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Despite widespread speculation that Hanover’s own Bill Bolling might be considering an independent run for the Governor’s Mansion, the incumbent lieutenant governor announced March 12 that he would not throw his name in the hat as a third candidate.
“After a great deal of consideration, I have decided that I will not be an Independent candidate for Governor this year,” Bolling said in a statement. “There were many factors that influenced by decision to forgo such a campaign.”
The largest hurdle facing Bolling was on the financial side. After speaking with donors over the past few weeks, Bolling said he was confident he would be able to fund a competitive campaign. But without the resources of a major political party, Bolling said it would be difficult to raise the $10 million to $15 million it would take to win.
“You can have a winning message, but if you don’t have the resources to effectively communicate that message to voters, you cannot win,” Bolling said.
Running as an independent against a party-backed Republican would also have obvious political ramifications for the longtime member of the GOP, a reality that outweighed his concerns that the party is headed in the wrong direction.
“I still have many dear friends in the Republican Party, people who have been incredibly supportive of me over the years,” he said. “Maintaining their friendship and respect means more to me than the prospects of being Governor and I was unwilling to jeopardize these longstanding relationships by embarking on an Independent campaign.”
Still, Bolling noted his dissatisfaction with the current political climate in Virginia, noting that the “’Virginia way’ of doing things is rapidly being replaced by the ‘Washington way.’”
“As a result, the political process has become much more ideologically driven, hyper-partisan and mean spirited,” he said. “Rigid ideologies and person political agendas are too often placed ahead of sound public policy and legitimate policy disagreements too quickly degenerate into unwarranted personal attacks.”
Bolling’s first elected office was as a member of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors. He won a narrow contest in 1995 for the Virginia Senate over a 20-year incumbent and stayed in that chamber until 2005 when he was elected lieutenant governor. He was reelected to that post in 2009.
Bolling said he looked forward to working with the current administration in the months to come as his term comes to a close. Following the end of his term, Bolling said he planned to return to the private sector and to look for other ways to serve the Commonwealth.
“I love Virginia and I will always be willing to do my part to help make Virginia a better place,” he said.