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Bolling opposes Cuccinelli's proposal for higher filing fees at state conventions

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling opposes a proposal by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli -- a fellow Republican and potential rival -- to dramatically raise filing fees for statewide candidates seeking the party's nomination at political conventions.

In a letter to the Republican Party of Virginia's governing board Tuesday, Bolling said he fears the proposed changes would prevent people from getting involved, including young people, seniors, those in rural areas and people on fixed incomes.

"After the recent electoral successes we have enjoyed, we should be reaching out to Tea Party activists and other new people who have become interested in politics to encourage them to participate in the process and join the Republican Party,'' he wrote. "I believe that these amendments could serve to push people away from the process and make our party appear closed, exclusive and restrictive, which is exactly the opposite message we should deliver."

The Republican State Central Committee will decide this week whether candidates for statewide office, including U.S. Senate, will pay fees of up to $25,000 and convention delegates will begin paying a mandatory fee.

Cuccinelli called for candidates for governor to pay up to $50,000 and candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general up to $25,000 to secure a spot at the party's nominating convention. He also wanted delegates to be charged for attending the convention.

In an earlier interview, Cuccinelli said an increase in fees would help pay for the cost of the convention and ensure conventions remain an option for the party. He said the state party lost money at the 2009 gathering where he, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Bolling (R) were nominated.

But Bolling said he is worried that raising filing fees could shut out candidates who have trouble paying the hefty fees to get into the nominating process.

"While such a fee could potentially benefit me in my future political endeavors, I do not believe that any candidate should be precluded from running for statewide office simply because they cannot pay an exorbitant filing fee,'' he wrote.

Bolling plans to run for governor in 2013. Cuccinelli has said he expects to run for re-election, but some believe he may run for governor as well.

The State Central Committee, which has 79 members, will also decide at the GOP Advance this weekend whether to choose its 2012 nominee for U.S. Senate through a primary or at a convention.

Bolling said in his letter that he supports a primary for the Senate nominee.

"I am a firm believer in the need to grow our Party and to do that we must increase
participation in the Party whenever possible,'' he wrote. "In my judgment, a statewide primary gives us the best chance to involve more people in the selection of our Party's nominee, help grow the Party and increase public awareness of our activities. I encourage you to join me in support of a statewide primary in 2012."

At least three Republicans are interested in running against Democrat Sen. Jim Webb -- if he seeks reelection -- former senator George Allen; Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; and Del. Bob Marshall (Prince William).

By Anita Kumar  | November 16, 2010; 4:21 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli  
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