Deroy Murdock

Just days ago, Ken Cuccinelli was taken for dead. Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial hopeful was plowed down by a juggernaut driven by Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe, with Hillary Clinton riding shotgun. The only thing left to arrange was the funeral.

But now, the Old Dominion’s attorney general is back on his feet, swinging. What had been a nine-point lead for McAuliffe was shriveled to nearly nothing.

One Quinnipiac University survey has McAuliffe up by just two points. Polls from Hampton University and Wenzel Strategies have Cuccinelli behind by just one point.

The wild card here is Libertarian-party nominee Robert Sarvis. He had 7 percent of the vote in recent studies. If Cuccinelli can encourage libertarians and libertarian-oriented Republicans to “come home” to the GOP after holding hands with Sarvis, Cuccinelli could find himself smiling Tuesday night in a light rain of confetti.

Leading libertarian-oriented thinkers and activists urge kindred spirits in Virginia to help Cuccinelli stop McAuliffe and, in so doing, give Hillary Clinton a flat tire on the road to the White House.

“It’s amazing how this race suddenly has become competitive,” Steve Forbes tells me. The publisher and flat-tax champion added, “Anyone who is not a fan of the politics of tax-and-spend, of heavy handed regulation, and of coercive/no-choice health care should vote for Cuccinelli. His opponent is statist. Cuccinelli is a free marketeer. Why let the hard Left win by default?”

“Libertarian ideals are much more likely to be implemented by Ken Cuccinelli than by Terry McAuliffe,” says Arthur Laffer, architect of President Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act and a stalwart advocate of free enterprise. “In this case, where Sarvis doesn’t have a chance of winning, it makes all the sense in the world for libertarians to vote for Cuccinelli and push him over the threshold to victory.”

Republicans and GOP-leaning voters should consider what a McAuliffe victory means for the Electoral College. What the former Democratic national chairman lacks in sympathy for capitalism (at least the non-crony kind), he more than makes up for with knowledge of hardball campaign tactics. A McAuliffe win would entrench the Clinton political machine in this vital swing state. It still remains within reach of Republican nominees. Mitt Romney lost it a year ago to Obama 47 percent to 51 — a loss, yes, but not a trouncing. A better GOP candidate could win Virginia’s 13 electoral votes next time.

Deroy Murdock

New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.