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McDonnell Wins GOP Nod for Attorney General

by Brian McNeill

Robert McDonnell, a House of Delegates representative from Virginia Beach, won the Republican nomination for attorney general in Tuesday's primary election.

McDonnell will now head toward the Nov. 8 general election, when he will face Democrat Creigh Deeds, a state senator from Bath County.

McDonnell defeated Steve Baril, a Richmond attorney, in the primary race for the GOP nomination with 65 percent of the vote. In Fairfax County, McDonnell took 72 percent of the vote, while Baril recieved 28 percent.

During the campaign, McDonnell stressed he was the more experienced candidate, having served in the General Assembly since 1991. Baril, president of the Richmond City Bar Association, said his legal background would have served him as the state's top attorney.

If elected in November, McDonnell said his top priorities as attorney general would be to enhance Virginia's ability to track violent sex offenders and to better protect the state from terrorism.

The Republican primary race for attorney general stretched for nearly three years, with McDonnell's campaign spending more than $1.8 million and Baril's campaign spending more than $1.45 million.

Heading into the November election, McDonnell has slightly more than $56,000 in his campaign coffers. Deeds, his opponent, has $505,000 in campaign contributions remaining, according to campaign finance records.