McDonnell talks mental health, attorney general's race
November 26th, 2013
01:05 PM ET
11 months ago

McDonnell talks mental health, attorney general's race

(CNN) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell weighed in on the commonwealth's mental health system Tuesday, more than a week after state Sen. Creigh Deeds' son stabbed his father repeatedly before killing himself.

In an interview with radio station WTOP, the Republican governor also said he thinks the GOP candidate in the Virginia attorney general's race should request a recount after official results Monday showed the Democrat won by a razor-thin margin.

'Some action is needed'

Questions spiked last week about Virginia's mental health system following the tragic incident involving Deeds' family.

The day before the incident, his son, Gus, was taken to a hospital under an emergency custody order. Police confirmed that the 24-year-old was brought in by the local sheriff for evaluation by mental health professionals.

The young man was released after the evaluation because no open psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia, Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Deeds told The Recorder, a newspaper based in Monterey, Virginia, on Monday that he hopes things will change in Virginia.

"I think there may be a bigger problem here. I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change. I owe that to my precious son," he said.

McDonnell agreed, saying on WTOP that "some action is needed and we will take some decisive action in the coming weeks," regarding bed space at mental health facilities. He said mental health legislation will be a focus for the General Assembly next session.

Last week, McDonnell said on MSNBC he has directed the commonwealth's secretary of health and human resources to conduct a "comprehensive review" of the factors that led to the incident involving Deeds' son.

Virginia law requires doctors to find a bed for a patient under an emergency custody order within four hours or release them. McDonnell said Monday one option could be extending that time window from four hours to possibly six or eight hours.

"We're going to do everything we can to analyze the cause of this, whether there were violations of protocols, whether there need to be changed to the laws–all those things are being looked at," McDonnell said.

"If I were him, absolutely"

Switching to politics, the outgoing Governor was asked whether Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain should request a recount after the Virginia Board of Elections certified Monday the November 5 election results. The results showed Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring won by far less than 1% of the total vote, meaning Obenshain can ask for a recount.

"If I were him, absolutely," McDonnell said, on whether Obenshain should make the request. Obenshain has until December 5 to make a decision.

McDonnell also found himself in a close attorney general's race in 2005, when he narrowly defeated Deeds, the Democratic candidate, in a recount.

"I feel for both of the candidates," McDonnell said. "They've slugged it out for two years and it ain't over."

He added that he didn't know the results of 2005 recount until December 21 of that year.

"I think both Mark and Mark are going to have a stressful Thanksgiving," he said.

With Herring ruled the official winner, for now, his win means Democrats have swept the three top-of-the-ballot, statewide positions–governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general–for the first time since 1989.

Virginia also voted for President Obama in his re-election bid last year, and the commonwealth has two Democrats for its U.S. Senators. Asked if recent election results signal that Virginia is turning blue, McDonnell said "I don't think you can create any mega-trends."

"For governors races, this is a purple state. People go back and forth," he said.

He added that the House of Delegates is dominated by Republicans, while the State Senate is split evenly (but the chamber's president is a Republican, Lieutenant Gov. Bill Bolling). He also noted that the 2013 Republican gubernatorial candidate, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, lost by only two percentage points.

"We just got to work harder, raise more money and tell people why our conservative ideas are better," McDonnell said.


Filed under: 2013 • Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • Virginia
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Zolicon

    First We had the Blind leading the Blind now have the Mental trying to guide the Mental.

    November 26, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    When is this guy going to be charged and prosecuted?

    November 26, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. Malory Archer

    It's gonna be a little difficult putting that genie back into the bottle 30 years after rightwing hero raygun signed the Mental Health Patients Bill of Rights considering the genie has grown exponentially in size over the last 3 decades.

    November 26, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Malory Archer

    In an interview with radio station WTOP, the Republican governor also said he thinks the GOP candidate in the Virginia attorney general's race should request a recount after official results Monday showed the Democrat won by a razor-thin margin.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Sore loser much?

    November 26, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    What's the point of a recount? All of it was done electronically? Push a button, or two. Done. Absentee ballots had required that the person show up in person, which means no dead people for all you "it's a liberal conspiracy" theorists out there.

    November 26, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Shouldn't this invasive procedures guy be in jail for accepting illegal gifts?

    November 26, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. simplyput

    If the ACA stands, at least we can relax and know that partisan librals will have access to mental health, because they truly are insane.

    November 26, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Ol' Yeller

    "Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell weighed in on the commonwealth's mental health system Tuesday..."

    The Governor reportedly has a bill in 'rough draft' form requiring all female mental health patients to undergo a rigorous pelvic exam including penetration by a yet determined object. Gov. McDonnell poiinted out this bill is currently just a work in progress, and he hasn't really yet decided exactly what object he would like to mandate penetration with as of yet. He is qutoed as saying, "We know it will involve some object... by definition of the word it must be an object of some sort. What that object will be used is the question and that part of the bill is really the only thing left to debate."

    November 26, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |