November 5, 2013

McAuliffe elected Virginia governor over Cuccinelli

The Democrat wins the most closely watched race in Tuesday’s elections.

The Associated Press

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Va. Governor-elect Democratic Terry McAuliffe waves next to the flag of Virginia as he appears onstage to address his supporters at his victory party in Tysons Corner, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

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Supporters cheer as they watch the results on television at the election night party for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Tysons Corner, Va.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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From the outset, the campaign shaped up as a barometer of voters’ moods and a test of whether a swing-voting state like Virginia would elect a tea party-style governor. Republicans bet a deeply conservative candidate would be their best shot at holding onto the governor’s office, passing over a lieutenant governor for Cuccinelli, a crusader against the federal health care law.

McAuliffe, who once led the Democratic National Committee and is a confidant of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, said he would expand Medicaid to provide health coverage for 400,000 people under the federal health care law. By contrast, Cuccinelli, the current attorney general, vehemently opposed the law and was the first to challenge it in court.

Cuccinelli pinned his hopes on voters’ frustrations with the federal health care law he attempted to foil. He tried to make the election into a referendum on the health care law, which McAuliffe supports. The 45-year-old Cuccinelli went into Election Day trying to overcome a deficit in the polls, a crush of negative ads and a lingering wariness among fellow Republicans about his conservative views.

Some Republicans switched allegiances for the election and others sided with Sarvis.

Sharon Ann Ross, a 56-year-old landscape designer, said her vote for McAuliffe in Manassas was in keeping with a gradual shift in her politics. She used to favor Republicans, but now she supports Democrats.

“I’m kind of embarrassed to be a Republican,” said Ross, a gun owner who favors conservatives on Second Amendment issues but said the economy drove her decision.

“Right now, I feel more comfortable voting through my wallet,” she said. “I’d like to better my life, and I think a Democratic ticket does more for average people like me.”

As one of just two races for governor nationwide, political strategists eyed the race for clues about what would work — and what would not — for 2014’s midterm elections when control of Congress is up for grabs.

The 56-year-old McAuliffe succeeds term-limited Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, for a four-year term starting in January.

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Additional Photos

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Supporters celebrate the news that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has been elected the next Governor of Virginia during the election night party in Tysons Corner, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

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Republican gubernatorial candidate, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli delivers his concession speech with his wife, Teiro, during a rally in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Cuccinelli was defeated by Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

AP Photo/Steve Helber


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