Bob McDonnell: Ralph Reed’s Guerrilla Warrior

With all the attention being paid to Bob McDonnell and the master’s thesis he wrote while attending Pat Robertson’s Regent University, it’s no surprise that he is working hard to distance himself from his own right-wing views by stating that the thesis was written twenty years ago and that he doesn’t necessarily hold such views today. 

But it should be remembered that it was because of those views that he even won elected office in the first place, thanks to the backing of Robertson’s Christian Coalition.

Shortly after he graduated from Regent, McDonnell ran for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates and it was through its success at getting candiates like McDonnell elected that Robertson’s nascent Christian Coalition grew into a political powerhouse.

Following McDonnell’s election in 1991, CC Executive Director Ralph Reed forcefully declared: “Bob McDonnell is going to Richmond because of Christian and pro-family voters. Period. End of story.” 

Even more telling is the fact that it was McDonnell’s victory that gave rise to Reed’s infamous “guerrilla warfare” analogy: 

Robertson Organization Gets Credit for Beach Election Outcome
11 November 1991
The Associated Press

Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, buoyed by a show of political muscle in Virginia’s General Assembly elections last week, will welcome Vice President Dan Quayle at its “Road to Victory” conference on Friday.

The conference “will change the direction of American politics,” Robertson said in a letter to supporters last month. “We will discuss strategy for turning out over 20 million pro-family voters in 1992.”

The coalition, employing grassroots tactics learned in Robertson’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 1988, is being given some of the credit for the victories of Republican candidates in Virginia Beach races Nov. 5.

Republicans won seven of nine races in the city, ousting two incumbents and taking two open seats. Although the coalition doesn’t endorse candidates or parties, it pushes a “pro-family” agenda that many GOP candidates follow, said Ralph E. Reed Jr., executive director of the organization.

According to Reed, the coalition’s work was responsible for the victory of Republican Robert F. McDonnell, a Virginia Beach prosecutor and graduate of Robertson’s Regent University, over 20-year incumbent Democrat Glenn B. McClanan in the 84th House of Delegates district.

Reed agreed that the coalition tilted the playing field. “I want to be invisible,” he said. “I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.”