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Hanover’s own incumbent Lt. Governor Bill Bolling found himself at the center of Virginia politics this week as the deadline approached for the longtime Republican to announce whether he would run for Virginia’s highest office as an independent candidate.
The buildup was resolved Tuesday. Citing financial and political obstacles, Bolling announced he wouldn’t be going through with it.
It’s a shame, really. Bolling could have been a real voice of bipartisan reason needed in Virginia politics.
Virginia’s only other alternatives for the Governor’s Mansion aren’t promising. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a far-right favorite of the tea party who stole the party’s nomination from Bolling, the clear next-in-line candidate. Cuccinelli fears science, as evidenced by his taxpayer-funded witch-hunt of University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann. Cuccinelli has also taken a far-right, polarizing stance on social issues. In 2010, he ordered all of the state’s public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. He has also led the charge against Virginia women’s right to choose. Cuccinelli also refused to join attorneys general from across the nation in supporting litigation against Westboro Baptist Church, which picketed outside of a Marine’s funeral with signs like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “You’re Going to Hell.”
We could go on. Cuccinelli’s said and done a lot of weird things that aren’t in the interest of most Virginians.
Unfortunately, Terry McAuliffe, the presumptive Democrat in the race, has never held public office and doesn’t have enough qualifications to criticize or rebuke. He touts himself as a businessman and entrepreneur. His pitch wasn’t good enough in a Democratic primary several years ago. How is it any better for the state’s highest office? We distrust someone with no public service record to run on. For all we know, the only reason McAuliffe’s seeking office is to further his own business interests.
On Feb. 28, Bolling sent out an email to supporters noting that people across Virginia have been encouraging him to re-enter the race and further testing the waters for a prospective Independent run. “I have sought to call us to a higher purpose, focusing more on policy and less on politics,” he wrote. The Republican added, “This is a challenging time for our party and I’m concerned that our party is headed in the wrong direction.”
Perhaps the “wrong direction” he was referring to is the unfortunate reality that bipartisan, Republican dealmakers like the moderate Bolling can’t get elected anymore.