For the four longshot candidates challenging former senator and governor George Allen for the Republican nomination in next year’s U.S. Senate race, one potential endorsement stands above the rest.

Then-state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, addresses the crowd after his nomination as attorney general at the 2009 Virginia State Republican Convention at the Coliseum in Richmond on May 30, 2009. (By Steve Helber/Associated Press)

All five declared candidates — Allen, Jamie Radtke, Earl Jackson, Tim Donner and David McCormick — have spoken or met with Cuccinelli in recent weeks.

“The attorney general is a heroic figure in the state,’’ Donner said after asking Cuccinelli for his support in a recent meeting in Richmond.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) have endorsed Allen. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is widely expected to follow suit.

Cuccinelli has said he will wait to endorse until after November’s legislative races to weigh into the Senate race.