March 30, 2012 - 2:29 pm

BY WESLEY P. HESTER

Could you soon be seeing “Chap Petersen for Governor” stickers?

Maybe.

Sen. J. Chapman “Chap” Petersen, D-Fairfax City, said Friday he is giving some serious thought to seeking the state’s top post.  

“I’ve talked to some people,” he said. “It’s an open contest at this point, which makes it a little bit unique in that for the first time in several years there are no Democrats that hold a statewide Constitutional office right now.”

A member of the legislature since 2002, Petersen was elected to the Senate in 2007 after serving in the House of Delegates. In 2005, he unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in 2005.

Petersen said he not yet raised any money, but has begun speaking with others about the possibility, including Terry McAuliffe.

A former Democratic National Committee chairman and businessman, McAuliffe has suggested that he, too, is seriously considering a run.

McAuliffe unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 2009, losing to Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath.

On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are expected to battle for the GOP nomination.

Petersen described himself and Cuccinelli, with whom he served in the Senate, as “friendly rivals,” which he said was “part of the attraction.”

Petersen did say he was likely to decide against a run if one of the state’s most popular political figures, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., decides to throw his hat in the ring.

He added that he might be interested in running for attorney general “depending on the circumstances.”