Virginia Republicans will hold a primary — not a convention — in 2013 to select their nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

The GOP’s 81-person State Central Committee voted overwhelmingly — 51-28 to- at their quarterly meeting Saturday to change from a convention to a primary for the nominations.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who plans to run for governor in 2013, has long favored primaries and supported them for the U.S. Senate race in 2012 and statewide races in 2013.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who has not said whether he is running for reelection, governor or U.S. Senate in 2014, made calls in support of a convention.

In 2009, Gov. Bob McDonnell, Bolling and Cuccinelli were elected at a convention.

So why did the State Central Committee vote two years in advance?

Officials say they wanted to give candidates a chance to decide whether they wanted to run based on the method of nomination selection.