Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Won’t Run For Governor — Not As Republican, At Least
By Jim Malewitz, Staff Writer
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling will not seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2013, he said Wednesday (November 29). That leaves Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea Party conservative and rising star in the party, with little competition for the slot.
Bolling said the party’s new nominating process — a shift from a primary to a convention — was behind his decision. The change came in June, shortly after Cuccinelli unexpectedly entered the race. It was made by the party’s rulemaking committee, a group friendly to the attorney general.
“For the past several months my campaign team has worked hard to restructure our campaign to effectively compete in the convention process,” Bolling said in a message to supporters. “While we have made a great deal of progress, I reluctantly concluded that the decision to change the method of nomination from a primary to a convention created too many obstacles for us to overcome.”
He said a battle with Cuccinelli could create a major rift in the party, which he wanted to avoid.
The lieutenant governor’s exit likely sets up an intense battle between Cuccinelli and former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee. That is, unless Bolling runs as an Independent.
In his message, Bolling said he planned to “remain actively involved in the 2013 campaigns – perhaps not as the Republican nominee for Governor, but as a more independent voice,” fueling speculation that he’ll seek the governorship through a different route.
Asked by the Washington Post whether that’s the case, Bolling said he had “no current intention to embark on an independent campaign for governor.” But he refused to rule out a decision as the race unfolds.
Bolling also refused to endorse Cuccinelli. “I have serious reservations about his ability to effectively and responsibly lead our state,” he told the Post, “and given those reservations, I could not in good conscience endorse his candidacy for governor.”