The Washington Times - December 1, 2012, 02:00AM

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli on Saturday dismissed calls by some for the Republican party to “rebrand” or remake itself in the wake of the 2012 elections and offered an olive branch to supporters of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who announced this week he does not plan to seek the GOP nomination for governor next year.

“Many of you have heard me talk about our first principles — principles that our Founding Fathers recognized were a gift to us from God,” Mr. Cuccinelli, who is running for governor, said at the Republican Party of Virginia Advance in Virginia Beach, according to prepared remarks. “Those principles have not gone out of style, and they don’t need to be ‘revamped.’ “


Mr. Cuccinelli turned back to some recent state history, pointing out that Republicans George Allen and James S. Gilmore III each won election to the governorship in 1993 and 1997, respectively, amid calls for rebranding the party. Since 1977, Virginia has always elected a governor belonging to the opposite party of the president occupying the White House.

“Preserving life, liberty and the opportunity for every Virginian to pursue happiness continue to be the purposes of government,” the conservative firebrand said. “These principles are timeless and universal. They apply as much today as they did on July 4th, 1776. They are alive and well in the 21st century, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to communicate and connect America’s first principles to real policies, policies that affect the lives of Virginians, in areas like taxation, transportation and economic development.”

This year’s Advance marks the second consecutive confab where Mr. Cuccinelli and Mr. Bolling were among the hottest topics of conversation. Last year, Mr. Cuccinelli announced his intention to challenge Mr. Bolling for the Republican gubernatorial nomination right before the meeting, and Mr. Bolling announced this week he is suspending his bid for the GOP nomination. He said he had hoped to run on a united ticket, with Mr. Cuccinelli running for re-election as Attorney General, and declined to endorse him.

The only announced candidate on the Democratic side is former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who launched an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2009.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to ask for the support of those Republicans who have been strong supporters of the lieutenant governor,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “I need your support and I want to take this opportunity to ask each of you for your help and support in this race. Lieutenant Governor Bolling has performed over 20 years of public service, both to Hanover County and to Virginia as a whole. And he’s not done. He’s in a critical position as he presides over the State Senate. I appreciated my time in the Senate with him, where I can hardly remember disagreeing with him on an issue, and where I can remember voting right along side him in some tense and difficult fights. I appreciate his service to Virginia and I wish him and Jean Anne nothing but the best for the future.”

“My friends, we have our work cut out for us, but with our shared beliefs, our hard work, and lots of prayer, we can win again in Virginia, and we can do it in 2013,” Mr. Cuccinelli concluded. “I look forward to working with each of you on the road ahead.”

Full prepared remarks: