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Clinton confidante gets narrow win; attorney general race is headed for a recount
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics editor
(Note: CNN’s coverage of McAuliffe’s victory speech below)
McAuliffe, a long-time confidante and fundraiser for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, won the commonwealth’s top post with 48 percent, compared to 47 percent for Cuccinelli in November 5 vote. Libertarian Robert Sarvis drew 7 percent.
In the race for attorney general, with all of the precincts reporting, GOP State Senator Mark Obenshain held a lead of less than 300 votes over Democratic State Senator Mark Herring, out of more than 2 million votes cast. The race was within the margin to trigger a recount.
McAuliffe’s win gives Democrats control of four statehouses across the South, with Virginia joining West Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas in the Democratic column. Republicans hold the top spot in the other 10 Southern states.
McAuliffe, 56, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, was making his second bid for governor. He lost in 2009 to Republican Governor Bob McConnell, who was barred by state law from seeking re-election.
McAuliffe has a long history in national politics, chairing Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996 and Hillary Clinton’s White House bid in 2008. However, he has never held elective office.