Virginia governors invariably receive significant national attention and with it, Presidential buzz.
George Allen was once considered a front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, Jim Gilmore actually ran, Mark Warner thought of/is thinking about it, Kaine was a VP possibility etc.,
One of the reasons Virginia governors tend to be so abnormally popular is because they can only serve one-term. So there's the honeymoon and the farewell; and squeezed between, about two months of real political fights.
The Weekly Standard reports that in the much-hyped 2009 governor's race, the GOP has "already settled" on a candidate, while the Dems are far from any such consensus. And since nothing else is happening in fall of 2009, the race and its winner is bound to receive a trove of media attention.
The apparent Republican nominee-to-be is Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonnell, and you'd do well to keep his name in the back of your mind as a rising GOP stud.
The Weekly Standard's profile:
He is a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army, a father of five (whose daughter just returned from service in Iraq), a Northern Virginia native, and a Catholic. He is conservative on social issues, but known for his bipartisan, workmanlike approach.... There is certainly nothing "Old Virginia" about McDonnell. He appears to be the quintessential Northern Virginia businessman. Trimly built and slightly graying, McDonnell, 54, is a departure from recent Republican candidates in Virginia......
His meeting with a group of Korean-American community leaders in a law office in Annandale--the heart of the growing Korean community in Northern Virginia--is revealing. This is the face of the "new Virginia" which a McCain campaign aide referred to as "not real Virginia." Koreans are one of the largest ethnic minorities in the state, and McDonnell wants to make inroads here. First and second generation Korean-Americans pepper him with questions: "Why do you want to be governor?" What are Republicans doing to avoid the label as the "rich, white party"? One woman says that Democrats are able to say, "We are for average people."
McDonnell is candid without being defensive. "We haven't done nearly as well as we should engaging you." He smoothly moves to talking about Republican values as a natural fit for immigrant business people--low taxes, less regulation and litigation, hard work, responsibility, and education.
[Hat tip: Capital Journal]