[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/09/art.terryshake0609.gi.jpg caption="McAuliffe said Tuesday night that his gubernatorial bid had been 'quite a ride.'"]
ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) - Terry McAuliffe conceded a tough loss in an unusually hard-fought Virginia Democratic primary Tuesday night, urging supporters to rally behind the party’s nominee, state senator Creigh Deeds.
McAuliffe, who campaigned in Virginia last year as Hillary Clinton’s finance chair, had run with the backing of national party leaders like Democratic Governor Association chair Brian Schweitzer, but was overtaken in the race’s final weeks by Deeds.
“It may not have turned out the way we wanted, but it was quite a ride,” McAuliffe told supporters at a hotel an Arlington hotel. “…I told Creigh I will give it my 100 percent to help him do what ever it takes to become governor.”
Later he told CNN he’d “be out for [Deeds] every day if I can.”
The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, whose massive campaign war chest made him the instant frontrunner when he formally entered the Virginia governor’s race earlier this year, lost resoundingly in parts of the northern Virginia suburbs that had been expected to provide a major base of support.
On Tuesday, shrugged off questions about his future. “Well, I want to spend a lit bit of time with my five-year-old children and my wife, my beautiful wife who I haven’t seen in five-and-a-half months,” he said. “So I’m going to spend a little time. But you know, I don’t need much time resting. I get about eight hours and I’m ready to go again for six months.”
“I haven’t really gone through the data at all. You like to win. I gave it all I had,” he said. “We had some great big ideas. We had a great staff we had some great field offices. You don’t always win…”
He added that there was “nothing. Absolutely not” that he would differently. “We ran a great race. Thousands of volunteers, a great message – it was a great race…Hopefully I shook it up a bit for everyone.”