Gov. Bob McDonnell’s term ends at the start of 2014 after the 2013 elections.
It was reported Thursday that he was the pick to be Mitt Romney’s Attorney General.
Without being able to run for a second term or go into the Romney Administration, what’s next for Virginia’s popular chief executive?
I say he rolls the dice and runs for Senate in 2014. McDonnell is at least as if not more popular than Mark Warner based upon polling conducted during the 2012 election, has won election statewide more recently than Warner has, and has more accomplishments to point to in his single-term in office than Warner does in both his term as governor and his six-years in DC as a U.S. Senator. What does he have to lose other than an election? If we have learned nothing else from the past few years it is that fortune favors the bold. Jim Webb had no political aspirations nor any real hope of winning, yet he wound up in the Senate. Barack Obama had only served two-years in the U.S. Senate before he jumped in the presidential race against the heavy favorite Hillary Clinton. Plus you never know when someone may say something ill-advised or a deep, dark secret from their past may emerge that will destroy their political career.
On top of all that, 2014 will be the second mid-term election for President Obama, elections which are notoriously bad for the party of the White House incumbent. President Ronald Reagan saw the GOP lose the Senate in 1986 and George W. Bush both houses of Congress in 2006. (Bill Clinton slightly defied gravity in 1998, but only because voters viewed the GOP has having overplayed their hand with impeachment and he had a strong economy to point to in his defense.)
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the National Republican Senatorial Committee makes the pitch to McDonnell sooner rather than later (if they have not already.) The new role that the NRSC intends on playing in the primary selection process would certainly favor the governor.