RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's activist conservative attorney general beloved by the tea party for his aggressive challenges to federal mandates has won the Republican Party's gubernatorial nomination by acclamation.
At the GOP's statewide convention, thousands of conservatives and tea party followers who dominated the Richmond Coliseum Saturday roared their unanimous support for Ken Cuccinelli, who was unopposed for the nomination.
Cuccinelli is an abortion foe who was the first state attorney general to challenge President Barack Obama's health care reforms in 2010.
He faces former Democratic National Committee chairman and Clinton family protege Terry McAuliffe in the Nov. 5 election to become Virginia's 72nd governor.
In remarks to the convention Saturday, Cuccinelli tacked to the center in a speech that stressed mainstream themes and fought back against Democratic attacks portraying him as a right-wing extremist.
He made scant mention of his support for abortion restrictions and instead noted his crackdowns on Internet predators and human traffickers, to exonerate the wrongly convicted and aid the intellectually disabled.
At age 44, the father of seven becomes the youngest Republican nominee for Virginia governor since former Gov. George Allen 20 years ago.