Now, some Republicans are urging the Virginia GOP to oust Bolling from the party.
“Bill Bolling said he would not interject and would not get involved, and he gets caught working behind the scenes for his buddy Terry McAuliffe,” said Chris LaCivita, Cuccinelli’s chief strategist.
The controversy began last week, when the political arm of the Northern Virginia Technology Council voted to endorse Cuccinelli. McAuliffe allies erupted in protest and launched a weekend of heavy lobbying to reverse the decision. According to two people with knowledge of events, Bolling was among those who called the PAC’s leader on behalf of McAuliffe.
It was seemingly the first indication that Bolling had taken an active role to promote the Democratic nominee in the governor’s race.
Controversy over the endorsement continued to churn a day after the group, resisting high-powered arm-twisting, stuck with its plan to endorse Cuccinelli. The episode, which seemed to hurt McAuliffe and give Cuccinelli a much-needed boost, also had an effect on Bolling and his standing with the GOP.
Bolling has seemed reluctant to snip his ties to the party, even after the GOP’s central committee changed the nomination method in a way that favored Cuccinelli, leading to Bolling’s exit from the race in November. As he contemplated an independent run against Cuccinelli and McAuliffe early this year, Bolling said he would bill himself not as an independent but as an “independent Republican.” After saying that he would not endorse Cuccinelli, Bolling added in an August interview, “I’m a Republican, and because of thatI’m not comfortable endorsing the other guy’s candidacy, either.”
Now, leading Republicans say privately that they believe Bolling has essentially left the party. Some are urging the GOP to make that official by removing him from the party.
No immediate action was expected.
“I think his future as a candidate within the Republican Party as presently constituted is nil,” said Bob Holsworth, a former Virginia Commonwealth University professor and veteran Richmond politics watcher.
“I think what Bolling or others are hoping is that, if there’s a [Cuccinelli] defeat, the reaction among moderate Republicans would be so strong as to provide a new opportunity. He didn’t have a future from the time he started dissing Cuccinelli, and this is just an escalation of what’s been going on for the last couple of months.”
Amid the tug of war over the endorsement, Dendy Young, TechPAC chairman and chief executive of McLean Capital, wrote an e-mail to members that he was getting pressured by several people, including Bolling.