RICHMOND, VA — This past weekend Republicans in Virginia's 7th Congressional district held a disorganized and chaotic nominating convention that saw many flouting public safety recommendations and putting thousands at risk of COVID-19 infection. Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Daniel Gade - known for his hyperbolic and false statements about the pandemic - showed up without wearing a mask, an apparent violation of Virginia’s mask requirement for indoor public spaces.
In a video posted to his own Facebook page as well as photos posted by other individuals in attendance, Gade is clearly shown indoors at the event without a facial covering, while other attendees who are wearing masks pass by. Gade has been a vocal critic of masks as a public health and safety initiative. In a recent interview, Gade called government mask mandates “ridiculous” and “tyranny." Polling shows the vast majority of people think behavior like this is wrong and dangerous.
Gade wasn't the only Republican disobeying common sense safety precautions that reduce the risk of infection. Photos from the convention also showed Nick Freitas, the GOP's nominee in VA-7, speaking to supporters and standing in a crowd without a mask. "At a time when coronavirus cases are on the rise in Virginia and across the country, flouting public health directives and calling them 'tyranny' to score political points is dangerously irresponsible. Daniel Gade's disregard for the health and safety of those around him is just another example of how Virginia Republicans have chosen conspiracy theories over common sense and completely lost credibility," said DPVA Communications Director Grant Fox.