Brownlee takes exception to Kenney comment on podcast

John Brownlee, candidate for Virginia Attorney General, called me this morning to question the assertion that Shaun Kenney, co-host of Bearing Drift’s podcast – “Virginia Politics On-Demand”, made on yesterday’s show about Brownlee’s pro-life bona fides.

“Brownlee, who has never won a public office, …is not as strong on the pro-life issue as Cuccinelli has proven to be,” stated Kenney.

Brownlee commented that he feels the statement is inaccurate in that both Cuccinelli and Brownlee share core beliefs on the life issue.

“We both believe that life begins at conception and that abortion should be illegal unless it is to protect the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest,” said Brownlee.

However, Brownlee went on to differentiate himself from Cuccinelli by saying that Cuccinelli’s lone Republican vote against the “triggerman rule”, choosing instead to side with Gov. Tim Kaine and the Democrats, constitutes an anti-life position. Brownlee said that Cuccinelli’s position doesn’t protect the life of the innocent.

The “triggerman rule” would extend the death penalty to certain accessories to murder.

Brownlee also stated that in the six years Cuccinelli has served as a state Senator that abortion is still legal and he has done little to advance the cause of making it illegal.


Here is the entire text of what was said regarding the race…

Jim: Shaun, what about the attorney general’s race?

Shaun: You know, Cooch versus Brownlee versus, ah, I think there’s another other gentleman up in Fairfax County, ah, whose name I can’t immediately recall — which should show you his chances.

You know, Cooch plays well in Northern Virginia, he’s known in the Richmond area. I would like to think that he appeals more to the Hampton Roads area than does Brownlee, who has never won a public office, and actually is not as strong on the pro-life issue as Cuccinelli has proven himself to be.

This is a lock. All the talk about primary versus convention and all of that… Cuccinelli is the man. It’s his to lose. I’m supporting Cuccinelli. He’s a great guy, he’s a great conservative, and he’ll be an excellent compliment to McDonnell and Bolling.

Jim: It is probably Cuccinelli’s to lose, I’ll give you that. But you know, I wouldn’t discount Brownlee just yet. I’ve met both of them, they’re both well spoken, they’re both excellent people, and Brownlee does have that prosecutorial background and it’s a long way off. It’s still almost a year before a convention or a primary, so it’s going to be interesting to watch. And I’m going to hold my cards right now, however I will say that I am probably leaning Cuccinelli.

  • John Hart

    Brownlee talks a good game, but has nothing to back it up. It’s easy to say you are pro-life, or any other position for that matter, when you have never had your feet held to the fire. Brownlee has not only never held public office, but I don’t believe he has ever run for public office.

    Now, I am not one who believes you have to be a State Senator or Delegate before running statewide, but I would like someone who is a little battle tested at some level. Brownlee likes to mention that he is following in the footsteps of prosecutors like Gilmore who became Attorney General. That is true, Gilmore never served in the General Assembly, but he was elected Commonwealth Attorney of one of the largest counties in the state (Henrico), so at least he had experience running for office prior to jumping on a statewide ticket.

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  • Richard Morrison

    Brownlee is clearly green and if this is the stuff he’s going to do in July 2008, as a Republican I’d be very afraid to see what he’d do in November 2009 as the nominee.

    The choice isn’t even close. Cuccinelli has the experience and the conservative credentials to be AG. Brownlee doesn’t even belong in the same race as Cuccinelli. That is no offense to John; he needs to earn his stripes.

  • J. Tyler Ballance

    Cuccinelli, Brownlee and Dave Foster are the three Republican clones running for AG.

    Not one of these guys is worth a fart in a stiff breeze, when it comes to defending the civil liberties of our citizens.

    While there is not enough room between their positions to fly a gnat through (basically they just want to lock as many Virginians up as possible and preferably kill them) Brownlee is the most egregious in his anti-civil libertarian stance, as exemplified by wanting to charge anyone who happens to be near someone who commits a capital crime, with what amounts to, guilt by association.

    These three make libertarian-Republicans wish for a “None of the Above” choice on the ballot.

  • DCH

    JR, for the uninformed on the blog, maybe we should explain the controversy over Virginia’s triggerman rule and then see if reasonable conservatives agree with Cuccinelli or Brownlee.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the triggerman rule is the current standard and it says that in order to get the death penalty for murder, you have to be shooter in the crime that kills someone. Cuccinelli voted against repealing that rule. Kaine vetoed the new legislation. According to Brownlee and those who wanted to lift the triggerman standard, if a 40 year old hardened criminal shoots a merchant during a robbery, but his 18 year old accomplice is present when the shooting happens, the 18 year old could get the death penalty for the 40 year olds’ murder.

    Mr. Brownlee, that wouldn’t be justice and it isn’t pro-life.

  • Stephen Gunter

    DCH, you can’t put the pro-life issue together with justice. They have nothing to do with one another.

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  • DCH:
    On the Triggerman legislation, it’s roots are with the DC snipers. An older gentleman convinced a teenager to murder, what, a dozen people?

    The legislation would allow the charge to come before a jury… the convenience store scenario above would have those charged come before a jury.

    I forget what that adults name was that convinced that teenager to be the shooter, but he should have been eligible for the death penalty. Who wouldn’t agree with that?

    Also, Cuccinelli supporters should give this a read. He rolled over for the Trial Lawyers rather than fighting the bill, and daring our Liberal Governor who accepted over $300,000 from the Trial Lawyers for his Governor’s race to actually sign this awful legislation. Look for your auto insurance rates to rise as Trial Lawyers get to shop their law suits.

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  • With this comment in the Cuccinelli Compass, I’d say both guys made some missteps this week.

    I can’t imagine Cuccinelli didn’t know the deal he is asking for was made many months ago. Hopefully this was just an oversight. We need both guys on top of their game if we want our nominee to defeat Shannon.

  • Alex P Keaton

    “Brownlee also stated that in the six years Cuccinelli has served as a state Senator that abortion is still legal and he has done little to advance the cause of making it illegal.”

    Brownlee has been a prosecutor for how long? Well…there’s still crime in the Western District of Virginia…does that make his efforts to end crime irrelevant? Give me a break.

    Brownlee has no idea what he’s talking about.

    There are two kinds of conservative, pro-life politicians. There are those who VOTE pro-life, and there are those who stick their NECKS out on the block to effect change! Cuccinelli is one of the latter.

    Fighting to defund Planned Parenthood, voting to end partial birth abortion, drafting fetal pain legislation, abortion clinic regulation legislation, parental consent legislation, and single-handedly beating Russ Pott’s plan to experiment on human embryos with taxpayer money: Brownlee thinks these efforts are irrelevant…or maybe he has absolutely no idea what’s been going on in the VA legislature in the last 6 years.
    And J. Tyler, you’re wrong on Cuccinelli not supporting civil liberties. Cuccinelli was the tie-breaking vote to get the rit of actual innocence out of the courts committee and off the floor of the senate…he was the only Republican on the committee to vote RIGHT. He’s been the leading guy in the Senate on 2nd ammd. rights.. and he’s also proposed legislation to keep drivers’ license information private. Check his record before making blanket statements.

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