After withdrawing from the 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial races rather than face his opponent for the nomination in a convention, former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling declared that the Republican Party had become too conservative.
It’s just a challenging time for the Republican Party when a conservative, mainstream guy like me doesn’t really feel comfortable with his party,” Bolling said. “The party has moved too far, and it’s become too extreme and too ideological.”
The man who was known as the “Hanover Hun” for his conservative voting record in the Virginia Senate (a record nearly identical to that of his 2013 rival, Ken Cuccinelli), then said he didn’t really mean all those conservative things he’d previously stood for.
[His departure from the race] left him in a unique position, rare among politicians, to say what he really thinks.
“Frankly, it has been a rather liberating experience,” Bolling said. “I have enjoyed the last three months . . . more than I did the prior several years.”
It’s worth pointing out that this is exactly how conventions are useful as nomination tools, empowering high-information voters to weed out the disingenuous candidates who only say what they think you want to hear. Bolling went on to flirt with the prospect of running as an independent against Cuccinelli, and generally to undermine the Cuccinelli campaign in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
From the ashes of Bolling’s political career rose his Virginia Mainstream Project, a PAC allegedly focused on “electing mainstream, conservative Republicans.”
Earlier this year Bolling wrote that he’s still the same conservative he’s always been, and that it’s the GOP who has left him, not the other way around, criticizing the party for becoming too focused on “rigid ideological purity” at the expense of winning elections:
Unfortunately, there are many in the Republican Party today who would rather lose elections and maintain a sense of rigid ideological purity than win elections and actually have a chance to accomplish something meaningful. I have no time for that.
This sense that Bolling cares deeply about Republicans winning elections makes his most recent political activity appear rather curious. You see, his PAC just donated $2500 to the campaign of Levar Stoney.
So who is Levar Stoney? He is a protege of Governor Terry McAuliffe, and a politico who first came to notoriety for lying to investigators about an incident in Wisconsin in 2004 in which Democrat operatives slashed the tires of vans hired by the Republican Party to drive voters to the polls. During the trial, he told jurors that he one day wanted to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
Later, Stoney worked for various Virginia Democrats, and then took a job at Terry McAuliffe’s crony capitalist boondoggle, Greentech. From there he became deputy campaign manager for McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign, from which he transitioned to become Secretary of the Commonwealth in McAuliffe’s administration. He’s now running for Mayor of Richmond.
Richmond’s mayoral election is this November, at the same time McAuliffe’s number one priority, Hillary Clinton, is on the ballot statewide. Democrats are expected to formally endorse Stoney, who has been raising boatloads of cash from McAuliffe’s fundraising network (hence all of the donations from outside Richmond, and indeed outside Virginia).
Why is Stoney so important to the Democrats? Well, as an African-American who is closely affiliated with the Clinton network, Democrats are counting on a well-funded Stoney being able to generate a historic African-American turnout in Richmond to assist Hillary’s efforts statewide, offsetting her huge negatives among the demographic groups dominant elsewhere in the state.
Lt. Gov. Bolling said earlier this year that he’s proud to wear the label of “Establishment Republican.” He wrote that he was still working on a definition of what an “Establishment Republican” was, but suggested that they were more interested in “results-oriented conservatism.”
If driving up turnout for Hillary Clinton and installing a McAuliffe lackey as Mayor of Richmond are the kind of results he’s looking for, count me out. I’ll stick to being one of those so-called “extreme voices” Bolling excoriates for having the temerity to actually believe in the conservative principles we work to promote.