- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Republican Party of Virginia is still struggling to finalize its nomination process, less than two months before its convention is to take place.

Members of the party’s State Central Committee will meet Friday evening to consider alternative plans, as officials consider how delegates could vote at multiple locations throughout the state.

The latest wrinkle comes after the SCC voted in late February to hold a drive-by convention at Liberty University. But the university issued a statement noting that it hadn’t agreed to any firm contract. It also noted that “using any main campus parking lots would not be an option.”

“To be frank, I and most Republicans are fatigued by this process,” party Chairman Richard Anderson wrote to members last week. “It is now time to put this business behind us, focus on our forthcoming convention and get behind three winning candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.”

Eight local Republican leaders, led by Prince William County GOP committee Chairman Tim Parrish, wrote to SCC on Tuesday to express “profound disappointment” over how it has handled the process.

“Frankly, we need our decision-makers to make decisions and our leaders to lead. The long delay and lack of substantive information regarding the nomination method of our statewide offices has become a debilitating aspect of leading our party at the local unit level,” they wrote, according to a copy obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Leaders of the Fairfax, Chesapeake, Danville, Greene, Fauquier, Madison, and Sussex GOP committees also signed the letter.

Candidates are frustrated as well, saying it’s past time to let voters know what the rules are.

The crowded GOP field for governor includes Delegate Kirk Cox, former businessman Glenn Youngkin, state Sen. Amanda Chase, former Pentagon official Sergio de la Pena, activist Merle Rutledge Jr., veteran Kurt Santini, former think tank CEO Peter Doran and businessman Pete Snyder.

“This lengthy delay only helps Democrats on the path to November,” Elizabeth Gregory, communications director for the Cox campaign told The Washington Times. “Kirk has said from Day One that he will run a successful campaign no matter the method, but we’re coming down to the wire here. It’s the SCC’s prerogative to determine the nomination process, but Virginia Republicans are due an answer. We’re confident they will reach a decision on Friday.”

Mr. Snyder said in a statement: “I’m going to run hard and win the Republican nomination regardless of the method of nomination, but it’s time for the Virginia GOP to decide the rules, let the competition begin and let Virginia Republicans decide their nominees.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Chase has threatened to run as a third party candidate. She attempted to sue the party over convention plans and accused party officials of plotting to choose a nominee themselves.

Ms. Chase, a fierce loyalist to former President Donald Trump, was censured in the state Senate for her statements that appeared to endorse the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Finalize decisions please so that we have time to communicate instructions to voters,” she tweeted.

David Ramadan, an adjunct professor at George Mason University’s Schar School and a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, said the disorganization is not just a bad look for the party but is limiting who could participate.

“The [party’s] brand unfortunately is already damaged. What is being damaged now is beyond the Republican Party. It’s damaging the process of participation of citizens in elections,” Mr. Ramadan said. “People have no interest then in whoever is the nominee because their level [of involvement]. … They don’t feel part and parcel of the process.”

The Republican Party of Virginia did not respond to The Times’ request for comment.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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