President-elect Barack Obama has already started picking out key Cabinet-level positions for his Administration, including Rep. Rahm Emmanuel as his Chief of Staff and (reportedly) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr to head the EPA.
Since Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s can’t be re-elected in 2009 and was one of Obama’s early backers, it seems only right that Obama would want to keep his political career alive with a Cabinet position. What could this mean for Virginia’s gubernatorial race? (links in the original):
Since the General Assembly instituted the one-term limit in 1852, no governor has ever served less than his full term. Should Kaine become, say, Attorney General as Politico posited Monday, that would make Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling the Commonwealth’s new chief executive, thus handing over the office from a Democrat to a Republican. That means, for one year, Republicans would get to set the General Assembly’s legislative agenda and make political appointments.
Such a development would also throw a monkey-wrench into Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s plans to be the Republican nominee for governor in next year’s election. He and Bolling have already reached an agreement that should Kaine vacate Richmond, McDonnell would step aside and let Bolling run to keep the state’s top job. Bolling and McDonnell each tested the waters to decide who between the two of them would run for governor, and the state party eventually annointed McDonnell their de facto nominee over Bolling. Should Bolling run to keep the governorship, conventional wisdom has it that he would be a weaker candidate than McDonnell against either State Senators Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), Brian Moran (D-Fairfax), who have already announced their candidacies, or former Democratic National Committee chair and Clinton advisor Terry McAuliffe, who is reported to be contemplating a run.
I was in Virginia during the 2005, and I think that Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling could still pull off a win in 2009 if he ascended to the Governorship. Attorney General Bob McDonnell is a fellow alumnus of Regent University, so I am partial to him. If 2009 is like past Virginia gubernatorial elections, it will bode well for the GOP no matter who is chosen. Why? “In every governor’s race since 1973, voters have selected the candidate from the opposite party of the one that controls the White House.”
You can donate to Bob McDonnell’s campaign here.