Robert McDonnell

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Bob McDonnell
McDonnell Port HiRes.jpg
Former Governor of Virginia
From: January 16, 2010 - January 11, 2014
PredecessorTim Kaine
SuccessorTerry McAuliffe
Information
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Maureen Patricia McDonnell
Religion Roman Catholic

Robert F. "Bob" McDonnell (born June 15, 1954) was the 71st Governor of Virginia, having won the 2009 election by a 59%-41% landslide. McDonnell's Democratic opponent was state Senator Creigh Deeds, whom he defeated in 2005 for attorney general. He had consistently led Deeds in the polls by wide margins. [1] [2] [3][4]Previously McDonnell served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, and a U.S. prosecutor. He was state Attorney General from 2006-2009, before resigning to focus full time on his gubernatorial campaign.

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Career

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in northern Virginia, he attended the University of Notre Dame on an ROTC scholarship. During his twenty-one years in the Army, McDonnell spent four years running a medical clinic in Germany. After marrying and raising a family, he graduated from Regent University in Virginia Beach in 1989 with a law degree and became a prosecutor in the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. McDonnell was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1992, defeating a twenty-year incumbent. He would go on to be reelected seven times, and would rise to the position of Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee. During his tenure he passed parental notification law for abortions, drunk driving laws and legislation to abolish the death tax.

As Attorney General McDonnell saw 83 of his 94 legislative proposals become law, including passing "Jessica's Law" which established a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for certain sexual predators who commit violent crimes against children.

Governor

McDonnell was selected to give the Republican response to President Barack Obama's 2010 state of the Union address. [5] McDonnell ran for governor as a conservative, but in 2013, he betrayed conservatives by signing into law the largest tax increase in Virginia history.[6] When the Virginia House of Delegates had passed a bill to make a transvaginal ultrasound a prerequisite for having an abortion in Virginia, McDonnell watered down the final law to remove that particular requirement.[7]

At the time McDonnell was elected Governor, he faced financial pressures because he had invested in rental properties at the peak of property values which began a sharp decline in 2008. He then sought a series of personal loans. One loan came from a friend to whom he offered an appointment to a regulatory board.[8] He also received loans and various gifts from Jonnie R. Williams, the CEO of a company which produces a dietary suppliment. These included a $6,500 Rolex watch, $15,000 for catering the wedding of McDonnell's daughter and a $10,000 engagement gift to McDonnell's other daughter. Mrs. McDonnell purchased $15,000 worth of clothing on a New York city shopping spree paid for by Mr. Williams. Mrs. McDonnell made public appearances on behalf of the product, and the Governor hosted an event at the Governor's Mansion to promote the product. McDonnell claims that all of his actions were legal, and has returned the gifts and repaid the loans.[9] Ken Cuccinelli, the current Republican candidate for Governor, asked McDonnell to call a special session to strengthen Virginia's ethic laws, but McDonnell declined.

Eleven days after leaving office, McDonnell and his wife were indicted by a federal grand jury in conjunction with their relationship with Williams.[10][11]

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