RICHMOND — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) will reveal his plans next week to run for governor in 2013, according to well-placed Republican sources.
Cuccinelli, a tea party hero who garnered national attention for suing the federal government over the new health-care law, expects to make a formal announcement after the legislative session in the spring, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could speak freely about his plans.
For months, the former state senator from Fairfax County had said he was considering running for reelection or against Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) in 2014. But in recent weeks, speculation had turned to a run for governor, possibly setting up a primary race against Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R).
Bolling, a conservative who has campaigned on kitchen-table issues, has the endorsement of Virginia’s popular governor, Robert F. McDonnell (R). In Virginia, governors cannot seek consecutive terms.
In a brief interview Wednesday with The Washington Post, Cuccinelli declined to comment, saying he had not heard the speculation that he would announce his intentions next week. Calls to his political advisers were not returned.
Cuccinelli, easily elected as part of a GOP sweep in 2009, has taken on several controversial issues, leading his opponents to accuse him of using his office to further his political agenda. He sued the federal government over the health-care law, advised colleges that they could not adopt nondiscrimination policies protecting gay people and subpoenaed documents involving a former climate scientist at the University of Virginia.
A Post poll in May showed that 46 percent of respondents said they approved of how Cuccinelli was doing his job; 27 percent disapproved.
Bolling has been a key adviser for McDonnell, serving as the state’s chief jobs-creation officer and stressing the economy, transportation and higher education. A former state senator from Hanover County, he was expected to run for governor in 2009, but he instead ran for reelection as part of a team with McDonnell.
After this month’s elections, Bolling’s part-time job as lieutenant governor job gave his party the majority in the state Senate after the chamber became evenly split between Republican and Democratic legislators.
Bolling is in Florida for the national lieutenant governor’s association this week and could not be reached to comment. Randy Marcus, Bolling’s chief of staff, did not immediately return a call.
Several Democrats have expressed an interest in running for statewide office, but only former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe has told supporters that he will run for governor.
Bolling's camp responds, reported by NBC 12 Richmond's Ryan Nobles:
“Obviously, we don’t know what Ken Cuccinelli’s intentions are. Lieutenant Governor Bolling has made clear that he intends to run for Governor in 2013 and we hope that Ken will be a part of our ticket. We think that would be best for the Republican Party.
”In 2009 Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling gave the Republican Party a blueprint for victory and it all started with Bill’s willingness to set aside his personal ambition and join with Bob McDonnell to form a united ticket. That worked well in 2009 and its the right approach in 2013.”
Hol. E. Sh*t.
Notice the last paragraph? Desperation. Remember, this is just a rumor at this point, but the panic in that statement is amazing. As if Ken had NOTHING to do with that victory is astounding.
This is the absolute worst thing for Bolling right now. Yikes.