POLITICS
03/22/2013 12:36 pm ET Updated Mar 22, 2013

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling Praises Democrat Terry McAuliffe In Governor's Race

WASHINGTON -- Virginia's Republican lieutenant governor is not planning an endorsement in the governor's race right now, he said, but praised the Democratic candidate as running "a mainstream campaign."

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who last week decided against running as an independent for governor, told The Huffington Post that he believes Democrat Terry McAuliffe has been addressing the needs of state residents, while Republican Ken Cuccinelli focuses on ideological issues.

Bolling, a moderate, also took issue with a video that surfaced this week of Cuccinelli comparing abortion to slavery.

"I give credit to Mr. McAuliffe, he is running a mainstream campaign," Bolling said. "A second you spend comparing abortion to slavery is a wasted second."

Bolling was citing a speech that Cuccinelli, the state attorney general, gave to the Family Foundation and Williamsburg Oak Initiative in June 2012 where he said that historically in the United States "the truth demonstrates its own rightness" and solves problems. He said this happened with slavery and will happen with abortion.

Cuccinelli and Bolling have had an acrimonious relationship since the attorney general's decision to challenge Bolling for the 2013 GOP gubernatorial nomination; Bolling had thought he would be unopposed. Bolling dropped his campaign against Cuccinelli on 2012 after it became apparent that Cuccinelli would win the party nomination. The two-term lieutenant governor then explored a potential independent bid, but decided against it last week, citing fundraising issues.

Bolling has not endorsed a candidate for governor. "I have not made an endorsement, I don't plan on making an endorsement," he said. "That could change."

But he continued to heap praise on McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman. Bolling said McAuliffe has been focused on issues that Virginia residents are interested in, including economic development, transportation, state finances and education. He said Cuccinelli should start focusing on those issues more.

"By-and-large, there is a conclusion that [Cuccinelli] is too extreme for Virginia," Bolling said. "At this point, I'd say advantage McAuliffe because he is trying to run a more mainstream campaign."

Bolling, in town for the National Lieutenant Governors Association meeting, said he plans to use the remainder of his term to focus on economic issues and speak out for moderation. He used an NLGA session on sequestration Thursday to prod his fellow lieutenant governors to urge the federal government to compromise on fiscal issues.

Bolling said going forward state leaders will need to start addressing national fiscal issues, noting that state lawmakers are more likely to work together and compromise.

"This problem is not going to be solved in Washington," Bolling told HuffPost. "It will be solved outside of Washington."

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