Image: McDonnell Inauguration
Steve Helber  /  AP
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gestures during his inaugural speech at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. last week.
updated 1/21/2010 3:30:17 PM ET 2010-01-21T20:30:17

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address next Wednesday.

Republican leaders in Congress announced the decision on Thursday in a statement, saying that McDonnell "understands that the American people are more interested in shrinking unemployment than expanding government."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called McDonnell "an impressive public servant and an excellent choice to offer Republican solutions for our country." McDonnell was inaugurated this past week. He won the Democratic-held governorship last fall, one of two major GOP victories. Republicans also unseated a Democrat in New Jersey.

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