“I have decided that I will not be an Independent candidate for Governor this year. There were many factors that influenced my decision to forgo such a campaign,” Bolling wrote. “There is no higher honor than the privilege of serving one’s fellow citizens in the halls of government. That privilege has been mine for the past 22 years. I am very grateful for the confidence the people of Virginia have placed in me.
Bolling mentioned several factors that helped him decide not to run. Those factors included the difficulty in fundraising as an independent candidate, his unease with severing ties with the Republican Party and his growing “dissatisfaction with the current political environment in Virginia.”
“Politics is much different today than it was when I was first elected,” he wrote. “In many ways I fear that the ‘Virginia way’ of doing things is rapidly being replaced by the ‘Washington way’ of doing things and that’s not good for Virginia.”
There are strained relations, to put it politely, between Bolling and Cuccinelli, a more conservative favorite of tea party activists. Bolling’s bid last year for the Republican gubernatorial nomination was backed by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. But Bolling faced long odds against Cuccinelli, since the party’s nomination will be decided at a state party convention, often dominated by more conservative activists, which favored Cuccinelli, rather than a primary, which could have favored Bolling.
Bolling did seem to take a veiled swipe at Cuccinelli by adding that “our priority should be on electing a Governor who has the ability to effectively and responsibly govern our state.”
The most recent poll in the Virginia contest, conducted last month by Quinnipiac University, indicated that Bolling had the support of 13% of voters, with McAuliffe at 34% and Cuccinelli at 31%. Without Bolling in the contest, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli were deadlocked at 38%.
The Virginia gubernatorial election will be firmly in the national political spotlight this year, as Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states to hold such contests in the year after a presidential election.
(CNN Political Editor contributed to this report Paul Steinhauser)