Gov.-elect McAuliffe begins transition to Richmond

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by Mike Gooding & Nick Ochsner, WVEC, Associated Press

WVEC

Posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM

TYSONS CORNER (AP) -- Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe heads to Richmond Wednesday to thank Virginians and announce key appointments to his transition and inaugural committees and staff. That event will take place at 3:00 p.m. 

He defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli after pledging to expand the state's Medicaid rolls and portraying his rival as someone who would turn back years of progress.

Turnout for Tuesday's election was low and both candidates worked through Election Day to reach as many potential voters as possible.
 
McAuliffe began reaching out to rival Republicans, looking to put the acrimonious campaign behind him.

The governor-elect on Wednesday was heading to Richmond, where he will move into the governor's office in January. McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, signaled that he would do everything he could to find compromise with Republicans who control the legislature.

He says he wants to make Virginia "a model of pragmatic leadership."

McAuliffe immediately promised to reach across party lines, starting with a pledge to meet with Republican lawmakers to find areas where they might collaborate.

McAuliffe, who is a confidant of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, campaigned saying he would expand Medicaid to provide health coverage for 400,000 people under the federal health care law.

The McAuliffe-Ken Cuccinelli race was widely considered a bellwether for the 2014 midterm elections, when control of Congress is up for grabs.
 
McAuliffe enjoyed a sizable lead in polls leading up to the election and raised millions more than his GOP opponent, allowing him to buy far more TV airtime for ads. At campaign stops and on television ads, the Democrat cast Cuccinelli as an extremist whose staunch anti-abortion stance would reverse years of progress in expanding abortion rights.
 
Cuccinelli, a tea party favorite, enlisted the help of big names like Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky to turn out his loyal conservative base. Even Vice President Joe Biden warned Democrats not to underestimate the tea party's ability to get out the vote, telling supporters on Monday: "Don't take this for granted, man."

Virginia's election was one of only two gubernatorial races nationwide, with voters in New Jersey deciding whether Republican Gov. Chris Christie would serve a second term. In Virginia, state law limits governors to only a single four-year term in office.

McAuliffe has never served in elected office. He ran for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2009 and lost to State Senator Creigh Deeds. Previously, the businessman served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He served as chairman of President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign in 1996, and in 2008 he served as chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.

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