Bolling drops out of the 2013 running for VA governor; Cuccinelli on deck

Things are looking pretty darn good for Gov. Chris Christie’s reelection bid in New Jersey, and things are taking shape in next year’s only other gubernatorial race, too: Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced in a statement on Wednesday that he won’t be running for Virginia’s governorship after all.

For the past seven years I have had the honor of serving as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, and it had been my intention to seek the Republican Party’s nomination for Governor in 2013.  However, not everything we want in life is meant to be. …

Four years ago I decided to set my personal ambition to be Governor aside and join with Bob McDonnell to create a united Republican ticket. …

I had hoped that Attorney General Cuccinelli and I would be able to form that same kind of united Republican ticket in 2013.  However, late last year Mr. Cuccinelli unexpectedly announced that he intended to challenge me for the Republican Party’s nomination for Governor.

Bolling went on to explain his erstwhile confidence that he could defeat Cuccinelli for the Republican spot in a statewide primary, but this year’s rule-change to a closed-party convention nomination process changed the campaign’s dynamics too much to overcome, and would’ve drummed up a lot of nastiness:

I know how divisive conventions can be, and I was concerned that a prolonged campaign between Mr. Cuccinelli and me could create deep divisions within our party.  The convention process would have forced Republican activists to take sides against their friends in local committees all across our state.  The wounds that can develop from that type of process are often difficult to heal.

Says Jennifer Rubin:

If that strikes you as a little bitter, it’s not without cause. Bolling was the dutiful Republican and got trounced by a more ambitious pol who is better connected to the conservative base. A GOP insider in Richmond told me that Bolling “just couldn’t see a way to win in a convention.” That is both a function of his low-key demeanor and lack of conservative panache and of Cuccinelli’s masterful playing of the right wing.

So, the way is officially cleared for Cuccinelli, often called the much more fiery, right-wing candidate… and you know what that means, guys. Get ready, fellow Virginians: Remember all those lovely war-on-wimmenses/abortion/equal pay/etc- themed radio ads and commercials aimed at George Allen and Mitt Romney to which we were so recently treated? Aw, yeah:

Memo: Cuccinelli-Akin-Mourdock Politics on the Ballot in 2013

On November 6th, 2012 voters in Virginia and across the country chose results-oriented Democrats like President Obama and Tim Kaine to serve them in Washington. One of the key takeaways of last year’s elections was Americans’ widespread rejection the divisive agenda of politicians like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who made national headlines and alienated voters in their states and across the country. The high profile losses of hyper-partisan Tea Party candidates are instructive as Virginia Republicans prepare to nominate Ken Cuccinelli for Governor in 2013.  While Cuccinelli was not on the 2012 ballot, his extreme and divisive ideology was and it lost by wide margins in Republican states.

Unfortunately, the evidence would suggest that Virginians’ social sensibilities do tend to be at least somewhat susceptible to these “hyper-partisan” types of attacks, especially with the state’s better-than-the-national-average economy. I think the Democrats were hoping that a bruising primary between Bolling and Cuccinelli would do a lot of the work for them, but if they had to choose, I’m sure they would’ve picked Cuccinelli as the easier target — he’s going to have to play it smart.