McAuliffe Pledges Bipartisanship, Focuses on Local Issues in Acceptance Speech
(WASHINGTON) — Eschewing the negativity that largely characterized both gubernatorial campaigns, Terry McAuliffe Tuesday night pledged to pursue a bipartisan agenda as Virginia’s next governor.
“This election was never a choice between Democrats and Republicans, it was a choice about whether Virginia would continue the bipartisan tradition that has served us so well over the last decade,” McAuliffe said in Northern Virginia Tuesday night.
He becomes the first Virginia governor elected from the same political party of the president since 1977.
Though the election has been framed by both political parties as a referendum on Washington, D.C., McAuliffe focused directly on a slew of local issues and investments that he would pursue as governor.
He made little mention of the Affordable Care Act, which had consumed his opponent Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign in the final weeks, except to reiterate his pledge to expand the Medicaid program with new federal dollars.
“We face a critical moment on the Medicaid expansion,” McAuliffe noted. “It was perhaps the clearest issue that voters had in this election.”
He had plenty of praise for Republicans, especially the ones who “crossed party lines” to support him, GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell for championing transportation investments and low unemployment, and Cuccinelli, who he called a “principled man.”
On infrastructure, education, and health care, McAuliffe pledged to bring Republicans to the table.
“Over the next three months I’m going to work hard to reach out to every single Republican in the General Assembly,” McAuliffe said. “I’m going to work hard to reach out to them and I’m going to work with them so we can advance our shared goals.”
Democrats had hoped for a clean sweep of statewide races, but while Democrat Ralph Northam won the contest for Lt. Governor, the Attorney General race between Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring is still too close to call.
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