Tomorrow, Virginians will head to the polls to elect not only the next Governor of Virginia, but also to elect two other statewide officeholders in the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General of Virginia. I’ll address the former here, and the latter in another post.
The position of Lt. Governor is important for two reasons. First and foremost, the Lt. Governor is the President of the State Senate. This means that they are responsible for breaking any tie votes. With a Virginia Senate that is divided 21-19 in favor of the Democrats and no regular Senate elections until 2011, this role could be critical to the success or failure of the new Governor’s agenda. Assuming Bob McDonnell wins tomorrow’s election for Governor and, as expected, brings a number of new Republican Delegates with him, his agenda will rise or fall on the votes of the Virginia Senate.
If Bill Bolling is re-elected as Lt. Governor, all McDonnell will have to do is find one or two reasonable Democrats to vote with the GOP Caucus in order to advance the agenda that Virginians would have indicated by their ballots that they wish to see implemented. If, however, Jody Wagner is elected Lt. Governor, this task would become much more difficult as Democrats would work to obstruct and stall any advance of McDonnell’s agenda. Thus re-electing Bill Bolling will ensure that Bob McDonnell has a working partner presiding over the Virginia Senate.
Secondly, the Lt. Governor is responsible for stepping into the top job should anything prevent the Governor from completing his term. While such things are thankfully rare in Virginia, it is still something that must be taken into account when selecting a Lt. Governor. If Virginians believe that Bob McDonnell’s policies are the best for Virginia over the next four years, then they should also vote Bill Bolling for Lt. Governor to ensure a smooth transition of power and leadership consistent with the elected Governor’s vision should it become necessary. On the other hand, elevating Jody Wagner to a heartbeat away from the Governor’s mansion is a scary thought. As a rookie politician whose only “accomplishments” are huge tax increases and even huger budget deficits, thrusting her into the top job would likely result in a vicious power struggle and a gridlocked state government.
Finally, the role of Lt. Governor can also be dramatically defined by the Governor. Bob McDonnell has pledged to make Bill Bolling Virginia’s chief job creation official. Since getting Virginia’s economy moving again is going to be the focus of the next administration no matter who wins, that is likely to be a yeoman’s task. Re-electing Bill Bolling will ensure that Governor Bob McDonnell has a partner to help him do the heavy lifting that will be necessary to get Virginia’s economy back on track.
If Virginians want a winning team working side by side to solve the big problems in the economy, education, transportation and energy, it is obvious who they should elect for Lt. Governor. Bill Bolling will be a partner in solving these problems, while Jody Wagner would just be another pothole on the road to success.