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Jeanine McDonnell Back on the Trail

Amy Gardner

Her father's campaign may be over, but Jeanine McDonnell, the well-spoken daughter of Governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell, seems to have enjoyed the campaign trail so much that she's not taking a break. This week, Republican Scott Rigell, who hopes to challenge Democrat Glenn Nye in Virginia Beach's Second Congressional District, released a video endorsement from the eldest of the governor-elect's five children.

The younger McDonnell, a veteran of the Iraq war, is credited with giving her father a crucial boost at a time when his 20-year-old college thesis threatened his support among women and working mothers. More than once, the candidate described his daughter as "the ultimate working woman" to refute accusations that he did not support women entering the workplace. And Jeanine McDonnell, now employed at federal contractor Science Applications International Corp., wowed crowds and political pundits with her poise and energy.

Those qualities could boost Rigell's fortunes too, particularly among the thousands of military personnel, veterans and federal contractors who call the Second District home. The founder and chairman of the Freedom Automotive car dealerships, Rigell is a longtime business advocate and activist in local and statewide Republican causes. He is also a former Marine reservist.

Rigell has taken some heat from local Republicans for giving a campaign contribution to President Obama during primary season last year. Rigell also donated to Mitt Romney and later to John McCain. He has said that he supported Obama over Hillary Clinton but McCain over Obama, but the issue is sure to resurface during the Republican nominating process. Rigell faces a wide field of at least five other contenders. He has already scored a long list of Republican endorsements, including these delegates, senators and delegates-elect: Sal Iaquinto, Bob Purkey, Ken Stolle, Frank Wagner, Ron Villenueva and Chris Stolle.

The Second District Republican Committee, by the way, decided Thursday that the nomination will be decided by a canvass on May 8.

In addition to all of Virginia Beach, the Second District encompasses Accomack and Northampton counties on the Eastern Shore and portions of Norfolk and Hampton.

Watch the video below.

By Amy Gardner  |  December 4, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Amy Gardner , Election 2010  
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