Politico is reporting that Lt. Governor Bill Bolling will announce later this morning that he will end his campaign for the 2013 Republican gubernatorial nomination, virtually assuring Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli the nomination and, most likely, a face off with Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the general election. The article cites two Virginia Republican sources who say the move is recognition that Bolling cannot win the nomination in a convention process, which is determined by the party's conservative grassroots activists, rather than a primary, which is open to any Virginia voter. Rather than showing up to vote as in a primary, conventions require a filing process and attending an all day event in Richmond in the spring, something in which only hardcore activists participate. Originally, the nomination was to be determined in a primary, but the GOP State Central Committee earlier this year switched to a convention after Cuccinelli supporters won a majority of seats on the party's governing body. Many observers, though, thought Cuccinelli was the favorite to win the nomination in a primary as well.
This development changes the dynamics of the convention, which expected a huge draw of delegates (10,000-plus, rather than a few hundred thousand in a primary) to the Richmond Colisseum this coming May for the battle at the top of the card. Now, most likely, fewer delegates will attend, and the several candidates for lieutennent governor, and thee two for attorney general, who would've been campaigning amongst the delegates attending for either Bolling or Cuccinelli, must be able to mobilize delegates for their specific campaigns. Some of the seven candidates for lieutennent governor likely got into the race because of the relative cost effectiveness of such a campaign and multiple ballot dynamics at play which would make the nomination a crap shoot. Now, they must get their own people to the convention, which will favor the best organized candidate over the one who can make a pitch to a defined and limited universe of voters. The coalitions among LG and AG candidates also will be fascinating to watch. (Updated at 6:00 a.m. from original 5:20 a.m. post.)