Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) will head to New Hampshire next month to raise money for the state Republican Party, a trip that may help to keep his name in circulation as a possible member of the 2012 GOP presidential ticket.

McDonnell will headline the New Hampshire party’s annual fundraiser in Concord on Sept. 26. It would be his first trip as governor to the state that hosts the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

“Governor McDonnell has exercised the leadership required in these tough times to balance budgets, control spending and create a surplus for his state’s long term economic viability … the kind of leadership that is lacking in the White House and in our state’s corner office,” New Hampshire GOP Chairman Jack Kimball said in a press release issued by the party.

McDonnell is vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and unlike the current chairman of that group — Texas Gov. Rick Perry — the Virginian is not believed to be plotting a late entrance into the presidential race.

But his name is one of several that have circulated among Republicans as possible vice-presidential candidates. Last month, Mitt Romney reportedly said at a Virginia Beach fundraiser that McDonnell would be on ”any candidate’s short-list” for the No. 2 slot, though he also mentioned a handful of other Republicans.