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Ryan boosts Virginia as central to Romney's fortunes

GLEN ALLEN, VA -- Returning to Virginia for the first time since being named Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan emphasized the importance of this key swing state in the November election.

“Virginia is a very important state – you have heard it from everybody,” the Wisconsin congressman told the crowd inside Deep Run High School just outside of the state’s capitol. “This is a state that has it all, and this is a state that will determine it all and we have a clear choice.”

These remarks echoed those the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee gave Thursday night at a fundraisers in downtown Richmond.

"Virginia has an enormous influence on this. And thank heavens our fate is in the hand in Virginians and not anybody else. And I want to thank you for that, for what you've done, and I want to thank you for what you're about to do because you're going to help save this country by bringing these electoral votes for Mitt Romney," he said.

Friday’s two public stops here in the Old Dominion mark Ryan’s fourth and fifth campaign rallies in Virginia, after having held three events with Romney last Saturday. Several polls here have Romney and President Barack Obama in a dead heat. If Obama wins only Virginia and New Hampshire (and maintains Wisconsin and Pennsylvania), Romney would have to win ALL of the following states to win enough electoral votes to become president: NV, CO, IA, OH, NC and FL.

Since being tapped as VP nearly a week ago, the Romney-Ryan ticket has raised more than $10 million dollars with nearly 125,000 donations, the campaign said this morning. Ryan’s new role has also increased volunteer turnout and site traffic for the campaign.

Virginia Gov. McDonnell – who was passed over as Romney’s VP – told the roughly 2,500 person crowd that Ryan is the right man to be Romney’s No. 2 and turn Virginia red in November.

“I’m so excited about Paul Ryan’s pick. This is a man of immense character. He’s been in public service since he graduated from college,” McDonnell began. “He’s got a stake in the future of this country. I think he’s a tremendous leader at the right time to help get America get back to work and out of debt.” 

With just 82 days left before the election, tomorrow, Ryan heads to the battleground state of Florida where he will be joined by his mother – Betty Douglas – for a rally at The Villages outside of Orlando. Ryan is expected to discuss Medicare as Florida’s population has a significant senior voter population.