Is Bill Bolling worried about Patrick Muldoon?
There are few political observers who believe that Patrick Muldoon‘s challenge of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for the Republican nomination is a serious one. Bolling is the incumbent, has already won a statewide election and has the support of the party’s nominee for governor and all three candidates for attorney general.
However, leading up to this weekend’s Republican party convention there are signs that Mr. Bolling is a bit more concerned about his opposition than one might think.
“I have run opposed and unopposed,” Bolling told me during a conference call last week. “It is certainly easier to run unopposed.”
Bolling said that he is taking his opponent very seriously and is running his campaign as if Muldoon had the same credentials he has and posed a greater threat than it may appear. Evidence of the serious approach the Bolling campaign is taking can be found in a series of glossy mail pieces sent to delegates to the upcoming convention. The pieces answer claims that Muldoon makes about Bolling’s record as a conservative and describe Muldoon as a perpetual campaign loser who is merely causing strife to the Republican party during a time when unification is a necessity.
One of the mailers has a picture of a man looking down and a caption that reads, ‘Patrick Muldoon should be ashamed.’
“He’s done a great job of getting my name out there,” Muldoon told me on Tuesday. “It is making people wonder, ‘What should Patrick Muldoon be afraid of?’ and then when they learn the facts, they see there is nothing I should be ashamed of.”
Muldoon points to three specific votes that Bolling has cast during his legislative career that, he claims, show he is not a strong enough conservative. The votes involved funding for the morning-after pill, the expansion of the HPV vaccine in public schools and the lieutenant governor’s support for regional tax authorities and abusive driver fees to fund transportation upgrades in Northern Virginia.
((Read more and see an extended clip of my interview with Lt. Governor Bolling after the jump…))
Muldoon told me that the mail pieces don’t ever specifically address those claims and that alone demonstrates Bolling’s lack of conservative principles. “He is not standing for the values I believe in and most republicans and conservatives in Virginia share those same set of beliefs.”
Bolling rejects the idea that, come Saturday, Muldoon will be able to scurry together enough votes to upset his candidacy at the convention. He said he is not worried at all, but is just reminding voters of his lengthy conservative record.
“We have a responsibility to set the record straight,” said Bolling. “But look, we aren’t taking anything for granted. Bob [McDonnell] and I are working very hard to make sure we turn people out at the convention.”
We will see if Muldoon is a threat come Saturday.
An extended clip from my interview with the lieutenant governor is below.