This afternoon following his announcement that he would seek reelection in 2009 rather than run for Gov., Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling held a conference call with Virginia bloggers. I was fortunate enough to participate along with about a half-dozen others. Following are the highlights from that call:
LG Bolling only came to the decision to run for reelection over the past several weeks. As he looked at a gubernatorial race, he saw that it is truly an all-consuming thing, noting that while he only raised $3.5 million in 2005 for his successful run for LG, Jerry Kilgore raised $25 million for his unsuccessful race for governor that same year. Bolling would have liked to have been able to run for Gov. in ’09, but as he stated repeatedly, he just cannot do so at this point in his personal and professional life between obligations to his family and to his business associates. It just was “not in the cards, at least not in 2009.”
The LG cited that he is not independently wealthy nor does he have a full-time political job (with the corresponding full-time pay) that would allow him to travel statewide building up his profile. That said, he stated that he genuinely enjoys serving as LG, but that is not who he is, just what he does. If it were all to stop at LG and he never becomes Gov., that is okay with him.
Bolling said that it was best to make the decision now, thereby ending the speculation about 2009. While the personal and professional obligations were the deciding factor, placing the focus upon the necessity for the GOP to be successful in Virginia in 2008 is a positive side benefit. By getting this out there now before people start picking sides in earnest, the cause of party unity is aided.
To that point, Bolling reinforced that he and AG Bob McDonnell will be running as a ticket (with McDonnell running for Gov.) and they will both be stronger for it. The plan is for them to run and serve together as a team. It came through that these two men genuinely like one another and did not relish the prospect of competing against one another for the Gov. nod.
As for the future, Bolling acknowledges there are “no guarantees,” but also pointed out that his personal circumstances come 2013 could be different to the point where a run for Gov. would be possible.
On the subject of the third member of the statewide ticket, the candidate for Attorney General, the question was raised as to whether that candidate needed to be from Northern Virginia. Bolling said that he doesn’t buy the need for geographical diversity and believes that a candidate’s qualifications, experience and understanding of voters concerns are more important than where you’re from.
I raised the topic of how his name has been floated over the past 6 months or so for a number of federal offices from the 1st Cong. Dist. following JoAnn Davis’s death to the open U.S. Senate seat that John Warner is vacating this year. I brought up how this move today already has people talking him up as a U.S. Senate candidate in 2012 against Sen. Thinskin Gump (D-WashPo) and asked if this would be something that he’d consider. Bolling stated that you never rule anything out and that he would be honored to serve in the Senate or House or as Gov. Right now, the service that he has been called to is as our LG, but he is open to serving in other ways if that is where he is led. For now, he is concentrating on ’08 and McCain / Gilmore / our candidates for U.S. House as well as ’09 for McDonnell / Bolling.
Finally, as for the potential candidates on the GOP side for LG who had started lining up, Bolling said that PWC Chairman Corey Stewart, former State Sen. Jay O’Brien and State Sen. Emmit Hanger had all approached him during the recent General Assembly session to express their interest in running if he ran for Gov. At that time, he says that each told him they would not run for LG if he decided to seek reelection. He let them know that he had not yet decided what his plans were, but he has now spoken with each of them to inform them of those plans now that they are set. While he does not anticipate any of them challenging him for the nomination, he made it clear that he was not speaking for them. (To that end, Virtucon is expecting a statement from the Corey Stewart camp sometime soon.)
That pretty much wraps it all up. I want to thank Lt. Gov. Bolling for taking the time to speak with us as well as his Chief of Staff Randy Marcus for setting up the call.
Now let’s go win in ’08 and ’09!!!