Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says the constant changes in front-runner status for the Republican nomination indicates that voters believe the best conservative candidate — and the one who can beat President Barack Obama — might not “always be the same.” The chairman of the Republican Governors Association also told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Thursday he believes the best candidate would be a present or former governor.
McDonnell said there were “two competing motivations” when likely Republican voters look at the GOP field.
“One is: Who do the voters think is the most principled conservative candidate that reflects their own values — but, number two, who is the best to beat President Obama — and those two may not always be the same,” McDonnell said. “And so I think you have seen Mitt Romney being pretty steady over the years because he meets a little bit of both those tests — but then you have got others that have come up and down.
“And, ultimately, though, in Iowa — as you have already seen out there, Neil — money and organization make a huge difference, because it is not just about how you do in the debates, but who can actually get their voters out on a cold January 3 day in Iowa,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of factors.”
Cavuto asked McDonnell whether he had a favorite candidate. The Virginia governor said although he thinks former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is an “incredible idea guy,” he would prefer someone who had executive experience running a state.
“Well, you know, I am a little bit biased, but I have said I think — when I look at the failure of leadership in Washington and the fact that we don`t have a president that knows how to balance a budget and create jobs — what we need, I think the best candidate would be a governor,” McDonnell said. “So I have been a little partial to my friends who are governors — current and former — in the race.
“I have gotten to know Newt a little bit over the last couple of years — he is an incredible idea guy,” he said. “But balancing budgets, and creating jobs, and making tough decisions about spending — that is what governors do every day,” he said. “You see Republican governors do that a lot around the country — so that is why I made that comment. But I am just waiting to get a nominee so I can get to work.”
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