First off though is '08. John Warner will not retire, but if something happens that makes that seat come open, I expect the GOP to have a nomination battle between Gilmore and Rep. Tom Davis. Rep. Randy Forbes may also vie for the seat. Also, if George Allen runs for President or VP (and wins) Kaine will nominate Mark Warner to that open seat.
Now for '09. Here is a list of possible GOPs.
Governor: Obviously, there is Bolling and McDonnell (assuming he wins). Both of them will vie for the nod. It will be a very bitter battle between these 2 because of their closeness on nearly every issue. Look for Bolling to tout his rural strength and gun rights stances, look for McDonnell to use to the religious backing (Pat Robertson) and also his urban appeal. Jim Gilmore is certainly eyeing the governor's mansion in '09. He had to be praying for a dem sweep this time around, but he will still run. Paul Harris is another name that has been thrown out there. Originally he was rumored to be running for AG, but it now sounds that he will go straight for the top. Even so, he has a very lucrative job at Raytheon, so he may not want to leave the money quite yet.
The dark horse candidate here is Sean Connaughton. He has statewide visibility from his run for LG this year. He is from NOVA. His one disadvantage is that he is viewed as a moderate by many and he also has no state government experience. Even so, after losing Loudoun and PWC and Fairfax by 20, the GOP may be more willing to take a NOVA candidate who can win, as opposed to someone in the line that can't.
Lt Governor: This field is super crowded. Connaughton would be the top choice here since he ran last time, and being from NOVA. Chairman Kate Griffith is looking to run statewide, and she doesn't have a law degree. Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis or Sen. Ken Cuccinelli may try throw their names into the hat as the NOVA candidates. Del. Chris Saxman from Staunton is another that is considering a run. He is a strong conservative with some great ideas. He is one who could turn heads. As chairman of the Cost Cutting Caucus he can prove he is for fiscal responsibility. Sen. Brandon Bell's name has been thrown around, but at this point he is not considering a run. He may do so later on though.
Attorney General: The obvious one here is Steve Baril. Even so, I'm not sure he will be able to gather enough support again. Paul Harris is another possible candidate if he doesn't run for governor. I have heard Del. Rob Bell's name proposed as well, but I have heard others say he will not run. Chad Dotson, best know for his blog Commonwealth Conservative has voiced interest, although I don't know if its serious or not. The last name I have is the hometown favorite, Sen. Mark Obenshain. Many have predicted that he will run, but I don't know for sure whether he will or not. He does have a name that many still remember, which should help him in that regard.
Whoever plans on running for statewide office should start now. We saw this time around what happens when someone waits while another hits the ground running. The earlier the better. This is just a very early list. Any number of things could change this. We will have a much better idea after the Advance. Everyone should be starting to float their names then.
One more thing, who do the dems have, Chap Peterson? The dems have basically no one to run for statewide office next time, but I am sure they will find some between now and then. Any ideas on this?