Morning Read: Bolling Still Mulling An Independent Run

Bill Bolling
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On the John Frederick’s radio show Wednesday, Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said he is still “keeping the door open” on an independent gubernatorial run.

Bolling—once the early favorite for the Republican nomination—dropped out of the race in November because he thought he didn’t stand a chance against the more conservative Ken Cuccinelli at a state convention—a nominating process that favors more conservative (or liberal, in the case of the Democratic party) candidates.

He said on the radio show that while an independent run is “unlikely,” he is meeting with business leaders across the state and conducting polls to determine his chances.

In his exact words:

“I am. Were doing some due diligence on that. I‘ll tell you that we’ve been meeting with business leaders across the state discussing the possibility. We’ve been doing some polling to see what the possibilities look like. I would say Jon, as I’ve said throughout the entire debate, it’s unlikely that I will do that but, you know were going to do some due diligence, it’s not a decision that I have to make until probably around the first of March. And we’ll see what transpires over the course of the next 60 days, but for right now we’re keeping the door open on that possibility, we’re doing the due diligence on it, and it’s probably something that I’ll have something more to say about around the first part of March.

Bolling was always the establishment candidate in the Republican primary. In Virginia, it’s customary for the Lt. Governor to run for the top office once the governor finishes his term. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli jumped out of line and ran this year, but it was Bolling who had the backing of Gov. McDonnell and other establishment Republicans.

If Bolling does make this independent bid, he’ll likely rankle many within the Republican party. The even-tempered Bolling is commonly referred to as a moderate, but his record as lieutenant governor indicates he’s really only moderate in comparison to the fiery Cuccinelli—the Tea Party favorite who's made his name by often taking extreme stances on social issues.

Bolling had the uncomfortable position of presiding over the evenly split state Senate last year. As president, he had to cast a vote and be the tiebreaker on dozens of measures and was at the center of some heated issues. He always voted in line with his party, and was the deciding vote on Virginia’s voter ID bill, the overhaul of the state’s one-handgun-per-month ban, and the now-infamous legislation that would have required women to get a transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion (Bolling and his fellow Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, but McDonnell ultimately softened the bill before signing into law.)

Ultimately, if Bolling runs as an independent candidate, there’s a good chance he’d just attract moderate Republican voters away from Cuccinelli, instead of independent voters away from presumed Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.


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