By John Fredericks
Circle March 14 on your calendar. It’s the day Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling will likely announce an independent bid for Virginia Governor.
Unlike Don Quixote, Bolling’s run will not be a mere wailing at windmills. He can win…and both his presumed opponents, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe (D), know it.
Appearing on our radio program on February 18, Bolling said he has three criteria that will drive his decision: can he win, does he have the fire in his belly to do what it takes to launch a one man movement, and can he raise the $10-$15 million necessary to be competitive?
The Lt. governor has already successfully answered the first two queries. Cash is the only thing that now stands between Bolling and an independent campaign for Virginia’s 72nd governor.
Can Bolling, without the Republican machine behind him, raise that kind of money?
The short answer: yes.
His donor base includes a whose-who of Virginia business owners. Plus, there is the Romney factor: Bolling was the first statewide elected official to endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s maiden presidential campaign in 2008. Both Bolling and his wife, Jean Ann, have a very deep and longstanding relationship with Mitt and Ann Romney. If Bolling runs, its payback time in Boston. The Romney fundraising machine is still intact and can be activated with a series of phone calls on their freind’s behalf.
Ideologically, Bolling will pin his hopes on a candidacy that stresses common sense fiscal conservatism, jobs creation and competence. With a litany of dire economic issues like sequestration and transportation facing down Virginia voters and threatening financial Armageddon, Bolling can position himself as the proverbial adult in the room. He can bridge the gap between the soccer mom caught in traffic and the blue collar ship worker concerned more about his livelihood and his future than whether or not awnings are required on the state’s legal abortion clinics.
The former Hanover County Supervisor will undoubtedly attempt to paint McAuliffe as a far left Obama liberal carpetbagger who gave jobs to Mississippi and is a perennial candidate in search of an office. And he’ll try to cast Cuccinelli as an ideologically driven right-wing extremist who can’t effectively govern a purple state.
We saw a glimpse of what’s to come in our Monday interview when Bolling said neither McAuliffe or Cuccinelli could solve the Commonwealth’s three decade old transportation crisis.
Bolling knows he needs 35 percent to win. He also knows he can get to 20 percent in public opinion polls just by announcing his candidacy. Can he get that other — much tougher — 15 percent?
If he can raise the necessary money, Bill Bolling can make national news next November.
If he can’t, the wisp of spinning windmills will wither the narrative of his political legacy.
For the full interview with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling: http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnFredericksShow