The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Why Virginia Probably Won’t See a Bolling Independent Bid


For what it is worth, few of the Virginia Republicans I have spoken to today think the current lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling, will launch an independent bid for governor next year, as the Washington Post is speculating.

Bolling has been lieutenant governor for seven years and would face a tough primary fight with the state’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli. (The current governor, Bob McDonnell, leapfrogged from the AG spot to the governorship in 2009.) Polling for much of the year suggested Cuccinelli had a significant edge, perhaps as much as a 3-to-1 advantage.

Virginia Republicans recently decided to select their gubernatorial nominee at the state convention instead of through a statewide primary — shifting the decision to about 20,000 to 50,000 committed activists, and putting Bolling at an advantage he apparently found insurmountable.

So why not run as an independent? Bolling has been a loyal Republican officeholder since 1991, and still has one year left on his term as lieutenant governor. He’s scheduled to speak to the state party this weekend in Virginia Beach. He’s currently respected and admired among a lot of Republicans who didn’t have him as their first choice in next year’s gubernatorial race, but an independent bid would burn a lot of bridges (and probably be much better news for the Democratic candidate than for Bolling).

Elsewhere, the Republican party of Virginia is already tweaking the opposition about their . . . problematic options in 2013′s gubernatorial race. Their release this afternoon:

And so it begins. With a shallow bench, and no message or plan to speak of, Virginia Democrats pin their hopes for 2013 on a failed, flawed candidate who spent $7 million on a primary and lost . . .  to Creigh Deeds.

The same guy who knew he wanted to run for Governor, but wasn’t sure about what state he would do it from. The same guy who likes to talk up all the manufacturing jobs he’s created . . . in Mississippi, because Virginia wouldn’t give him enough corporate welfare.

But not all Democrats are in love with their candidate. In fact, a number of them, particularly in the netroots community, are hoping and praying another failed candidate to enter the race: one of President Obama’s favorite (ex)- Congressmen, Tom Perriello.

Democrats have two less-than-appealing choices:

The guy who said “If you don’t tie our hands, we will keep stealing”


The guy who had a chance to create hundreds of jobs in Virginia, but chose Mississippi instead? And whose primary occupation is raising money for Democrats (and name dropping Bill Clinton?)

RPV Chairman Pat Mullins gave the following statement:

“Where have I heard this before? A Republican party united around one candidate for Governor headed into the election, while Democrats are less than thrilled with their current crop of failed retreads. 

Meanwhile, faced with unappealing candidates with no plan for the economy other than ‘raise taxes’ in the face of a tough economy, Democrats launch an all out assault attempting to paint the Republican nominee as extreme, while they focus on social issues to the exclusion of all else. 

Sounds quite a bit like 2009. I’m looking forward to next November already.”

Tags: Bill Bolling , Ken Cuccinelli , Virginia


Subscribe to National Review