Texas Gov. Rick Perry likened Tuesday's special election upset in New York to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's 2009 win, calling them both a harbinger of GOP victories to come.
"Just as the election of Bob McDonnell and [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie signaled historic victories coming for us in 2010, last night's victory in New York sent signals that President Obama would be a one-term president," Perry said at a Richmond fundraiser for the Virginia Republican Party. "The voters are getting the message — the voters of New York sure got the message."
McDonnell, who spoke before Perry, is considered a top contender for the vice presidential slot on a GOP ticket. He is widely popular in a swing state President Obama won in 2008 — a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday had the governor's approval rating at 61 percent, with just 21 percent of voters disapproving.
The Virginia governor, who took over for Perry as head of the Republican Governors Association when the Texan decided to run for president, had high praise for the governor but stopped short of what would be a key endorsement.
"I just wish I was the most popular governor in my own house," he said. "He’s built Texas into a job-creation machine."
McDonnell said he wants a governor to be the nominee, which could be either Perry or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has also courted McDonnell.
"While I have not made any endorsement in this race I do believe the governor has the right credentials," McDonnell said.
Perry reciprocated McDonnell's praise. "In Virginia you have the right formula because you have the right leadership," he said. "Bob McDonnell has given the business creators and small-business owners that opportunity."