Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, R, said Tuesday that he had decided against waging an independent bid for governor this fall, a decision that avoids a potentially messy split between Republicans in the key swing state.
Bolling, who had suspended his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, said that the tall financial task of raising money for a campaign and a desire to maintain a relationship with the GOP dissuaded him from running.
"For all of these reasons, I decided that I will not be an Independent candidate for Governor in 2013," Bolling said in a statement. "However, I truly appreciate the confidence and support of those who had encouraged me to do so and I hope they will understand and respect my decision."
The lieutenant governor's decision likely sets up a marquee matchup this fall between Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman with close ties to the Clinton family, and Ken Cuccinelli, the unapologetically conservative attorney general of Virginia.
Bolling, though, did not make any endorsement of Cuccinelli, who's running unopposed for the GOP nomination, in his statement.
An independent bid by Bolling would have threatened to split Republican voters and siphoned off independent voters from Cuccinelli, whose conservatism has prompted some hand-wringing among the GOP establishment due to fears that it might turn off non-Republican voters.