By - 11/05/13 02:02 PM EST
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.
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.