former Rep. Al­len West, who lost in 2012 but went on to start an In­ter­net-based net­work, main­tain a Fox News con­tract, and run a lit­any of pro­jects. “By los­ing his spot in Con­gress, West may have failed up­ward,” Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Shane Gold­mach­er and Ben Ter­ris noted.

Cuc­cinelli is not the richest of men; he earned $194,398 in 2012, on top of his $157,350 at­tor­ney-gen­er­al salary. So it’s a good thing for him that he’s able to find post-pub­lic-life em­ploy­ment. It may be even bet­ter that the em­ploy­ment is ac­tu­ally very much pub­lic.

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