RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Lt. Governor Bill Bolling is the biggest mystery in Virginia politics: will he run for governor as an independent?
“I think there is a definite opening in this campaign for a credible independent candidate,” Bolling told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George. “We will have our decision made and announced by March 14.”
Bolling had flirted with the idea of running for the GOP nomination but dropped out when it became apparent it would be difficult to beat Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
The Virginia Republican Party selects its nominee via convention.
But how can a man who was a stalwart of the Republican party turn its back on it after more than 20 years of loyalty?
It turns out it’s easier than you might think.
In fact, the lt. governor has supported various proposals of the Democratic Party this General Assembly Session. That’s because Bolling, in his capacity as lt. governor presides as president of the Virginia State Senate.
Bolling has sided with Democrats on issues such as redistricting and Medicaid expansion. He has even cast tie-breaking votes in favor of the Democratic Party when it comes to voting legislation.
“It definitely seems like he is trying to state his claim as an independent,” Dr. Ernest McGowen, Professor of Politics at University of Richmond, said.
However, McGowen added that “it will be difficult to go against the party machines.”
State Senators illustrate this point. Most said they like Bolling personally, but will vote for their party’s nominee in November.
“I will support the Republican candidate,” State Senator Tommy Norment (R) said.
“I will support the Democratic candidate,” State Senator Chap Petersen (D) said.
“I am a Republican and I intend to stay one,” State Senator John Watkins (R) said.