Two Republican members of the Virginia legislature, with the knowledge of Sen. Paul S. Trible Jr. (R-Va.), are mounting a campaign to draft the senator as the 1989 GOP candidate for governor.

State Sen. Wiley F. Mitchell Jr. (R-Alexandria) and Del. S. Vance Wilkins Jr. (R-Amherst) informed Trible last month that they were starting a "draft Trible" movement, and Trible did not object, Mitchell and Trible said yesterday. Wilkins and Mitchell plan to unveil a draft organization formally within a few weeks.

Neither Wilkins nor Mitchell would discuss details of the effort yesterday, but several GOP leaders said the two already have lined up commitments of support from some members of the General Assembly and the state's congressional delegation. Also, the party leaders said the group plans to begin raising money and recruiting a full-time director soon.

"We have tried to analyze who in our best judgment has the best opportunity to win the governorship for our party in 1989," Mitchell said. "Vance and I have come to the conclusion that Paul Trible is that person."

Trible "listened politely to us" when Mitchell and Wilkins told him of their draft effort, Mitchell said. "He did not make any Sherman-esque statement indicating that he would not become a candidate."

"I told them I was flattered by their confidence but that I had made no decision about the future," Trible said yesterday. "I would not rule out any opportunities. I said nothing to encourage or discourage them."

Former state attorney general J. Marshall Coleman of McLean and 8th District Rep. Stan Parris are seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination; each has sought the office unsuccessfully before. Coleman lost to Democrat Charles S. Robb in 1981, and Parris failed to get the GOP nomination in 1985.

"Marshall Coleman's {campaign} committee is already formed and has had remarkable organizing success," said Dennis Peterson, director of Friends of Marshall Coleman. "We have raised over $200,000. And a recent poll of Republican local chairmen showed that we are tied with Paul Trible as first choice for the nomination.

"The future is not as rosy for Paul Trible as some people would have you think," Peterson said.

Parris was out of the country yesterday, and one of his aides, Mark Robertson, declined to comment on the "draft Trible" effort. Parris has raised more than $400,000 for his 1988 House reelection effort, even though serious Democratic opposition for him is considered unlikely. Parris has said that any money left over might be used in future campaigns.

Trible shocked Virginia Republicans in September when, after raising more than $1 million to seek reelection to the Senate this year, he bowed out of the race. Trible said then that he wanted to spend more time with his family and that he was frustrated with life in the Senate.

But Trible faced a tough challenge from Robb, the only Democrat seeking his party's Senate nomination. Trible was trailing Robb in public opinion polls when he withdrew. Speculation that Trible planned to run for governor began immediately after his announcement.

Mitchell said yesterday that "I am personally convinced when {Trible} made his decision {to pull out} he had no idea of running for governor." But Peterson said, "It's reasonable for people to be suspicious of his announced intentions {behind the withdrawal} when this activity is going on."

Mitchell and Wilkins, the leaders of the draft movement, are a political odd couple: Wilkins is one of the GOP's most conservative members and Mitchell is considered one of its most liberal, though he describes himself as moderate. Also, Wilkins is from the rural Shenandoah Valley and Mitchell is from suburban Northern Virginia.

"The idea of having that situation is intentional," Mitchell said. "We tried to identify two people who would personify the broadest possible spectrum of the Republican Party." Mitchell said it also demonstrates Trible's broad political appeal.

Thomas R. Morris, a political scientist at the University of Richmond, said Trible's sudden withdrawal from the Senate race has bred lingering resentment inside the GOP that could handicap a draft movement. But Morris added that Coleman and Parris have significant weaknesses, including lingering animosity from old campaigns.

"The fact that {Trible} is willing to let people go forward with a draft movement indicates a willingness to get very quickly back into Virginia politics," Morris said.