WASHINGTON -- The possibility of a three-way gubernatorial free-for-all in Virginia evaporated Tuesday, as Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced that he would not run as an independent, citing money as the main impediment.
Bolling’s decision, disclosed in an email to supporters, is good news for state Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli, the likely Republican nominee. Cuccinelli, a conservative firebrand, figured to be hurt more than Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, a longtime figure on the Washington political scene who was a major fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Money appeared to be the biggest roadblock to a run by Bolling, who had originally sought the GOP nomination. He withdrew from the race after Virginia Republicans decided to choose their nominee at a convention this spring, rather than in a primary. The convention process strongly favors Cuccinelli, a favorite of conservative activists. Bolling had signaled his desire to enter the governor’s race as an “independent Republican,” most recently in a mass email to his backers that promised a decision by this week.
“To run a winning campaign I would have needed to raise at least $10-$15M. That's a very difficult thing to do without the resources of a major political party and national donors at your disposal,” Bolling wrote. “Based on my discussions with key donors over the past three weeks, I was confident I could raise enough money to run a competitive campaign, but I was not confident I could raise enough money to run a winning campaign.”