Bolling Prepares to Leave Office for First Time in 2 Decades

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Bill Bolling Bill Bolling

A lot of people thought Bill Bolling was going to be Virginia's next governor and some still say he should be the one getting ready for a January inaugural. But the political sands shifted underneath the long-serving Republican and his chances of being governor.

Four years ago he was promised a chance to run for governor. Instead, next month, Lieutenant Governor Bolling will leave office for the first time in two decades. But that doesn't mean he's finished.

Of his 22 years in public office, Bolling has spent the past eight in the office of the lieutenant governor. When he hands over the keys next month, Bolling will be the first to admit things haven't gone according to plan.

“I wanted to be the next governor of Virginia. But look, I learned a long time ago not everything we want in life is meant to be,” Bolling said.

Mulling a bid for governor in 2009, Bolling struck a deal: stay on as lieutenant governor, and he would get his turn in 2013.

“I promised Bill Bolling four years ago I'd support him when he and I decided to run together as a team,” said Governor Bob McDonnell.

But late last year the Republican Party chose a convention format to nominate its candidates, ushering in Ken Cuccinelli and kicking Bolling to the curb.

“I try not to take that personally, but I thought it was a mistake on the part of the Republican Party,” Bolling said.

He thought about an independent run, but rather than break with his party, Bolling chose a new crusade.

“I've been given the task of trying to say what needs to be said. I think our party right now is in a very precarious spot,” Bolling said.

Bolling believes the Republican Party is in for a wakeup call.

“Our party is going to have to change if we want to be able to connect with the changing face of Virginia,” Bolling said.

Bolling says he'll spend time after he leaves office carrying that message through his political action committee, the Virginia Mainstream Project.

As for the immediate future, Bolling says he is absolutely not planning to run for Mark Warner's Senate seat in 2014. He says he's got other plans, and is looking forward to getting back to a normal, private lifestyle.

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