- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II is likely to announce next week that he will run for governor in 2013, a highly placed Republican official said Wednesday night.

Mr. Cuccinelli, who has won national attention and conservative plaudits for his lawsuit against President Obama’s health care overhaul and his battle with the Environmental Protection Agency, among others, has hinted for some time that he was considering a run. He had also floated the possibility of running in 2014 against Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.

Should Mr. Cuccinelli enter the race, it would set up a potential GOP primary with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Mr. Bolling, who has taken on a heightened role in Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration as chief jobs-creation officer, opted to run for re-election in 2009 to clear the way for Mr. McDonnell to run for governor.

The GOP governor has indicated that he would back Mr. Bolling’s 2013 gubernatorial run.

“In 2009 Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling gave the Republican Party a blueprint for victory, and it all started with Bill’s willingness to set aside his personal ambition and join with Bob McDonnell to form a united ticket,” said Randy Marcus, the lieutenant governor’s chief of staff. “That worked well in 2009 and it’s the right approach in 2013.”

Mr. Bolling, as president of the state Senate, is also poised to take on a crucial role as the potential tie breaking vote in a chamber that will in January be evenly split with 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans.

“Obviously, we don’t know what Ken Cuccinelli’s intentions are,” Mr. Marcus said. “Lieutenant Governor Bolling has made clear that he intends to run for Governor in 2013 and we hope that Ken will be a part of our ticket. We think that would be best for the Republican Party.”

Noah Wall, Mr. Cuccinelli’s political director, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Cuccinelli is set to quiz GOP presidential candidates on Saturday in New York in a national televised debate. He will be joined by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, while Mr. Bolling is scheduled to appear at the annual GOP Advance, at the Homestead resort in Hot Springs Va., an event ripe for Republicans to indicate they intend to run for statewide office.