One day after Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling withdrew from the race for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2013, current Gov. Bob McDonnell has endorsed state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Bolling, however, has refused to issue such an endorsement.
Cuccinelli made his nomination highly likely in June when he convinced GOP leaders to use a convention to select nominees for statewide office, rather than a primary. Conventions tend to attract very conservative party activists, and Cuccinelli has won their favor on a variety of issues, including climate change and abortion.
Bolling, a lifelong Republican, told reporters in Richmond he laments the party's drift to the right.
"Politics today is a lot more challenging than when I got involved," said the Lt. Governor. "Things today, it's a lot more ideologically-driven today. It's a lot more hyper-partisan, today. Frankly, in many respects, it's a lot more mean-spirited, today."
Bolling specifically declined to endorse Cuccinelli as the Republican candidate for governor, telling reporters: "You know, as I look at the candidates that are out there right now, I cannot in good conscience give my endorsement to one of those candidates."
Bolling says he will remain an "independent voice" in Virginia politics.
Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke strongly supports the GOP move to use a convention to select party candidates.
"Bill Bolling wants to sound all pious," Radtke told reporters. "But this is about whether or not big business is going to control the party. And corporate cronyism is going to control the party. And consultants. Or whether people are going to control the party."
Lt. Gov. Bolling said, at this time, he is not contemplating an independent campaign for governor. Virginia Commonwealth University political science professor Jen Thompson finds that phraseology interesting.
"[Bolling] has pretty good name recognition and he might [run as an independent]," said Thompson. "I'm not saying it's likely, but I'm saying it remains a possibility. And I think a real possibility, quite frankly."
On the Democratic side, Terry McAuliffe is the only publicly declared candidate for governor. There are rumblings, however, that former Congressman Tom Perriello is thinking about jumping into the race. Perriello was swept out of office after one term in the Republican tide of 2010.
Democrats will use a primary to select their gubernatorial candidate in Virginia.