Washington Jewish Week endorses Terry McAuliffe for Virginia Gov.

The Washington Jewish Week endorsed Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat, for governor in next week’s election. Polls show McAuliffe likely to win handily.

McAuliffe, a past chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has been dogged in this election by failures in his past business dealings. Meanwhile, his GOP opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, has been mired to a degree in a gifts scandal involving outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell.

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Cuccinelli also has been dogged by remarks associates have made that some Jewish groups found offensive. In at least one case, he was quick to distance himself from the offending remarks.

But the focus of the Washington Jewish Week (which is distributed both in the District and in its Maryland and Virginia suburbs) was on Cuccinelli’s deeply conservative legislative history, both in the Virginia legislature and as the state’s attorney general. Cuccinelli has backed stricter abortion bans and has pushed back against legal protections for gays. He does not believe in climate change and used his attorney-general powers to attempt an investigation of a University of Virginia climatologist.

Here’s an excerpt of the WJW endorsement:

Mr. Cuccinelli’s far right social agenda is not consistent with the best interests of the citizens of Virginia. Especially in a state that is increasingly trending “blue”. Based on his past history as Attorney General we have little doubt that he would use his position as governor to continue to implement his social agenda.

On the other hand, we view McAuliffe as more mainstream and we would be hopeful that he would use the same persuasive skills as a fundraiser to work with a legislature that is likely to continue to be in Republican hands.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of McAuliffe, but that’s not surprising: Much of the polling in Virginia suggests that many voters who go to the polls next week will be casting their ballots “against the other guy.”

Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief, responsible for coordinating coverage in the U.S. capital and analyzing political developments that affect the Jewish world. He comes to JTA from The Associated Press, where he worked for more than a decade in its bureaus in Jerusalem, New York, London and, most recently, Washington. He has reported from Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Bosnia and West Africa. While living in Israel, he also worked for the Jerusalem Post and several Jewish organizations.