Four years ago, Gov. Terry McAuliffe entered office with a narrow election plurality, a matchless Rolodex of political and business contacts around the world, and a disco-ball personality that lit up every room he entered, much to the annoyance of the Republicans who ruled the Virginia General Assembly.
McAuliffe leaves office almost four weeks shy of his 61st birthday with the same boundless energy and a salesman’s flashy record for deals closed, but also something many of his detractors grudgingly acknowledge — a legacy of weighty accomplishments, from reviving the Port of Virginia and repairing costly transportation potholes inherited from Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to leading the state’s sputtering, defense-heavy economy to new, technology-driven businesses with high-paying jobs.
McAuliffe was thwarted in his four-year effort to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And while he takes pride in restoring the rights of a record 173,000 felons who had done their time, he had to overcome a state Supreme Court ruling that his blanket rights restoration order was unconstitutional.