Former President Trump Calls In to Bannon-Headlined ‘Take Back Virginia’ Rally

Steve Bannon headlined a get-out-the-vote rally for the MAGA base in Henrico on Wednesday evening, where speakers included Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) and Arizona State House Representative Mark Finchem, who is using 2020 election audits in that state in his campaign for Arizona Secretary of State. But the biggest reaction from the crowd came when former President Donald Trump called in for about five minutes.

“Glenn Youngkin is a great gentleman,” Trump said. “You have a chance to get one of the most successful businessmen in the country, and he did it in a quiet professional way, in Glenn Youngkin. I hope — he and others by the way — but I hope Glenn gets in there  and he’ll straighten out Virginia, and he’ll lower taxes, all of the things that we want a governor to do, and I really believe that Virginia is very, very, winnable.”

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Gubernatorial Candidates Use Ads and Political Appearances to Boost Enthusiasm

Gubernatorial candidates Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe have launched competing ads. A McAuliffe ad links Youngkin’s calls for election integrity to Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, while the Youngkin ad fact-checks McAuliffe’s recitation of recent COVID-19 case numbers.

“On at least three separate days – September 28, September 29, and October 7 – McAuliffe claimed there had recently been 8,000 cases in Virginia, a gross inflation that amounts to nearly three to four times the actual number of cases,” a Youngkin press release explains.

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Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Monument to Come Down After Virginia Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuits Blocking Removal

The Virginia Supreme Court dissolved injunctions blocking the removal of the Lee monument in Richmond, according to an opinion and an order published by the court on Thursday. In June 2020, Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the monument, which sits on a small piece of land owned by Virginia in the middle of Richmond. Courts issued injunctions to prevent removal while considering two lawsuits challenging the legal authority to remove the monument.

In Taylor v. Northam, plaintiffs argued that documents from the late 1800s prevent the removal. But the court said that the restrictive covenants are unenforceable, and said that they unreasonably try to force government speech indefinitely.

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Virginia House of Delegates Quickly Passes American Rescue Plan Act Spending Bill

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates met, passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) by a 71-25 vote and adjourned in 30 minutes on Wednesday. Facing 107 pages of proposed amendments, a photo-op, and a series of lengthy recesses, the Senate had not completed its debate by press time Wednesday evening although it convened at 10 a.m.

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General Assembly Back in Session, in Person, to Allocate ARPA Funds

RICHMOND, Virginia – The budget bill to allocate $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds passed out of the House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations on Monday, the first step to passing Governor Ralph Northam’s proposals for the money.

But the first day of the second 2022 special session saw legislative gridlock between the Senate and the House of Delegates. The House passed HJ 7003, which establishes the rules and schedule for how the session will operate. When the legislation was sent to the Senate, Senate Democratic leaders introduced three amendments which received broad bipartisan support.

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Youngkin, Miyares, Sears Stop in Chester for Take Back Virginia Rally

CHESTER, Virginia – The GOP candidates for governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor stopped in Chester on Saturday afternoon for a rally with about 350 attendees. In 90-degree heat Glenn Youngkin, Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach), and Winsome Sears spoke, mentioning Juneteenth, opposed Critical Race Theory in schools, and called for tough-on-crime policies.

“Virginians for the last eight years have been crushed. And I’ll say right here, right now, eight is enough,” Youngkin said.

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Court Dismisses Chase’s Lawsuit over Censure by the Virginia Senate

The Eastern District Court of Virginia dismissed Senator Amanda Chase’s (R-Chesterfield) lawsuit over her censure by the Senate. On Wednesday, Judge Robert Payne granted a motion to dismiss filed by Attorney General Mark Herring on behalf of the Senate and the Clerk of the Senate. In April, Herring argued that the Senate and the Clerk have sovereign immunity and that the Senate’s decision to censure is a “non-justiciable” political question.

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Virginia Republicans Nominate Glenn Youngkin for Governor

Former Carlyle CEO Glenn Youngkin is the Republican Party of Virginia’s nominee for governor. The win is a surprise since many pundits said that lower-than-expected turnout in Saturday’s convention meant that Youngkin’s base had collapsed. Instead, Youngkin took an early lead in the first round of counting of ranked-choice votes. Although it took six rounds of counting and all of Monday to confirm his win, Youngkin consistently stayed in the lead. In the last round Youngkin carried 54.71 percent of weighted votes to Pete Snyder’s 45.29 percent.

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RPV Unassembled Convention Goes Smoothly with About 29,000 Ballots Cast

The Republican Party of Virginia held its unassembled convention to pick party nominees for governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor on Saturday. Official results will be slow to come in, thanks in part to a decision to hand-count the tens of thousands of ranked-choice ballots. As a result, campaigns and elections watchers are looking at turnout estimates for clues about who the nominees might be. Estimates from Republican Governor’s Association officials claim about 52 percent of the over 53,000 registered delegates turned out.

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A Roundup: Over 50,000 Delegates Register for RPV Convention, Cox Tries Ranked-Choice Strategy, Youngkin Announces Law Enforcement Coalition

The Republican Party of Virginia has 53,524 delegates registered, as of Tuesday, to participate in the RPV unassembled convention at 39 locations on May 8. That’s an all-time record that speaks to party enthusiasm, according to RPV Chairman Rich Anderson’s remarks at a Tuesday debate. Anderson said the last time the RPV was this energized was in 2009 with Bob McDonnell leading the ticket.

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In Debate, GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss Amazon and Small Business

Six of the seven GOP gubernatorial candidates met for a debate hosted by the Virginia Federation of Republican Women on Tuesday evening. Candidates answered questions about Dominion voting machines, Second Amendment rights, transportation, and funding law enforcement. Organizers said Pete Snyder had a prior engagement.

Larry O’Connor asked the candidates, “Amazon is king right now in northern Virginia if you didn’t know any better. How will we expect small businesses to survive when government regulations that make it difficult for them are thrown out the window for literally the richest man in the world? How do you plan to protect key real estate in northern Virginia from being swallowed up by one company as well?”

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Debates, Tours, Endorsements, and a Florida Stop: Virginia Candidates Battle for Nomination

The race for the GOP nomination for the top Virginia positions is coming to an end, leading to a debate, tours, and a trip to Florida. In the Democratic primary, early voting has already begun, but big nominations are still rolling in.

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Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative Draws Concern Over Lowering Academic Standards

A proposed Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI) has Republicans concerned after Loudoun County School Board member Ian Serotkin warned about the plan on Facebook, first reported by Fox News. Serotkin wrote that there are some good things in the initiative, like enabling students to take calculus in high school. But Serotkin also warned that the VMPI would end math acceleration before 11th grade.

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Cox Calls for Small-Group and Individual Tutoring to Address Learning Loss

Gubernatorial candidate Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) agrees that schools need to be reopened immediately. But he says that’s not enough — policymakers need to address learning losses. Districts like Fairfax County have reported spikes in failing grades. Parents and medical studies have expressed concern over the long-term harms caused by a year of virtual learning. Cox is calling for tutoring programs to help students recover academically, and he says he is willing to be one of those tutors.

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McAuliffe, Chase, and Cox Announce Significant Endorsements

Governor Ralph Northam endorsed his predecessor to be his successor. Gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe received Northam’s endorsement in a week with several key gubernatorial endorsements. On Thursday, the governor appeared with the former governor in Norfolk.

“We need a leader that can continue this progress. We need a leader that will bring us out of COVID-19, a leader that will help small businesses. A leader that will promote equity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe will do that,” Northam said.

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Gubernatorial Candidate Chase Claims More Convention Corruption

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) is firing more claims of corruption at her gubernatorial opponent Pete Snyder and Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) officials, based on Snyder’s campaign hiring staffers with roles in the RPV. Snyder’s campaign and some RPV officials say the claims are baseless.

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Chase’s Censure Lawsuit Has Hearing in Federal Court

Amanda Chase

A federal court heard a motion to dismiss Senator Amanda Chase’s (R-Chesterfield) lawsuit over censure on Thursday. The arguments took hours, and the judge said he would take some time to consider the motion before issuing a ruling on whether the suit can go forward, according to an update from Chase and her lawyer Tim Anderson.

The motion to dismiss argues that censure is a political question outside the jurisdiction of the court, and that the defendants — the Senate and Senate Clerk Susan Schaar — have sovereign immunity. However, Anderson argued that Chase was censured for things she had said, making the censure a violation of her First Amendment rights.

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Winsome Sears Shocks Race for Lieutenant Governor, Receives Endorsement of Amanda Chase and Octavia Johnson

On Monday, former Delegate Winsome Sears, candidate for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, was endorsed by gubernatorial candidates State Senator Amanda Chase (I-Chesterfield) and former Roanoke City Sheriff Octavia Johnson. The dual endorsements have caused a tremendous uproar in a race that until today was considered rather quiet.

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Virginia GOP Gubernatorial Candidates in Mad Scramble for Delegates in Wide Open Race

The Republican Party of Virginia announced Friday that the filing deadline had passed for the 2021 Republican Party of Virginia unassembled convention, creating a scramble for the wide open Governor’s race. The unassembled convention is scheduled for Saturday, May 8th, with over 30 polling locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. According to the Republican Party of Virginia, all but two announced candidates for Governor filed for and paid their filing fee.

The following candidates have properly filed with the Republican Party of Virginia and will appear on the Republican Party of Virginia 2021 Statewide unassembled convention ballot.

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Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Attack Their GOP Counterparts

Four Democratic candidates for governor blasted their GOP counterparts in a joint statement Thursday.

“Last week, the entire Republican field took their complete embrace of Donald Trump a step beyond the far right extremism that has become the norm in the Virginia GOP,” wrote candidates Jennifer Carroll Foy, Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas), Terry McAuliffe, and Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond.)

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Debates, Special Elections, and Hot Dog Reviews: A Virginia Gubernatorial Update

With a special election coming on Tuesday for Senate District 38, gubernatorial candidates on both side of the aisle made appearances this week campaigning for Laurie Buchwald (D) and Travis Hackworth (R). But the governor’s race this week also featured hot dog reviews, a Democratic debate, and attacks between candidates.

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Virginia Takes Restaurant to Court After Owner Doesn’t Obey Mask Requirements

Gourmeltz 90’s Music Bar & Drafthouse, based in Spotsylvania, has had its health certification suspended after owner Matt Strickland refused to enforce bar closures and mask restrictions. Strickland refused to close after the certification was suspended, and the attorney general is now seeking an injunction against Strickland that will force Gourmeltz to close, according to Fox5. Strickland had a court hearing on Friday, and is now waiting for a decision from the judge.

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Political Ads and Gun Shows: A GOP Gubernatorial Update

The Republican Party of Virginia has finally selected a clear nomination process, and the GOP gubernatorial candidates are working to register delegates who will vote for them in the unassembled convention. They’re also attending gun shows, launching new political ads, and attacking the Virginia Parole Board.

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Gubernatorial Hopeful Pete Snyder Announces Election Integrity Plan

Pete Snyder announced his ‘Honest Vote’ election integrity plan on Thursday. The six-point plan focuses on transparency ballot verification and ballot verification measures.

“Having secure, legal, and trustworthy elections is something that we must demand in our Commonwealth. Unfortunately, for too many Virginians, whether they be Republicans, Democrats or independents, trust in our election system has been severely strained and due to many last minute Covid-related changes to our voting systems,” Snyder said in a press release.

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New Mission PAC Hosts GOP Gubernatorial Forum

GOP gubernatorial candidates Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), Peter Doran, Sergio de la Peña, and Glenn Youngkin met on Zoom on Thursday evening to answer policy questions about school reform, fixing Virginia’s tax code, improving broadband access, and making Virginia more veteran friendly. The New Mission PAC hosted the forum. PAC founder Daniel Gade and former Delegate Chris Saxman asked the questions in a format designed to allow candidates to demonstrate policy positions without engaging in direct debate.

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Virginia General Assembly Votes to Remove Statue of Former Governor Harry Byrd, Sr.

The Virginia Senate voted 36 to 3 Tuesday to remove the capitol’s statue of former Democratic Governor Harry Byrd, Sr. His legacy is marked by his expansion of Virginia’s economy and roads, and is tarnished by a battle to block desegregating schools. The House of Delegates had already voted in favor of the bill, HB 2208, introduced by Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk.) Governor Ralph Northam is expected to approve the bill.

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Senator Amanda Chase Still Dominates Virginia Gubernatorial Conversation as Other Candidates Announce New Policy Plans, Make Campaign Stops

More gubernatorial polls this week show most voters are undecided, allowing contest leaders to continue to claim front-runner status while allowing everybody else to claim theoretical wins. But there’s more gubernatorial news than that — this week’s campaign news features new policy announcements, major endorsements, messaging controversy, and a late-night television mention.

First, the poll: 49 percent of Democratic voters and 55 percent of Republican voters are undecided, according to a Christoper Newport University/Wason Center Poll. Former Governor Terry McAuliffe leads Democrats with 26 percent, while Senator Amanda Chase leads Republicans with 17 percent.

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Gubernatorial Candidate Youngkin Announces Plan for an Election Integrity Task Force

Citing a need to restore trust in elections, gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin announced an Election Integrity Task Force on Monday.

“This is not a Democrat issue or a Republican issue, it’s a democracy issue,” Youngkin said in a press release. “Both parties have long raised concerns, and we must restore Americans’ faith in the integrity of our elections.”

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Senator Chase Sues the Republican Party of Virginia

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), who is running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, announced Tuesday that she is suing the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV). Chase has been critical of the RPV decision to hold a nominating convention since the decision was first announced in December. Now, after months of fractious debate in the RPV over that decision, Chase is suing, arguing that she is harmed by the RPV choosing a nominating method currently illegal under Executive Order 72, which bans large gatherings like an in-person convention.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Kirk Cox Calls for Next Steps to Address Learning Losses from Virtual Classes

Virginia’s Democratic leadership is finally starting to call for a return to in-person learning, but gubernatorial candidate Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) is calling for immediate next steps to address learning losses caused by virtual learning. In a Thursday press conference, Cox laid out his proposals, including expanding availability of tutors, assessing learning loss, and providing financial support to parents for remedial materials.

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Legislation Prohibiting Firearms, Other Weapons on Capitol Grounds Passes Virginia Senate

Legislation prohibiting the possession and transportation of firearms and other weapons within Richmond’s Capitol Square as well as inside any buildings owned or leased by the state passed the Virginia Senate Tuesday afternoon.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1381, advanced out of the Senate by a 21-18 straight party-line vote with every Democrat in support and all Republicans opposing.

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Virginia GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Call for Schools to Re-open

Gubernatorial candidate Pete Snyder announced Tuesday his Open Our Schools tour, where he will visit local Open Our Schools activists across the Commonwealth. Snyder said opening schools in November would be too late, and called for immediate action.

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Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase Files Lawsuit to Remove Censure

After the Senate of Virginia voted to censure Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) last week, the lawmaker filed a lawsuit in federal court on Monday seeking to have the public rebuke expunged.

Chase filed the suit against the Senate, naming Clerk Susan Schaar as a defendant, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia over alleged violations of the First and 14th Amendments as well as the legislative body’s own rules.

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Northam Approves Permanent COVID-19 Safety Standards for Virginia Businesses

Governor Ralph Northam approved the Permanent COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Health Standards, which replace the expiring COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. The standard requires Virginia businesses to develop COVID-19 safety strategies much like other workplace safety requirements.

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Former Business Executive Glenn Youngkin Officially Joins Race for Virginia Governor

Former business executive and political outsider, Glenn Youngkin has officially joined the 2021 Virginia governor’s race seeking the Republican nomination.

Youngkin, 54, made the formal announcement through an online statement and campaign video released on Wednesday.

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Virginia Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Welcome Snyder into Race

Republican gubernatorial candidates Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and Senator Amanda Chase welcomed Pete Snyder into the nomination race Tuesday.

“Look forward to working with you again Pete. Welcome to the race,” Chase tweeted, posting a picture of Snyder working in her 2019 campaign office.

Cox tweeted, “I’d like to welcome Pete Snyder to the 2021 gubernatorial race. It’s my firm belief that competition is a good thing — and I look forward to a robust discussion in which Virginia Republicans can choose the proven candidate that can best unify the party and lead Virginia forward.”

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Virginia Senate Committee Passes Censure Resolution on Amanda Chase

The Virginia Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections passed a resolution to censure Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) on Tuesday regarding her conduct and comments on the January 6 Capitol riots in Washington D.C.

Introduced by Sen. John Bell (D-Loudon) and sponsored by nine other Democratic legislators, Senate Resolution 91 was reported out of the committee by a 9-6 vote straight down party lines and will now be considered on the floor in the coming days.

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Virginia Senate Strips Amanda Chase of Final Committee Assignment

The Virginia state Senate on Wednesday voted to update the body’s standing committees for 2021 and simultaneously stripped GOP gubernatorial candidate Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) of her lone committee assignment from the previous year, resulting in a lengthy debate that highlighted the disconnect between the lawmaker and her colleagues.

The standing committee’s membership was updated at the request of Republicans in order to fill the vacancies left by the late Sen. Ben Chafin, who passed away from COVID-19 complications on New Year’s Day, according to Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax).

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Virginia Democratic Senators File Resolution to Censure Amanda Chase

Virginia Senate Democrats filed a resolution on Wednesday to censure GOP gubernatorial candidate and Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) for addressing a crowd and urging action to overturn the 2020 presidential election hours before the Capitol riots in Washington D.C.

The resolution, introduced by Sen. John Bell (D-Loudoun) and co-sponsored by nine other Senate Democrats, formally accuses Chase of “fomenting insurrection against the United States.”

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Former Trump Official Sergio de la Peña Joins Virginia Gubernatorial Race

Former Trump official Sergio de la Peña announced Monday that he’s entering the race to be the Republican nominee for Virginia governor. de la Peña served 30 years in the Army, where he reached the rank of colonel. He also served as Trump’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and he says that experience will set him apart from the suddenly crowded field of GOP gubernatorial candidates.

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Multi-Millionaire Glenn Youngkin to Run for Virginia Governor

Former business executive and multi-millionaire Glenn Youngkin is planning to join the Virginia governor’s race as a Republican candidate and expected to make an official announcement soon, according to reporting from The Washington Post.

Youngkin, 54, would be the third GOP candidate to declare for the 2021 election and the only conservative hopeful with no experience running for or holding elected office.

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Former Trump Official Sergio de la Peña Joins Virginia Gubernatorial Race

Former Trump official Sergio de la Peña announced Monday that he’s entering the race to be the Republican nominee for Virginia governor. de la Peña served 30 years in the Army, where he reached the rank of colonel. He also served as Trump’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and he says that experience will set him apart from the suddenly crowded field of GOP gubernatorial candidates.

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Delegate Lee Carter Officially Announces Run for Governor

Virginia State Delegate Lee J. Carter (D-Manassas) officially joined the governor’s race last Friday and is now part of the crowded Democratic field vying for the party nomination this summer.

Carter, 33, is the fifth Democrat to seek the Executive Mansion next November and had originally filed paperwork to raise money for a gubernatorial bid last month.

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Virginia Governor Candidate Kirk Cox Reportedly Says Biden Will be Next President

GOP candidate for governor and Virginia State Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) reportedly said Tuesday he does not stand with Republicans in Congress who plan to object to the Electoral College votes and that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. 

Cox’s reported comments were shared by Daniel Grimes, a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC29 in Charlottesville, in a post on Twitter. 

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Princess Blanding Announces Third-Party Run for Virginia Governor

Community activist and mental health advocate Princess Blanding, whose brother was fatally shot by Richmond Police in 2018, announced her entrance into the 2021 Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday as a third-party candidate, joining a group of hopefuls featuring former and current state politicians.

Blanding, 38, will be running as an independent candidate under the Liberation Party, whose mission to advance equity by uplifting traditionally underserved and oppressed communities, according to a press release.

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Republican State Senator Emmett Hanger Still Seriously Considering a Bid for Governor

As the 2021 elections inch closer and begin to dominate almost all political talk in the Commonwealth, Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) is still exploring a potential run to become the 74th governor of Virginia.

Hanger, 72, recently discussed the gubernatorial election and the difficulty of securing the GOP nomination in an interview with The Virginia Star. 

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Chase Follows Through on Promise, Will Run for Governor as an Independent

Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) is now planning to run for governor in the 2021 election as an independent candidate. 

The decision comes after the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee voted 41-28 on Saturday to hold a convention instead of a primary to nominate the party’s candidates for the 2021 races, according to previous reporting from The Virginia Star.

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Senator Amanda Chase says the Democratic Party of Virginia is Racist

State Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), a Republican gubernatorial candidate for 2021, called the Democratic Party of Virginia racist and said that the group hates white people.

On Friday night, Chase posted the statement to her Facebook page in response to an article about Virginia Democrats calling for Richmond General Registrar J. Kirk Showalter to either be removed from the position or to resign on her own.

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Justin Fairfax Says He is Poised to Help All Virginians as the Next Governor

If elected governor, Justin Fairfax is determined to bring the Commonwealth and its residents out from underneath the current issues plaguing Virginia brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic and a destructive political landscape. 

Last month Lt. Gov. Fairfax officially announced his entrance into the 2021 gubernatorial election, hoping to follow in the footsteps of former state governor L. Douglas Wilder and become the second black man elected to the Executive Mansion. 

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