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Republican Wins Virginia Governor Race

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Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican and a former state attorney general, won Virginia's governor's race Tuesday, reports The New York Times.

McDonnell defeated the Democratic candidate, R. Creigh Deeds, a state senator.

The contentious gubernatorial race was considered by some as a barometer of President Barack Obama's popularity. Obama won the traditionally red state in 2008.

Despite the loss by the Democratic candidate, exit polls conducted by Edison Research on Tuesday showed that support for Obama had changed little in the state since his victory there in 2008.

In 2008, 53% of voters backed Obama, and exit polls on Tuesday showed that 52% of voters approved of his performance, according to The New York Times.

The polls suggested that many of Obama's voters stayed home on Tuesday, allowing McDonnell to win on strong support among white men and independents and among voters who say they are very worried about the direction of the nation's economy.

During the campaign, McDonnell made headlines after claiming he would not renew an executive order that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation for state job applicants -- similar dictums were issued by the two previous governors.

Also drawing public attention on the campaign trail was McDonnell's 1989 graduate thesis, which criticized working women, contraception, and gays.

In the paper, titled "The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade," a then-34-year-old McDonnell wrote, "Man's basic nature is inclined towards evil, and when the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish, and deter," reports The Washington Post.

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