The Washington Times reports that he’ll be stepping down from his post to concentrate on the gubernatorial race full-time:
“For the last three years, I’ve had a terrific opportunity to serve as Virginia’s 44th attorney general,” said Mr. McDonnell, the lone Republican running to replace Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat. “But now it’s time for me to fully begin a new challenge in my life.”
The date allows Mr. McDonnell to continue pushing his legislative agenda in the coming days, but means he will be free from the position’s requirements as the campaign heats up.
The Republican called the attorney general’s position “the best job I’ve ever had” and said he arrived at his decision with a heavy heart. But his resignation follows historical precedent: Every attorney general of either major party who is running for governor has resigned from the position since 1985, McDonnell officials said.
“A campaign for governor demands a full-time candidate,” Mr. McDonnell said. “The office of the attorney general is the commonwealth’s law firm and demands a full-time attorney general.”
This move will give Bob McDonnell a head start on the gubernatorial race while the Democrats fight it out in their primary, an opportunity that Sen. John McCain (who is campaigning for McDonnell next month) largely neglected in his presidential campaign. It will also allow him one more week of fundraising, as the Attorney General of Virginia cannot receive campaign donations during Virginia’s legislative session. This will help him keep his fundraising edge against Terry McAuliffe.