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Extreme Recruits Belie Republicans' Attempted Makeover

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By Josh Kraushaar
For all the lip service given by Republicans to the party’s efforts to modernize its image, a quick look at the GOP’s standing in two must-win battlegrounds doesn’t paint a promising picture of their efforts. In Colorado and Virginia—the archetypes of suburban, demographically changing states—Republicans are barely contesting next year’s Senate races, are facing fresh setbacks in the two pivotal upcoming gubernatorial races, and are dealing with persistent issues recruiting new talent into the pipeline.
The most glaring example took place earlier this month in Virginia, where Republican Party leaders nominated for lieutenant governor E.W. Jackson, a minister whose thunderous opposition to gay marriage and invective against Obama threaten to damage the Republican ticket. His emergence was enabled by party leaders opting to choose their statewide candidates at a convention filled with single-issue activists instead of through a primary involving a wider swath of Republican voters. The party’s gubernatorial nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, who engineered the convention process, is trying to downplay his socially conservative background, but is struggling to do so with his new ticket mate. Meanwhile, Republicans are empty-handed in next year’s Senate race against Sen. Mark Warner, not even entertaining the notion that term-limited Gov. Bob McDonnell could follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and pursue a congressional career.
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Read the full article from National Journal here.