In a halting concession speech addressed to an emotional crowd, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli conceded the Virginia governor’s race to Terry McAuliffe, but he didn’t see the night as a total defeat.
“This race came down to the wire because of Obamacare,” he told the crowd that gathered at the Marriott in downtown Richmond. “That message will go out across America tonight.”
He cited the ugly rollout of the president’s healthcare reform as the reason for the dramatic contraction of McAuliffe’s lead in the race’s final weeks. “I still believe the greatest resource we have in Virginia is Virginians, and no election can change that,” he concluded, before walking off the stage to Aaron Tippin’s country song “You’ve Got To Stand For Something.”
The race was a referendum on Obamacare, Cuccinelli’s case went, and Obamacare lost. But for his supporters — several of whom told me they’d been praying he would pull out a surprise win — it’s a rough night. One supporter, David Alan Carmichael, a radio host who went door-to-door for the attorney general, even disagreed with Cuccinelli’s analysis that credited disdain for the Affordable Care Act for his surge. He says he thinks Cuccinelli’s success has more to do with his likability: ”I think there is a national referendum on Obamacare, but I really believe he did as well as he did because people like Ken Cuccinelli. I really think, he, as a man, is actually what people were voting for.”
And Kristi Germinario, whose husband was a major donor to Cuccinelli’s campaign, says the responsibility for the loss should fall on Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian-party candidate. “I think it’s pretty interesting that this Sarvis character kind of upset the entire race,” she tells National Review Online. “I mean, we’re a two-party country, we are, and it would be interesting to find out where his funding really came from.”
Others weren’t so reflective: Nathan Nordquist, who volunteered for the campaign, just says he’s proud of Ken. “I’m shocked,” he says. “I’m shocked and I’m not shocked. I’m really kind of at a loss for words.”