Business leaders seek savior in Virginia governor’s race
A collection of prominent Virginia business leaders, dismayed by a 2013 governor’s race they view as a contest between a Democratic fixer and a Republican ideologue, are scrambling to draft a third contender into the race to run as an independent.
Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who dropped out of the GOP nominating contest last year, has been the main subject of public speculation. Bolling has set a mid-March deadline for deciding on an independent campaign, and said Monday there’s a “50-50” chance he will enter the race.
Business leaders have also approached moderate former Rep. Tom Davis to gauge his interest in the race. The former Fairfax congressman has rebuffed their entreaties so far, at least in part because his wife is currently running for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.
But hope persists that Davis might be drawn into the race if former state legislator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis fails to win her party’s nomination at a May convention.
While power brokers in both parties have largely rallied behind their respective nominees — Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe — there remains an eclectic group of donors, based principally in Northern Virginia, who have yet to pick a side.
To them, Cuccinelli looks far too conservative and ideological; his opposition to a landmark compromise on transportation funding, backed by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, is a case in point. Two Virginia technology executives, Bobbie Kilberg and Gary Shapiro, confronted Cuccinelli at a Republican Governors Association last week about his strongly conservative message; both told POLITICO they would welcome an independent option in the 2013 race.