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If McDonnell resigns, will Bolling run?

Many, and this has been brewing for several months now, have been urging Bolling to mount a write-in campaign

The first popularly elected governor of Virginia was voted into office in 1851 and since then no Governor has ever resigned from office.

However, there is a first time for everything and Governor McDonnell, with revelations about the Star Scientific scandal getting progressively sleazier, may be the first.

It’s an ignominious end to an administration that has accomplished a great deal, but with Federal prosecutors expanding their probe of the governor’s finances, a resignation is becoming a very real possibility.
If the governor does resign, it will be a shock to the Commonwealth. We aren’t used to scandals and resignations. But, if McDonnell does leave office; what then? The answer, given that this is an election year, a lot could happen. For one thing, under our State Constitution, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would become Governor. At that point, things could get interesting.

In the most recent Quinnipiac poll neither the Republican candidate for Governor Ken Cucinelli nor the Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, was rated all that high when it came to trustworthiness or in overall positive ratings. In fact, both had a large negative rating. They both have baggage. Cucinelli probably carries the most.

Just like the Governor, Cucinelli has his own relationship with Star Scientific. The Attorney General’s involvement with the company and its flamboyant founder, Jonnie Williams, isn’t as deep as the Governor’s, but it’s still a significant weight to be carrying into the campaign. As for McAuliffe, there are some questions that need answering about his role as President of GreenTech. That’s the electric car company McAuliffe led that failed to get off the ground.

Many Virginians, as the Quinnipiac Poll indicate, aren’t impressed by their choices. They would probably welcome an alternative. And that’s where Bill Bolling, if he became governor, could change the dynamics of this race. Bolling is a Republican, and he wanted to be the nominee, but the new, more strident, conservative element of the GOP took control of the Republican State Central Committee. This new leadership, fearing that Bolling might beat their choice, Ken Cucinelli, in a primary chose a convention instead. Bolling decided his prospects in a convention stacked with the most conservative of the conservative base weren’t good and decided to drop out. Since then, the Lieutenant Governor, who is by no means a liberal, his conservative credentials are pretty solid, has kept his distance from the Republican ticket.

Many, and this has been brewing for several months now, have been urging Bolling to mount a write-in campaign. Write-in’s are allowed in the election for governor, but no write-in effort has ever succeeded, or for that matter, even had a noticeable impact on a statewide campaign. Bolling knows this and hasn’t been encouraging the idea. However, if he were to become governor, that could change.

He would, suddenly, have the name recognition that goes with being governor. Also, his record, as a member of the State Senate, and later as Lieutenant Governor is squeaky clean. For many, looking for an alternative to the Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor, Bolling would be an attractive alternative. It’s still a long shot. No one has ever organized a write-in campaign on this scale. Besides, Virginians usually don’t vary from their tradition of choosing a Republican or a Democrat. But, if Bolling were to become Governor, and could present himself as an experienced, common sense alternative to both candidates, even in the uncharted territory of a write-in campaign, anything could happen.
You may reach David Kerr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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