McDonnell Critical of Virginia Loyalty Oath - NBC4 Washington
First Read
Your first stop for politics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

McDonnell Critical of Virginia Loyalty Oath

Urges party to rescind the requirement



    The required loyalty oath voters will have to sign to take part in the upcoming Virginia Republican primary has a powerful opponent - Gov. Bob McDonnell.

    In a statement released Thursday, McDonnell said the Virginia GOP's requirement that voters pledge to support the party's eventual presidential nominee is not in the best interest of the state or the party.

    "The effect of the oath could be one of diminishing participation in the primary, at a time when our Party must be expanding its base and membership as we head into the pivotal 2012 general elections this fall," McDonnell said.

    In Virginia, voters are not required to register for a particular party in order to vote in a primary.  But the State Board of Elections does allow for parties to ask voters for a pledge, a rule both parties have invoked in past elections.

    The GOP pledge says: "I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president."

    McDonnell says he wants the party to throw it out it before the March 6 primary.

    The party's Central Committee has already said it plans to meet on January 21 to further discuss the pledge.