Modern traditions hold that major-party candidates, after a long campaign, reach out to one another once it’s over, usually over the phone. One graciously concedes, one graciously accepts, and the campaign effectively comes to a formal end.
But to appreciate the bad blood in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, note that the modern tradition is being ignored.
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) congratulated McAuliffe and pledged a “seamless and smooth” transition. As of late morning Wednesday, Cuccinelli had not called McAuliffe and had no plans to do so, according to two people close to the campaign.
Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) added while talking to reporters this afternoon, “I have not had the opportunity yet to speak to the attorney general.”
In other words, it’s not just that the candidates were busy with family and supporters last night, and didn’t find time to connect over the phone. Rather, we’re talking about a deliberate distance – Cuccinelli could have called to concede, but chose not to, and doesn’t intend to reach out.
I suppose the new governor probably shouldn’t save a seat for the outgoing state attorney general at his inauguration?
How candidates conduct themselves on the stage matters, but it’s always interesting to see how they act when leaving the stage, too. It appears Cuccinelli doesn’t want to end on a high note.