Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Bolling asks supporters for advice on possible indy run for governor
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is asking for advice on whether he should mount an “independent Republican” bid for governor this year.
Bolling sent out an email today asking past supporters to fill out a web form indicating whether they’d support him in an independent candidacy.
“This is a challenging time for our party and I’m concerned that our party is headed in the wrong direction. That’s why there has been so much interest in an Independent Republican campaign,” Bolling wrote. “It is clear to me that there is a great deal of uneasiness about the candidates the two major political parties appear poised to nominate, and a lot of people in our state are looking for a better option.”
Bolling has been considering an independent run for governor since he dropped his campaign to win the Republican nomination late last year, saying then that he couldn’t win a convention nomination against conservative favorite Ken Cuccinelli.
Bolling has been openly miffed at Cuccinelli’s decision to run for governor this year, rather than waiting until 2017. Bolling had stepped back from a 2009 run in favor of now-Gov. Bob McDonnell.
He has also been open about his feelings that Cuccinelli’s positions – particularly on social issues — won’t help win moderate and independent votes in November. Bolling has been trying to court the “chamber of commerce” Republicans, those driven more by small-government, business-friendly policies than by social issues, and said in his email today that “business and community leaders” seeking a “more mainstream” candidate have encouraged him to run.
Bolling has told reporters he’ll announce his decision one way or the other on March 14.
The email suggests he thinks he could be in the game, a real opponent to Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, if he gets voter support. It includes a link to a summary of a poll Bolling commissioned, which says with “the right amount of resources” — i.e. money — he could mount a credible campaign.
“I think there is an opportunity to make history in Virginia this year. We can send a message about the need to return more civility and a more mainstream approach to politics and governing. I know it won’t be easy to win the governorship as an Independent candidate, but with your help I believe it can be done,” Bolling wrote.