When Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced today that he will abandon the contest for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, he said he had decided to “suspend” his campaign for governor. And he went on to say that he would be “a more independent voice” in the 2013 elections.
So could Bolling be an independent candidate for governor next year?
In an interview this afternoon, Bolling didn’t rule out the possibility.
“I don’t have any current intentions to run as an independent candidate for governor, but I learned a long time ago in politics that you shouldn’t ever say never,” Bolling said during a brief interview in his office in the Oliver Hill Building on Capitol Square.
“This is going to be an interesting campaign,” Bolling said, sizing up a potential race between Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe. “I think one of the big questions is: How do the people of Virginia react to these two candidates that the major political parties have produced? How does the business community react to these two candidates? I think there’s going to be a fair amount of uncertainty and uncomfortableness with these two candidates. So I jut don’t know how that might play out over the course of time.
“I don’t have any current intention of doing that, but I’m not going to rule anything out at this point. Right now my focus is on working with the governor to get ready for the 2013 session of the General Assembly, and then once we get the session behind us, we’ll take a look at the political landscape and see how things are coming together. You know, I’m always assessing political options.”
One option Bolling effectively ruled out is running for a third consecutive term as lieutenant governor. Seven Republicans already are running for the nomination, but that’s not the reason Bolling gave for not seeking another four years in the job.
“Under normal circumstances, I would be open to the possibility of running for another term as lieutenant governor, but I would not be interested in running on a statewide ticket with Mr. Cuccinelli,” Bolling said.
– Michael Sluss