WASHINGTON – Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling says there is a growing divide within the Virginia Republican Party but despite that void he has no “current” plans to run as an independent candidate in the upcoming gubernatorial race.
Bolling’s comments come just one day after he announced that he was suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination. He spoke to reporters Thursday in Richmond about his decision and his future plans.
“I don’t have any current intentions to do that,” he says of an independent run. “What I am looking forward to do is being a more independent voice on the important issues facing Virginia.”
Bolling withdrew from the governor’s race when it became obvious that he could not win the nomination at the GOP convention next summer — a nomination method that gives Virginia’s conservative Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli an advantage.
Bolling had sought a statewide primary to decide the nomination.
“Conventions are by their very nature exclusive, and at a time when we need to be projecting a positive image and reaching out to involve more Virginians in the Republican Party, I am unwilling to be part of a process that could seriously damage our image and appeal,” Bolling said in a statement released Wednesday.
He had been running for the state’s highest office since his deal not to run against now Gov. Bob McDonnell in the 2009 gubernatorial campaign. And relations have been frosty between Bolling and Cuccinelli ever since the attorney general unexpectedly joined the race late last year.
Bolling questions whether Cuccinelli is qualified to run the state.
“I have serious reservations about his ability to affectively and responsibly lead the state,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Because of that, Bolling says he will not endorse Cuccinelli at this point either.
If Cuccinelli wins the nomination, he would face likely Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe in November 2013.