November 3, 2009
Republican Bob McDonnell easily won the governor's race Tuesday, just a year after the state went overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
McDonnell, a conservative and former state attorney general, defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds with 59 percent of the vote. He will be the state's first Republican governor in eight years.
"Eight months ago, I applied for the job of governor of Virginia. Tonight, you have hired me," McDonnell said before thanking supporters at the Richmond Marriott Tuesday night.
Some pundits have said McDonnell ran the perfect campaign for governor, but on election night McDonnell said he's ready to put the same effort into leading the commonwealth.
"Working together with [Attorney General-elect] Ken [Cuccinelli] and [Lieutenant Governor] Bill [Bolling] and you and the great leadership team...we will leave Virginia better than we found it," McDonnell promised.
McDonnell told the Associated Press he and his family hugged and cried at news of his election, but he wiped away the tears quickly and turned his focus to governing in a bipartisan manner.
"Creigh Deeds is a good public servant and what we're going to need over these next years is good public servants to help us to govern Virginia," McDonnell said. "I look forward to working with Creigh for years to come as he serves in the Virginia Senate."
While it was a landmark night for the GOP nationwide, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says it's still an uphill battle for his party.
"Despite the success here tonight, still there is 25 or 30 percent support for the party out there," Steele told the Newsplex. "We've got a lot more work to do and I just have so much faith in the American people, in their honesty and their openness towards the party, that I don't want to find us, and we as a party don't want to be in a position of, messing that up."