- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2008

RICHMOND (AP) — Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will seek re-election next year, forgoing an anticipated run for governor, Bolling said today.

Bolling said in a state Capitol news conference he decided that family finances and the necessity of building a new business precluded a costly, full-time run in 2009 for an office he said he still wants.

His decision not to run for governor and former Gov. George Allen’s decision to sit out the race leaves Attorney General Bob McDonnell uncontested for the GOP nomination.

Bolling said he will support McDonnell and said his decision would unify the GOP ticket next year after two consecutive gubernatorial losses.

“Bob McDonnell and I are stronger running together than either of us would be running individually,” Bolling said.

“The party will line up behind this ticket, a ticket that can beat anything the Democrats throw our way,” he said.

Bolling, 50, said he finalized his decision about two weeks ago but had been leaning toward staying put for several months. By 2013, he said, he will have his mortgage paid, the last of his children out of college and his business on sounder footing.

“It’s like Clint Eastwood said in that movie, ‘Dirty Harry:’ A man’s got to know his limitations,”’ Bolling said.

The governor’s election, still 20 months away, finds Democrats Brian Moran, a delegate from Alexandria, and state Sen. Creigh Deeds of Bath County jockeying for their party’s nomination.

Bolling served nearly 2½ terms in the Senate from Hanover County before winning a narrow victory for lieutenant governor over former state Sen. Leslie Byrne in 2005.

An anti-tax conservative and protege of former Gov. Jim Gilmore, Bolling found new opportunities this year to exercise the rare discretion his position affords.

Bolling was more strategically important this year in the first legislative session in 12 years with Democrats holding a one-seat majority in the 40-member Senate.

It was Bolling’s ruling that the version of the state budget drawn by the Senate Democrats needed passage by a four-fifths majority that briefly ensnared the spending blueprint for government.

Bolling invoked a provision of the state Constitution that required a 32-vote majority because the Senate version of the budget changed the way state lottery proceeds were appropriated. The Constitution directs lottery profits to localities to use in public education.

Bewildered Democrats recessed to discuss Bolling’s maneuver. When they returned, they challenged his ruling and overturned it with a simple majority vote.

Bolling this year cast a tie-breaking vote that stripped from the Senate version of the budget funding for Planned Parenthood. The money was later restored in the compromise between House and Senate budget conferees and finally passed on March 13.

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