With the goal of electing mainstream, conservative Republicans to public office, VMP announced it had endorsed the following candidates for their Virginia House of Delegates races, some who are being challenged by tea party or Ron Paul candidates and are in particularly contentious contests:
- House District 15 – Delegate Todd GilbertIn addition to financial support, 60-second radio ads have been purchased and are airing for Orrock and Sherwood.
- House District 28 – Speaker Bill Howell
- House District 29 – Delegate Beverly Sherwood
- House District 33 – Delegate Joe May
- House District 54 – Delegate Bobby Orrock
- House District 85 – Mr. Scott Taylor
This is on the heels of VMP's endorsement and financial support to Delegate John Cosgrove who was successful in his May 9 firehouse primary seeking the Republican nomination for the 14th Senate District.
Bolling has stepped to the plate with his PAC, his experience, his reputation, and his willingness to endorse candidates interested in effective, common sense governing. That includes a pro-business attitude, fiscal responsibility, and a willingness to work toward searching for bi-partisan, pragmatic solutions. Reinforcing that commitment, Bolling noted:
"If we are going to win elections in Virginia, we must nominate candidates who will appeal to Republicans and Independents and attract new people to our party. I believe these candidates will help us accomplish that goal, but they need your help to win."The two-term lieutenant governor, who had been very involved and inviting with the grassroots of the party and conservative bloggers during his years in Richmond, unexpectedly found himself in his new leadership role as senior statesman after stepping away from the 2013 gubernatorial race. A series of maneuverings within RPV led to the takeover of the state central committee by the tea party and Libertarian activists who then reversed an earlier vote for a 2013 primary to a much more controlled convention, the one that recently took place in Richmond.
Because of that change, Bolling briefly flirted with the idea of running as an independent but decided against it in March, prompting the Lynchburg News and Advance to editorialize:
Bill Bolling is no tax-and-spend liberal, no R(epublican) I(n) N(ame) O(nly) as uber-conservative activists have tried to portray him. He’s a traditional Virginia conservative, a public servant who labored for his constituents as a Hanover County supervisor, then state senator and finally lieutenant governor for almost eight years.In May, Bolling reflected on his new role in Virginia Republican politics with reporter Errin Whack at the Washington Post:
But the type of public servant Bolling is just isn’t what’s in fashion with the Republicans right today. An elected official who actually believes government has a role in society but who wants it to operate efficiently, leanly and unobtrusively is not the politician the tea party loves who sees government as a beast to be starved.
“I found myself in a position of being the voice of a lot of mainstream Republicans across the state who were trying to call our party back to a more mainstream approach to politics and policy,” Bolling said in an interview. “It’s not a role I envisioned playing, but it’s a role I was thrust into because of the way things have evolved, and it’s a role I’m comfortable playing.”It all led to the Virginia Mainstream Project. As the News and Advance wrote in the conclusion of their editorial:
In announcing his decision earlier this week, Bolling lamented what he — and we — see as the “Washingtonization” of Virginia politics. Political battles, achieving the label of most ideologically pure, hyper-partisanship and just plain meanspiritedness seem to be oozing their way into the halls of the state Capitol.
That’s not Bill Bolling’s way of leading. That’s not “The Virginia Way” of governing, or at least it hasn’t been.