Bill Bolling

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Bill Bolling
Bill Bolling.jpg
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Former officeholder
In office
January 14, 2006 - January 11, 2014
PredecessorTim Kaine (D)
Base salary$36,321
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 3, 2009
First electedNovember 8, 2005
Campaign $$7,655,162
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Virginia State Senate
January, 1996 – November 29, 2005
Hanover County Board of Supervisors
Bachelor'sUniversity of Charleston (1979)
Date of birthJune 15, 1957
Place of birthSistesville, West Virginia
ReligionUnited Methodist
Personal website
Campaign website
William T. "Bill" Bolling (b. June 15, 1957, Sistesville, West Virginia) was the 39th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. A Republican, he was first elected to this role in 2005.[1] He was re-elected in 2009, defeating former state treasurer Jody Wagner by a margin of 56.5 percent to 43.4 percent.[2]

With the Virginia State Senate tied 20-20 in 2012, Bolling served as tie-breaker in the chamber, one of the few duties assigned to the lieutenant governor. Bolling broke 28 times in 2012, a record number. Each time he sided with Republicans.[3]

Bolling was seeking the 2013 Republican gubernatorial nomination, but suspended his campaign on November 28, 2012. Bolling left open the possibility of entering the race independently of his party, however, he announced on March 12, 2013, that he had decided against running as an independent as well. The Republican Party of Virginia's switch to a closed nominating convention in 2013 tipped the scales in favor of nominating conservative attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, Bolling's "intraparty rival,"[4] resulting in Bolling's initial withdrawal, and ultimately ending his path to the 2013 gubernatorial ballot. [5]


Bolling was born and raised in the coal fields of Southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia. He graduated from the University of Charleston (West Virginia) in 1978 with a B.S. degree in Political Science.

Before running for Virginia State Senate, Bolling served as a member and Chairman of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors.


  • Bachelor's degree in Political Science, University of Charleston (1979)

Political career

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (2006-2014)

Bolling was first elected lieutenant governor on November 8, 2005. He was re-elected in 2009.

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Bill Bolling endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [6]

Ban on offshore drilling

On December 1, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar let it be known that new drilling leases for Virginia would be a long time coming.

Gov. Bob McDonnell responded:

“Advances in technology continue to make offshore energy production more cost effective and safe. Instead of using that technology to produce more energy in a responsible manner here at home, this administration apparently prefers that we continue to depend more and more on oil from other nations and foreign cartels with far-less stringent environmental regulations and policies."

Bolling joined McDonnell in opposing the decision.

"I am very disappointed that the Obama administration has refused to move forward with the responsible development of our nation’s offshore energy resources," Bolling said.

Sen. Mark Warner also agreed with McDonnell. Warner said he was "disappointed" by the announcement.

"Senator Warner will continue to work with Governor McDonnell and other state and local officials, as well as the bipartisan Virginia delegation, to explore ways to re-examine this decision," said a statement from his office.[7]

Virginia State Senate (1996-2005)

Prior to his position as lieutenant governor, Bolling served as a member of the Virginia Senate from 1996-2005.



See also: Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013

On November 28, 2012, Bolling suspended his campaign for Governor of Virginia, citing his slim chances of beating tea party favorite Ken Cuccinelli, the current Attorney General of Virginia, for the party's nomination since the Republican Party of Virginia opted to change the format for selecting its gubernatorial, lt. gubernatorial, and attorney general nominees from primary election to closed nominating convention.[8] Although Bolling was explicit about ending his pursuit of a place on the Republican ticket, he waited until March 12 before ruling out entering the race altogether, allowing himself time to weigh the possibility of running as an independent candidate instead.[9]

Bolling released an official statement explaining his decision to not resume his campaign as an Independent on his official campaign website. “Given the current political dynamics in Virginia, the prospects of an Independent campaign were very appealing to me...However, after a great deal of consideration I have decided that I will not be an Independent candidate for Governor this year," he wrote. Bolling highlighted three main factors that dissuaded him from running: The seemingly insurmountable challenge of running a serious campaign without the funding, resources brought by a major party, the prospect of cutting ties with the GOP, and, finally, his "growing dissatisfaction with the current political environment in Virginia," which he sees as excessively partisan.[5]


Incumbent Gov. McDonnell, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in 2013, had previously pledged his support for Bolling's candidacy- in part because Bolling refrained from challenging McDonnell for governor in 2009.[10] After Bolling withdrew his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2013, McDonnell commented, "I have also told Bill how much this Commonwealth needs him to stay involved in public life in the years ahead. And I know he is not done advocating positive conservative ideas.”[9]

Race background

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) was ineligible to run for re-election in 2013 because of term limits. The term limits Virginia imposes on its governors are more strict than any other state in the country. Under the commonwealth's constitution, no governor may serve back-to-back terms. This means that McDonnell, unlike other governors in their first term, was ineligible to run for re-election.

There are no such term limits on the attorney general, and many were surprised at fomer AG Ken Cuccinelli's (R) decision to run for governor, rather than seek another term. If not for Cuccinelli, outgoing Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would have been the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to succeed McDonnell.[11] Due to the decision by the Republican Party of Virginia to change their candidate nomination method from open primary election to closed nominating convention starting in 2013, and "tea party darling" Cuccinelli's presence in the race, Bolling withdrew his bid for the GOP nod in November 2012.[12][9] About the alternative of seeking re-election to his current post, Bolling stated that “Under normal circumstances, I would be open to the possibility of running for another term as lieutenant governor, but I would not be interested in running on a statewide ticket with Mr. Cuccinelli.”[13] He later said he regretted dropping out of the race as early as he did.[14]

McDonnell had previously pledged his support for Bolling's candidacy, in part because Bolling refrained from challenging McDonnell for governor in 2009. After Bolling bowed out, McDonnell chose to endorse fellow Republican Cuccinelli for his successor, despite Cuccinelli's outspoken opposition to McDonnell's Transportation Initiative, which was considered to be the centerpiece of his gubernatorial legacy. Ironically, Cuccinelli's future general election opponent, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, had been equally outspoken on the issue, but as an advocate and defender of the outgoing governor's approach to amending the state's transportation funding policy.[15][16][17]

In response to the major party picks, the Libertarian Party held a special convention and nominated Robert Sarvis as the party's official gubernatorial candidate.[18]

Like Cuccinelli and Sarvis, McAuliffe faced no primary opponent. Days from the election, McAuliffe held a comfortable polling and fundraising lead over Cuccinelli and Sarvis. Aggregated polling data had the Democratic nominee with an average edge of seven percentage points over Cuccinelli--an advantage that could have been attributed in large part to female voters' 58-34 preference of McAuliffe, since he and Cuccinelli were almost neck-and-neck among men.[19][20] During the last campaign finance reporting period, ending October 28, McAuliffe reported raising $8.1 million to Cuccinelli's $2.9 million, and holding $1.6 million in cash on hand, which was twice the size of Cuccinelli's warchest. Sarvis was trailing both with a reported $81,595 raised and $58,584 on hand.[21][22][23] Hillary Clinton's decision to come out in support of McAuliffe on October 19 - marking her first campaign event appearance since stepping down as U.S. Secretary of State - further enhanced the Democrat's frontrunner status.[24] Former President Bill Clinton threw in his support soon thereafter, followed by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, who joined the McAuliffe campaign effort in the final week of the election season.[25]

The three contenders squared off in the general election on November 5, 2013, which McAuliffe won by a margin of 2.6% percentage points.[26]

Impact of US government shutdown on governor's race

The high profile federal government shutdown coincided with the home stretch of the expensive and high-profile 2013 Virginia governor race, which created a fresh backdrop for the battle between major party nominees Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli (R), and provided a brand new context in which to undermine each candidate's character and leadership potential.[27] Each campaign released an ad during the aftermath of the shutdown, which arrived on the heels of the candidates' second debate.[28]

With the nation paying close attention to its government in light of the perceived failure of Congress to work together in the best interests of their constituents, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli's ads each highlighted features of his opponent which most closely mirrored the type of stubbornness displayed by the House and Senate leading up to the shutdown, and to which the general public was, at that moment, so sensitively attuned. That moment, to be more specific, was one month before the general election. As the competition stood, McAuliffe had an overall average lead in the polls of 5.3 points over his Republican foe.[29]

Hoping to use the shutdown to further advance his edge by painting Cuccinelli in with the GOP ideologues in Congress, McAuliffe's ad emphasized Cuccinelli's strong ties to tea party leader U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), since Cruz was an outspoken supporter both of Cuccinelli and the far-right congressional insurgency which, in seeking to defund Obamacare, was regarded as causing the shutdown. The ad cited Cuccinelli's past effort to defund Planned Parenthood, apparently bringing the Virginia legislature "to a standstill," and also claimed Cuccinelli had been sufficiently opposed to Mark Warner's 2004 budget to call for a shutdown of the state government.[30]

Cuccinelli's ad aimed to discredit McAuliffe by referencing articles from The Washington Post and the Richmond-Times Dispatch criticizing McAuliffe's prospective budget plan, which he had allegedly threatened he would shut down the government over in order to get the plan passed. The radio spot also accused McAuliffe of being "against compromise, against working together to find solutions,” and noted how the Democrat sided with his fellow party members in Congress who had vocally dismissed opportunities to collaborate with the Republicans to avert shutdown.[31][32]

A unique opportunity was identified for the solo third party candidate in the race, Libertarian Robert Sarvis, in the shutdown atmosphere, where disillusionment with the standard of government operation ran rampant. Had Sarvis not been barred from participating in the third debate with McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, it was thought that he could have used the reflected spotlight to lure substantial number of voters who, already frustrated by Congress' showcase of two-party gridlock, would be more sympathetic than usual to a non-major party nominee.

"People are looking for other options they don't like what they have to see from those two parties and we're trying to fill that void with principled advocacy for more freedom in our economic sphere and personal lives," stated Sarvis. His passive warning about "obvious dysfunction of our [federal] government" also existing on the state and local level could have had an especially profound impact on swing voters and the average 9% of voters who were still polling as undecided at the beginning of November.[33][34]


Bolling defeated Democrat Jody M. Wagner for lieutenant governor in the November 2009 general election, earning 56.51% of the total vote.[2]

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam T. "Bill" Bolling 56.5% 1,106,793
     Democratic Jody M. Wagner 43.4% 850,111
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 1,569
Total Votes 1,958,473


On November 8, 2005, William T. Bolling won election to the office of Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He defeated Leslie L. Byrne (D) in the general election.

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 2005
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam T. Bolling 50.5% 979,265
     Democratic Leslie L. Byrne 49.3% 956,906
     Write-In Various 0.2% 4,065
Total Votes 1,940,236
Election Results Via: Virginia State Board of Elections

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Bolling is available dating back to 1999. Based on available campaign finance records, Bolling raised a total of $7,655,162 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 8, 2013.[35]

Bill Bolling's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 VA Lieutenant Governor Not up for election $84,588
2009 VA Lieutenant Governor Won $4,157,879
2005 VA Lieutenant Governor/VA State Senate* Won $2,993,598
2003 VA State Senate Won $160,104
2001 VA State Senate Not up for election $133,595
1999 VA State Senate Won $125,398
Grand Total Raised $7,655,162
*In 2005, Bolling raised $48,850 for his Senate seat, which was not up for re-election, and $2,944,748 for the Lt. Gov race, which he won.


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Bill Bolling's donors each year.[36] Click [show] for more information.


Bolling resides in Mechanicsville, Virginia. He and his wife, Jean Anne, have two children, Matt and Kevin.[37]

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. "Bill Bolling" The Lieutenant Governor's Inaugural Celebration Information
  2. 2.0 2.1 Virginia State Board of Elections, "2009 General Election Results," accessed November 29, 2012
  3. Washington Post, "More independent Bolling returns to role as tiebreaker in Virginia Senate," January 5, 2013
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bolls
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bill Bolling Lieutenant Governor, "Press release: Bolling Says No to Possible Independent Campaign for Governor," March 12, 2013
  6. Mitt Romney for President, "Mitt Romney Announces Virginia Leadership Team," December 29, 2011
  7. "No off-shore drilling in Virginia, says Obama," Virginia Statehouse News, December 6, 2010
  8. The Washington Post, "GOP Fratricide in Virginia," December 1, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Washington Post, "Bill Bolling decides not to seek GOP nomination for VA governor," November 28, 2012
  10. The Collegian, "Obama victory could cost Democrats Virginia governorship," November 15, 2012
  11. Richmond Times Dispatch, "Bolling on Cuccinelli: 'Nothing he does surprises me'," December 6, 2011
  12. The Washington Post, "GOP Fratricide in Virginia," December 1, 2012
  13. The Roanoke Times, "Could Bolling run for governor as an independent?," November 28, 2102
  14. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bolling regrets dropping out of the race so soon," April 22, 2013
  15. The Collegian, "Obama victory could cost Democrats Virginia governorship," November 15, 2012
  16. NBC 12- Decision Virginia 2013, "Transportation battle creates awkward political triangle," March 26, 2013
  17. Washington Post, "Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe: Virginia governor’s race holds the eyes of the nation," March 29, 2013
  18. Independent Political Report, "Robert Sarvis Receives Libertarian Party of Virginia Nomination for Governor in 2013," accessed April 27, 2013
  19. Washington Post, "McAuliffe opens up double digit lead over Cuccinelli in Virginia governor's race," October 28, 2013
  20. The Huffington Post, "HuffPost Pollster: 2013 Virginia Governor: Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe," accessed September 18, 2013
  21. Politico, "Terry McAuliffe outraises Ken Cuccinelli by $3M," October 15, 2013
  22. The Washington Post, "McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli in fundraising race for Virginia governor," September 17, 2013
  23. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McAuliffe maintains cash edge over Cuccineli," September 17, 2013
  24. The Hill, "Hillary Clinton to campaign in Virginia with McAuliffe (Video)," October 14, 2013
  25. Washington Post, "Obama, Biden to hit the trail for McAuliffe Va. governor bid, first lady cuts radio ad," October 29, 2013
  26. Associated Press -, "Terry McAuliffe qualifies for Virginia June Democratic primary ballot," March 27, 2013
  27. Politico, "Virginia governor race 2013: Shutdown roils contest," October 4, 2013
  28. The Washington Post, "Five things to watch in the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe debate," September 25, 2013
  29. RealClearPolitics, "Virginia Governor - Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe," accessed October 7, 2013
  30. The Washington Post, "In Virginia governor’s race, McAuliffe calls on Cuccinelli to denounce shutdown, Cruz," October 7, 2013
  31. Terry McAuliffe for Governor YouTube Channel, "Terry McAuliffe Radio Ad: Cuccinelli and the Architect," October 5, 2013
  32. CuccinelliPress YouTube channel, "Shutdown," accessed October 7, 2013
  33. Real Clear Politics, "Virginia Governor 3-Way," accessed October 7, 2013
  34., "Robert Sarvis: I'm giving voters a better option," October 5, 2013
  35. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Bill Bolling," accessed May 8, 2013
  36. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  37. Project Vote Smart, "Biography of Bill Bolling," accessed November 16, 2012
Political offices
Preceded by
Tim Kaine (D)
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
2006 - 2014
Succeeded by
Ralph Northam