Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has been working away from the spotlight to elect Republican candidates this cycle, and his efforts could pay dividends if he chooses to run for higher office.



McDonnell has traveled around the country to appear at fundraising events for a dozen gubernatorial candidates, four Senate candidates and every major Republican campaign committee, according to a spokesman for the governor. He’s raised some $2.5 million for the beneficiaries through his appearances.



In Virginia, McDonnell has raised money and campaigned for nine of the House incumbents and challengers in the state. The only two Virginia Republicans he hasn’t raised money for are Reps. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE and Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorGOP faces tough battle to become 'party of health care' 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington House Republicans find silver lining in minority MORE, both of whom hold safe GOP seats. 



McDonnell’s efforts haven’t generated the kind of White House speculation that’s surrounded New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) campaigning this cycle, despite their similarities. 

Both men ran effective campaigns to win back governors' mansions from Democrats in 2009, but Christie’s star has risen faster in their first year in office.
 

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Christie has made campaign appearances in several states, including Iowa. He vigorously denies he has any presidential ambitions. 

McDonnell, meanwhile, has worked more this campaign year out of the spotlight. Still, his appearances have gained him staunch allies who could help him in another campaign. McDonnell was elected in 2009 by an astounding 17 percentage points over Democrat Creigh Deeds. Virginia governors are limited to serving one term.
 
Other former Virginia governors, including George Allen (R) and Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Hillicon Valley: Trump unveils initiatives to boost 5G | What to know about the Assange case | Pelosi warns tech of 'new era' in regulation | Dem eyes online hate speech bill MORE (D-Va.), launched successful bids for the upper chamber. At various points in their career, both Warner and Allen mulled presidential runs.
 
Warner was elected to the Senate in 2008, and Allen may run again for the Senate in 2012.
 
McDonnell is unlikely to run for president in 2012, but could be eyed as a vice presidential candidate in order to win the crucial state of Virginia. President Obama won the commonwealth by six percentage points over Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era Earth Day founder's daughter: Most Republican leaders believe in climate change in private Trump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing MORE (R-Ariz.) in 2008.
 
Businessman Keith Fimian, who’s challenging Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyBipartisan group asks DHS, ICE to halt deportations of Iraqi nationals Concerns mount over 2020 census The Hill's Morning Report - Trump vows to close US border with Mexico this week MORE (D-Va.), said he’s gotten “tons” of help from McDonnell.
 
“It’s been great,” he said, noting the governor held two fundraisers for him in the last two months of the campaign. “Bob’s a very busy guy. He’s in high demand, so we never expected to have him come more than twice.”

Car dealer Scott RigellEdward (Scott) Scott RigellGOP rushes to embrace Trump GOP lawmaker appears in Gary Johnson ad Some in GOP say Trump has gone too far MORE, Rep. Glenn Nye’s (D-Va.) challenger, considers McDonnell an old friend.

“He’s been the featured guest at my birthday party last year in the primary, which is wonderful,” he said. “He’s introduced me to some of his friends. He’s been helpful.”

The governor also raised money for Rigell, recorded a robo-call and appeared at a Monday-night get-out-the-vote rally with him in Virginia Beach.

“I don’t think his presence in the governor’s mansion in and of itself is the deciding factor, but it’s a clear indication that people are ready to trust Republican leadership that has clear principles and has the right ideas,” he said.

Rigell said he even occasionally referenced McDonnell in his stump speeches. “He’s setting a wonderful example at the state level as governor for really what needs to happen in Washington.”

State Sen. Robert HurtRobert HurtThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — GOP faces ‘green wave’ in final stretch to the midterms Democrat defeats controversial chair of House Wall Street subpanel Republican groups launch final ad blitz in key House battlegrounds MORE, Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) Republican challenger, has also benefited from the governors’ help.

Hurt called McDonnell’s involvement “a huge asset to our campaign.”