All the votes are counted and victory and concession speeches have been made: Democrat Terry McAuliffe is the new governor of Virginia. The numbers were so incredibly close last night and I don’t think anyone really knew what exactly was going to happen until all the votes were counted. Polls and surveys in the past couple weeks suggested that McAuliffe was going to win possibly by double-digits, but that was certainly not the case last night.
After all of the votes were counted and the results were in, McAuliffe won, with 48% to Cuccinelli’s 45.5%. For the first time in decades, the governor of Virginia is from the same party as the President.
After covering the election for the past few months, I definitely thought McAuliffe was going to win but it was a lot closer than I ever expected. I can’t say that I’m all too surprised though, after McAuliffe’s recent endorsement from President Obama. This was a terrible move for him; most of the country holds unfavorable views of Obama because of all the problems with the Obamacare rollout. Obama’s approval ratings are the worst they’ve ever been.
That’s not to say al big-name endorsements were bad ideas. Bringing the Clintons on the road with him was a great move because the people of Virginia are supportive of them for the most part.
Ken Cuccinelli and his team definitely had the momentum going in their favor the last few days. If the election were next week, rather than yesterday, Cuccinelli definitely would’ve ended up winning. McAuliffe is lucky that he waited so long to have Obama speak on his behalf, because it was so last minute and there were a lot of people who didn’t get the chance to really process it enough and wasn’t terribly affected by the endorsement.
Cuccinelli has been strongly opposed to Obamacare, and after the failure following the website launch, he was able to capitalize on it and bringing Obama into the picture. This actually boosted Cuccinelli’s ratings more than McAuliffe’s because it’s a sore subject for thousands of people. More people started turning towards Cuccinelli because of the fear surrounding Obamacare.
If there’s anything Cuccinelli should learn from this election it’s that he shouldn’t totally define himself by what he opposes. Governor Christie of New Jersey is opposed to abortion but still won reelection because he doesn’t let that define him. Ken Cuccinelli has made abortion and opposition to the Affordable Care Act his platform. Instead of highlighting the good he would do for the people of Virginia, he offended a lot of people gave himself a very bad reputation, especially among women. According to the DC Decoder, one in every four women voters said that abortion was the most important issue in the race. In fact, McAuliffe won 70 percent of the unmarried female vote, and 91 percent of the black female votes.
Cuccinelli also campaigned on gay rights, specifically his opposition of gay marriage. More and more people are becoming supportive of it and the LGBT community is growing tremendously. It wasn’t smart of Cuccinelli to take such strong stances on these controversial issues and make them the focal point of his candidacy.
McAuliffe won the race, but he still doesn’t have support of much of the state. Many people said that they disliked both candidates but McAuliffe was the lesser of the two evils. With his support for gun restrictions, gay rights and federal environment regulations on coal-fired plants, he is going to have a lot of work to do in a state that doesn’t always agree with him.
Virginians has shown themselves to most definitely be swing voters. Now that Terry McAuliffe is governor, there is a lot of work to be done. There are still thousands of people who do not support him and it is going to be an uphill battle for him. If he accomplishes the things he sets out to do, I think it is going to be a big step in the right direction for the state of Virginia.