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Posted at 1:22 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Cuccinelli to auction lunch for Alexandria charity

By Rosalind S. Helderman

Just what the residents of deep blue Alexandria always wanted: lunch with conservative Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R).

A meal with the controversial state lawyer will be auctioned Friday evening at a New Orleans-themed "Mardi Growl" benefit for the Animal League of Alexandria.

Also on the auction block will be meals with U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D), city council members in Alexandria, State Sen. Patsy Ticer (D) and the Alexandria sheriff (in the jail cafeteria, no less!)

But given Alexandria's reliably Democratic voting pattern -- city voters backed former Del. Steve Shannon over Cuccinelli by a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent in the 2009 election -- it's the lunch with Cuccinelli that jumps out.

Cuccinelli political director Noah Wall acknowledged that the lunch may well be won by Cuccinelli's political opponents. He said the attorney general is fine with that -- provided they're willing to cough up cash for the animal league, which runs Alexandria's shelter.

"The goal is to raise money," he said.

Martha Armstrong, executive director of the Animal Welfare League, said the group is asking those who win meals with politicians to remember that the goal of the event is to focus on animal care and think about focusing their meal conversation on that topic.

But, she added, "Once we get their money, whatever they have their conversations with him about is beyond us."

Armstrong said the group has beat its goal of raising $65,000 at the first-ever Mardi Growl event, which will feature dinner, dancing and other entertainment for at least 300 at the historic terminal at Reagan National Airport.

"We think this is a great organization that does important work to help animals in the Northern Virginia area," Wall said of Cuccinelli's participation. "We're excited to be helping a group that provides quality care for animals -- donating a lunch with Ken to support their efforts was the least we could do."

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 4, 2011; 1:22 PM ET
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