Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are in a 38 – 38 percent dead heat in their race to become Virginia’s next governor. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, running as an independent candidate, leaves the race a statistical tie, with McAuliffe at 34 percent, Cuccinelli at 31 percent and Bolling at 13 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Bolling, elected as a Republican, said he will make a major announcement next month, presumably about the governor’s race.
When talking up the possibility of an independent bid, Bolling said earlier this month, “I think there is a definite opening in this campaign for a credible independent candidate… We will have our decision made and announced by March 14.”
Is 13 percent really the threshold of support to be a credible independent candidate? Of course, candidates tend to assess their own viability and credibility with a distinctly non-objective eye. Bolling has been lieutenant governor of the state for eight years, and found himself unlikely to be able to win the gubernatorial nomination over Cuccinelli at the state convention. Bolling and his crew may be angry that the Virginia GOP decided to select their nominee at a convention instead of a primary, but he shouldn’t have any illusions about the likely outcome in that venue as well; in June of last year, Cuccinelli led Bolling 51 percent to 15 percent.
But this may come down to what Bolling really wants to see: his own victory… or Ken Cuccinelli’s defeat.