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Terry McAuliffe wins nailbiter Va. governor’s race

(CNN) — Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, will beat Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli Tuesday to become Virginia’s next governor, CNN projects, ending a race that largely focused on national issues and saw heated attacks between the two candidates.

Of the two gubernatorial races this year, the contest in Virginia was by far the closest.

ELECTION 2013: Click here for latest election results

For months McAuliffe held a small, consistent lead in public opinion polls over Cuccinelli, who was considered a hero by many tea party supporters and other grass-roots activists, thanks to his very public conservative crusades, including his push against Obamacare.

A third-party candidate, libertarian Robert Sarvis, was thought to be a potential spoiler. Sarvis was taking around 8 percent to 10 percent of the vote in recent polls, a significant chunk with the race between the Republican and Democratic candidates so close.

McAuliffe will succeed Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who didn’t run for re-election because Virginia governors cannot serve consecutive terms.

The main two campaigns engaged in nasty political warfare that took over the airwaves in Virginia. McAuliffe made sure women were aware of Cuccinelli’s support of “personhood” legislation that critics say restricts abortion and some forms of birth control.

Cuccinelli has frequently highlighted federal investigations of an electric car company that McAuliffe co-founded.

Both sides also attempted to frame the race as a referendum on larger national issues. Cuccinelli’s supporters argued a vote against McAuliffe was a vote against Obamacare.

McAuliffe and Democrats pinned Cuccinelli as a tea party activist, linking him to conservative lawmakers in Washington who initiated a strategy that eventually led to last month’s government shutdown.

Although McAuliffe came out on top, neither candidate was particularly well-liked. A Quinnipiac Poll released Monday showed 42 percent of likely voters had a favorable opinion of the Democrat, while 45 percent had an unfavorable view. Cuccinelli also had a negative favorability rating, 38 percent to 52 percent.

Cuccinelli particularly struggled to gain support among women and to unite the commonwealth’s GOP base.

High-profile surrogates came out to bat for the two main gubernatorial hopefuls in the last weeks of the campaign. President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden all hit the trail for McAuliffe.

Cuccinelli, meanwhile, had support from GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Former Rep. Ron Paul also endorsed the attorney general and headlined an event for Cuccinelli on Monday night.

With McAuliffe’s win, he breaks a long streak in Virginia gubernatorial contests. In the last nine elections, the party controlling the White House lost the governor’s race.

When McAuliffe is sworn in, Republicans will control 29 of the nation’s governorships, down from 30 before his victory.

The-CNN-Wire
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9 comments

  • KG

    That is it! A con man becomes the gov in VA. Nice ,from the flame flam duo of Bill and Hillary! Great for illegals,they will get their DL and sanctuary in VA!

  • Sam Spade (@samspade568)

    Well…VIRGINA is going to get EXACTLY what it deserves. Morons voted in Obama twice and the funny part is – they screwamed bloody murder about McDonell taking gifts; and they just elected one of the biggest crooks in the Democratic party!

    So what if he is friends with a man who had oral sex in the White House with a girl his daughter’s age-then LIED about it!

    So what if a President who is a liar, a traitor, a murderer, a gunrunner and a complete incompetent who ALSO got voted in by idiots, fraud, and the “Big Money” he whined at Romney about

    So what if he sat and watched the murder of 4 American service officers then LIED about it!

    So what if he was spying not onlly on AMERICANS, but the rest of the world and lying about it!

    I guess the shit is going to have to get eye deep for liberals before they wake up.

    But by then the Apocalypse will be here so who gives a damn.

  • Lee

    Ah! They did indeed find enough dead dems to vote after all, It didn’t look like he was going to make it there for a while.

    • Independent Thinker

      you need to understand the power of the democratic party in the “DC suburbs” of northern Va. This is what turned Va. “purple” during the presidential election, and what lost Cuccinelli the rest. This was nothing but a grudge match against Cuccinelli’s law-suit and opposition to Obama Care. The democratic party in Va. is getting to be pretty “all powerful”. Republicans need to change their strategies, get better funding, and lose the T-Party radicals who are putting drag on their sails.

  • UVa

    Now that the race is over, we have to deal with all the sore losers whining about how unfair things turned out.

  • Stu

    good bye surplus. hello more taxes. McAuliffe’s gonna pick up where Kaine left off and undo everything McDonnell worked for. we are in for it now. too bad we cant keep what we have and have another Mcdonnell term.

  • Danielle Smith

    The Ones who are hating on President Obama, Bill & Hillary, and GOVERNOR McAuliff………….You all are the Biggest INCOMPETENT IDIOTS!!!!!! Oh and by the way tell Mcdonnell to leave the GROCERIES!!!!!!! Have a Great Day:-)

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