The scuttlebutt around the Virginia blogosphere tonight is that Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling might sue the Republican Party of Virginia if the State Central Committee reverses itself and votes for a convention as the method of nomination for the 2013 statewide nominations. Bill Bolling also happens to be the chairman of the Mitt Romney campaign in Virginia. An important position in an important state in a very important election.
A little back-story first.
Both Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell were elected in 2005, Bolling as LG and McDonnell as Attorney General. For the first two years or so afterwards, McDonnell and Bolling were circling each other eyeballing and jockeying for position to run for governor in 2009. Late in 2008, Bolling announced he would forgo the race and run for reelection, endorsing McDonnell in a deal where McDonnell would endorse Bolling in 2013. Meanwhile, then-State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli raced to the nomination for AG and joined the ticket that swamped Deeds-Wagner-Shannon in 2009 in a historic sweep just one year after Barack Obama and Mark Warner carried with them Reps. Tom Periello, Glen Nye, and Gerry Connolly into Congress. Cuccinelli has always been coy about his future after 2009. He maintained in public that he planned to run for reelection as AG, but rumors persisted of a Senate race this year, or possibly in 2014 against Sen. Warner. In the meantime, all was a-go for Bolling to run for governor with McDonnell behind him. It broke several months back to Cuccinelli had chosen to run for governor in 2013, upsetting “The Deal” struck by Bolling and McDonnell (Cuccinelli was not a part of this deal, in fact the McD people recruiting ex-US Attorney John Brownlee to run for AG against Ken in 2009). McDonnel quickly endorsed Bolling.
The other part of the story is what happened with the State Central Committee and voting for the method of nomination. I don’t know if it is the same in other states, but the debate over convention vs. primary among Virginia Republicans is always very nasty. Back in 2010-11 time-frame, the State Central Committee (SCC) voted for the method of nomination for the US Senate race in 2012 AND the statewide offices in 2013 to be a primary. What made this odd was that between 2012 and 2013 would be district conventions in all 11 CDs to decide new members of the SCC. Basically, the incoming SCC was disenfranchised from making this decision by the previous one. I’ve only been active in Virginia politics for about six years now, but to my knowledge something like this has never happened before.
In the district conventions that just wrapped up last month, Ken Cuccinelli-endorsed candidates swept nearly every seat (each congressional district gets three representatives elected at the district conventions as well as a CD chairman, also elected at the district convention) up for grabs. Ken has made known that he prefers a convention because its cheaper and it will allow him to spend the first six months of 2013 digging into the party and organizing 20,000 new volunteers. He’s trying to build a district by district organization at the grassroots level. A primary would be just a glorified food fight with another Republican where they just spend money and attack each other (that is their thinking, at least) instead of organizing. Bolling has gone all-in for a primary, mostly because polling has shown that Ken would SMASH him in a convention. Bill needs a primary to get indy voters in there who might not like Ken’s reputation to have a chance. What is interesting is that in 2009 Bolling seemed to have no such philosophical issues with a convention (he was challenged in that convo and he won easily), nor in 2008 when he was chairman of that convention eagerly sought by his ally Jim Gilmore for the US Senate nomination that year.
So that brings us to today. Word is that Bill Bolling has
threatened told RPV Chairman Pat Mullins he plans to sue the Republican Party of Virginia if the SCC (which Mullins oversees) changes the nomination method from primary to convention. What makes this matter is that Bill Bolling has been, since 2008, Mitt Romney’s biggest champion in Virginia and he is currently his State Chairman. Virginia is an absolutely critical state for Romney to capture from Obame in order to win the presidency. There are not a ton of good scenarios where Romney can get to 270 electoral votes without Virginia (though there are a few). It is simply shocking that Romney’s own state campaign Chairman would sue the state party and siphon away precious dollars so they can defend themselves (well into the high $thousands$) for his own personal politics. That would hurt the candidate who’s campaign he is chairman of. How can we look at ourselves in the mirror if Obama is reelected because he wins Virginia again, and the party had to spend months and dollars defending itself in a lawsuit from the chairman of Romney’s state campaign! The selfishness and desperation is frankly stunning.
Shining sunlight on this situation is the best thing I can do, I would hope anyone who reads this that lives in Virginia (or doesn’t) will contact LG Bolling’s office in Richmond and beg him not to enable Barack Obama to win Virginia by putting his own personal political ambitions ahead of defeating the most liberal and reckless Administration in history.