augusta free press news

McDonnell to step down as AG

Bob McDonnell is resigning as attorney general of Virginia effective Feb. 20 to devote his attention full-time to his pursuit of the governorship.

“Personally this was a very difficult decision to make, but it is the right one for our Commonwealth,” said McDonnell, the presumptive Republican Party nominee for governor, in an announcement in Richmond Tuesday morning. “A campaign for governor demands a full-time candidate. The Office of the Attorney General is the Commonwealth’s law firm and demands a full-time attorney general. Historically Democratic and Republican attorneys general have stepped down from this post in order to run for governor. It is the right and proper thing to do,” McDonnell said.

The last three GOP nominees for governor – Jerry Kilgore in 2005, Mark Earley in 2001 and Jim Gilmore in 1997 – were all elected attorneys general who stepped down prior to the end of their terms to pursue campaigns for governor. Mary Sue Terry, the last elected Democrat to serve as attorney general, stepped down from the post in 1993 to run for governor that year.

McDonnell was elected in 2005 in a tight race with Bath County Democrat Creigh Deeds, who is running for the Democratic Party nomination for governor this year.

McDonnell said today that he will ask the General Assembly to appoint his chief deputy, Bill Mims, a former Republican state senator from Northern Virginia, to be his successor.


– Story by Chris Graham