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Attorney General Candidate Relies On GOP Leaders, House Record

McDonnell "would just lob these verbal grenades. . . . It was the first time we realized we could do this," Mims said. "He was the de facto head of the young Republicans."

McDonnell also is a leader of the antiabortion movement in the legislature, sponsoring legislation that would require a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion and helping to write the 2003 law that banned a controversial late-term abortion procedure. That law was struck down last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit because it did not include an exception for cases in which a woman's health is in danger.

He said recently that he is against abortion in every case except those in which a woman's life is in danger. Baril has said he believes abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest, as well.

Some centrist members of the party have been backing Baril, fearful that McDonnell's support is too heavily concentrated among social conservatives and could erode when he faces Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), the Democratic candidate, in the Nov. 8 election.

Baril also has criticized McDonnell for what he said has been a politicization of the process of appointing state judges. As chairman of the House's Courts of Justice Committee, McDonnell has played a leading role in several challenges of Gov. Mark R. Warner's choices to fill state judgeships.

In his campaign for attorney general, McDonnell has advocated harsher penalties for repeat drug offenders and offered a 13-point plan to protect the commonwealth against terrorism. He also has suggested lengthening prison sentences for some sex offenders.

McDonnell, a Philadelphia native, spent much of his childhood in Fairfax and graduated from Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria.

His father has lived in the same house in Mount Vernon for the past 43 years. McDonnell said such credentials should help with Northern Virginia voters.

"People in Northern Virginia would like to know they've got a candidate who understands a little what it's like there," he said.

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