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“A win is a win — it gives him some credibility,” he said. “Here, he’s keeping it home and keeping it local and pointing to something good he’s done that impacted people in a tangible way back home.”

Mr. Cuccinelli also pointed out in a recent email to supporters that while he’s been involved in many “federalism fights” during his time as attorney general, this was the first time where federal, state and local parties were all involved in the same lawsuit.

Virginians who were surprised that Mr. Cuccinelli almost instantly entered the fray after being elected in 2009 really shouldn’t have been; he openly campaigned on fighting what he describes as an overzealous, overreaching federal government. The key, Mr. Rozell said, is being able to articulate the value in that effort.

“I think what he has to do,” he said, “is convey that he’s taken on the federal government time and again, which many other attorneys general perhaps have been reluctant to do: ‘This is merely one victory, but it’s an important one, given the odds against going up against the big and powerful federal government.’”