A day after clinching his own Republican primary contest, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling in his bid for the 2013 GOP nomination for governor against Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II.
There had been rumblings of an endorsement since last week, but on Wednesday, Mr. Cantor made it official.
"I have known and worked with Bill for almost 20 years and I know he is a strong, experienced conservative we all will be proud of as Governor," said Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, in a statement. "He is one of the most experienced candidates that has ever sought the position of governor in Virginia. And, as governor, Bill Bolling will continue the successful policies of Governor Bob McDonnell."
The endorsement comes just days before the state party's central committee is set to reconsider whether to hold a primary for the 2013 nomination contest. Both Mr. Bolling and Mr. McDonnell have strongly supported a primary, saying that the question was asked and answered when the party decided on the nomination process in the fall of 2011.
Mr. Cuccinelli, meanwhile, favors a convention because it would save the state money that would otherwise go toward a primary. Conventions tend to feature a smaller contingent of Republican activists while primaries are open to all qualified voters in Virginia because voters do not register by party in the state. A convention seemingly would stand to benefit Mr. Cuccinelli, who enjoys more support from the conservative wing of the party that would likely be more heavily represented at a convention.
Earlier this week, Mr. Bolling touted the support of more than 100 Republican leaders from across the state and said he was "honored" to have Mr. Cantor's endorsement, calling him "a leading force for the conservative movement on both the state and national levels."
"Throughout my 22 years of public service, Congressman Cantor has witnessed firsthand my dedication to conservative values, and he knows that I will remain committed to those values as governor of Virginia," Mr. Bolling said.
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