The position became more powerful — and more desirable — after last week’s elections, when Republicans moved into a 20-20 tie with Democrats in the state Senate and handed Bolling the effective tiebreaking vote in the chamber.
If Republicans hold the lieutenant governor’s post, Bolling’s successor will be able to break ties at least through 2015. If Democrats take the job, they will regain control of the Senate.
Corey A. Stewart (R), the Prince William Board of County Supervisors chairman who has drawn attention for his controversial actions to combat illegal immigration, said he is weighing a bid for lieutenant governor. First elected chairman in 2006, he won another term handily last week, and sources said he has already begun asking key Republicans for their endorsements in the lieutenant governor’s race.
“I am considering it,” Stewart said. “I never have made any bones about it. I haven’t made any decisions. I am taking a little bit of a breather after my reelection. These races start off crowded and winnow down. I’ve demonstrated that I can win across party lines in Northern Virginia even in bad years.”
Also openly mulling over a campaign is Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R), who lost back-to-back congressional races to Gerald E. Connolly (D) in 2008 and 2010 in a district that includes much of Fairfax and Prince William counties.
“I’m giving it thought,” Fimian said. “There are a lot of people who are encouraging me to do that, and I’m considering it.”
This year, Fimian started the Growth, Opportunity & Prosperity Fund, a political action committee that aims to elect “pro-business candidates” in Virginia. The PAC drew notice for raising $300,000 in just three months, much of it in the form of large donations from the likes of prominent Richmond businessman Richard L. Sharp.
Fimian then handed out close to $100,000 in contributions to Republican candidates for the assembly and local offices.
The founder of the home-inspection company U.S. Inspect, Fimian can tout his personal wealth and his relationships with other deep-pocketed businessmen. But he is not well-known outside of Northern Virginia, and he has failed in his only two bids for office.
In his 2010 race against Connolly, he lost by less than 1,000 votes when three other Republicans in the state managed to oust congressional incumbents. Fimian said his record should not be held against him.
“The fact is I ran in a district that is liberal, and in any other district I’d be in Congress right now,” Fimian said.