Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is turning into the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Virginia politics — having had his political aspirations struck down by Republican insiders earlier this year, he has become more powerful than anyone imagined.
Bolling's Virginia Mainstream Project released a series of proposals this fall that seem to have engendered more goodwill from civic-minded people than either of the major party candidates running for governor. One Virginia newspaper has gone so far as to call on voters to write-in Bolling's name in November in an effort to bolster support for his ideas and to send a message to the state's political machine.
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Against the mud-drenched campaign rhetoric from Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Bolling's practical reforms stand out. Or, as the Roanoke Times put it in a recent editorial, "Imagine: Ideas, Not Ick."
Bolling's proposals would require the governor and lieutenant governor to run on the same ticket; allow governors to serve two consecutive terms; establish a bipartisan commission to redraw state legislative districts; prohibit state legislators from picking judges; and modernize the state Freedom of Information Act.
"It's a sad statement on the politics of today, but you can advocate more urgently for the right thing when you don't have to worry about retribution from the extremes of your party and the moneymen who own them," the Virginian-Pilot stated in an editorial this month.
The Daily Progress in Charlottesville this week endorsed writing in Bolling for governor, calling him "a welcome antidote to scorched-earth partisanship." He almost certainly wouldn't win, but enough votes could help his ideas gain traction, the paper proclaims.
"Solid numbers from such an unexpected challenger would demonstrate voters’ rejection of negativism and selfish, narrow partisanship. Give the parties enough of a scare, and they might change their ways," the Daily Progress opined.
In an editorial Sunday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch refused to endorse McAuliffe, Cuccinelli or Libertarian Robert Sarvis, concluding, "We have had enough."