RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) – Buoyed by support from independent voters and lingering concerns over the state of the economy, Virginians elected Republican Bob McDonnell the 71st governor of the Commonwealth on Tuesday.
Republicans managed a sweep of the state’s top three offices for the first time since 1997, when Jim Gilmore helmed the ticket for the GOP. The election also upheld a familiar political pattern: going back to 1977, the party holding the White House has gone to lose the Virginia gubernatorial race.
The victory breathed new life into the Virginia Republican party, which has suffered a series of statewide defeats to Democrats over the last decade, including last November, when Barack Obama became the first Democrat to win the state at the presidential level since 1964. Democrats have won the governor's mansion in two consecutive elections and control both of the state's seats in the U.S. Senate.
“I pledge to you over the next four years action and results,” McDonnell told a gleeful audience at his victory party in Richmond. “We will leave Virginia better than we found it,” he said, invoking the old Boy Scout adage.
Two thirds of independent voters joined with a motivated Republican base to elect McDonnell, who vaulted to a 17-point victory over his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds.
“I wish tonight’s results were different,” Deeds said after the loss. “But now is not the time for bitterness, or retreat into our partisan corners - it’s time to overcome that disappointment with our determination to build a better Virginia, together.”
Democrat Creigh Deeds said Tuesday night that now is not a time to 'retreat into our partisan corners.' (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrat Creigh Deeds issued a statement Tuesday night after conceding the Virginia gubernatorial race to his Republican opponent.
Read Deeds' full statement after the jump.
(CNN) - CNN chief national correspondent John King said that Democrat Creigh Deeds ran a "bad" campaign in Virginia.
"I think people in Virginia will say that is first and foremost," he said. "Democrats will say their guy ran a bad race."
(CNN) – On Tuesday, 61 percent of men voted for Republican Bob McDonnell, CNN's projected winner in the race for governor of Virginia. Democrat Creigh Deeds got just 38 percent of the male vote, according to early CNN Exit Poll data. McDonnell also had an edge among women with 53 percent telling pollsters they voted for the Republican.
Deeds, who comes from rural Bath County, captured 56 percent of the urban vote... while McDonnell took 55 percent of the suburban vote and 69 percent of the rural vote.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republicans recaptured the Virginia governor's mansion Tuesday after eight years of Democratic rule, CNN projects.
Former Attorney Gen. Bob McDonnell defeated state Sen. Creigh Deeds to take back the seat currently held by Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine.
CNN also projects that the GOP will win the races for lieutenant governor and attorney general. The wins are a much-needed boost for the Republican Party; which suffered dramatic losses, including the White House, in the 2008 elections.
(CNN) - CNN projects Republican Bob McDonnell will be elected Virginia governor.
Bob McDonnell is leading Creigh Deeds in Virginia's gubernatorial race (Photo credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - Republican Bob McDonnell is leading Democrat Creigh Deeds in Virginia's gubernatorial race, according to CNN exit polls.
(CNN) - The economy and jobs are the number on issue on the minds of voters in Virginia, according to data from CNN exit polls Tuesday.
Forty-six percent of Virginian voting Tuesday, as Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds faced off for the governor's mansion, say that the economy and jobs are the most important issue to their vote. One in four indicate that health care reform is their most pressing issue, 14 percent said taxes were upmost on their minds, and 8 percent suggest that transportation woes were most pressing.
"The economy as the number one issue probably bodes well for the Republicans in Virginia," says CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
Those questioned in exit polls were asked their opinions after they voted, as they departed polling stations.
RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) - Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virginia, acknowledged Monday a lack of enthusiasm among Virginia Democrats in this year's gubernatorial race, and predicted that turnout at the polls tomorrow will be low.
If that forecast holds true, Tuesday could be a difficult day for Creigh Deeds and his fellow Democrats, who have strung together a series a statewide victories in recent years by capitalizing on high voter turnout in Democratic-leaning regions of Virginia. Deeds is trailing Republican Bob McDonnell in the polls, due largely to an exodus of independent voters from the Democratic fold.
"It's going to be a low-turnout election," Scott told CNN after appearing at a rally with Deeds and the rest of the Democratic ticket in Richmond. "It's going to be tough. But Creigh Deeds knows how to come from behind."
Scott, the highest-ranking African-American elected official in the state, said he saw anecdotal evidence that Democrats have been getting more excited about the election over the final few days. He said a rally in Roanoke earlier in the day was larger than a similar crowd in the city at the same point last year, when Barack Obama captured the state on his way to winning the White House.
But he admitted that voters in his heavily-Democratic district are "not as enthusiastic as last year," even with an appearance by the president in Norfolk last week.
"There is no question that turnout will be the difference," he said. "And if there's a lack of enthusiasm then it breeds real trouble for the Democrats."
Story updated at 11:00 a.m. EST to correct transcript of robocall
RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) – Sarah Palin isn’t staying out of the Virginia governor’s race after all.
Less than 48 hours before voters head to the polls to elect a new governor, several Virginians reported receiving robocalls on Sunday from the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, urging them to “vote your values” on Tuesday.
But the recording makes no mention of the Bob McDonnell, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who has been reluctant to embrace Palin during the governor’s race, out of fear that she might alienate some of the independent voters who have helped him climb to a healthy lead in the polls over Democrat Creigh Deeds.
“Virginia, hello, this is Sarah Palin calling to urge you to go to the polls Tuesday and vote to share our principles,” the former Alaska governor says in the call, which was provided to CNN by one Democrat who recorded it. “The eyes of America will be on Virginia and make no mistake about it, every vote counts. So don’t take anything for granted, vote your values on Tuesday, and urge your friends and family to vote, too.”