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Bolling's Candidacy Could Shake Up Governor's Race - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Bolling's Candidacy Could Shake Up Governor's Race

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We're a long way from November, but the 2013 governor's race is already kicking up controversy. As Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling mulls over running as an independent, some critics are coming out of the woodwork.

Bolling said he would have a decision about whether to resurrect his campaign by March 14. If it happens, he'd enter the campaign as a contender against Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. No one knows what Bolling will decide, but some vocal critics aren't holding back.

A new bumper sticker, peddled by a conservative blogger, reads "Bill Bolling: Terry McAuliffe's Little Bitch." It paints a clear picture: some on the right are worried about how a three-way race could impact their candidate.

"Everyone's kind of waiting to see what Bill Bolling decides," said UVA Center for Politics analyst Geoff Skelley, "because his entrance into the race officially would definitely shift the dynamics."

Republicans think it would take moderate votes away from Cuccinelli. But Skelley says it's a bit more complicated.

"Bolling might syphon off votes from both sides, which is why it's not a sure thing to say that Bolling running is going to hinder Cuccinelli," Skelley said.

That makes his presence equally troublesome for McAuliffe. Recent polling data shows Cuccinelli and McAuliffe in a statistical tie if Bolling enters the race. And the Lieutenant Governor seems confident he could pull off a moderate campaign.

"There is no question in my mind that there is a realistic opening in this case for a credible independent candidate and I think we could run a credible independent campaign," Bolling said during a visit to UVA in late February.

It all comes down to Bolling's decision next week.

"Once Bolling decides yes or no, we'll know the format of this race," Skelley said. "And once we know that, I think you'll start see the general election really kick off."

But the decision to run comes down to money. Last week, Bolling sent an email to supporters asking for advice on a potential campaign, and likely to gauge financial support.

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