In a close vote on a state governing board, all eyes look to the Governor's mansion. If Sullivan is not reappointed, then it should be obvious to everyone what really happened here and who is responsible. Politicians change after they get elected. Their inner circle quickly descends to a small group of political hacks and the super rich. These folks usually have a very different agenda than the voters who elected the politicians and often are diametrically opposed to the views of the political party that the politician represents.
Members of governing boards, both governmental and corporate, usually have only one agenda -- to stay on the boards. Thus, they look to those who control reappointment in times of crisis. Not all, but most. Check the political contributions that board members make in the months leading up to a reappointment decision and you will find a clear pattern. This is human nature, not some evil conspiracy. That human nature is playing out now at the University of Virginia. Whether or not Sullivan is returned to the UVA presidency will come down to the votes of two or three key McDonnell allies. How they vote will tell all.