RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Ken Cuccinelli has come away from a forum and interviews with one of northern Virginia's most influential and moneyed leadership groups with its endorsement for governor over Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
The Northern Virginia Technology Council's political action committee voted to back Cuccinelli despite McAuliffe's dire warnings that Cuccinelli's aggressive brand of socially conservative activism would frighten business and entrepreneurs away from the state.
Dendy Young, the chairman of TechPAC, said Monday Cuccinelli's experience in government and command of issues trumped such concerns.
Young said in announcing the endorsement that Cuccinelli assured the TechPAC's trustees that as governor, he'd focus on jobs and the economy, "and not on a divisive social agenda."
Cuccinelli and McAuliffe live in Fairfax County in northern Virginia.
Cuccinelli took the momentum from the morning endorsement into a noon luncheon fundraiser in Richmond with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who's jockeying for a 2016 presidential bid.
Rubio exhorted about 450 people who paid at least $50 a plate that Cuccinelli's race is an important "precursor" to next year's congressional midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.
"The implications go far beyond Virginia, well beyond our country because can you imagine a world without an exceptional America," Rubio said. "I can't imagine a time when the consequences have been higher."
Responding to McAuliffe's claim that his conservative agenda will frighten business from Virginia, Cuccinelli said, "That false thesis is wiped out."
He called the TechPAC endorsement "a clear and defining moment for us."