By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
FREDERICKSBURG — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s decision to drop his bid for governor — again — effectively handed the GOP nomination to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli this week.
Equally miffed at Cuccinelli for jumping into the race and at his party’s decision to conduct a closed nominating convention instead of an open primary, Bolling refused Thursday to endorse the tea party favorite.
“Nobody loves the Republican Party more than I do. As I look at the candidates out there right now I cannot in good conscience give an endorsement,” Bolling said at a Richmond news conference.
He also said that a nominating convention makes the Republican Party look “exclusive, rather than inclusive.”
Bolling’s words drew immediate fire from one of the many GOP candidates seeking to succeed him as lieutenant governor.
“This is the same ‘burn the house down’ approach that the establishment has threatened us with in the past when they don’t get their way,” said Susan Stimpson, a Stafford County commissioner seeking the state’s No. 2 nomination.
With Bolling bowing out, the stage is set for a 2013 election battle royale between Cuccinelli and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe — two of the most highly partisan politicians in Virginia.
Read Bolling’s 900-word e-mail to his supporters here.
Game on: Lieutenant governor’s race is already crowded
Seven Republican candidates are vying to succeed Bolling, and Democrats — fresh off statewide victories by President Obama and newly elected U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine — think they have a shot at the job, too.
The Republican field is crowded partly because the GOP’s nominating convention will cut campaign costs. Now contenders are vying to “out-right” one another to appeal to party activists.
On the Democratic side, an early favorite is former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra.
The stakes are high for both parties, as the lieutenant governor holds the deciding vote in a state Senate split down the middle, with Republicans and Democrats occupying 20 seats apiece.
Public-private deals stir transparency concerns
As state transportation dollars dwindle and give way to more public-private transportation partnerships, concern is growing among policy advocates that transparency is on the chopping block.
Protected by privacy clauses privy to private companies, these partnerships — subsidized by taxpayer dollars in the millions — aren’t required to divulge nearly as much information as a purely public venture, leaving taxpayers, according to some transparency experts, largely in the dark.
What’s to be done? Find some answers here.
School staffing ‘surge’ costing Virginians nearly $1 billion more a year
From 1992 to 2009, Virginia‘s public schools boosted non-instructional positions by 100 percent — nearly five times more than the growth in student enrollment and almost 10 times the increase in teacher hiring.
The Old Dominion’s ballooning ranks of administrative and other non-teaching personnel outpaced all other states, costing Virginia taxpayers an extra $948 million each year, according to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which published the report, “The School Staffing Surge.”
Read the story and link to a state-by-state data here.
Contact Kenric Ward at email@example.com or at (571) 319-9824.
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