In the first test for a Republican Party that is still reeling from the disastrous 2012 election, Virginia’s gubernatorial race could have provided the GOP an opportunity to temper its ultraconservative platform or restrain its partnership with the Tea Party. But the choice of state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli to be the party’s presumptive nominee for governor indicates that the GOP is moving even further to the right and letting go of any pretense of moderation or bipartisanship.

In a 2012 radio interview, Cuccinelli compared the deportation of undocumented immigrants to pest control.

Throughout his career, Cuccinelli has been something of a bellwether for the course of the Republican Party. He won his first political office in 2002, when he deposed a moderate, pro-choice Republican incumbent in Virginia’s state senate, leading the incumbent to lament, “The GOP picked someone whose thinking is so ancient, he would be an embarrassment to Northern Virginia.” In 2009, he was on the front lines of the Tea Party movement, winning election to the state attorney general’s office on a wave of anti-Obama rhetoric and renewed culture-war spirit.