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McDonnell Resigns To Run for Governor

Anita Kumar

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, told his staff in an email today that he was resigning to campaign full-time as of Feb. 20.

"To ensure that Virginia's citizens have the full time Attorney General they deserve I am, in keeping with Virginia political tradition, resigning as Attorney General,'' McDonnell wrote.

In the email sent at 8 a.m., McDonnell calls serving as attorney general "the highest professional honor of my life."

"This has been a very difficult decision to make because of my love for this office and all of you,'' he wrote.

In recent years, attorneys general of both parties have resigned during the annual legislative session to run for governor. The House and Senate, controlled by two different parties, will appoint a replacement.

Chief deputy attorney general William C. Mims, a former Republican legislator from Loudoun County, is expected to be the top choice to replace McDonnell. In his email, McDonnell said he has "every confidence that our terrific Chief Deputy, Bill Mims, will be appointed to serve as the next attorney general of Virginia."

McDonnell will hold a press conference in Richmond at 11 a.m. and a meeting with his staff this afternoon.

Three Democrats, former delegate Brian Moran of Alexandria, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, are competing for the Democratic primary for the June 9 primary.

By Anita Kumar  |  February 3, 2009; 9:18 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Next: Senator Edwards "Leaning Towards" Run for AG


I will vote for McDonnell, but having the AGs resign every election to run for governor is getting to be a problem.

Perhaps we ought to move the election for AG to the presidential years (which is the year before the gubernatorial election), so that, if they want to run for governor, they can leave office at the end of their term, rather than in the middle of it.

Posted by: ooyah32 | February 3, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Good News!

Posted by: seawolfR | February 3, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I tend to agree w/ ooyah32. It's really unfair to the citizens of Virginia to elect someone ostensibly for 4 years and get only 2 1/2 years out of them. Actually, what is really unfair is that our governor cannot be elected to consecutive terms. How about changing the VA constitution to let the gov run for re-election. At least we'll be able to enjoy (?) a full term from our elected officials.

Posted by: luv2bikva | February 3, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Our governor terms are as bad as you make them sound. In certain states, New Hampshire and Vermont that I know of, governors are elected to serve only 2 years, so they are basically campaigning half the time they are in the office.

Posted by: Chuckled | February 3, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

luv2bikva express what I think a lot of Virginias wish - to allow a Governor to stand for re-election at least once.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | February 3, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I third the motion: Let the VA governor run for two terms, and then limit members of the state and US house and senate to two terms.

Posted by: mcleangirl | February 3, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

And McDonnell looks like he's hiding something. He comes off as too perfect, too reserved, and we all know what that means.

Posted by: mcleangirl | February 3, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Who is this guy, anyway? It's time to amend the constitution to allow our governors to succeed themselves, at least once. In this day and age, it is ludicrous to have the chance at only one term.

Posted by: mortified469 | February 3, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

As a Dem, I too will vote for either Brian Moran of Alexandria or Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), but never in a million years for Terry McAuliffe whom I consider to be nothing more than a blowhard big mouth! I would vote for McDonnell if only he and McAuliffe were the only two people running for the office.

Posted by: MadasHelinVA | February 3, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Good...Now we can get a real AG that does not have such ideological based radical ideas and, he will lose the Gov. race so he will be gone from Va's government.

Posted by: dbax | February 3, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell has taken the side of defecting Northern Virginia Episcopalians in a property lawsuit over the right of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to retain church properties. I consider this an abuse of state power. McDonnell claimed that he was defending the constitutionality of a Civil War-era law, but his partiality to the conservative breakaway group was on display for all to see. It doesn't seem appropriate for an elected state officer to takes sides in a religious dispute.

Posted by: jwcross | February 3, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow MadasHelinVA - tough words. You dislike Terry that much? I think McAuliffe is continuing to surprise a lot of people.

As for McDonnell, at least him resigning for AG isn't as bad as Moran almost losing the delegate seat for Dems by his costly political error of resigning when and how he did. That's someone who we in this area question in terms of leadership and tough decisions.

Posted by: alexdem24 | February 3, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, if elected, would he over turn the Democrat Senates' Nanny State law that forbids smoking and drinking in private citizen homes?

What's next for the Pelosi ilk Virginia lib Dems - no poker games in your home? Mandates to watch gay parades in San Fran? No skeet shooting on Sundays? No cigars on golf courses? No right to keep and bare arms? Who the hell do these liberal restrictors of my personal rights think they are?

Hey Bob - you have my vote and thousands more in our network. The damned liberal Nanny mentality has gone Orwellian.

Posted by: Patriot12 | February 3, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

That makes only one real public servant in this race... Sen. Creigh Deeds

Posted by: rgshaw | February 17, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

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