WASHINGTON (CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's political road show continues on Wednesday, when the potential 2012 presidential candidate travels to Virginia to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell.
Last week, Pawlenty campaigned with Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey, the only other state with a governor's race this year.
Pawlenty will host a fundraiser before appearing with McDonnell at a joint press conference in Richmond, his campaign said Tuesday. He'll then travel solo to Fredericksburg and Alexandria to stump for the former state attorney general.
The two men met previously through the Republican Governors Association, but tomorrow's trip will mark the first time Pawlenty has campaigned in Virginia since announcing he would not seek a third term as Minnesota governor.
Pawlenty becomes the latest national figure to campaign for McDonnell, and one of several possible 2012 contenders lending a hand to the Virginia Republican this year. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee - two veterans of the 2008 presidential campaign - have both campaigned with, and raised money for, McDonnell.
Pawlenty told CNN's John King on Sunday that his national travels are simply part of his duties as RGA vice-chairman.
"As time allows, I'm going to speak to issues that I think my party needs to improve on, both here in Minnesota and nationally," he said. "I believe that's an important opportunity and responsibility."
McDonnell's controversial 1989 master's thesis - in which he criticized homosexuality and called working women "detrimental" to families - have overshadowed the race over the last week, and his 20-year-old writings have not gone unnoticed in Pawlenty's home state.
Two progressive groups in Minnesota - "The Minnesota Progressive Project" and "Alliance for a Better Minnesota" - have called on Pawlenty to cancel his trip and distance himself from McDonnell's views.
"If Tim Pawlenty even cares anymore what his home state thinks of reactionary ideologues with attitudes like McDonnell's, he would immediately cancel this appearance," The Minnesota Progressive Project wrote in a blog post last week about "Pawlenty and extremist McDonnell."