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McDonnell Walks Door to Door

Anita Kumar

Republican gubernatorial nominee spent the morning walking a small suburban neighborhood in the Stonewall voting precinct of Manassas, knocking on doors and greeting drivers of cars as they passed along the quiet street with local Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R).

Stonewall is ground zero for what McDonnell hopes will be the resurgence of Republican voting in Virginia. It went heavily for McDonnell over Creigh Deeds in the 2005 attorney general's race, giving him 57 percent of votes. But last year the precinct backed President Obama.

McDonnell said he believed that election was fought on federal issues like the Iraq war. He said November will be about local issues like schools, state energy policy, taxes and roads.

Again and again, he reminded voters of his childhood in Fairfax County, a contrast from the rural Deeds. But, in a neighborhood that has undergone dramatic demographic shifts in recent years, many of the voters he greeted were not Northern Virginia natives. One couple was moving from Pennsylvania and looking at buying a house in the neighborhood. Others were immigrants.

"I came by to say hi to you!" he said to Ana Santos, 50, who moved to the United States in 1971 from El Salvador. "I'm working to help prove your roads, make your schools better, reduce government spending, get more kids going to school, I'd love the opportunity to get your vote."

Santos quickly told McDonnell about her son serving in Iraq. With that, McDonnell whipped out his campaign brochure to show a picture of himself in his army uniform next to his daughter, who also served in Iraq.

At another house, McDonnell became was engrossed in conversation with Marlene Hernandez, 27, a preschool teacher visiting a friend in the neighborhood. Hernandez told McDonnell that she believes early childhood education should be expanded so that Spanish speaking children can learn English.

After McDonnell wandered away, Hernandez said she usually votes Democratic, in part because she favors a broader immigration policy. But she said McDonnell had made a good impression.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 13, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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