February 25, 2013
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling spoke to a packed auditorium at the University of Virginia Monday afternoon, but he remained quiet on whether he'll throw his hat in this year's governor's race.
"It's 50-50," Bolling said. "People ask me all the time, 'What are you going to do?' And I haven't made the decision."
Bolling is considering an independent run for governor after being blindsided by Republican attorney general Ken Cuccinelli's decision to run.
"Based upon the work we've done so far, there's no question in my mind but that there is a realistic opening in this case for a credible independent candidate, and I think we could run a credible independent campaign," Bolling said.
But the question is whether Bolling can turn a credible campaign into a winning campaign. It all comes down to raising money -- Bolling estimates he'll need at least $10 million -- and what is in his own best interest.
"We're just going to try to make the decision that we think is right for us and the decision that we think is right for Virginia," Bolling said.
"It's a three-way race that starts out being very unpredictable," said professor Larry Sabato, director of UVa.'s Center for Politics.
Sabato said Bolling can throw a kink into the campaigns of Cuccinelli and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.
"Bill Bolling has moved far enough to the middle so that he's going to take a lot of moderate votes that would have gone to Terry McAuliffe had he just been running against Ken Cuccinelli," Sabato said.
If Bolling does run, though, he already has his platform ready.
"I think the challenge of our time is governing in the mainstream and avoiding the extreme," Bolling said. "If I get in this race for governor, that's going to be the message. It's going to be a message of mainstream leadership in Richmond, leadership that focuses on solving problems and getting things done, leadership that tries to call our state and our people to a higher purpose."
But if Bolling bows out, leaving just Cuccinelli and McAuliffe, the race would still be unpredictable.
"I'm going to say that both these candidates are flawed enough that they're running against the only person they can beat," Sabato said. "Either mone of them could make a serious error and lose. I'm not willing to bet yet which one of them will make the most mistakes."
Bolling said he set a personal deadline for a decision of March 14.