At some point, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli are going to bump into each other.
After all, one is Virginia’s attorney general. The other is Virginia’s lieutenant governor.
Both are Republicans, though only one has the GOP nomination for the top job in 2013, and only one is thinking of taking a run as an independent.
So what exactly does Cuccinelli think of a possible independent gubernatorial run by Bolling — his former rival for the GOP nomination for governor?
“Bill’s got 20 years of good service service as a Republican and he’s done a lot of things at the local and state level,” Cuccinelli told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in a brief interview last week.
“Politically, there’s not a great deal of difference between us on paper and how we’ve voted over the years,” he continued. “We’ve been on the same side for a lot of fights, and I hope we will be again in the future.”
Cuccinelli’s praise and conciliatory tone stands in contract to the icy relationship he and Bolling have had for more than a year.
The freeze dates back to Cuccinelli’s decision in late 2011 to seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2013 — a post Bolling thought was his after deferring his own run for the top job in 2009 to help former AG Bob McDonnell get to the Executive Mansion.
Both men have barely interacted since that time, even after Bolling announced in December that he was withdrawing from the nomination fight, effectively leaving the nomination to Cuccinelli.
As the legislative session began, Bolling said he hadn’t heard “diddly squat” from the attorney general, while doing little to dispel rumors that he could mount an independent challenge for governor against Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe, meanwhile has been making nice with Bolling, going so far as even offering him an appointment in his administration earlier this week at the National Federation of Independent Business breakfast in Richmond Tuesday.
Bolling chuckled at the offer and said he had no comment. But both men have been praising each other and Bolling and McAuliffe even sat down two weeks ago.
Cuccinelli and Bolling also attended the NFIB breakfast, but did not cross paths. Bolling spoke first and left. Cuccinelli spoke third and left — but not before McAuliffe, who spoke second, took the opportunity to meet the attorney general for the first time.