Richmond, VA — The race for the Virginia Republican gubernatorial nomination has always been a desperate sprint to the right, with candidates fighting tooth and nail to out-Trump each other. As GOP insiders prepare to pick their nominees this weekend at a rigged convention, the candidates spent the week doubling down on right-wing extremism and attracting support from the most abhorrent members of their party.
Glenn Youngkin began the week by trotting out an endorsement from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Cancún). Cruz and Youngkin toured Virginia, spouting conspiracy theories about the election and reminding voters about their opposition to the wildly popular American Rescue Plan. Youngkin’s extremism and loyalty to Donald Trump attracted the attention of failed Virginia Senate candidate Corey Stewart - best known for his notable ties to white nationalist groups. Stewart offered his full-throated endorsement of Youngkin on Thursday, praising his track record of far-right views.
Pete Snyder also spent the week rolling out endorsements from right-wing figures. He made campaign stops with former Trump aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, promising to continue “backing President Trump’s policies” in Virginia. As if that wasn’t enough, Snyder also appears to have earned the support of Jon Harris, who attended the January 6 insurrection and has written that Southern slave owners were “primarily good Christian masters.” When asked about Harris’s support and his views on slavery, Snyder had nothing to say.
Amanda “Trump in heels” Chase had a banner week, as multiple polls showed her continuing to lead among Virginia Republicans, another sign that her far-right extremism represents the center of the Virginia Republican party. Chase renewed her pledge to launch an independent campaign if Pete Snyder were to win the nomination, and doubled down on her allegations that Snyder was rigging the convention against her. Chase isn’t alone in these allegations: a poll of Virginia Republicans showed a plurality agree with her that the convention will be rigged by party insiders.
Finally, Kirk Cox’s out-of-touch campaign for governor seems to have sputtered out. Cox spent the week complaining about all the negative attacks against him. While Virginia families are focused on getting vaccinated, recovering from the pandemic, and getting back to work, Cox whiffed on his closing message, deciding to zero-in on the MLB all-star game getting moved.
The rigged Republican convention is shaping up to be a days-long debacle. Even Virginia GOP chair Rich Anderson admitted he had no idea when winners would be announced, but warned it could take days until all the ballots were counted. As recent reporting from the New York Times showed, Republicans are fed up with the process, calling it “confusing” and “voter suppression.”
“Virginia Republicans have spent the past few months tripping over each other to embrace Donald Trump’s most extreme policies, and this week was no exception. With Amanda Chase leading the polls and dangerous figures like Corey Stewart weighing in, it’s clear that whoever party insiders nominate will be a right-wing extremist far out of step with Virginians’ values,” said DPVA spokesman Manuel Bonder.