2009 Bob McDonnell gubernatorial campaign

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McDonnell for Governor
CampaignVirginia gubernatorial election, 2009
CandidateBob McDonnell
Attorney General of Virginia 2006-2009
Virginia General Assemblymen 1992-2005
AffiliationRepublican Party
StatusElected to the position on November 3rd, 2009 [1]
ReceiptsUS$10,673,981 [2] (2008-01-31)
McDonnell for Governor

Former Attorney General of Virginia Bob McDonnell was the Republican nominee for the 2009 gubernatorial race in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. At the Virginia State Convention on May 30, 2009, he officially received the party's nomination, as Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling decided against opposing him. His opponent in the general election was State Senator Creigh Deeds, a Democrat from Bath County. Although the race was close in September, McDonnell began take a commanding leads in the poll heading into election day, when he defeated his opponent by a margin of 18 points. He was inaugurated on January 16, 2010 at the Virginia State Capitol.


McDonnell announced his candidacy for the 2009 Virginia Gubernatorial election at American Legion's Boy's State of Virginia 2007, making him the seventh consecutive elected Attorney General to run. McDonnell accepted the GOP’s nomination at the Republican State convention, receiving “extended applause from a boisterous crowd of more than 10,000 Republicans from across the state.”[3] Less than two weeks later, State Senator R. Creigh Deeds won his party’s nomination in a primary, setting up a “rematch” from the state attorney general’s race four years earlier.

In early June, Creigh Deeds possessed a slight edge in the polls with a 47%-41% advantage in the early polls.[4] As the campaign continued to progress, the polls shifted toward McDonnell's favor, giving him even a commanding lead in some.[5] When the Washington Post released McDonnell's thesis from Regent University, Deeds managed to cause McDonnell's lead to dwindle to only two percentage points in the Rasmussen.[6] As the effects of the thesis began to disappear, McDonnell's campaign regained steam, ultimately taking a commanding lead heading into election day.

McDonnell crushed opponent Creigh Deeds in the general election by a vote of 59%-41%, receiving the highest percentage of the vote for any candidate for governor since 1961.[7] In addition, the Republican Party of Virginia swept all three elections: Ken Cuccinelli won the Attorney General election and Bill Bolling was reelected to a second term as Lt. Governor.


The McDonnell campaign strategy focused on economic issues, transportation, and public safety.[8] Bob McDonnell's proposals included new job initiatives, boosting Virginia’s tourism, hospitality, and film industries, making Wallops Island the top commercial spaceport in America, and expanding growth in rural Virginia.[9] McDonnell’s education proposals would move $480 million per year from school administration and put it directly into the classroom; establish more specialized high schools to support high-demand industries; increase online learning through virtual schools; and support educational mentoring programs.[10][11] McDonnell has frequently expressed his support for President Barack Obama’s ideas on increasing parental choice through charter schools.[12]

McDonnell has said that his priority as Governor would be employment for Virginians. He has favored right-to-work laws, low operating cost of government and a simplified tax code.[13][14]


McDonnell's campaign also addressed transportation, a major issue in heavily congested areas of Virginia. His plan includes issuing $3 billion in transportation bonds that had been approved by the Virginia General Assembly in 2007; modernizing the Virginia Department of Transportation; and encouraging public-private partnerships to improve infrastructure.[15] He wants to widen I-66, improve I-95, and finish Metro to Dulles.


McDonnell wishes to make Virginia the Energy Capital of the East Coast.[16] He supports drilling for oil off of the coast of Virginia while simultaneously developing new technologies for wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable energy resources.[17] Opponents of McDonnell's drilling proposal say that drilling for oil would risk Southern tourism, rare wildlife, and fisheries for what the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service estimates would be only enough oil for six months, and require seven to ten years to bring online.[18] He intends to expand investments in renewable energy sources and incentivize green job creation.[16]


McDonnell is pro-life. As a state legislator, he introduced legislation that would have banned late-term abortions, as well as other legislation requiring parental consent before a minor has an abortion and informed consent for all women.[19] He opposes government funding for elective abortions.


McDonnell's 1989 thesis for Regent University[20] was a 93-page document titled The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade. The document explored the rise in the numbers of divorces and illegitimate births, and examined public policies that may have contributed to that increase and proposed solutions.

The document gained attention in the campaign because it outlined a 15-point conservative agenda, including 10 points McDonnell pursued during his years in the General Assembly, according to press analysis.[21] This agenda includes opposition to abortion and support for school vouchers, and tax policies that favor heterosexual families. In the work, McDonnell argues for covenant marriage, a "legally distinct type of marriage intended to make it more difficult to obtain a divorce".[22]

In his thesis, McDonnell said "government policy should favor married couples over 'cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators.'"[23] McDonnell also "described working women and feminists as 'detrimental' to the family."[23] McDonnell also "criticized a landmark 1965 Supreme Court decision" which legalized the use of contraceptives by married couples. In the thesis, McDonnell argued for the use of government intervention on societal issues, writing that "man’s basic nature is inclined towards evil, and when the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish, and deter."

McDonnell responded to the article, stating "Virginians will judge me on my 18-year record as a legislator and attorney general and the specific plans I have laid out for our future -- not on a decades-old academic paper I wrote as a student during the Reagan era and haven't thought about in years." The Washington Post reported McDonnell maintains: "Like everybody, my views on many issues have changed as I have gotten older." McDonnell says his evolved position on family policy is best represented by his 1995 welfare reform legislation where he "worked to include child day care in the bill so women would have greater freedom to work." He now insists that the position on working women he espoused in the thesis, "was simply an academic exercise and clearly does not reflect my views."[21]

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a supporter of McDonnell's Democratic opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, responded that McDonnell has since made more than one intervention concerning sexual orientation. Kaine pointed to the fact that McDonnell advocated a state constitutional amendment requiring that marriage can occur only between a man and a woman, and intervened to oppose Kaine's first act as governor in 2006, to expand the state's nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation.[24]

Campaign organization and financial support[edit]

McDonnell's campaign headquarters was located in Richmond. His campaign finance report for September 15, 2009 indicates that he had nearly 1,500 more new donors than the Deeds campaign had total donors, a total of 6,239 donors, 4,946 of them new.[25]

The McDonnell For Governor campaign printed a variety of bumper stickers appealing to many interest groups, including "Women for McDonnell," "Sportsmen for McDonnell," and "Independents for McDonnell." Some appealed to the diverse minority groups throughout the Commonwealth. Some featured the mascots of select public universities such as The University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, Virginia Military Institute, and Old Dominion University. "Irish for McDonnell" stickers were printed for the select Virginia residents who attended the University of Notre Dame as well.


Bob McDonnell has been endorsed by Sheila Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and owner of the Washington Mystics;[26] Virginia AgPAC: the Political Action Committee of the Virginia Farm Bureau, representing over 147,000 members;[27] the Virginia Association of Realtors, the largest trade association in Virginia with over 33,000 Members;[28] The Virginia Credit Union League, a trade association representing the Commonwealth’s 194 not-for-profit credit unions and the 3 million member-owners residing in Virginia;[29] The Virginia Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a group whose membership consists of over 6,000 small businesses across Virginia;[30] and the National Rifle Association, which reversed its 2005 decision wherein it endorsed Deeds for Attorney General.


Source Dates Administered Creigh Deeds (D) Bob McDonnell (R)
SurveyUSA October 17–19, 2009 40% 59%
Public Policy Polling October 16–19, 2009 40% 52%
Clarus Research October 18–19, 2009 41% 49%
CNU-Pilot-WVEC[permanent dead link] October 19, 2009 31% 45%
Rasmussen Reports October 12, 2009 43% 50%
Mason-Dixon October 6–8, 2009 40% 48%
Washington Post October 4–7, 2009 44% 53%
Survey USA October 2–4, 2009 43% 54%
Rasmussen Reports September 29, 2009 42% 51%
Survey USA September 26–28, 2009 41% 55%
Public Policy Polling September 25–28, 2009 43% 48%
Insider Advantage September 23, 2009 44% 48%
Washington Post September 20, 2009 47% 51%
Research 2000 September 14–16, 2009 43% 50%
Rasmussen Reports September 16, 2009 46% 48%
Clarus Research Group September 16, 2009 37% 42%
Survey USA September 3, 2009 42% 54%
Rasmussen Reports September 1, 2009 42% 51%
Public Policy Polling August 28–31, 2009 42% 49%
Washington Post August 16, 2009 40% 47%
Rasmussen Reports August 10, 2009 38% 47%
Research 2000 August 3–5, 2009 43% 51%
Public Policy Polling July 31-August 3, 2009 37% 51%
Survey USA July 27–28, 2009 40% 55%
Rasmussen Reports July 14, 2009 41% 44%
Public Policy Polling June 30-July 2, 2009 43% 49%
Research 2000 June 15–17, 2009 44% 45%
ALR June 10–14, 2009 42% 38%
Rasmussen Reports June 10, 2009 47% 41%
Survey USA June 5-June 7, 2009 43% 47%
Survey USA May 31-June 2, 2009 43% 44%
Research 2000 May 18–20, 2009 32% 45%
Survey USA May 17–19, 2009 40% 46%
Survey USA April 27, 2009 39% 44%
Rasmussen Reports April 15, 2009 30% 45%
Research 2000 April 6–8, 2009 31% 38%
Rasmussen Reports February 4, 2009 30% 39%
Rasmussen Reports December 4, 2008 39% 39%
Public Policy Polling June 14–16, 2008 27% 32%

General Election results[edit]

2009 Virginia gubernatorial election map

These results were current as of 3:00 PM Eastern on Wednesday, November 4, with 99.76% of precincts reporting.[31] McDonnell has since been projected the winner.[32]

Virginia gubernatorial election, 2009
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob McDonnell 1,158,865 58.65
Democratic Creigh Deeds 814,565 41.23
Total votes 1,842,793 100.00
Turnout 1,974,564 of 4,955,755 39.84


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  2. ^ The Virginia Public Access Project (July 15, 2009). "Governor". Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
  3. ^ Kumar, Anita (May 31, 2009). "Robert F. McDonnell Accepts GOP Nomination for Virginia Governor". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  4. ^ http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_2009/virginia/toplines/toplines_virginia_governor_election_june_10_2009
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  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKV4EoJmPWg
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2010-01-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  16. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-11. Retrieved 2010-01-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ http://www.whsv.com/news/headlines/40441792.html
  18. ^ http://www.southernenvironment.org/newsroom/press_releases/offshore_drilling_doi_comments_9_21_09/ Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Sullivan, Kathleen and Pratt, Marirose. Six Months of Oil Not Worth a Disaster on Southern Coasts, Says SELC.
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade (PDF). The Washington Post (Thesis). 1989. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
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  23. ^ a b Gardner, Amy (August 30, 2009). "Va. Candidate McDonnell Says Views Changed Since He Wrote Thesis". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
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  32. ^ Urbina, Ian (2009-11-03). "Republican Wins Virginia Governor Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-04.