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Bolling Opts Out Of Independent Run For Virginia Governor

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Bolling says he will look for new ways to serve Virginia outside of elected office.
AP Photo/Steve Helber
Bolling says he will look for new ways to serve Virginia outside of elected office.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced Tuesday in a statement that he will not be pursuing an independent campaign for governor, citing a number of factors influencing his decision.

For months, Bolling has been publicly hinting about an independent campaign for governor. He suspended his bid for the Republican nomination in November, citing his diminished prospects in a party convention forma, but business leaders had offered to support if he ran on his own.

"It's very tough for an independent candidate to get much above the 15 or 20 percent threshold," says Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at University of Mary Washington. "I mean, when you look at all the money that Ross Perot was able to put into his presidential campaign in 1992."

Polls showed Bolling stuck at thirteen percent support. Even if he could have raised $20 million, which many Republicans say was realistic, that doesn't mean he could win.

"It might not propel his career forward if people put the money there and he can't win," says George Mason University professor Toni-Michelle Travis. "This way he comes away looking magnanimous."

His decision to drop out leaves  Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli  to square off in a head-to-head battle.

Bolling says he will take this as an opportunity to step away from elected office and "look for other ways to serve Virginia."

Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe told business leaders that he would consider adding Bolling to his economic team if he wins the election this fall.

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