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'Enormous' gender gap costs Cuccinelli

Democrat Terry McAuliffe appears on the cusp of a solid victory over Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) following a gubernatorial campaign that underscored ongoing Republican struggles with female voters.

McAuliffe’s lead in the polls was built on a clear gender gap. The former Democratic National Committee chairman exploited a big fundraising edge to deluge the airwaves with ads focused on Cuccinelli’s opposition to abortion, his views on contraception and his failure to support the federal Violence Against Women Act.

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Cuccinelli sought to refute the Democratic theme that he has waged a “war on women” with ads featuring an African-American woman calling McAuliffe’s attacks on his social stances “ridiculous.”

The attorney general also released a video of his wife discussing Cuccinelli’s work to prevent sexual assault and rolled out a robust “truth about Ken” section on his website refuting McAuliffe’s attacks.

But the effort never gained traction with independent voters, and Cuccinelli finished his campaign as he began it, with a focus on turning out base conservatives rather than winning over centrists.

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