Will Marshall Coleman Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone?


J. Marshall Coleman, H. Russell “Russ” Potts Jr., William T. “Bill” Bolling

Why I think Bill Bolling’s independent bid for governor is a mistake.

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling sent an email out this week soliciting advice regarding a “possible” run for governor.

Translation: I’m running. Get your check books.

Bolling said: Let me assure you that I have not entered into these deliberations lightly. I have been a loyal Republican for the past 25 years. No one has done more or sacrificed more for the Republican Party than I have. But quite frankly, this is a challenging time for our party and I’m concerned that our party is headed in the wrong direction.

I have a lot of respect for Bill Bolling’s service as a State Senator and for Lt. Governor for eight years. Let’s face it, he served under Tim Kaine and did so with grace.

But I have issues with his statement that the party is headed in the wrong direction. If he really believed that, he’d stick around and try to change things. But what really happened was that he got out snookered in the primary process. Whether that was right or wrong, it’s what happened.

Bolling is citing poll numbers that say 67% of voters would consider voting for a 3rd party candidate. But that’s not an endorsement of Bolling any more than it is an endorsement of Tareq Salahi. It’s an indication that people would prefer a different choice than Terry McAuliffe or Ken Cuccinelli.

There are more numbers in the poll that might indicate good news for Bolling. But let’s not forget that this is the same polling outfit that last October had George Allen winning by 3 pts. Mitt Romney by 7 in Virginia. President Romney was unavailable for comment.

No, if Bill Bolling decides to do this, and there’s every indication to believe that he has already decided, he will throw away a distinguished career of public service and become a footnote in Virginia politics alongside Marshall Coleman and Russ Potts.

Marshall Coleman was a young politician with promise. In 1977 he became the first Republican elected to be Attorney General since Reconstruction. In 1981 he lost the Governorship in a close race with Chuck Robb. Coleman would come back to run for Lt. Governor in 1985, losing the nomination to John Chichester. In 1989 he would again be the party’s standard bearer in the Governor losing to Doug Wilder.

In 1994, Coleman went “independent” at the urging of then Senator John Warner and ran for the U.S. Senate, denying the seat to Oliver North and returning it to Chuck Robb.

Senator Russ Potts ran for Governor as an independent in 2005 merely because he didn’t like Jerry Kilgore. While reality is that Potts was not a factor in the Kilgore loss, he wanted to be.

You have to be a political geek to even remember Marshall Coleman and Russ Potts.

It would be shame if, 10 years from now, we were saying the same thing about Bill Bolling.

This isn’t the way to help the party or advance conservative causes, Mr. Bolling.

It’s a way to help Terry McAuliffe move into the Executive Mansion. His third choice, by the way, after considering runs in Florida and New York.

You’ve said your big announcement is coming on March 14. I hope you’ll do the right thing and make that the day you endorse Ken Cuccinelli.

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