The Washington Post

Bolling polling ‘friends’ to help make decision on independent bid for governor

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, right, talks with state Sen. Thomas Norment Jr. (R-James City) during a break in the Senate session on Feb. 22, 2013. (Steve Helber/AP)

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is considering whether to return to the Virginia governor’s race as an independent, and he’s asking for a little help from his friends to make his decision.

In a letter e-mailed Thursday, Bolling (R) tells supporters that he thinks “there is an opportunity to make history in Virginia this year.”

“We can send a message about the need to return more civility and a more mainstream approach to politics and governing,” the message reads. “I know it won’t be easy to win the governorship as an Independent candidate, but with your help I believe it can be done.”

Bolling is expected to announce March 14 whether he will run as an independent.

The letter directs readers to a survey asking, ”Would you support an independent Republican bid for governor?”

Bolling suspended his campaign to seek the Republican nomination for governor in November. The lieutenant governor was seen as the GOP heir apparent to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell until Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced his plans to run.

Bolling has cast Cuccinelli as too extreme for Virginia, and suggested that he might be the moderate alternative voters are seeking this fall. Meanwhile, Bolling asserted his independence at the General Assembly, breaking with McDonnell and his GOP colleagues at the Capitol on several issues.

Should he return to the race, Bolling would likely be in a three-way contest with Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. To compete, Bolling would have to raise money without support from his party and get 10,000 signatures to qualify for the general election ballot — both criteria he is weighing as he makes up his mind.

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