No Virginia, the War is Not Over

t/uploads/2012/11/billandken-300×222.gif” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”222″ /> He’s right behind me, isn’t he?

Well, that war is.

But the War of the GOP, complete with circular firing squad still rages in the Battle of 2013.

Back in 2009, when the Republican ticket of McDonnell, Bolling and Cuccinelli won in an absolute landslide, all three getting better than 56% of the vote, it was presumed that Bill Bolling would have a smooth path to the nomination for Governor in 2013 and that Ken Cuccinelli would run for a second term as Attorney General. At least that was the “deal” supposedly brokered between Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling.

But, as politicians, or humans, are prone to do, Ken Cuccinelli changed his mind and decided to make 2013 the year he runs for Governor.

Bill Bolling’s reaction was understandably shocked and dismayed, but he vowed to fight on.

Then Cuccinelli pulled a Kobayahsi Maru with the State Central Committee and got the primary changed to a convention. Advantage Cuccinelli.

Still, Bolling vowed to fight on. Until this week when he announced that he was suspending his campaign. In a statement, Bolling said:

“After a great deal of consideration I have decided to suspend my campaign for the Republican Party’s nomination for Governor of Virginia. Needless to say, this was a very difficult decision for me, and I know it will come as a surprise and disappointment to many, but I am confident it is the right decision.

“Four years ago I decided to set my personal ambition to be Governor aside and join with Bob McDonnell to create a united Republican ticket. Time has proven the wisdom of that decision. Governor McDonnell and I were elected in 2009 by historic margins, and for the past three years we have successfully worked together to get Virginia back on the right track.

“I had hoped that Attorney General Cuccinelli and I would be able to form that same kind of united Republican ticket in 2013. However, late last year Mr. Cuccinelli unexpectedly announced that he intended to challenge me for the Republican Party’s nomination for Governor.

Up until this week, I had not wanted to make the choice between Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli. I knew the time would come when I would have to.

With this statement, and with hints that he may consider an independent run, Bill Bolling made my choice for me.

I am enthusiastically supporting Ken Cuccinelli for Governor in 2013.

Attorney General Cuccinelli issued the following statement:

Statement from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli:

I am honored and proud to have served with the Lieutenant Governor over the last decade, in the State Senate, as running mates for statewide office and as leaders of Virginia State Government.

Throughout this race, I have kept to the premise that Bill and I are allies in governance, even if temporary competitors in politics. Bill Bolling is a good man — a true public servant who has worked hard throughout his career to make Virginia a better place to live and raise our families. I cannot speak highly enough of his service.

I will honor the Lt. Governor’s service by campaigning for Governor as we both pledged to govern when we were sworn in, in 2010. I will continue the challenging work of advancing first principles in Virginia’s policy arena by creating an environment for maximizing job creation, preserving life, liberty and opportunity, and working to make Virginia a beacon of hope and prosperity in these tough economic times.

The blogs and email, Facebook and Twitter have been on fire since Bolling’s announcement. People are hurt, angry, confused, excited and worried. I’m not able to go, but the Republican Advance this weekend in Virginia Beach is going to be very interesting.

Here’s what other’s have had to say about this week’s events:

Governor Bob McDonnell:

I am saddened that my great friend Bill Bolling has decided not to seek the Republican nomination for Governor next year. Bill has been a strong governing partner over the past three years and I know this decision was not easy for him. Bill is a conservative statesmen committed to bringing people together to find solutions and do what is right, an exceptional quality for an individual in public office. He would have been a very good Governor.

While not necessarily a ringing endorsement, Governor McDonnell’s statement closed with:

Now, as we prepare for the 2013 campaign, I look forward to helping elect Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as the next Governor of Virginia.

RPV Chairman Pat Mullins had strong words for the Lt. Governor.

“I am disappointed by Lt. Governor Bolling’s remarks over the past 48 hours. Lt. Governor Bolling has a stellar record of public service, and has long been a strong voice for the conservative cause. Nowhere in his statements does he mention a policy disagreement with the Attorney General.

The proper venue for challenging a fellow Republican is during a nomination contest. Lt. Governor Bolling chose to suspend his campaign. I hope he will take his own words to heart and work to bring our Party together.”

Elsewhere on the blogs:

Lovettsville Lady at Virginia Virtucon: If Bolling can’t win the republican nomination, why would he think that he could win the Govenorship as 3rd party? Bill Bolling has lost his mind, and that’s a terrible thing to see.

Shaun Kenney at Bearing Drift: ….And Take the Rest of the Establishment With You!!
Now it’s the establishment GOP’s turn to throw the temper tantrum. Bolling finds a convention difficult, so we start talking about 3rd party runs and independent candidacies. Rather than debate the merits of Cuccinelli’s brand of conservatism, we are content to throw rocks — the easy way out.

So much for the intellectual movement that conservatives once believed ourselves to be, eh?

Alton Foley at Bearing Drift: On The Reaction To The Decision Of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling
Bill has given much to the Commonwealth. He’s stood by his principles, and the Southwest Virginia values by which he was raised.

If I know Bill like I think I know Bill he will shed his bitterness soon and return to the service of Virginia that he’s always been known for.

The dust hasn’t quite settled on this announcement yet. Democrats are joyful over the prospect of running against Ken Cuccinelli, because in their world, he’s the easiest to demonize. That’s how they operate when they know they can’t run on real issues. At the same time, they’re none to excited about their own prospective nominee.

What this does for the GOP and Ken Cuccinelli is avoid a long and expensive primary fight. Yes, I know Tareq Salahi is also running, but I don’t think even he considers that a serious bid.

But, as Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign said on Facebook, the fight for November 2013 begins now.

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