Difference between revisions of "Bob McDonnell"

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Revision as of 16:17, 29 January 2013

Bob McDonnell
Bob McDonnell.JPG
Governor of Virginia
In office
January 16, 2010 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 5
Base salary$166,000
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 3, 2009
Term limitsNo consecutive terms
Prior offices
Virginia House of Delegates
High schoolBishop Ireton High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Notre Dame
Master'sBoston University
J.D.Regent University
Date of birthJune 15, 1954
Place of birthPhiladelphia, PA
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell (born June 15, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is the current Republican Governor of Virginia. McDonnell assumed office on January 16, 2010 after winning election on November 3, 2009.

In mid-August, 2011, McDonnell was named chairman of the National Governors Association, replacing Texas Governor Rick Perry.[1]

He has also served in the Virginia House of Delegates for the City of Virginia Beach from 1992 to 2005.

McDonnell was considered to be a possible candidate for Mitt Romney's choice of a vice-presidential candidate in 2012, but ultimately was not selected.[2][3]


Moving with his father's Air Force career, Bob McDonnell was born in Philadelphia, moved to Virginia a year later, and spent several years in Germany in his childhood. During his own time in the U.S. Army, McDonnell would again he stationed in Germany.

Bob McDonnell is a 1972 graduate from Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He later received a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1976, which he attended on a ROTC scholarship. He went on to receive a M.B.A. from Boston University in 1980, and a M.A./J.D. from Regent University. McDonnell served in the U.S. Army for twenty-one years, and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving active duty in 1981, he joined American Hospital Supply Corporation.

McDonnell was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1992, and has held the positions of Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee. In addition, he served on the Committees on Health, Welfare and Institutions, and the Rules Committee.


  • M.A./J.D., Regent University, 1989
  • MSBA, Boston University, 1981
  • B.B.A, Notre Dame, 1976
  • Bishop Ireton High School, 1972

Political career

Governor of Virginia (2010-Present)

McDonnell was first elected Governor of Virginia in 2009 and assumed office on January 16, 2010. His current term ends in 2013 and he is prevented from running for a second term in office. The term limits Virginia imposes on its governors are more strict than any other state in the country: under the commonwealth's constitution, no governor may serve back-to-back terms. This means that McDonnell, unlike other governors in their first term, is ineligible to run for re-election until a full term has passed.

Bob McDonnell's swearing-in ceremony on January 16, 2010

Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

McDonnell has opposed the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care overhaul known as Obamacare since its passage in December 2009. He supported efforts by Republican attorneys general (including his successor as attorney general Ken Cuccinelli) to have it repealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, and when the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the reform bill, McDonnell maintained his fighting stance in two ways: By pledging to forgo federal funding for Virginia in the short term to expand medicaid, and by reiterating his intentions to establish a Virginia-specific health care exchange system rather than participate in the federal health care exchange. (The exchange is "an online marketplace through which people can shop for health insurance provided by the law."[4]) The results of the general election on November 6, 2012, however, induced McDonnell to give up the latter fight. In light of President Obama's re-election and Democrats control of the Senate, McDonnell conceded that since "the federal health-care law, it looks like now, it will go into effect,”[4] his continued resistance to entering Virginia into the federal health care exchange program was no longer worthwhile. He said he would now support Virginia's participation in the federal exchange, adding that the law allowed for a two year window for retreating to a state-centric system. Despite pressure from liberal healthcare reform advocates to also reverse his position on the medicaid expansion, McDonnell remains unwilling to participate, believing that the federal government will ultimately have to renege on its promise to pay for the added recipients.[4]

Abortion bill

In February 2012, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a controversial "informed consent" abortion bill that requires women to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion. The ultrasound would determine the fetus' gestational age. Del. David Englin strongly opposed the legislation, warning "this bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions."[5]

The bill, having passed the Virginia State Senate two weeks earlier, was sent to McDonnell who initially indicated he would sign the legislation into law.[6] But the legislation captured the attention of the nation. It drew criticism from across the country, was satirized on the popular late night comedy show Saturday Night Live, and drew a large crowd to the state capitol in Richmond for an impromptu protest. Opponents sent a petition with 33,000 signatures urging the governor to veto the bill.[7] McDonnell changed his position on the legislation, withdrawing his support and stating "Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. I am requesting that the Virginia General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily."[7]

McDonnell signed an amended version of the bill on March 7, 2012. According to the Washington Post, "the version McDonnell signed says invasive ultrasounds are voluntary and exempts women who have reported to law enforcement agencies that they are victims of rape or incest." The new legislation takes effect July 1, 2012.[8]

Pension fund

McDonnell unveiled a plan in late December 2010 that would have all employees, new and current, contribute 5 percent of their pay to their retirement. At that time, McDonnell outlined that he would give them a 3 percent salary increase. “This is a start for fixing the pension system that has been out of whack for years and years. I will not pass on a broken system to another governor,” McDonnell said.

The governor's plan could leave employees with a cut in take-home pay. At least one employee group voiced concern. The Virginia Government Employees Association is pleased that McDonnell is making an effort to return the retirement system to sound financial footing, but it is not happy with what it perceives as a reduction in pay for members. “We have deep concerns about his proposal to have current state employees begin contributing 5 percent of their salary to the retirement system," VGEA said in a statement release after the governor's announcement. "While the governor is attempting to keep employee salaries whole in the proposal, he relies on a potential pay bonus using year-end savings in the state budget to do so. The net effect is that without the bonus, state employees could face a pay cut amounting to a little over 2 percent."[9]

Virginia energy

Virginia was one of the states preparing to engage in offshore drilling and when President Obama put the moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill disaster in 2010, Gov. McDonnell was vocally upset. “We didn't give up when we had the Challenger disaster in the space program or when we had nuclear meltdowns on Three Mile Island. We did what Americans always do in making progress — we found solutions and moved forward. But this is probably going to slow us down,” the governor said.

McDonnell held a conference with nearly 800 leaders from the energy industry in October 2010, "The Governor's Conference on Energy," to tout his message that Virginia will be the energy capital of the East. “I’ve been a very strong proponent of using all of Virginia’s resources — coal, natural gas, oil, wind, nuclear, offshore-gas, oil, wind alternatives – all of these are a part of our quest for independence,” McDonnell told WTOP radio spring 2010. McDonnell has also indicated favor towards nuclear power; as of October 2010, Virginia has two nuclear power plants in Surry County and Louisa County. McDonnell says he wants to add more: “Lynchburg, Va. can be the nuclear capital of America,” McDonnell told Virginia Statehouse News. “It’s clean — very few environmental concerns. Since the meltdown at Three-Mile Island, there have been tremendous technological advancements made. I think it’s a huge part of America’s future."[10]

Freezes and bonuses

McDonnell handed out a one-time bonus to state employees in 2010, but said they should not expect a permanent raise. State employees received a 3-percent bonus in late November 2010, their first pay boost of any kind in three years. The day before the bonus distribution, McDonnell applauded President Obama’s two-year freeze of federal worker’s wages and said the tough economic times call for austerity. “We got a $13.5 trillion national debt. Everybody understands now, federal spending is out of control. We’ve got to be able to rein things in,” McDonnel said on WTOP radio. "I think it’s a prudent step. It’s a good start, but they got to do a whole lot more than that if they want to get this budget deficit under control and restore fiscal responsibility in Washington.”[11]


One of Gov. McDonnell’s key issues has been Virginia transportation. In December 2010, McDonnell told the Governor’s Transportation Conference that he will spend $400 million on road construction immediately and ask to borrow nearly $3 billion more. “The more we build today, the better deal we provide to our citizens,” he told the gathering of lawmakers and highway industry representatives.

McDonnell said he would take advantage of the low highway-construction costs in late 2010 to early 2011. He planned to ask the General Assembly to pour money into the state’s transportation funding. The governor said the state has dropped the ball on transportation funding and indicated he intends to make that up with several measures. The transportation budget has been cut multiple times in the years before McDonnell was inaugurated, totaling $6 billion in cuts, McDonnell said.

“Over the past two decades, state support for transportation has not kept up with our growth as a Commonwealth. This has led to more congestion, longer commutes and missed economic opportunities, McDonnell said. McDonnell intends to infuse a transportation infrastructure bank with cash, specifically $150 million from the budget surplus and $250 million from an audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation.[12]

$3 billion proposal

As part of his budget amendments, McDonnell said he wants to help pay for $4 billion in new transportation spending by issuing $3 billion in bonds. A majority of the new bonds McDonnell is suggesting were already approved in 2007, but had yet to be sold. He’s hoping to raise $1.8 billion within three years by selling those bonds at twice the speed: $600 million per year instead of the original $300 million per year. “I don’t think that selling bonds that are already authorized, and are already built into our existing debt capacity models, getting the best deals in modern Virginia history and putting thousands of Virginians to work while doing it, should be that controversial,” McDonnell said last Friday.

Most legislators seemed to agree, but they were confused about the governor's wish to raise $1.1 billion by issuing a type of bonds called GARVEE bonds that are paid by the federal government to help fund pre-approved transportation projects.[13]

Attorney General of Virginia (2006-2009)

McDonnell won election as the Attorney General of Virginia in 2005, narrowly defeating state Senator Creigh Deeds by just 323 votes.[14]

Virginia House of Delegates (1992-2006)

McDonnell was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1992 and served seven terms representing the 84th District. He served as chair of the Courts of Justice Committee, co-chair of the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, and as Assistant Majority Leader.


Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Bob McDonnell endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [15]



In 2009, McDonnell defeated state Sen. Creigh Deeds to win Virginia's gubernatorial election. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave McDonnell substantial support, giving $972,877 to his campaign. Four year prior, the Chamber had given $400,000 towards Republican Jerry Kilgore’s failed bid for governor.[16]

Governor of Virginia, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBob McDonnell 58.6% 1,163,651
     Democratic R. Creigh Deeds 41.3% 818,950
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 2,502
Total Votes 1,985,103



In 2005, McDonnell ran for Attorney General of Virginia. The first result showed him with a victory of 323 votes, out of over 1.9 million votes cast, over opponent Creigh Deeds. Deeds went on to file for a recount, which began on December 20, 2005. After preliminary figures revealed 37 additional votes for McDonnell, Deeds conceded, giving McDonnell a 360 vote margin of victory.[18]

Campaign donors

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Bob McDonnell's donors each year.[19] Click [show] for more information.


McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have five children.

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Politico.com "McDonnell takes to national stage," August 15, 2011
  2. Boston.com, "Mitt Romney chooses Paul Ryan as running mate," August 11, 2012
  3. USA Today, "Romney's VP pick likely to go to safest candidate," July 14, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Washington Post, "Virginia Gov. McDonnell favors federal health care exchange for Obamacare," November 9, 2012
  5. David Englin.org, "Englin statement on legislation requiring vaginal penetration ultrasound prior to many abortions," February 13, 2012
  6. The Guardian, "Virginia governor Bob McDonnell in U-turn over controversial abortion bill," February 22, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 PublicBroadcasting.net, "Virginia Gov. shifts on abortion bill; revised measure," February 22, 2012
  8. Washington Post, "McDonnell signs bill requiring ultrasounds before abortions," March 7, 2012
  9. "Virginia workers face paying 5 percent into pension fund," Virginia Statehouse News, December 20, 2010
  10. "Future energy debate already charged," Virginia Statehouse News, October 11, 2010
  11. "McDonnell gives bonus, but supports wage freezes," Virginia Statehouse News, December 2, 2010
  12. "McDonnell wants cash infusion for transportation," Virginia Statehouse News, December 13, 2010
  13. "New debt has lawmakers confused," Old Dominion Watchdog, December 22, 2010
  14. Virginia State Board of Elections, "November 8, 2005 general election: Statewide official results," accessed February 23, 2012
  15. Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McDonnell endorses Romney, heads to S.C. to campaign," January 20, 2012
  16. Old Dominion Watchdog: "Out-of-state donors pour into Virginia," June 28th, 2010
  17. Virginia State Board of Elections, "2009 General Election Results," accessed November 29, 2012
  18. NYTimes.com: "A Virginia Recount Would Not Come Soon," November 8th, 2006
  19. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by