What Next For Gov. McDonnell?

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s term ends at the start of 2014 after the 2013 elections.

It was reported Thursday that he was the pick to be Mitt Romney’s Attorney General.

Without being able to run for a second term or go into the Romney Administration, what’s next for Virginia’s popular chief executive?

I say he rolls the dice and runs for Senate in 2014. McDonnell is at least as if not more popular than Mark Warner based upon polling conducted during the 2012 election, has won election statewide more recently than Warner has, and has more accomplishments to point to in his single-term in office than Warner does in both his term as governor and his six-years in DC as a U.S. Senator. What does he have to lose other than an election?  If we have learned nothing else from the past few years it is that fortune favors the bold.  Jim Webb had no political aspirations nor any real hope of winning, yet he wound up in the Senate.  Barack Obama had only served two-years in the U.S. Senate before he jumped in the presidential race against the heavy favorite Hillary Clinton.  Plus you never know when someone may say something ill-advised or a deep, dark secret from their past may emerge that will destroy their political career.

On top of all that, 2014 will be the second mid-term election for President Obama, elections which are notoriously bad for the party of the White House incumbent.  President Ronald Reagan saw the GOP lose the Senate in 1986 and George W. Bush both houses of Congress in 2006.  (Bill Clinton slightly defied gravity in 1998, but only because voters viewed the GOP has having overplayed their hand with impeachment and he had a strong economy to point to in his defense.)

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the National Republican Senatorial Committee makes the pitch to McDonnell sooner rather than later (if they have not already.)  The new role that the NRSC intends on playing in the primary selection process would certainly favor the governor.


18 thoughts on “What Next For Gov. McDonnell?

  1. That’s a good pick, except… whomever it is better start NOW and work their tail off between now and November 2014.

    Mark Warner is a smart and RICH. He is a smart campaigner. The Democrats’ database and ground game is still there.

    So anyone who takes the race for granted is fooling themselves. Republicans need to start NOW working on the US Senate race like the troops landing at Normandy.

  2. Why didn’t Mark Warner run for President? I assumed it was because he has teeth like a horse.

    And yes, McDonnell would make a great Senate candidate. I was thinking perhaps Bill Bolling could drop out of the Gov race to run for Senate, then McDonnell could ask him to step aside again, resulting in Bolling running for a 3rd LtG term.

  3. McDonnell needs to run for Senate, for so many reasons. He can win it, it’s the next logical step for him. No brainer. If he doesn’t run, then I don’t know of a stronger candidate in VA who could pull it off.

  4. Warner is way too strong. McDonnell isn’t dumb he’s not going to enter a race that he will lose. It will be another retread sacrificial lamb like Gilmore again.

    1. If MdDonnell waits until 2014 to start running, he will surely lose. Anyone will lose if they wait until 2014 to start rnning. But if McDonnell starts putting a campaign together starting after the holidays – that is, January 2013 — then he could win.

      Of course if you train for the Superbowl the best you can, it doesn’t guarantee you will win. It just means you could.

    2. People are only strong until they are challenged. Why is Warner strong? What in his record can anyone specifically point to that he achieved? What significant legislation has he passed in the Senate?

  5. The course mentioned in the previous comment would clear the way for Governor Bolling. Would KC challenge a sitting Republican Governor? Of course he would.

  6. Looks like you cant next comments beyond one layer.

    Warner is strong because he had to win in Virginia when it was still red before it was purple. He had to make deep ties in SW and rural Virginia and other traditional Republican strongholds. He is also fairly moderate and well tailored for a purple state like Virginia.

    This poll info is for a hypothetical governors race but it shows how strong Warner is

    A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday indicated the first term U.S. senator would be the favorite candidate as the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial campaign gets under way.

    Warner, who was elected Virginia governor in 2001 and to the Senate in 2008, has said he’ll announce by Thanksgiving if he’ll stay in the Senate or make a bid for governor.

    According to the poll, Warner holds large leads over the two leading Republican candidates in hypothetical showdowns. Among registered Virginia voters, Warner leads Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, 53%-33%, and tops Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, 52%-34%.


    1. The purpose of a political campaign is to CHANGE people’s opinions, not to simply adopt the status quo. If a campaign cannot change the views of the voters, especially over a 2 year period, the people running the campaign ought to resign and go sell insurance (if they can manage that – probably not).

      A campaign that does not change the views of the voters, especially given plenty of time, is no campaign at all.

      It is meaningless to talk about what the opinion polls show today — assuming that we have people running Republican campaigns who actually know how to win elections.


    2. That doesn’t answer my question about accomplishments in office. All it tells me is that he’s won two elections. Exactly how is he moderate? What are his specific moderate policies? He’s a tax hiker and a social liberal.

  7. Riley,

    I’m not here to defend the guy. As you know most voters are pretty low-information and Warner has pretty much solidified the moderate label. Personally I think liberal is a pretty strong word for where he is. Hes a democrat but not a liberal now Kaine on the other hand thats a liberal. When I think of Warner most recently I think of a gang of 6 person that is trying to address the budget problem we have in this country.

    My only point is I don’t see McDonnell entering a senate race where the incumbent is in such a strong position. Its just my opinion. I’m also a realist. This last cycle was a good opportunity to pick up a senate seat in Virginia. I haven’t done much research on 2014 but I think there are other places where it is more likely to add another R to the senate outside of Virginia and as a realist my focus will be on those races. .

    1. Again, a strong position 2 years out means nothing. That kind of thinking is why Republicans lose elections.

      The goal of a campaign is to CHANGE what people think about the opponent and what they think about your own candidate.

      If you are simply going to accept the current status quo, then what’s the point of having any campaign at all? Why not just put your name on the ballot and do absolutely nothing.

      If a campaign does not move the needle, then all of the campaign staff should resign and go flip burgers for a living.

  8. Now is the time to label Warner a liberal, and it won’t be hard – because he is one.Just because he wears a sash – a la Ms America – that says “Moderate” – doesn’t mean we can’t call total BS on it.

  9. Senator Mark Warner voted for Obamacare. When the Senate voted to repeal the law entirely, Warner skipped out on voting. He knew the D’s had enough votes to stop the repeal.

    By liberal design, much of Obamacare will be hitting everyone hard beginning in 2013. By election day in 2013 Warner will probably be in hiding somewhere as everyone loses their employer provided health insurance, is forced to purchase very expensive Government controlled health insurance from the state government exchange, or gets whacked with a penalty. That’s when everyone finds out just how free Obamacare isn’t.

  10. Don is not being sarcastic at all. My only real prolebm with tolls is that they only seem to appear in NoVa and Tidewater. The proposed Rt 81 tolls, for example, were tossed aside as people using Rt 81 decided that they didn’t want to pay tolls.Once you put tolls everywhere they are not tolls anymore. They are a milage based tax system applicable to everybody. In fact, they would help a lot with land use decisions. One would hope that the Fairfax County BoS would declare what the per mile tolls would be going into and out of Tyson’s Corner after the density was increased and new roads built. That might cause the landowners to wonder if they could really attract that many people at (for example) $2/mi. They might have to think long and hard about how the Metro could be a more viable transportion option for people who will work in their mixed use buildings (but live elsewhere). Maybe they would band together and run a free bus service for workers to get them from the Metro stop to the offices like colleges do for students. Who knows?And when it costs $1/mi to drive down an overbuilt road in RoVa where there are too few miles being driven to pay for the maintenance, maybe some roads will be simply abandoned.Of course, once you know what miles are being driven where, there is no reason to delay devolution. Monies for state highways go to the state and monies for local roads go to localities. From there, the localities can either run their own VDOTs or pay the state VDOT to take care of things for them.But the key is fairness. EVERYBODY pays to drive. Not just the people in NoVa and Tidewater.

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