After Nasty Campaign, McAuliffe Thanks 'Mainstream' Republicans and Vows Bipartisanship

By Susan Jones | November 6, 2013 | 8:22 AM EST

Virginia Democtraic Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam, left, and Virginia Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, right, wave and give thumbs up to the crowd during an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Tysons Corner, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

( - In his victory speech Tuesday night, Virginia's Democratic Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe twice thanked the "mainstream" Republicans who voted for him.

"And let me say this: I also want to thank the absolutely historic number of Republicans who crossed party lines to support me. You were powerful messengers for our mainstream campaign."

Later in his speech, McAuliffe looked around the room, noting that "there are a lot of proud Democrats here -- and aren't we proud tonight, folks? And I'm also particularly proud to welcome all the Republicans who are here tonight. Give them a big round of applause. The truth is, this election was never a choice between Democrats and Republicans. It was a choice about whether Virginia would continue the mainstream, bipartisan tradition that has served us so well over the last decade..."

McAuliffe vastly outspent his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli, running a serious of attack ads that Cuccinelli called untruthful and misleading.

One of those TV ads, played repeatedly in the days leading up to the election, warned that Cuccinelli would try to take birth control pills away from women.

"Look, I know this has been a hard-fought race," McAuliffe said Tuesday night. "Part of that, as you know, is the nature of politics. And part of it was that the attorney general (Cuccinelli) and I had some very big differences on some very important issues. And let me say this -- I think every single person in Virginia is glad that the TV ads are over," he joked.

Admitting that "passions are high," McAuliffe recognized Cuccinelli as a "principled man" and thanked him for his "service and dedication" to Virginia.

McAuliffe also promised to "reach out to every single Republican in the General Assembly: "I want to listen to them, I want to work with them so we can advance our shared goals," McAuliffe said.

In fact, McAuliffe will have to listen to Republicans, because they control the General Assembly and nothing will pass without their support.

At the end of his speech, McAuliffe specifically addressed the people who voted for Cuccinelli and a third-party candidate: "And I know tonight is not easy...I understand that emotions are raw. I have been there. I get it. So while I promise you tonight that I will be a governor for all Virginians, the real test is my actions when I take office.

"I expect you to hold me to my pledge to work with both sides. And I hope that once we have started to make bipartisan progress on critical issues like jobs and education, that I can earn your trust."