GOPers Already Moving On To ‘McDonnell 2012’ Storyline

November 3, 2009 5:01 a.m.

The polls haven’t closed on the Virginia gubernatorial race, but already Republicans think they have a future star in their nominee, Bob McDonnell. Columnist Jill Lawrence writes that some in the GOP see McDonnell landing on a national ticket in four or eight years.

From Politics Daily:

John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College and a former Republican aide on Capitol Hill, went further in an e-mail to me — calling McDonnell “as plausible as anyone else” for president or vice president in 2012.

McDonnell entered today’s voting in Virgina with double-digit leads in the polls, and he is expected to handily win tonight race against Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds. Should that happen, his term would be limited to four years, leaving him without a job in 2016 — just in time to start ramping up a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

A rapid rise to national prominence wouldn’t be a strange turn of events for a Virginia governor. Mark Warner was considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination after he left the governor’s mansion in 2005. (Warner decided against a bid in 2006, and now serves in the U.S. Senate.)

What makes McDonnell so appealing to national Republicans? Lawrence writes:

McDonnell looks like a casting director’s notion of a politician. His positions are uncompromising in some respects — no new taxes, no abortions in cases of rape or incest. But he is affable and smooth and usually equipped with soothing answers for those who disagree with him. The man doesn’t flail or flounder in public. Often that’s because he is falling back on boilerplate. You might not like or believe his answer to any given question, but that’s his story and he’s sticking to it — and you have to admire that in a candidate.

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