Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Saturday he is "absolutely" ready to take the helm of the Republican Governors Association if the current chairman, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, decides to step down and run for president.
McDonnell is the current Vice Chairman of the RGA, meaning he is next in line for the chairmanship.
He told CNN he "would love to" lead the group, which raises money for Republican gubernatorial candidates and political activity in the states.
"I would have to still enjoy the support and confidence of colleagues, and I have talked to a couple of them about that and told them I would be very interested and honored to be the leader for the next year and a half, for the 2012 session," he said.
The role would allow McDonnell, a rising star within the GOP, to travel the country and raise his profile among party activists and donors alike.
The organization, a 527 group that can solicit corporate money and take unlimited contributions, emerged as a leading GOP fundraising operation under the chairmanship of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour during 2010 election cycle, when it raised $117 million.
Though he praised Perry's record as a governor and as RGA chairman, McDonnell gushed about the prospect of a Perry presidential bid.
"The key to winning is uniting social and economic conservatives, and a guy like Rick Perry, who has the best job creation record in the country for a governor and clearly has both evangelicals and Tea Party people excited about his candidacy, represents the kind of guy that can win," he told CNN.