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Perry Joins McDonnell At Va. Fundraiser

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Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry will be in Virginia today at a GOP fundraiser in Richmond with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. The two governors have worked closely together in the past, although McDonnell has not yet endorsed anyone in the race. Reid Wilson, editor-in-chief of National Journal Hotline, talks with WAMU Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about what the visit means in terms of the presidential race.

WAMU: Why would Governor Perry take time away from early primary states to visit Virginia?

Reid Wilson: Perry is visiting a number of different states. He's got a lot of work to do to introduce himself to voters all around the country, not just in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina. 

In addition, he's wooing governors from across the country. He was just endorsed yesterday by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and getting the endorsement of somebody like Bob McDonnell would be a big boost to his campaign. 

WAMU: The two governors have worked together in the past at the Republican Governors Association. What can you tell us about their relationship? 

RW: I've seen them interact a few times, and they seem very jovial, very friendly. For example, on of Rick Perry's big selling points is that Texas has been a repository for jobs. He's  been able to recruit businesses away from other states to Texas's better business climate. Rick Perry likes to say that Texas is number one in taking jobs from other states,  and Virginia is number two, and I think they like having that sort of friendly rivalry. In addition, there seems to be a sort of band of brothers among Republican governors.

WAMU: McDonnell's name has been floated as a possible running mate for Perry as well as some of the other Republican candidates. How likely a choice is he for the vice presidential nominee?

RW: That makes a lot of sense. As we talk about the national electoral map, we're no longer talking about Ohio, Missouri, and other rust belt states. We're now talking about places like Virginia and North Carolina, places that Obama won in 2008, and needs to win in 2012.

If the vice president nomination has anything to do with how people vote, Virginia's a great place for a vice president to come from. In a new poll released this morning from Quinnipiac University, Bob McDonnell's approval rating is at 61 percent. If Rick Perry decides his main goal has to be winning Virgnia, he could do a lot worse than picking Bob McDonnell.

WAMU: How important a role do you  see Virginia playing in the general election?

RW: Virginia's a hugely important battleground state. Virginia is a state that both President Obama and the eventual Republican nominee will fight over. It's been traditionally Republican leaning, but with the growth of the Northern Virginia suburbs giving it more of the Democratic flavor, Democrats can win the state. And they need it to win the presidency in 2012, especially given how President Obama's approval ratings are falling in other parts of the country.

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