Romney Brings GOP Star Power to Virginia, Doesn't Step Into New York Special Election

Published October 28, 2009

| FoxNews.com

The Virginia GOP may not have a sitting president to stump for the gubernatorial candidate, but a potential presidential frontrunner managed to fill the bill Wednesday.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's eyeing another White House bid in 2012 after an unsuccessful run in 2008, endorsed former Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell for governor.

Romney, one of the biggest draws in the party, follows President Obama's visit to the Old Dominion a day earlier to stump for state Sen. Creigh Deeds. Deeds is lagging behind McDonnell by double digits in polls ahead of Tuesday's Election Day. 

But McDonnell has instructed his team to take no chances following Obama's historic victory in the state -- the first Democratic presidential winner in the state since 1964 -- and called in Romney to fortify his standing among voters.

"Virginia matters," Romney told reporters. "It makes a difference to the whole country, we need to have a team that can create jobs."

McDonnell credited his campaigns success so far with an enthused base.

"Everywhere we've gone over the last couple of months, we've seen people that are ready to establish a new government in Richmond with limited conservative principles that are focused on getting results and not making excuses and getting things done," he said. "We're talking about fiscal responsibility and good stewardship, and energy independence, and job creation, and I think that's why we have the energy on our side this time."

Romney was also asked whether he would make an endorsement in the House of Representative race in New York's 23rd district, where Republican nominee in New York's 23rd is Dede Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman, is facing a threat from the right. 

"I have chosen not to endorse the Republican candidate in New York's 23rd District, "Romney said, "and that should speak a certain amount of volume. I can't endorse our candidate in that race.

Scozzafava favors both abortion and gay rights, which her supporters say is the kind of Republican who can win a race in a district like New York's 23rd. But conservatives say the traditionally GOP district would be better served by Doug Hoffman, who is running on the Conservative Party ballot

Hoffman's challenge and his growing strength makes it possible that Democrat Bill Owens could steal the seat away from the Republicans. Democrats have begun targeting him in the district rather than focusing on Scozzafava. Polls show Hoffman leading both major party candidates.

Romney's prospective 2012 Republican rival Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty did recently endorse Hoffman over Scozzafava, as did former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.

FOX News' Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

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