Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe are teaming up to keep the Virginia Senate in Democratic hands.

Former President Bill Clinton (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Republicans are aggressively fighting to take control of the Senate, where Democrats hold a fragile 22 to 18 majority. They already are ahead in recruiting and fundraising.

If the GOP picks up just two seats, the party would seize control because a Republican — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — presides over the Senate.

Clinton’s appearance in Virginia on behalf of legislative candidates in an off-year election underscores the importance of November’s races — and, of course, his close relationship with McAuliffe.

“We’re very excited to have President Clinton make a visit to the Commonwealth,’’ McAuliffe’s spokesman Levar Stoney said. “Both President Clinton and Terry understand just how important it is for Virginia families that Democrats keep a majority in the state Senate.”

Former gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

During McAuliffe’s run for governor in 2009, Clinton spoke at a rally for him. He also made a surprise appearance at a New York fundraiser for McAuliffe and was the keynote speaker at the state party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner.

As pretty much every observer of Virginia politics knows, McAuliffe, 54, is eyeing a second run for governor in 2013.

McAuliffe — who also is working to reopen a shuttered paper mill and launch an electric car venture — has been helping Democratic candidates in Virginia whenever he can as he looks to overcome complaints from 2009 that he hadn’t paid his dues in state politics.

This month, McAuliffe’s schedule has him attending 40 events, helping local and state candidates from Northern to Southwest Virginia.