RICHMOND — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is backing several Republicans facing a primary next week who voted for the landmark transportation legislation during this year’s General Assembly session through his newly formed political action committee.
In a letter to supporters on Thursday, Bolling (R) announced that he is endorsing and providing financial support to five delegates in the June 11 primary through the Virginia Mainstream Project: Speaker William J. Howell of Stafford, C. Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah, Beverly J. Sherwood of Frederick, Joe T. May of Loudoun and Robert D. Orrock of Caroline. Additionally the PAC will fund 60-second radio ads for Orrock and Sherwood in their local markets.
Gilbert is the only one in the group who voted against the transportation bill. The speaker was the bill’s sponsor.
“VMP supports candidates who understand what it takes to govern Virginia effectively — candidates who will keep their focus on responsible public policies to control spending, create a pro-business environment in Virginia and find bi-partisan solutions to the most important issues facing our state,” Bolling said in the letter. “I am pleased to give my support and the support of VMP to these candidates. I know they will stand strong for conservative values and work to get things done in Richmond.”
The ads began airing Wednesday. It was not immediately clear Thursday when candidates received funding or how much each candidate has received from Bolling’s PAC.
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) met resistance from many Republicans when he announced an overhaul of the state’s transportation funding system as a legislative priority in his final year in office. The plan passed with bipartisan support, but over the objection of GOP lawmakers who said the law as a tax hike.
Bolling launched the PAC last month to help “mainstream Republicans” get and stay elected in Virginia.
The lieutenant governor dropped out of this year’s gubernatorial contest after Virginia Republicans scrapped plans for a primary in favor of a convention. Bolling said he could not beat Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) in a convention, a forum dominated by the most committed party activists.
After quitting the race for the GOP nod, Bolling pondered a run as an independent but opted against it. He has been critical of the party’s decision to the switch from primary to convention.
Cuccinelli faces Democrat Terry McAuliffe in November’s general election.