Christie in N.J.; McAuliffe in Va. - GOP gets glimmer of good news after 2012

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Mr. Cuccinelli was helpless, to a certain extent, to big money from Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign and national liberal-leaning super PACs that defined him as an intransigent roadblock to compromise beholden to the interests of the tea party.

He broke with Mr. McDonnell on many issues including, as Mr. McAuliffe repeatedly pointed out, the $6 billion transportation package passed by the General Assembly this year. With ethical scandals shadowing Mr. McDonnell, such positive accomplishments were largely relegated to the sidelines as well.

“I think there were great mistakes made in this election, particularly as it relates to Cuccinelli, who didn’t run on the record that Bob McDonnell had set forth, nor did he distance himself significantly away from the tea party,” former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat, told CNN on Tuesday. “The tea party is fine. It’s good. It’s nice to have that. But when your identification is such that it’s divide-and-conquer or division or ours or none, it’s not going to be good.”

Mr. McDonnell said Tuesday after exiting the voting booth that the next governor will have to unite Virginians.

“Get people to work together — focus on solving problems, not on speeches and scoring political points,” he said. “And remember that you’ve got a Republican House and you’ve got a split Senate and you’ve got to get Democrats and Republicans to work together. It doesn’t really matter who gets the credit. But if you don’t, people get equally invested in the outcome so you’re not going to get good results. That’s why we’ve gotten a lot of things passed.”

Mr. Gilmore gave a noncommittal view of the party’s future, both in the state and nationally.

“I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but I’m realistic about the divisions,” he said. “What I am is resolute. I am resolute that the party has got to start presenting conservatism in an acceptable way, or we will not succeed in the future.”

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