Richmond, VA — This week, the Virginia GOP’s internal disarray and intense divisions only got worse. Two new candidates entered the chaotic Republican primary and yet another disastrous central committee meeting that boiled over into insults and yelling is beginning to make observers wonder — can Republicans pull it together?*
Republicans who favor a primary could still take up the matter again before the end-of-February deadline, and Virginia GOP Chairman Rich Anderson admitted that the party is “careening towards” calling it quits and having 72 central committee members choose their nominee behind closed doors.
While party insiders continue fighting over their nomination process, the candidates had an even worse week:
Frontrunner Amanda Chase Censured
This week, the Virginia Senate voted to censure Sen. Amanda Chase after she called the January 6th insurrectionists “patriots,” blamed the Capitol riot on COVID restrictions, and insulted the Virginia Capitol Police and clerk of the Senate.
Sen. Chase, who continues her threats to sink the GOP by threatening a third party run, was described as personifying the “political risk that looms for the entire GOP in the post-Trump era.”
Robert N. Barnette, Jr., the President of the Virginia NAACP, called for Sen. Chase’s censure and condemned the GOP gubernatorial candidate for her “pattern of divisive, race-baiting politics.” Pete Snyder, however, took her side and defended Chase’s extremism, calling the censure “garbage.”
Fox News Talking Head Pete Snyder Enters the Race
This week marked Pete Snyder’s first week in the race, and he wasted no time clarifying that he is running as a far right candidate. In his first morning as a candidate, Snyder emphasized that he “absolutely” supports Donald Trump and the “America First Agenda.” Fox News talking head Snyder also praised Trump and dismissed the former president’s responsibility in the January 6th Capitol riots.
As if that wasn’t enough, Snyder then took the opportunity to rail against a bipartisan proposal to give low and middle-income Virginians free community college. In a demonstration of his far right partisanship, Snyder called the proposal — which even Kirk Cox voted for — “absurd,” and “typical Richmond garbage.”
Out-of-Touch Glenn Youngkin Finally Announces His Campaign
After weeks of uncertainty and avoiding difficult questions, Glenn Youngkin has launched his campaign for governor without even saying the word Republican in his announcement or on his website.
While his entry to the race only brings another layer of disarray to the GOP primary, Youngkin is yet to answer where stands on anything -- from Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act to his friendly relationship with Donald Trump.
Where’s Kirk Cox?
It has been a bad week for Kirk Cox. The lifelong politician and former Speaker of the House of Delegates, who entered the race assuming he would be an easy frontrunner, now faces stiff competition in what is quickly becoming a Republican race to the right.
Kirk also bizarrely claimed that “I didn’t make my living off of government,” -- which would surely come as a surprise to the public school district that paid his salary for 30 years.
*Answer: No, they cannot.