After Saturday's Virginia Conservative Leadership Conference here in Richmond there is little doubt that conservative activists are motivated at the prospective ticket of McDonnell/Bolling/Cuccinelli for next year's statewide elections. A straw poll taken at the Reagan Banquet Saturday evening (about 250 in attendance) gave Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), who attended the banquet, an overwhelming edge (85 percent) over his possible Republican competition, outgoing U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia John Brownlee, who spoke at the event, (9 percent) and former Delegate Paul Harris (6 percent). And while those in the room supported U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) for president in the poll, conversations with activists all day long showed an underwhelming amount of motivation. Don't expect these folks to work very hard for McCain. They may vote for him, but more as anti-Hillary/Obama votes than anything. One wrong statement by McCain in the coming months could easily undermine what little support he has.
Also in the poll, former Governor Jim Gilmore defeated Delegate Bob Marshall 57 percent to 40 percent. Gilmore and Marshall are battling for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate race against Democrat former Governor Mark Warner.
But all eyes were on McDonnell/Bolling/Cuccinelli. Conservative activists have been anticipating such a ticket for a long time . . . and they are clearly ready to go to work.