Democrats are accusing Cuccinelli or being out of touch on social issues.
In Virginia the legal definition of sodomy includes oral sex—even between married couples. So Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's decision to ask the United States Supreme Court to stay a lower court's decision striking down the state's anti-sodomy law has far-reaching implications into the bedrooms of just about every Virginia voter.
Back in March, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared Virginia's law against oral and anal sex unconstitutional. Cuccinelli is appealing the panel's ruling to the Supreme Court, saying that the ruling is limiting his office's ability to prosecute child sex predators.
But his decision to push the appeal is playing into the commonwealth's gubernatorial race, say some political analysts.
"It's an easy thing for Democrats to caricature in their attacks on Cuccinelli," says Kyle Kondik, analyst for the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "If the Democrats win this election, it will probably be because they have painted Cuccinelli as too out of the mainstream, particularly on social issues."
George Mason University political science professor Toni-Michelle Travis says Cuccinelli is grandstanding.
"He sees another opportunity to get a lot more attention for himself and the campaign, as opposed to really dealing with an issue whether it even needs to be dealt with even at this stage," says Travis.
But according to University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Farnsworth, Cuccinelli's appeal may end up attracting a great deal of attention during the campaign season—some of it that could benefit his national image.
"It may not be a winning hand with moderate voters, but it certainly helps you become a national figure as an attorney general," says Farnsworth. "Ken Cuccinelli gets to be the number one Virginian on the Fox News and the Colbert Report at the same time."
Farnsworth warns the joke may be on Republicans, who may lose the election because they've staked out a position far to the right of most mainstream voters. Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts is asking the other side for a response by next week.