Virginia is one of only two states that choose their governors in the year following a presidential election. And in the Old Dominion’s nine contests since 1977, the nominee from the party that lost the presidency the previous year has always won.

A favorite among his party’s base, Cuccinelli may be well-positioned to become the latest Virginia Republican to benefit from disproportionately high turnout among the conservative rank-and-file in a non-presidential election. …

Cuccinelli’s expected path to the Republican nomination was cleared last week when Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced that he would not run for the commonwealth’s highest office, citing his party’s decision to hold a nominating convention, rather than a contested statewide primary, to determine its standard-bearer. …

According to Virginia political analyst Jennifer Thompson, the potential that Bolling could launch a serious outside bid remains “very real,” though it will require significant financial support from both inside and outside the state.