WASHINGTON (CNN) – As one of only two statewide campaigns in the 2009 election cycle, the Virginia governor's race has seen a parade of national political stars make the trip to the Old Dominion.
Late Friday, Creigh Deeds' campaign announced that President Obama would join the Democratic candidate on the trail at the end of the month. Obama's 2008 presidential rival will get there first: On Saturday, Sen. John McCain will make his second trip to Virginia on behalf of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell. McCain, a decorated Navy hero, will help McDonnell make a closing pitch to veterans at a rally in Hampton Roads, a region of the state with a heavy military population.
McCain isn't the only high-profile Republican who has stumped for the former Virginia Attorney General: Two other former presidential candidates - former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - have twice visited the state twice to campaign. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani also raised money for McDonnell.
Along with Romney and Huckabee, McDonnell has welcomed a number of top Republicans who may run for president in 2012. That list includes Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele campaigned with McDonnell in May.
Creigh Deeds, who spent the first half of the year in a three-way fight for the Democratic nomination, hasn't had an army of national figures campaign with him. But several prominent Democrats have chipped in to help.
On Friday, former Vice President Al Gore held a fundraiser for Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds. And next week, former President Bill Clinton will appear at a rally for Deeds along with longtime Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe, who sought the Democratic nomination before losing to Deeds in June.
The party's leader, President Obama, will make his second trip to Virginia to lend a hand, the Deeds campaign announced Friday. The visit will be Obama's second on the trail for the gubernatorial candidate: he campaigned for Deeds and hosted a fundraiser for him in August Vice President Joe Biden and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, have both stumped for Deeds.
For a campaign thought by many to be a referendum of the Obama presidency, the election will largely turn by local issues - specifically transportation and the economy. Deeds has also tried to make the race about women's issues by highlighting a conservative thesis written by McDonnell in which he called working women "detrimental" to families.
Entering October, McDonnell held a significant cash advantage, with $4.5 million on hand to Deeds' $2.7 million.
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report