Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli officially launched his bid for governor Thursday.
Cuccinelli, a Republican, formally filed with the Virginia State Board of Elections to establish his campaign committee in hopes of replacing Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2014. Cuccinelli told employees in his office last year he intended to run.
“As legal counsel to every state agency of government, the Office of the Attorney General gives you tremendous insight and perspective on the inner workings of state government that no other job can provide,” Cuccinelli said in a statement. "I am running for governor to continue the work I have undertaken during my tenure as attorney general and as a state senator.”
Cuccinelli is likely to face Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for the Republican nomination in what has already become a testy race a year before elections even take place.
Bolling has accused Cuccinelli of screwing up the party’s succession plan by not waiting his turn in line and thus jeopardizing the party's chances of holding onto the office. Before the 2009 race heated up, Bolling agreed not to run for governor against McDonnell and, in exchange, McDonnell vowed to back Bolling's campaign in 2013. Virginia governors can serve only one four-year term.
Cuccinelli countered that he wasn’t a part of that pact. McDonnell has stayed true to his word to support Bolling, and has even taken swipes at Cuccinelli for not stepping down from his current post to campaign. McDonnell stepped down from his post as attorney general when he ran for governor in 2009.
By formally creating a campaign committee, Cuccinelli can begin raising money for the race. Cuccinelli has about $730,000 on hand between his attorney general fund and his Liberty Now political action committee. Bolling has nearly $1 million.