Ending months (or in some cases over a year) of speculation, George Allen yesterday announced that he will not seek the Governor’s office in 2009. I can’t say that I am surprised. I reported on Roanoke Red Zone last month that George did not have the presence at the Republican Advance of someone running for Statewide office. Knowing where George stands is a good thing for a our party and opens the field for other would be candidates.
It’s no secret that Bob McDonnell is running for Governor, no matter who else is running. Bill Bolling seemed disinclined to run against his political mentor. With Allen out, I would assume Bolling is in. But don’t expect any announcements from the Lt Governor. He’s made it clear that 2008 is about 2008 elections. Not those in 2009.
With Bolling now likely to run for Governor, the field opens up for down ticket races. Up to this point, surprisingly few have expressed interest. Delegate Chris Saxman and former Senator Jay O’Brien are both testing bids for Lt Governor. Senators Mark Obenshain and Ken Cuccinelli, along with Delegate Rob Bell are rumored to be interested in Attorney General.
But just wait--there will soon be “news” everyday of the next person showing interest in running. I expect nearly every Republican member of the House of Delegates will flirt with the idea.
One action by the State Central Committee could be a splash of cold water on the entire process. The Committee could adopt a rule that would allow a losing candidate for Governor to “drop back” and seek the nomination of the office they currently held. I would call on the State Central Committee to immediately state that they will not adopt such a rule. Having this option will only decrease the number and quality of those candidates seeking down ticket offices. Think about it. Why would you seriously consider a run for Attorney General if you knew there was an even chance that the sitting AG would lose his bid for Governor, declare his candidacy for another term as Attorney General at the Convention and win handedly?