McDonnell To Appear Side-By-Side With Romney

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will appear with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell during a visit to the Old Dominion on Thursday, a campaign official told CNN.

As governor of a likely battleground state, McDonnell is frequently floated as a possible running mate pick for the likely GOP presidential nominee.

Last week, the governor's political action committee took out an ad buy promoting his work in the state, a move that raised eyebrows for some, considering McDonnell is term-limited and not up for re-election.

Speculation quickly swirled that the ads were aimed to boost the governor's reputation as Romney eyes potential VP picks. His spokesman, however, denied the rumors, telling USA Today on Monday that the commercial was made for Virginians, not Romney's running mate search committee.

"These ads aren't running in Boston," spokesman Tucker Martin said, referring to Romney's campaign headquarters. "They're running in South Boston, Va. These are ads celebrating Virginia and Virginians."

Romney has also appeared with other potential running mate contenders in recent days, including New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Monday and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio last week.

McDonnell, meanwhile, has suggested he is eager to help Romney win the election in any way he could.

"Anybody who asks me to help the party or help the ticket in some way so we can get Mitt Romney elected, you know I'm willing to consider doing," McDonnell told an Indiana GOP Spring Dinner. "But there's a lot of great people in our party and there's a really deep bench and a lot of people could serve Mitt Romney well."

He added the running mate pick is "completely a choice that Mitt Romney needs to make" and "we'll just have to stay tuned and see what he says."

While Virginia's unemployment rate has dropped since he took office, recent polls have shown slipping approval ratings for the governor, especially after he signed a controversial bill requiring mandatory ultrasounds for women planning to have an abortion.

McDonnell endorsed Romney in January ahead of his state's primary, which Romney won handily on March 6, Super Tuesday–though the candidate's main rivals, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, were not on the Virginia ballot.

– CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

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