A few days ago, Virginia activist and state legislative candidate Matt Rogers gave us a brief rundown on his state's GOP gubernatorial frontrunner-- "Trump in heels," Amanda Chase, a deranged state Senator. Chase is emblematic for the demise of a Republican Party that dominated the Commonwealth's politics since Eisenhower's two runs. With the exception of Goldwater, Virginia voters backed every Republican presidential candidate after Truman and until Obama, who beat both McCain and Romney. Even as fatally flawed a candidate as Hillary Clinton managed to eke out a win-- 49.75% to 44.43% against Trump. And Biden's win was decisive-- 2,413,568 (54.11%) to 1,962,430 (44.0%).
Virginia's last Republican governor was Bob McDonnell, a role model of political corruption, who managed to win in 2009 because the Democratic Party ran the most right-wing Democrat in the state, Creigh Deeds. Virginia Democrats like doing that and subscribe to the notion that Republican-lite candidates are what Virginia voters want. Deeds was pulverized-- 1,163,523 (58.6%) to 818,909 (41.3%). 4 years later another wretched GOP-light candidate, Terry McAuliffe, won... but only because a Libertarian split the conservative vote by winning over 6.5% of the electorate. McCauliffe's win of far right extremist Ken Cuccinelli was just 47.8%. The current governor, Ralph Northam-- also a Republican calling himself a Democrat-- had a healthy win over Ed Gillespie in 2017, in large part because the progressive-trending DC suburbs decided to pick the lesser of two evils.
This cycle McAuliffe is running for the nomination again-- as are 4 other Democrats, full-on progressive Delegate Lee Carter (endorsed by Blue America), current Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, conservative state Senator Jennifer McClellan, and Jennifer Carroll Foy, the establishment liberal in the race.
Although far right crackpot Amanda Chase is the front-runner, there are at least half a dozen other Republicans hoping to get picked by the state party convention (on May Day), the primary system being seen as too democratic for a party that has turned decidedly in the direction of authoritarianism and away from democracy. The mainstream conservatives hope to keep Chase from winning the nomination with former Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox, who has been endorsed by many ghosts of the GOP glory days-- Bob McDonnell, George "Macaca" Allen, Tom Davis... For her part, Chase says if she's denied the nomination she will consider running as an independent. She refuses to accept that incitement of mob violence is unacceptable behavior, particularly her own. Conservative former congressman Denver Riggleman-- defeated in a GOP primary last year for adhering the conservatism instead of fascism-- says he's also considering running as an independent.
It would be hard to imagine a Democrat losing in Virginia this year. Chase, refuses to accept Biden as the elected president, claims he stole the election from Trump and urged Trump to declare martial law and seize the government in December. She is a QAnon-oriented walking shitshow who had her Facebook account suspended and was censured for a "pattern of unacceptable conduct" last week by the state Senate in a bipartisan vote by her colleagues. She's now suing them for censuring her.
State Sen. John Bell (D-Loudoun), with the support of several other Senate Democrats, filed a resolution on Jan. 13 to censure Chase claiming she instigated “insurrection against the United States” during a speech she gave at the “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The caucus asserted that the Republican gubernatorial contender helped empower “a failed coup d’état” at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and called on her to resign from office before any resolution was submitted. After deciding not to leave office, the chamber voted 37-1 to strip Chase of her last committee assignment.
Ally Dalsimer is a progressive candidate running for Congress in a Fairfax County and Prince William County district held by New Dem corporatist Gerry Connolly. Pretty much reiterating what every Democrat and independent voter in Virginia is saying, she told us this morning that Chase "has voted against bills that would promote racial equity in housing while supporting white supremacist positions, is firmly anti-LGBTQIA, and actually participated in the January 6th storming of the Capitol. It's a clear track record that shows she is out of touch with the values most Virginians hold dear. Of the dozen candidates vying for the Governor's mansion, Ms. Chase is one of the least qualified for that position."
This gubernatorial race will be the first statewide test of Trumpism since Trump was defeated in November. He lost Virginia by 10 points and even Chesterfield, where Chase is from, flipped from red to blue-- as did Chesapeake, Lynchburg, James City, Stafford and Virginia Beach, all of which voted for Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. (There were no counties or independent cities that voted for Hillary in 2016 and flipped to Trump in 2020.) The state GOP is in the middle of their own civil war, pitting the reality-denying Trumpists against "normal" conservative Republicans. Their coalition is completely shattered and the danger for the party is existential, at least in these hot run. Democrats are taking advantage of this by running candidates in every single district, even districts that have been overwhelmingly Republican and where Democrats don't seriously compete. Patriotic Virginians, regardless of party preference, are horrified that Chase described the domestic terrorists and murderers who sacked the Capitol as "patriots," but there are enough brainwashed low-IQ Republicans in Virginia who would follow wherever she leads including into a third-party run that would instantly doom any chance for a broke and disorganized Republican Party victory.
Chase on the prospect of her not winning the party nomination: "If they disenfranchise the people of Virginia, I will declare the Republican Party is dead. I will start the Patriot Party of Virginia. And I won’t look back." Democrats couldn't be happier, although Trump hasn't committed to campaigning on behalf of Chase yet.