McDonnell Prepares To Step Down as AG
As expected, Attorney General Bob McDonnell has informed his staff that he plans to step down from his position as Attorney General to run for Governor full time. The Republican gubernatorial candidate said in an e-mail to his staff that he will resign effective February 20th.
His office has just announced a press conference that is slated to begin at 11am in the General Assembly building in Richmond. Because he is stepping down during a legislative session, his replacement will be the choice of the General Assembly. All signs point to his chief deputy Bill Mims being tapped. (Mims is not running for the job, which is on the ballot in the fall, so he will only serve the balance of the McDonnell term).
McDonnell is likely stepping down to give himself some flexibility to raise money in what promises to be an expensive race for the state’s highest post. Virginia politicians are prohibited from raising money while the legislature is in session.
On the Democratic side, one candidate is independently wealthy and has no fund raising constraints (Terry McAuliffe), another resigned his post in the House of Delegates so he could continue to raise money during the session (Brian Moran). At this point there appears to be no indication that the remaining Democratic candidate (Creigh Deeds), who is the furthest behind in the money race has any plan to resign.
**UPDATE** See the full text of McDonnell’s e-mail to his staff after the jump–
Dear OAG Family,
For more than three years I have had the privilege of working with you here at the Office of the Attorney General. It has been the highest professional honor of my life. Together we have accomplished much and have provided excellent legal services to the citizens and government of Virginia.
I am now beginning in earnest my campaign for Governor of Virginia. To ensure that Virginia’s citizens have the full time Attorney General they deserve I am, in keeping with Virginia political tradition, resigning as Attorney General effective February 20th. I have every confidence that our terrific Chief Deputy, Bill Mims, will be appointed to serve as the next Attorney General of Virginia.
This has been a very difficult decision to make because of my love for this Office and all of you. I wanted to send this email to you first thing this morning so you would hear this news before anyone else. I also would like to speak with you in person about today’s announcement. For that reason please come to the auditorium this afternoon at 12:45 so we can celebrate the great work we have done together over the past three years.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you this afternoon.