Virginia GOP to Nominate in Convention Instead of a Primary Prompting Split

December 9, 2020 Updated: December 9, 2020

Virginia Republicans decided on Saturday to select their nominees for state-level office through a convention instead of a primary, giving an excuse for State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), one of the 2 announced gubernatorial candidates to run as an independent.

“As many of you know I’ve said I will fully seek the Republican nomination for Governor in a primary only. If a political consultant controlled party convention is chosen I will run as an Independent. I made this announcement publicly back in February when I announced my run for Governor. ” Chase said in her Facebook account on Saturday morning.

Chase said she’s seen “too many grassroots candidates get cheated by the Republican establishment elite and political consultants” that control the convention, so she refuses “to be another casualty.”

Virginia Mercury reported that Chase’s current opponent Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), the former Speaker of the House of Delegates, said that he has no preference on convention or primary, and he believes it’s inappropriate for a candidate to comment on the decision of the committee.

Running as an independent, Chase would reduce the chance of success of the Republican in the race in 2021.

Cox said in a statement that Chase’s “threat to run as an independent is based solely on the fact that she knows principled, conservative Republicans will never tolerate the demagogue she has become,” according to the Mercury.

Chase said her voting record shows that she’s “solid conservative.”

While the committee’s decision excited some Republicans, it drew criticism too. Outgoing Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) blamed the party for not dealing with the split.

Chase has been critical of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s order of removing a statue of Confederate General Robert Lee in Richmond in June.