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"This is not the end of my opportunities politically, in South Carolina," Bolling said in a statement

By Virginia Chamlee
April 06, 2021 07:35 PM
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Eric Bolling
Eric Bolling
| Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty

Former Fox News host Eric Bolling has ruled out a run for Congress, telling Politico in a statement this week that "it's too soon after the passing of my son to get into politics."

Bolling, 58, was widely rumored to be mulling a campaign against South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace, who drew ire from some Republicans after criticizing former President Donald Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

"While it's too soon after the passing of my son to get into politics, the overwhelming support I've received indicates this is not the end of my opportunities politically, in South Carolina," Bolling said in his statement. (He did not immediately respond to an email from PEOPLE.)

"While I am not planning to run for Congress in this cycle, it is clear to me that President Trump remains very strong in this district," Bolling continued.

His 19-year-old son, Eric Chase Bolling Jr., died in September 2017, with the Boulder County Coroner in Colorado ruling the death an accidental overdose.

Chase was Bolling's only son with wife Adrienne. Bolling confirmed the news on Twitter at the time, writing that he and his wife were "devastated."

In his first TV interview following his son's death, Bolling said he "didn't see any signs" of drug use in his son's life.

"When he was in high school, he drank and sometimes you'd smell some weed in the basement," Bolling told Law & Crime Network's Totally B.S. host Bill Stanton. "We had a thousand talks about the dangers of hard drugs. A thousand talks. And he'd always say, 'Dad, I got this. Dad, I got this.' "

Bolling said then that his son's behavior "changed pretty dramatically" in the last two weeks of his life: "He was in Colorado, he stayed for the summer, he was supposed to be going to summer school. He dropped out, didn't tell me. And it was over the span of two weeks, he hooked up with some, you know — the wrong people, who were pushing the wrong stuff on him and it changed his life very quickly."

The former conservative TV host said that he didn't know how often his son had abused the drugs that ultimately killed him. "I don't know if it was the first time, I don't know if it was the 10th time. I have no way of knowing. He's gone. His friends don't obviously want to talk because they just don't want to be involved in any of this," he said.

Bolling has since pledged to fight the opioid crisis. (A toxicology report showed his son had fentanyl and cyclopropyl fentanyl in his system as well as cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax.)

The same day that his son's body was discovered, Fox News parted ways with Bolling after a HuffPost report that he allegedly sent unsolicited inappropriate text messages to female colleagues. Bolling sued the journalist who broke that story for $50 million, alleging defamation, which the reporter, Yashar Ali, has denied.

Bolling — who previously hosted Fox News SpecialistsCashin' In and The Five — was among the names in contention to enter a race against fellow Republican Mace, who worked for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and highlighted that work in her own campaign for Congress before speaking out against the president after the Capitol attack by a mob of his supporters.

Since leaving Fox News, Bolling has worked for the conservative-leaning Sinclair family of television stations, which he departed earlier this year, and hosted a podcast with retired NFL player Brett Favre called Bolling With Favre.

"I can't condone the rhetoric from yesterday, where people died and all the violence," Mace told The State newspaper. "These were not protests. This was anarchy."