Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli confirmed he plans to run for governor Thursday, sending his staff an email that read in part, “I feel that two years from now, I can best serve the people of Virginia from the governor’s office.” The Washington Post says Cuccinelli “said he did not plan to make his candidacy official until the spring but moved up his announcement” after the Post reported on his plans earlier this week.
The Washington Times reports Gov. Bob McDonnell quickly reiterated his support for Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. For his part, Bolling said in a statement that he is “very disappointed” in Cuccinelli’s decision, saying the AG has “decided to put his own personal ambition ahead of the best interests of the commonwealth and the Republican Party.” The Roanoke Times says Cuccinelli’s candidacy “sets the stage for a long, expensive and potentially divisive nominating fight” with Bolling.
But the Mason Conservative blog says Cuccinelli is not bound by “the deal brokered by McDonnell and Bolling in late 2008,” in which Bolling sat out the 2009 gubernatorial race in exchange for McDonnell’s 2013 backing. “Ken wasn’t part of that,” the blog says. “In fact, he has reason to hold it against them.” But Loudoun Insider at Too Conservative is less understanding, writing, “Cooch has always been all about Cooch before anything else, so this really shouldn’t surprise anyone.”
Meanwhile, the Post says the Democratic Governors Association slammed Cuccinelli in an email, writing, “Among his greatest hits? Attempting to suppress climate change research at UVA, urging colleges to drop policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, espousing birther conspiracies, pushing for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and even censoring a state seal that he deemed immodest.”
The Augusta Free Press says Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran followed suit, saying, “Ken Cuccinelli’s impending gubernatorial announcement is further proof that his political career is about one thing and one thing only: Ken Cuccinelli. Instead of fighting everyday for Virginia families, he has used his taxpayer-funded office to prove to the Tea Party that no one is more radically out of touch with middle class Virginians than he is.”
* The Post reports Bud Otis resigned as Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s chief of staff “in the wake of reports he was lining up support to run for the Maryland Republican’s seat in 2012.” Otis “has been soliciting endorsements in case Bartlett decides not to seek an 11th term” in the Sixth District.
“Adding to the drama,” Roll Call writes, is Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney’s creation of an exploratory committee for the race. Bartlett says he “‘chatted’ Wednesday with Mooney and that he knew Mooney was planning to file.” But while Bartlett has raised little for a campaign and does not seem to be discouraging these past allies from running, he indicated “that nothing had changed in his current status as a candidate” for re-election.
The Baltimore Sun says Bartlett says he “remains close to Otis, a fixture at his side for years who frequently commuted with him between Washington and the congressman’s Buckeystown farm.” Bartlett told the Sun, “The last thing I said, before we hugged, was that ‘I love you, Bud.’”
On the Democratic side, the Frederick News-Post reports Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown endorsed state Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola.
* The Richmond Times-Dispatch says the Richmond Tea Party has endorsed its former president and chairwoman Jamie Radtke for U.S. Senate. While it is “not surprising that Radtke would have the support of the organization she used to head, most tea party groups do not hand out official endorsements.” In a news release announcing its support, the group says GOP frontrunner George Allen “epitomizes everything wrong with the power structure career politicians from both parties have erected to serve themselves.”
* The Sun says Maryland’s April 3 primary could be delayed because of a court challenge to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s redistricting plan. The US District Court for Maryland says the case will be heard on December 20, with a decision coming by the end of January. If the court throws out the Democratic map, the State Board of Elections “would almost certainly have to seek a delay in the primary election.”
* The Post reports Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill “threw out a second major charge” in the conspiracy case against 2010 Bob Ehrlich campaign manager Paul Schurick, saying prosecutors had not sufficiently demonstrated that Schurick had obstructed justice. The Sun says “a bipartisan group of high-profile politicians” including Ehrlich, Michael Steele, and former Democratic Gov. Marvin Mandel, “took the witness stand Thursday to vouch for” Schurick’s “honesty and integrity.”