Cuccinelli announces Va. gubernatorial bid

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Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II announced Thursday that he will run for governor in 2013, putting to rest a frenzy of speculation and setting up a high-profile intraparty battle for the Republican nomination.

He said in a statement that his priority for the next two years will be to focus on his job as attorney general, and that a more formal announcement would come next year.

The news from the firebrand attorney general, who has won national attention for his lawsuit against President Obama’s health care overhaul, among other endeavors, sets up a looming GOP primary fight with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who has expressed his intention to run.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement that he will support Mr. Bolling in 2013, as he has indicated he would since early 2008, when Mr. Bolling announced he would run for re-election in 2009 rather than challenge Mr. McDonnell.

“Needless to say, I am very disappointed by Mr. Cuccinelli’s decision to run for Governor in 2013,” Mr. Bolling said in a statement. “During the 2009 campaign, and since taking office in 2010, Mr. Cuccinelli had repeatedly stated that he intended to seek re-election as Attorney General in 2013 and that is what I and other Republican leaders had expected him to do. Unfortunately, he has now decided to put his own personal ambition ahead of the best interests of the commonwealth and the Republican Party.”

The news that Mr. Cuccinelli would run was first reported Wednesday by The Washington Post.
Even before he made it official Thursday, Democrats pounced on the imminent news.

“Elections are about choices and no one makes the choice between results-oriented Democrats and tea party Republicans more clear than Ken Cuccinelli,” said Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran.

Despite the fissures the announcement appears to already be causing within segments of the GOP, Mr. Cuccinelli said in his statement that the party must project a united front heading into 2012.

“Politically, we as Republicans need to continue to work toward less government, fostering an environment that increases jobs and improves our economic condition, and strives to elect a Republican President, a United States Senator and Congressional Delegation that will not only carry Virginia, but bring back to our nation a federal government that restrains itself in terms of both spending and the exercise of power, consistent with the first principles on which this nation was founded,” he said.

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