Greg over at BVBL had the first crack at it, followed by Matt Mackowiak and CNN’s Pete Hamby – but it appears as if Bolling will yet again take the path of honor and step aside so that another candidate can have an unobstructed shot at the Democratic nominee.
If this proves to be true, it will be a massive coup for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli heading into the RPV Advance… and the question becomes: will Bill Bolling run again for Lieutenant Governor?
…if Bolling runs for a 3rd term, it will instantly clear the field for the LG nod. Big news this evening.
UPDATE: Virginia Virtucon confirms. Bolling staffers are uniformly in shock about the announcement… as are key Bolling volunteers. Statement expected shortly.
UPDATE x2: Less than three weeks ago Bolling made waves by claiming repeatedly he was the only ‘electable’ candidate, this would be a dramatic change from that and avoid a brutally divisive intraparty battle in for the 2013 nomination, similar to Bolling’s stepping aside for Bob McDonnell in 2009, leading a united party to a statewide blowout by an average of nearly 17 points for all three statewide offices.
UPDATE x3: Announcement is now expected to come sometime tomorrow. No word on whether a 3rd LG run is being mulled, but it’s decidedly pessimistic. Volunteers for Bolling are still expressing shock on Facebook and Twitter.
UPDATE x4: Jonathan Martin at Politico is the first MSM outlet to make the call:
Bolling was Mitt Romney’s Virginia campaign chair and many in the state assumed the lieutenant governor would get a face-saving appointment in Washington had Romney won the presidency.
But with the move to a convention and Romney’s loss, Bolling appears out of options.
It was “a recognition of how difficult it would be to win the nomination,” said one Virginia Republican source about Bolling’s move.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) announced last week that he would not seek to run for governor again, likely leaving Terry McAuliffe with a clear path to the Democratic nomination.
That recognition is difficult to swallow. Had 2009 been a convention, there’s a great deal of confidence that Bolling would have won that contest. Now that the convention is here… Cuccinelli was widely suspected of having 4:1 odds going in.
Tough call by the Bolling team tonight, but a characteristically honorable one for Bill Bolling. What a great man.
UPDATE x5: Democrats online are naturally apoplectic about the news that Cuccinelli will have a free shot. One comment just dripping with class:
So Terry McAuliffe is all that stands between Ken Cuccinelli turning Virginia into a snake handler’s convention.
Yup. The party of tolerance… I think reality just set in that T-Mac isn’t the guy to beat Cuccinelli. Paging Tom Perriello….