News4-TV, Washington, reported Tuesday night Loudoun County Republican Committee Communications Director Robert Jesionowski took full responsibility for the e-mail.
"I will not excuse my missing the connotation of the zombie pic of the president," Jesionowski wrote to committee Chairman Mark Sell.
Jesionowski wrote he had found the image online and he was "hastily" putting a Halloween e-mail together.
"This was in bad taste, does not reflect my own principles nor those of any political activist or candidate I know in either party, and if I had reflected a little longer I would have caught it," he wrote.
News4 said Jesionowski found the image through a Google search for "Obama & zombie."
The e-mail drew sharp criticism from the state's Republican Party and its GOP governor.
"The disgusting image used today on a mass e-mail has no place in our politics -- ever," said Pat Mullins, chairman of the state party. "The Republican Party of Virginia condemns the image and its use in the strongest possible terms."
The Washington Post reported the county committee sent the e-mail with "Halloween 2011" in the subject line a week before state and local elections.
The e-mail, which included other images -- one showing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with her face appearing deformed and one eye bulging from its socket -- read: "LCRC members and Republican candidates: We are going to vanquish the zombies with clear thinking conservative principles and a truckload of Republican candy. ... It's fun and a great way to represent our candidates to a ton of voters (and their kids) just before the election."
Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, a Republican, called the e-mail "shameful and offensive."
Sell had called the e-mail "a light-hearted attempt to inject satire humor into the Halloween holiday."