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McDonnell accepts GOP nomination for Va. governor

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Bob McDonnell accepted his party’s charge Saturday to pry the Virginia governor’s office from Democratic control for the first time since 2002.
A crowd of nearly 10,000 delegates also nominated state Sen. Kenneth Cuccinelli of Fairfax County for attorney general and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for re-election to a second term.
Before a roaring crowd of nearly 11,000 delegates, the uncontested conservative former attorney general tacked toward the middle, focusing on jobs as unemployment climbs in a poor economy.
"To every Virginian who needs a job, to every small business owner trying to make payroll, to every retiree alarmed at losses in their retirement account, to every homeowner concerned about their home value, to every parent writing the next tuition check, to every clergyman struggling to keep a strong community," McDonnell said, "this campaign is for you."
It marked McDonnell’s most assertive effort yet to take up the jobs issue that three Democrats have dominated for months as they battle toward a June 9 primary. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry R. McAuliffe and former House of Delegates Democratic Caucus leader Brian J. Moran are vying for their party’s nomination.
At all levels, Democrats have pounded McDonnell and other GOP candidates for defeating an effort to use $125 million in federal stimulus cash to expand unemployment benefits for Virginians left jobless by the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
In a must-win election after a historic 2008 drubbing capped an eight-year losing skid in Virginia statewide elections, McDonnell sought to bridge the GOP chasm between its base of conservative activists and volunteers and its need to capture independent voters who have given Democrats their margin of victory in recent years.
In a populist overture, he said Virginia’s colleges and universities would award an additional 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years and he railed against tax increases.
Delegates warmed to his claim that pro-labor "card check" legislation now before Congress would endanger Virginia’s standing as a right-to-work state, a claim Democrats dispute. He was referring to the Employee Free Choice Act, which would permit a union to be certified if a majority of workers at a plant sign union authorization cards.
There was only scant mention of the Roman Catholic McDonnell’s career-long opposition to abortion and his support for gun rights, but both drew wild ovations. The same was true when he made aggressive oil and coal production the heart of his energy policy as wind, solar and other renewable energy sources are developed.
He also sought to rebut the label Democrats have effectively applied to the GOP as "the party of ‘no.’"
"On energy, our opponents will say no to offshore drilling, no to clean coal, no to nuclear and no to new jobs and investment that comes with it. When it comes to promoting energy independence, they’ll just say no, we’ll just say yes," McDonnell said.
Democrats pounced on McDonnell moments after his 30-minute speech ended, noting that his appeals to the center belies one of the most socially conservative voting records in the House of Delegates during his 14 years there.
"They’ve all tried to hide his long divisive ideological record, and portray him as someone who now is a moderate," McAuliffe said in a press statement.
Deeds added: "Bob McDonnell is trying to use energy politics to paint himself as a moderate. But Virginia needs a leader who will do more than just pay lip service to new sources of energy."
After McDonnell’s speech, delegates selected nominees in three races, all of them by margins so wide they were nominated by acclamation, making final delegate tallies moot.
Cuccinelli won the attorney general’s nomination with surprising ease after only one ballot over former federal prosecutor John Brownlee and Arlington lawyer Dave Foster. Not even his campaign managers expected Cuccinelli could muster the majority that party rules demand after one ballot.
Bolling brushed aside a challenge from Patrick Muldoon, a lawyer who waged an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1996.

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McDonnell accepts GOP nomination for Va. governor

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Bob McDonnell accepted his party’s charge Saturday to pry the Virginia governor’s office from Democratic control for the first time since 2002.
A crowd of nearly 10,000 delegates also nominated state Sen. Kenneth Cuccinelli of Fairfax County for attorney general and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for re-election to a second term.
Before a roaring crowd of nearly 11,000 delegates, the uncontested conservative former attorney general tacked toward the middle, focusing on jobs as unemployment climbs in a poor economy.
"To every Virginian who needs a job, to every small business owner trying to make payroll, to every retiree alarmed at losses in their retirement account, to every homeowner concerned about their home value, to every parent writing the next tuition check, to every clergyman struggling to keep a strong community," McDonnell said, "this campaign is for you."
It marked McDonnell’s most assertive effort yet to take up the jobs issue that three Democrats have dominated for months as they battle toward a June 9 primary. State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry R. McAuliffe and former House of Delegates Democratic Caucus leader Brian J. Moran are vying for their party’s nomination.
At all levels, Democrats have pounded McDonnell and other GOP candidates for defeating an effort to use $125 million in federal stimulus cash to expand unemployment benefits for Virginians left jobless by the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
In a must-win election after a historic 2008 drubbing capped an eight-year losing skid in Virginia statewide elections, McDonnell sought to bridge the GOP chasm between its base of conservative activists and volunteers and its need to capture independent voters who have given Democrats their margin of victory in recent years.
In a populist overture, he said Virginia’s colleges and universities would award an additional 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years and he railed against tax increases.
Delegates warmed to his claim that pro-labor "card check" legislation now before Congress would endanger Virginia’s standing as a right-to-work state, a claim Democrats dispute. He was referring to the Employee Free Choice Act, which would permit a union to be certified if a majority of workers at a plant sign union authorization cards.
There was only scant mention of the Roman Catholic McDonnell’s career-long opposition to abortion and his support for gun rights, but both drew wild ovations. The same was true when he made aggressive oil and coal production the heart of his energy policy as wind, solar and other renewable energy sources are developed.
He also sought to rebut the label Democrats have effectively applied to the GOP as "the party of ‘no.’"
"On energy, our opponents will say no to offshore drilling, no to clean coal, no to nuclear and no to new jobs and investment that comes with it. When it comes to promoting energy independence, they’ll just say no, we’ll just say yes," McDonnell said.
Democrats pounced on McDonnell moments after his 30-minute speech ended, noting that his appeals to the center belies one of the most socially conservative voting records in the House of Delegates during his 14 years there.
"They’ve all tried to hide his long divisive ideological record, and portray him as someone who now is a moderate," McAuliffe said in a press statement.
Deeds added: "Bob McDonnell is trying to use energy politics to paint himself as a moderate. But Virginia needs a leader who will do more than just pay lip service to new sources of energy."
After McDonnell’s speech, delegates selected nominees in three races, all of them by margins so wide they were nominated by acclamation, making final delegate tallies moot.
Cuccinelli won the attorney general’s nomination with surprising ease after only one ballot over former federal prosecutor John Brownlee and Arlington lawyer Dave Foster. Not even his campaign managers expected Cuccinelli could muster the majority that party rules demand after one ballot.
Bolling brushed aside a challenge from Patrick Muldoon, a lawyer who waged an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1996.

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