ICYMI: Virginia GOP in Chaos Over Nomination Process, Chase’s Lawsuit Picks Up Steam
The Virginia Republican Party has been in a state of complete chaos this year – they are “disorganized and broke,” and their leading candidate, State Sen. Amanda Chase, is suing the party over their decision to choose a nominee via a convention.
Party leaders have spent weeks fighting over how to choose a nominee, with the regular in-person convention process looking almost impossible now that the gathering might violate Virginia’s pandemic restrictions.
Chase, “a Donald Trump acolyte who has been the bane of the state’s GOP establishment,” has long opposed a convention because she sees a primary as her best path to victory. She fears that the members of the state central committee might rig a convention against her: “We cannot allow 72 partisans on the GOP State Central Committee to chose (sic) our statewide Republican nominees for Governor; […] True Republicans say no to socialism and rigged elections.”
Adding to the VA GOP’s trouble – another GOP candidate, Glenn Youngkin, is siding with Chase. Youngkin said he “sympathizes” with her frustration and urged the state committee to make up their minds.
And don’t forget, both Chase and Rep. Denver Riggleman have threatened to mount independent runs.
Chase warned, ”The GOP is heading towards a train wreck.”
Read more about the train wreck that is the VA GOP below.
Associated Press: Some Assembly Required? Va. GOP Sorts Out Nomination Process
Virginia Republicans hoping to break a 12-year losing streak in statewide elections face an additional self-imposed obstacle this year: They still have no idea how they’ll choose their nominees.
Plans right now call for a statewide convention May 1 to choose nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The problem, though, is that mass gatherings are still banned because of the coronavirus pandemic. And party leaders can’t agree on how to adjust.
The confusion is such that Amanda Chase, a Donald Trump acolyte who has been the bane of the state’s GOP establishment, sued the Republican Party of Virginia over its inaction.
In an interview, Chase compared the situation to “a game of Monopoly and you just want to know what the rules are.”
Chase has long advocated a primary election to choose a nominee, fearing that the establishment can rig convention rules to her disadvantage. She’s worried that the party bosses will throw up their hands and simply choose a nominee themselves, without any input from voters, either through a convention or a primary.
“The people of Virginia need to realize what’s going on here so they voice their frustration and concern.” she said.
A lawyer for the state GOP responded in court papers that Chase is suing to gain a political advantage by blocking a nomination method that doesn’t work in her favor.
Still, party chairman Richard Anderson himself raised the possibility that the party’s State Central Committee will have to step in. He laid out the dilemma in stark terms in a Jan. 25 letter to party leaders.
“(W)e are now on a trajectory that will preclude an assembled convention, an unassembled convention, and a primary. That will require that our three statewide nominees be selected by the SCC, which will take on the perception of party bosses huddled in a smoke-filled back room,” Anderson wrote.
The details of how the nomination process will work are of critical importance to the candidates, particularly in a gubernatorial race that has multiple well-funded candidates who currently appear unlikely to win a majority vote on a first ballot.
“(W)e now stand at an impasse with no apparent way forward,” Anderson wrote in his Jan. 26 letter. “From my perspective, the clock is ticking.”
Republican gubernatorial candidates, meanwhile, are eager to see the rules put in place so they can tailor their campaigns to whatever the nomination process will be.
“The State Central Committee will take care of its business, hopefully sooner rather than later, but that isn’t stopping us from doing everything it will take to win no matter the nomination,” Del. Kirk Cox said in an emailed statement.
Another candidate, former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin, expressed frustration with the party central committee in a Friday interview with Lynchburg radio station WLNI.
“I am so happy to run for governor no matter what state central decides. But this idea that we’re not going to decide is just unacceptable,” Youngkin said.
Republicans in Virginia have long been leery of picking nominees via primary. Voters in Virginia don’t register by party, so any registered voter can participate, and Republicans worry that Democrats would cast ballots for weaker candidates who would then be defeated in a general election.
Ideologically, some conservatives also have preferred conventions, on the theory that those motivated to attend will be more likely to choose a strong conservative over a moderate.