The only important election that will likely be truly contested this year is the Virgina gubernatorial race and it is shaping up to be a close one. A new Quinnipiac poll found Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe tied with each other, currently getting 38 percent of the vote in a two person race. This is basically unchanged since last month when Quinnipiac previously polled.
Quinnipiac also asked what would happen if Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling decided to run as an Independent. Bolling is a Republican but has been completely screwed over by Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli’s allies in the Republican Party changed the nomination process in Virginia from a statewide primary to a convention, effectively denying Bolling any chance of even trying to win the nod. This underhanded tactic did not sit well with Bolling.
If Bolling did enter the race as an Independent, he would start off with 13 percent of the vote. In this scenario Cuccinelli’s support would drop to 31 percent but McAuliffe’s support would drop only to 34 percent. Not surprisingly, having two Republicans in the race would end up benefiting the only Democrat.
This is of course why in most states parties use a primary election to pick nominees. It discourages multiple candidates from the same party from taking their fight to the general election where they can split the vote. It would be poetic justice if Cuccinelli’s own scheming cost him the race.