Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will not make an independent bid for governor this fall.
His decision means the contest likely will be a two-man race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Bolling ended his campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination late last year after the nomination process was changed from a primary to a convention favoring Cuccinelli, the commonwealth’s attorney general. Bolling, however, refused to endorse Cuccinelli and said he would decide by March 14 if he would run as an independent.
Bolling said his decision not to run was based on a number of factors, including the millions of dollars needed to run a winning campaign and his longstanding ties to the Republican Party. He also said the decision was influenced by “a growing dissatisfaction with the current political environment in Virginia.“
“In many ways I fear that the ‘Virginia way’ of doing things is rapidly being replaced by the ‘Washington way’ of doing things, and that’s not good for Virginia,” he said in a statement. “As a result, the political process has become much more ideologically driven, hyper-partisan and mean spirited. Rigid ideologies and personal political agendas are too often placed ahead of sound public policy, and legitimate policy disagreements too quickly degenerate into unwarranted personal attacks. This makes it more difficult to govern effectively and get things done.”
Bolling is completing his second term as lieutenant governor and he suggests that it will be his last political office. “I decided that the time has come for me to step away from elected office and look for other ways to serve Virginia,” he said in the statement.
Bolling backed Gov. Bob McDonnell, who then was attorney general, in the 2009 gubernatorial election. The governor supported Bolling in this year’s race, but the change in the nomination process made Cuccinelli’s nomination inevitable.
In a late February Quinnipiac University Poll on the governor’s race, McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Cuccinelli were tied at 38 percent each.
When Bolling was added to the poll as a possible independent candidate, the lieutenant governor garnered 13 percent and McAuliffe had a slight lead over Cuccinelli, 34 percent to 31 percent. That margin, however, was still the poll’s margin of error, making the race a statistical tie.
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