The Virginia Republican state convention is not for another four months, but Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli already has secured the party's nomination for governor.
Virginia GOP spokesperson Garren Shipley said in an interview that as of 5 p.m. Monday, the filing deadline for all statewide races, only Cuccinelli filed to run for governor. Shipley explained that rules establishing the convention state that the lack of an opponent means that Cuccinelli automatically wins the intraparty contest even before convention delegates ratify him.
"The attorney general is the nominee," Shipley said.
Former White House party crasher Tareq Salahi declared months ago that he would challenge Cuccinelli for the party nomination, but he dropped out of the primary on Monday and announced an independent bid for governor. Salahi said he would run as an "Independent Republican," a title also being toyed with by spurned Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who dropped out of the GOP nominating contest but is actively considering a general election campaign run as an independent.
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe could wrap up his party's nomination if no other Democrat challenges him in the primary before the statewide filing deadline of March 28. While the Republicans are selecting their statewide candidates at a closed convention in Richmond limited only to party members, Democrats are holding an open primary in which anyone can vote.