Virginia Race Turns To Chaos Following Cuccinelli’s Rise
One of the marquee races of the post-2012 world is turning out to be a real doozy.
By the end of the business day Wednesday, the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race descended into total chaos, turning what was already expected to be a high profile contest into fight that could lay bare the Republican Party’s struggles following President Obama’s reelection, with the candidate originally backed by sitting Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) taking on one of the tea party’s brightest stars.
Democrats aren’t letting Republicans have all the fun. Their attempt at drama-free nomination process after 2009’s brutal primary left them battered ran into a snag when an ideological fight threatened to break out.
First, the Republicans. Wednesday began with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — the man McDonnell backed to replace him — dropping out of the gubernatorial race after state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli effectively stacked the deck against him.
Cuccinelli was the favorite for the nomination anyway, thanks to his national profile as a tea party leader and conservative legal mind. But Bolling isn’t going quietly. In separate interviews Wednesday, he both refused to endorse Cuccinelli (Bolling told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he has “serious reservations” about Cuccinelli’s “ability to effectively and responsibly lead the state”) and to rule out running as an independent. Bolling canceled his appearance at an annual state GOP retreat this weekend and refused to quash rumors he’ll run as an independent to the Roanoke Times. “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.