by Paul Goldman
If you enjoy watching the World Series of Poker, then Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli just made an “all in” bet, pushing his considerable stack of GOP chips into the gubernatorial pot for 2013. In terms of political poker, it is either the gutsiest – or the most foolhardy – bet in the modern history of Virginia since Lt. Governor Mills Godwin bet it all backing “liberal” Lyndon Johnson for President in 1964 wouldn’t derail his front-runner position for the 1965 Democratic gubernatorial nod.
What did “Have Brief, Will Travel” do yesterday? He put his John Hancock on the papers needed to become an official candidate for the 2013 GOP gubernatorial nomination, currently slated to be decided by a primary against Lt. Governor Bill “Bowling Alone” Bolling.
He filed at the same time the polls show President Obama widening his lead over Mitt Romney in the electoral college.
As famed gambler Yogi Berra said: Some things are too co-incidental to be a coincidence.
Why is this a bet on the President winning?
Right now, it seems Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP nominee short of an unexpected political event. Both Governor “His Veepness” McDonnell and Lt. Governor Bolling are big supporters of the Mittster. There remains a small but diminishing chance of Governor McDonnell being the GOP VEEP candidate due to Romney’s likely need to cut a ticket deal with the Santorum wing of the party to ensure a unified Convention. But if the former Massachusetts Governor were to win the White House, it is almost certain he would offer McDonnell a significant cabinet post, possibly Attorney General.
Meaning: A Romney win in November surely forces Kenny C and his Sunshine band to defeat incumbent Governor “Bowling Alone” Bolling for the GOP nod in the June, 2013 primary.
It would be a titanic battle, leaving Cuccinelli – should he win – as the head of a bitterly split party, far worse than the Democratic split in 1969 which elected Tim Kaine’s father-in-law as the first Republican Governor in the history of Virginia.
Against any credible DEM nominee, Mr. Cuccinelli would be the underdog at that point.
But you say: What if, by some magic or mistake, Rick Santorum wins the GOP presidential nomination and then gets at least 270 electoral votes due to what would have to be the greatest “hanging chad” and voter machine mechanical malfunction in history, as it would need to occur at the same time in about 15 states he couldn’t possibly win otherwise?
There is no chance that Mr. Santorum is going to reward Romney-backer McDonnell with a cabinet post. So Mr. Cuccinelli has likewise calculated that even under this scenario – Santorum wins due to X-Files case of massive voter machine malfunction – Mr. Bolling will not be Governor come June of 2013.
Nor does he figure Mr. McDonnell is going to pull a Sarah Palin, and resign to host a deep sea fishing reality show off the coast of Virginia Beach.
Bottom line: Mr. Cuccinelli has decided there will be no Governor Bolling listed on the ballot for the GOP 2013 statewide primary.
“I am in all-in Twinkie” the AG just said to the LG.
If you like poker, you have to admire the play.