Law Dean to Moderate First Debate in Virginia Governor’s Race

Lexington, VA • Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Dean Rodney A. Smolla
Washington and Lee School of Law Dean Rodney A. Smolla will moderate the first debate between Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell for the closely watched Virginia governor's race.

The debate will occur at 11:00 a.m. July 25 during the Virginia Bar Association's annual summer meeting, held this year at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va.

As one of only two gubernatorial races following a presidential election year, the Virginia race has garnered increasing national attention as an early referendum on voter satisfaction with the Obama presidency. The election pits Deeds, a state Senator from Bath County, against McDonnell, a former attorney general and state legislator from Virginia Beach. In 2005, the two ran against each other for attorney general. McDonnell prevailed in that contest by 360 votes after a recount.

Style Weekly, an alternative news weekly in Richmond, plans to broadcast the debate live online through a special website VirginiaTalks.com that will launch soon. Debate viewers will be able to participate in an online discussion during the debate and submit questions that Dean Smolla may pose to the candidates. After the event, VirginiaTalks.com will provide free online access to the broadcast of the debate through Election Day.

Smolla, who was recently elected to the Virginia Bar Association's Board of Governors, is Dean and Steinheimer Professor of Law at Washington and Lee School of Law. Nationally recognized as a scholar, teacher, advocate, and writer, Smolla's wide-ranging scholarship includes four legal treatises, a casebook on the First Amendment, a coauthored casebook on constitutional law, and scores of articles in the nation's top law reviews. He also writes widely for general audiences, including popular books such as Deliberate Intent and Jerry Falwell v. Larry Flynt. His commentary appears frequently in national print and electronic media.

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