Va. Gov. McDonnell Is New Head of Republican Governors Association

By BOB LEWIS | August 15, 2011 | 10:29 AM EDT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for president, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is taking over as head of the Republican Governors Association.

The association made the announcement Monday morning, two days after Perry formally announced his candidacy. McDonnell had been the RGA's vice chairman.

McDonnell's new post will place more demand on his political time for travel across the country supporting GOP gubernatorial candidates. It also elevates the popular governor's profile as an often-mentioned vice presidential running mate.

McDonnell said in a statement that the RGA is in a position to have an unprecedented impact this election cycle.

Twenty-nine U.S. governors are Republicans.