Morning Read: A Virginia Game Of ‘What Ifs'

Election Day 2012 is already history. President Barack Obama is still the winner and Mitt Romney is still the loser. But a game of “what ifs” is still always fun.

What if Romney had won? Well, according to the Washington Examiner, Gov. Bob McDonnell likely would have been tapped to be the president’s attorney general. This isn’t really a surprise; McDonnell has been a party stalwart the past year, stumping for Romney on TV and across the country. When he wasn’t picked to be Romney's VP, the conventional wisdom was that he would get a spot in the administration.

But the more interesting part of McDonnell’s hypothetical attorney general post is the impact it would have had on Virginia politics. Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would have finished out McDonnell’s term as governor, meaning Bolling would have had an incumbency edge in his race against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Cuccinelli is outspoken and has made headlines for his questioning of climate change and his fight against Obamacare. Bolling is the establishment candidate in the race and, by comparison, is the more moderate candidate.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed that half of Virginians have an opinion of Cuccinelli, while 70 percent have no opinion of Bolling. Bolling would have undoubtedly benefited from the exposure that comes with being governor, even if he wasn’t technically elected for the post.

On the Dem side of the gubernatorial race, the only candidate that has officially thrown his hat in is Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and top adviser to Bill Clinton.

But Virginia Senator and former Gov. Mark Warner has also been considering a run. The Quinnipiac Poll found that if Warner entered the race, he’d be the frontrunner, beating both Bolling and Cuccinelli in head-to-head battles, 53-33 and 52-34 respectively.

If he doesn’t enter the race, McAuliffe would be locked in a tough race with either Bolling or Cuccinelli. Those surveyed preferred McAuliffe over Bolling and Cuccinelli 38-36 and 41-37 respectively.

But since McDonnell isn’t leaving the governor’s mansion for a higher calling any time soon, looks like Bolling has a tough road ahead of him before he can even face McAuliffe or Warner.


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