Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will not seek the Republican Party's nomination for governor of the commonwealth in 2013 after all, announcing on Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign.
In a statement announcing his intention, Bolling cited the Republican Party's decision to ditch a statewide primary in favor of a convention. The lieutenant governor says winning a convention fight against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli would create "too many obstacles" for his team to overcome, adding that a divisive convention battle would create deep divisions and lasting wounds in the party, forcing Republican activists to take sides against their friends in local communities across the state.
He concluded that he may not be the Republican nominee, but he hopes to be an independent voice.
On the Kojo Nnamdi Show today, DecideSmart analyst Robert Holsworth said that's a trial balloon.
"Clearly what he's probably doing today and tomorrow is looking around to see whether or not particularly his financial backers and people in the financial community might be willing to entertain the possibility of an independent candidacy," said Holsworth.
Kyle Kondick of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said the idea has merit.
"I do think that between Terry McAuliffe on the Democratic side and Ken Cuccinelli on the Republican, it would seem to me that maybe there would be some space in the middle for maybe an independent candidate," said Kondick. "Now whether that s Bolling or not I don't know."
Bolling would not be the first candidate to Bolt the Republican Party and run as an independent. Back in 2005, Republican state Senator Russ Potts ran as an independent. He earned a little more than two percent of the vote.