We have all read the speculation about Bob McDonnell’s odds in the Republican Veepstakes, but I have yet to see a conversation about what might happen here in VA if that were actually to happen. So – with apologies if I have missed it – let’s get it started here.
First, if McDonnell is chosen, he has to decide if he will try to hold on to the Governorship (at the risk of looking lukewarm about Republican chances in November) or if he will resign. If he resigns, Lt. Gov. Bolling steps into to complete his term. The Constitution does not appear to allow for new elections. This part seems clear.
However, the next step is far from clear to me. The Constitution makes no direct statement about succession to the Lt. Governor’s position. Historically, the 3 times since the Civil War that the Lt. Governor either died in office or resigned, there was a special election.
I will leave it to those more versed in Virginia Election Law to confirm or deny whether this would be likely to happen if Bolling were to ascend to the Mansion. But if it did…, it would appear that we might have a chance to take back the Lt. Governorship and – with it – control over ties in the Senate.
I know, I know, all speculation and conjecture. The chances of this scenario coming to pass are probably slim. But it would appear to behoove the Democrats of Virginia to be making some contingency plans – just in case.
Presumably, a date would have to be set for the special election. It would be in our interests to have it coincide with the November General, but there might be opposition and there might not be time between the Republican Convention and November. We would also have to select a candidate – who would be the prohibitive favorite to run for Governor in 2013. So we would be likely to have a hotly contested primary. And we would have another state-wide campaign to run – either as part of the 2012 coordinated or as a stand-alone, lower turnout operation. So – a lot of things to think about…
Again, I raise this here not because I think it is likely. I raise it because I wouldn’t want it to take us totally by surprise if it happened.