Image: McAuliffe Wins Virginia Governor's Race

McAuliffe Wins Virginia Governor's Race

Tuesday, 05 Nov 2013 08:30 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Democrat Terry McAuliffe is projected as the winner of the Virginia governor's race, Fox News and CNN report.

Fox made its projection about 9:30 p.m. Shortly thereafter, CNN reported that, with 91 percent of the vote counted, McAuliffe led Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, 47 percent to 46 percent.

Throughout most of Tuesday night after the polls closed in Virginia at 8 p.m., CNN had reported that the tea party-backed Cuccinelli was leading McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, at one point by as many as 40,000 votes.

Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis held 7 percent of the vote, a tally that remained steady all evening, CNN reported.

The winner succeeds Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who could not seek a second four-year term due to state term limits.

According to CNN, Cuccinelli, 45, gained his early strength from voters in the central and southern parts of Virginia, while McAuliffe's power came from voters in the North Virginia suburbs of Washington.

Virginia is seen as a bellwether swing state ahead of mid-term congressional elections next year and the 2016 presidential election.

Record amounts of outside money flowed into the campaign as McAuliffe, 56, heavily outspent Cuccinelli, and national Democratic figures sought to make the vote a referendum on the Republicans' tea party wing.

Cuccinelli focused on attacking Obamacare, which is off to a stumbling start at best.

"The president is lying and McAuliffe is part of it," Mike Hicks, a resident of Ashland, who voted for Cuccinelli, told Bloomberg News.

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stumped for McAuliffe, who had run campaigns for both of them. Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden also campaigned for McAuliffe in the final days before the vote.

Cuccinelli in turn received support from such conservative Republican figures as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Trailed In Polls

Cuccinelli, a strong opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, trailed McAuliffe in opinion polls heading into the election, especially among women and independent voters.

McAuliffe, 56, tied Cuccinelli to last month's government shutdown, blamed by most Americans on Republicans and especially the tea party wing. Virginia was hit hard by the shutdown since it relies more than most states on federal paychecks and contracts.

Cuccinelli also was hurt by a scandal involving McDonnell, who is under investigation for taking gifts from a businessman. Cuccinelli apologized in September for taking gifts from the same businessman.

McAuliffe, who has said he has 18,632 names on his Rolodex, raised about $34 million to Cuccinelli's $20 million, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks political money in the state.

McAuliffe also outspent Cuccinelli 10-1 on television advertising in the last few weeks of the campaign, the Access Project said.

Underscoring the national interest in the race, about 70 percent of the money raised has come from outside the state. That is far the highest percentage for any U.S. gubernatorial race in history, according to the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics, in Helena, Mont.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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