Virginia Lt. Governor Declines Independent Bid For Governor

Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for Governor late last year, has said that he will not be running as an independent:

RICHMOND — Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced Tuesday that he would not run for governor as an independent, ending a months-long tease that had promised to add considerable drama to an already colorful race.

“[A]fter a great deal of consideration I have decided that I will not be an Independent candidate for Governor this year,” Bolling announced in a late-morning email.

Bolling has been mulling an independent bid for governor since dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination in late November. He’d conceded then that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) had outmaneuvered him for the party nod, but pointedly refused to endorse him, saying the tea party hero was too extreme for the state. Bolling said the same was true of the likely Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe, and said he might run as an “independent Republican.”

But the challenge of raising money outside of the party structure, the emotional tug of the GOP, and a personal desire to step away from an ugly political environment eventually convinced him to make the run, Bolling said in his e-mail.

“While I still value public service a great deal, the truth is that I just don’t find the political process to be as enjoyable as I once did,” his message said. “Because of this, I decided that the time has come for me to step away from elected office and look for other ways to serve Virginia.”

Bolling did not endorse either candidate in his e-mail but wished them both well in a way that could be seen as a parting jab at Cuccinelli, since Bolling names McAuliffe first.

“I wish Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Cuccinelli well as they begin their campaigns,” he said. “One of these two candidates will have the responsibility of leading Virginia into the future. This is a tremendous responsibility and it should not be taken lightly. I encourage them to run campaigns that are worthy of Virginia; campaigns that focus on the big issues facing our state and offer a positive vision for the future of Virginia. That’s the kind of Governor the people of Virginia want and deserve.”

This leaves a race between two candidates that a heck of a lot of people here in Virginia don’t seem to like, including one that was rejected by his own party only four years ago. Recent polls have the race virtually tied but there is a huge undecided figure, some 30% in the current RealClearPolitics average. It’s possible that some portion of that undecided vote consisted of people who were waiting to see what Bolling would do, of course, so it will be interesting to see where the polls start going now that he’s officially out of the race. In any case, though, I’m not detecting very much enthusiasm for either candidate at the moment, which suggests we’re likely to see low turnout in November.


FILED UNDER: Campaign 2013, Quick Takes, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Don’t blame me, I voted for Tareq Salahi.

  2. Dan says:

    I’ve heard a lot of negative comments about Terry McAuliffe but I’ve not heard any specific criticism. Personally, I don’t know anything about him. So, for those of you who know him, what’s wrong with him?

  3. wr says:

    @Dan: He’s a sleazy Washington operator without a soul… just another lobbyist hack like Harold Ford, Jr.

  4. edmondo says:

    McAuliffe vs..Cuccinelli looks like the Lincoln Douglas debates where I come from. I had a choice between Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett as to which thrid-stringer would get indicted first.

  5. stonetools says:


    We have to go with the Democratic candidate we have, not the resurrected FDR we wish we had. McAuliffe will govern as a moderate to liberal Democrat. Compare that with that with with how “Back to the 18th Century” Cuccinelli will govern , and I will run, not walk, to the voting booth to elect McAuliffe . Remember when Virginia Democrats didn’t “like” Creigh Deeds and we got Governor Transvaginal? Its time for Democrats to stop mooning over not having the perfect liberal candidate and realize that even a mediocre Democratic candidate is superior to the best Republican. Think big picture, not one candidate.
    At least this clarifies Doug’s voting options . He will now vote for Cuccinelli, as if there was any doubt. He will describe the Kook’s position on women and gays are “regrettable” but describe his position on cutting government and taxes as “admirable” and thus worthy of his vote.

  6. Sejanus says:

    @Dan: He’s got the D label, so that means Doug will never vote for him no matter what. But it’s not like Doug needs to worry about Cuccinelli; after all Doug doesn’t have a vagina.

  7. wr says:

    @stonetools: Oh, I agree with you entirely. If I lived in Virginia, I’d have the McAuliffe bumper sticker on my car, because as dismal a Democrat as he is, Cuccinelli would take the state back to the 14th century. I’d expect witch burnings before his term was over.

    But since I’m in California, I can hate on McAuliffe… because for once we have a pretty good Democratic governor.

  8. LC says:

    one that was rejected by his own party only four years ago

    Just curious how many times you referred to Mitt Rommey as “rejected by his own party only four years ago”? It’s not like McAuliffe was an incumbent voted out in a primary.

  9. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    As for Bolling: Next stop, the Richmond equivalent of K Street.