On Wednesday night's edition of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow discussed the growing unease with which Virginia voters seem to be regarding their Republican elected officials. As the governor's race begins to take shape in that state, some of Virginia's one-time conservative stars are losing their shine with voters who are growing wary of overheated conservative rhetoric.
Virginia, Maddow explained, has their state elections in off years, so "their 2013 is like everybody else's 2012." Up for grabs are the governor's office and a number of other high level state positions. Rather than have a primary, the Republicans had a state convention to choose their nominees for the races.
The result, Maddow said, is a "rather off-the-hook, far-right slate of Republican nominees," including gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, the man so prudish he ordered that the bared breast of the Roman goddess on the Virginia State seal be covered, and attorney general candidate E. W. Jackson, who claims that doing yoga opens the soul up to demonic possession.
The Democrats, on the other hand, had a primary. One of the surprises came in the race to run for Lieutenant Governor. In spite of all the conventional wisdom favoring a candidate named Aneesh Chopra, the candidate who won was dark horse Ralph Northam, a pediatrician with no real political track record and one main campaign plank, that he would repeal the Republican efforts to make abortions invasive and humiliating for women. Virginia was the first state to mandate trans-vaginal ultrasounds, a completely unnecessary procedure, for women seeking abortions.
Northam's ads specifically stated that he would stand up for women and their right to choose. He was endorsed by Planned Parenthood's President Cecile Richards and he handily won the primary race in spite of Chopra's stellar resume and much larger campaign war chest.
The same thing happened in the race for attorney general, candidate Mark Herring placed women's health issues front and center in his campaign and won the nomination.
Women's reproductive rights are a winning issue in Virginia right now, said Maddow, mostly thanks to the state GOP's wild overreach into women's health issues. She called Virginia a "petri dish" for the rest of the country, where Republican Congressmen and state elected officials have spent the last several years mounting a full court press against women's freedom to make their own health choices.
"We've just seen it work in a Democratic primary in Virginia," Maddow said. "We'll see how it works in the fall in the general election against those Republicans."
She added, "But with the Republicans in the House of Representatives in Washington today, voting again today for a new nationwide abortion ban, frankly all eyes are on Virginia to see how this electoral experiment plays out in the end."
Watch the clip, embedded below via MSNBC: