Virginia Republicans' formal nomination of Bob McDonnell as their gubernatorial candidate won praise Saturday from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who said the candidate would lead to a GOP "renaissance."

"His candidacy is part of a Republican renaissance that starts this year in Virginia," Steele said in a statement Saturday. "It is going to be a tough fight, but we are well positioned for victory in November."

McDonnell, the state's former attorney general, has been the consensus Republican candidate for some time now, but the state party formalized his nomination at a party convention Saturday.

"The RNC is committed to devoting its full attention and significant resources to supporting Bob's race and taking back the governor's mansion in November," Steele said.

McDonnell will try to turn back increased Democratic inroads in Virginia, facing off in the fall against Democratic candidates Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe, or Brian Moran.