The Democrat gave no indication of backing down.
“There’s still plenty of votes [to be counted],” Mr. McAuliffe said.
Mr. McAuliffe was down by about 4 percentage points with 88% of votes counted.
The candidate, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, thanked his staff, family and supporters in a brief speech.
Mr. McAuliffe also lauded the work done in Virginia under Democratic leadership, praising current Gov. Ralph Northam.
He zeroed in on abortion rights and making Virginia more welcoming as a whole.
“This is a different state,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “We are the greatest state in the United States of America.”
“The fight continues,” he added.
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