The Board of Health wasn’t the only organization taking a vote vote today. The Republican Party of Virginia Central Committee also took a vote — on whether the old committee’s decision last year to nominate its 2013 statewide candidates by primary should be switched to a convention. It voted for the change.
A convention is assumed to be a massive advantage for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli over Lt. Governor Bill Bolling in their intra-party race for the GOP nomination for governor. The two had waged a campaign within a campaign during this spring’s local party contests for representatives to the central committee, the party’s governing board. Cuccinelli allies swept through the 11 Congressional district conventions to claim enough seats on the committee to form a new majority. Since then, the Bolling campaign launched a public relations, petition and online ad campaign, but to no avail. He even claimed in an e-mail that a change could be “illegal” implying a lawsuit. That will not happen. As of this moment, he is the only one of the two who has released a statement (that I have received). So, here is his reaction:
BOLLING ISSUES STATEMENT ON STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE’S DECISION REGARDING 2013 METHOD OF NOMINATION
Lieutenant Governor expresses disappointment in Committee’s decision to abandon primary and choose nominees for statewide office via a party convention, and pledges to aggressively restructure his campaign to successfully compete in the convention process.
Earlier today, 47 members of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia voted to rescind the Committee’s previous decision to nominate our party’s candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General in 2013 in a statewide primary and instead decided to nominate these candidates in a party convention. In response to this decision, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling issued the following statement:
I am disappointed in the State Central Committee’s decision, which will effectively disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Virginia Republicans, and all active duty military personnel, from participating in the nomination of our candidates. If we want to grow our party we have to involve more people in the nomination of our candidates, not fewer; and I believe that we do that through primaries, not party conventions. This decision creates the impression that our party is an exclusive party, as opposed to an inclusive party, and that is not the message we should be sending to the people of Virginia.
In addition, I am disappointed that the State Central Committee chose to change the rules in the middle of the 2013 election campaign. In October of 2011 the State Central Committee voted to nominate our candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General in a statewide primary. Since that time, numerous candidates, including myself, have hired staff, made strategic and tactical campaign decisions, and expended hundreds of thousands of dollars to put together primary campaigns in reliance on the State Central Committee’s decision. These decisions cannot be undone and these dollars cannot be unspent. To change the rules now, in the middle of the campaign, is unprecedented and unfair.
Based on discussions with our attorneys, it is my belief that the Committee’s decision to change the mode of nomination in the middle of the campaign may also create significant legal questions. However, I have decided that it would not be in the best interests of the Republican Party to pursue a judicial remedy. Right now, our party needs its focus firmly fixed on electing Mitt Romney, George Allen and our Republican congressional candidates in November. I will not take any action that might further divide our party or distract our attention from the 2012 campaigns.
In the days to come I will aggressively move to restructure my campaign and prepare to compete in the convention process. I have run and won in conventions before and I will do so again in 2013. My candidacy enjoys the support of hundreds of Republican Party leaders and activists form all across Virginia, and thousands of grassroots Republicans who share my vision of mainstream, results oriented conservative leadership for families and businesses in our state. With their help I am confident that we can defy the political pundits and win in a party convention, just like we would have won in a statewide primary.