Bill Bolling announced yesterday that he will not seek the governorship in Virginia. In a mass e-mail, Bolling stated that he "does not find the political process to be as enjoyable," as he once did. He said that now feels like the right time to step away from politics and find other ways to serve Virginia. Yesterday's email serves as final confirmation that Bolling will not run. The idea of a potential campaign for Bolling was floating around just a couple of weeks ago, but as Cuccinelli and McAullife's campaigns became more serious, Bolling decided not to continue.
This is surely a disappointment for moderate Republicans, who wanted a more reasonable alternative to Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli, who announced his run back in December of 2011, is seen as being on the far right of many issues. Further, he has been at the center of several unfavorable headlines in the past four years. In 2011, he was led an investigation into UVa climate change professor Michael Mann, alleging that Mann used fraudulent data to obtain government grants for his climate change research. Investigations by both Penn State and peer academic groups concluded that Mann committed no wrongdoing. Cuccinelli however, continued with the investigation. The VA Supreme Court ended up ruling in Mann's favor, but the ordeal was still seen as an embarrassment to the state.
In another embarrassment to the state, Cuccinelli ordered all of Virginia's colleges to remove policies that ban discrimination to students and staff on the basis of sexual orientation. Cuccinelli claimed that only the General Assembly had the power to extend legal protections to gay state employees, students, etc. He wrote that colleges that had those protections had included them"without proper authority" and should "take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia." If Cuccinelli believes the public policy in Virginia is to discriminate against people, then perhaps it is he, not Bolling, who should suspend their run for governor.
Even with Cucinelli's many detractors, he has many on his side as well. The addition of Bolling however, would have made a tighter race, offered Republicans a more reasonable option, and given Cuccinelli a run for his money. Either way though, this will shape up to be an interesting campaign.