AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell plans to join Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to tour the Fairfax County GOP headquarters next week.
The Republican governor and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will join Massachusetts' former governor Wednesday in a party-building effort in the Washington, D.C., suburbs less than two weeks before the pivotal Nov. 8 legislative elections.
Asked whether it was a prelude to a possible McDonnell endorsement in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, gubernatorial spokesman Tucker Martin says McDonnell won't take sides at least until after next month's election.
Phil Cox, the governor's chief political strategist, said McDonnell might not endorse a candidate throughout the nomination process.
McDonnell, often mentioned as a vice presidential running mate prospect, appeared last month at a GOP luncheon alongside the GOP frontrunner at the time, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Since then, Romney and businessman Herman Cain have moved into a tie for the lead while Perry has fallen to a distant third place.
The popular governor's stock as a ticket mate rises because of the lift it could provide an eventual Republican nominee in Virginia, a swing state which President Barack Obama won in 2008 and both parties consider vital to winning the White House next year.
Statewide polling last week by Quinnipiac University showed McDonnell's job-approval rating at 62 percent while only 45 percent approved of Obama's performance.
Both Perry and Romney have privately asked McDonnell for his endorsement.
Bolling is a Romney supporter and chairman of Romney's campaign in Virginia.
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