Virginia's new governor, Bob McDonnell, will deliver the Republican response following President Obama's State of the Union speech next week, GOP leaders announced today.
The speeches will be delivered and nationally broadcast on Jan. 27.
The recently-sworn in governor was elected in late 2009 in a state that had traditionally voted Republican but had in recent years veered left. Some called McDonnell's victory a harbinger of a 2010 Republican comeback.
"As the American people continue to ask, 'where are the jobs,' Gov. McDonnell has offered common-sense economic policies in stark contrast to Washington Democrats' job-killing agenda," House Republican Leader John Boehner said in a statement. "We don't need a government takeover of health care or a 'cap-and-trade' national energy tax – we need a common-sense plan to help middle-class families and small businesses and allow them to keep more of what they earn so they can save, invest and hire."
McDonnell came under fire during his gubernatorial campaign for his socially conservative views but overcame the negative attention by focusing his campaign on issues like taxes and transportation.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that the White House looked forward to hearing McDonnell's response because the themes of McDonnell's campaign looked similar to President Obama's message.
Last year, the Republican State of the Union response was given by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a rising star in the party. Jindal's performance was not well recieved, with conservative-leaning pundit David Brooks calling it "a disaster for the Republican Party."