RICHMOND, VA, August 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ken Cuccinelli, the unabashedly conservative Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, has been targeted for defeat by Tom Steyer, a California-based billionaire and environmentalist activist. Steyer has announced his political organization will finance ad campaigns, get-out-the-vote efforts, and new media ventures designed to take Cuccinelli down in the most watched off-year election in the nation.

Victoria Cobb, president of the Virginia-based The Family Foundation, told LifeSiteNews.com in February that with Virginia in the spotlight, Cuccinelli will need his grassroots supporters to dig deep to have any chance of winning against McAuliffe’s well-oiled, well-fueled political machine.

That out-of-state pressure “should serve as a reminder of just how important this year’s elections in Virginia are going to be. Because only Virginia has a potentially competitive statewide race, national interest groups are going to spend millions of dollars to influence the outcome,” said Cobb.

Steyer told POLITICO he will air environmentalist television ads accusing Cuccinelli of going on an anti-science “witch hunt” during his investigation into possibly fraudulent state grant requests for climate change research at the University of Virginia.

In 2010, Cuccinelli requested grant application documents from researcher Michael Mann after Mann set an e-mail to colleagues describing a statistical “trick” he performed to manipulate the data. Mann was later found not to have intentionally falsified data, but many skeptics still criticize his methodology as flawed.

After the television ad buy, Steyer will work with President Obama’s media strategist and polling firm to develop a get-out-the-vote program. The billionaire has already met with Grassroots Solutions and Winning Connections, two liberal get-out-the-vote companies.

Steyer said, “We'd like to win” in order to create “a mandate“ for “the right things.”

For Steyer, that means less focus on protecting Virginia’s beleaguered coal industry and more emphasis on the “green jobs” he says are created by companies like McAuliffe’s GreenTech Automotive, which received $5 million in taxpayer subsidies from the state of Mississippi along with plenty of investor financing, but has yet to produce a street legal electric car. The company has purchased the rights to sell the Hong Kong-designed MyCar for production and sale in the U.S. The $10,000 vehicle has a top speed of 35 miles per hour, giving it the same legal status as a golf cart. The company, from which McAuliffe stepped down as head to run for governor, is now under federal investigation for allegedly selling visas to foreign investors.

Cuccinelli press secretary Anna Nix said, “Radical environmentalist Tom Steyer will be a strong addition to McAuliffe’s War on Coal, which will raise electricity prices on every Virginian and destroy the economy of Southwest Virginia.”

Steyer’s publicity and organizational offensive will pour fresh out-of-state cash into a campaign that has already amassed plenty of it. Cuccinelli’s rival, former Clinton fundraiser and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, has access to many of the deepest pockets on the political Left . 

But even without McAuliffe’s long political reach, this is a race that likely would have attracted significant national involvement. In an off year when high profile political races are few and far between, Washington insiders see an opportunity in Virginia – which, like the nation, is fairly evenly split between red and blue – to send a message to the rest of the country.

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Given Cuccinelli’s strong pro-life credentials – he voted to overturn then-Democratic Governor Mark Warner's veto of the partial birth abortion ban, drafted the state's parental consent law, led efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and insisted the state's abortion facilities meet the same health standards as other surgical centers – pro-abortion leaders have taken a particular interest in the race.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has said Cuccinelli’s defeat is a top priority for the abortion giant, which teamed up with McAuliffe to launch a website, “Keep Ken Out,” devoted to attacking the Republican candidate for his pro-life views.

“Access to safe and legal abortion, and even contraception, would be at risk in a Cuccinelli Administration,” the website claims. “The future of Virginia women’s health hangs in the balance, that’s why we’re going to make sure voters know exactly how out-of-touch he is, and why we need to keep Ken out of the governor’s office.”

Last summer, CoochWatch.com stated it would post Cuccinelli’s upcoming public appearances, so pro-abortion protesters could follow him.