Virginia gubernatorial hopefuls key on 'election integrity' in major post-Trump contest

“The integrity of the elections was one of the main messages people worry about, amid some allegations emerged from last year’s election,” said Geary Higgins, chairman of the Republican Committee of the 10th Congressional District, who served in the Area code has remained neutral. “It’s about broader electoral integrity, but also about integrity in this process.” So it’s a two-pronged thing. “

Meanwhile, there have been many disputes in the Republican nomination process themselves about how the party’s standard bearer should be chosen, from conflict over a state primary or party convention to questions about how the ballots are ultimately counted.

There are seven Republican hopes for governor on the ballot this year, and among the more than half a dozen Virginia Republican officials who have spoken with POLITICO, there are consensus that four are on the top row: businessmen Pete Snyder and Glenn Youngkin, former State House Speaker Kirk Cox and Senator Amanda Chase.

Chase was the most explicit to mimick Trump’s lies about the election while proactively seeking his support, while Snyder and Youngkin both launched plans or task forces for “electoral integrity” at the start of their election campaigns.

Cox has also made proposals under the banner of electoral integrity – but a spokesman for Cox noted that he was the only “Republican candidate in the running to recognize President Biden as a legitimate president,” which he did after counting the electoral college in the states in December.

“Unfortunately for too many Virginians, whether Republicans, Democrats or Independents, trust in our electoral system has been strained and [sic] due to many last-minute Covid-related changes to our voting systems, “Snyder said in one Statement when he started his plan. “The government has failed to ensure the transparency and accountability that voters have come to expect.”

Youngkin, Snyder and Cox’s campaigns all declined to make their candidates available for interview on their nominations, relying on the state party process, citing hectic schedules in the final days before Congress. Chase’s campaign did not respond to an interview request.

Former GOP MP Denver Riggleman, who has become a prominent critic of the Trump-era Republican Party, said the focus on electoral integrity news was detrimental to the state and the party.

“We can have an honest discussion on ‘electoral integrity’ if this is not currently a title term for ‘Stop the Steal’ across the Commonwealth,” he said, calling it less of a ‘wink and a nod’ than a ‘wink’. Cake in the face. “

“If a candidate did not run on electoral integrity because I saw the local polls, they would lose,” added Riggleman.

The former legislature ran for independent governor. He told POLITICO that he “tends to go bad” when he runs, but that he still has time to make up his mind.

Republicans are also struggling with the end of a controversial, month-long struggle over how the party will ultimately select its statewide candidates. After crackdowns between the pro-primary and pro-convention wings of the state’s central committee, the party opted for the “non-assembled convention” this weekend with a vote by election.

People wishing to take part in the convention had to register in advance, and the state party said around 54,000 people had done so. They’ll be voting in 39 locations across the state on Saturday. After that, the ballots will be shipped back to Richmond for counting, which begins on Sunday. The ranking system will redistribute support for the candidates with the fewest votes to the next decisions of those delegates until someone gains a majority.

Another downside is that counties receive a certain number of “delegates” based on the population and past performance of Republicans in the area. This means that the total number of “raw votes” from each voting venue alone does not determine the winner.

Virginia Republicans are wary of voter turnout predictions or results because of the unusual system, noting that even among the top four candidates it is a broken field with a new procedure. Those who have spoken to POLITICO agree that it will take several rounds to determine a winner, with the voters’ second or third choice in the race being decisive.

Kristi Way, the party’s first vice chairwoman and supporter of Cox, recalled how E. W. Jackson dominated the personal congress in 2013 to win the lieutenant governor’s nomination after several rounds of voting. “He came up there holding a bumblebee,” she said. “Lo and behold, E. W. Jackson was the candidate when no one thought this was a way to go into the room.”

But that last minute horse trade and campaigns won’t be an option for candidates this year as voters will have to fill out their ballot papers in advance. “I think it’ll be an easier result than letting the dynamics take over in a room,” continued Way. “If I don’t have that, I think a lot of the emotions will be removed from the decision.”

There are also some concerns that the new process could create room for the excitement of a candidate on the losing side of the ledger. Chase has consistently opposed the nomination process, accusing Snyder of stacking the deck in his favor. Chase – a self-proclaimed “Trump in Heels” that it was censored by their Senate colleagues after the praise of the insurgents on January 6th and the spread of electoral conspiracy theories – has threatened to run as more independent if Snyder wins the nomination.

The party plans to start counting on Sunday, the day after the vote, at the end of the vote: first attorney general, then lieutenant governor, and then governor. Officials hope the process will be completed as soon as possible, but expect several days during which the ballots will be counted by hand.

“I know some party officials will talk about it later in the week, but I think it would be really tough on the party and pretty tough on the later candidate if it took that long,” said Senator Steve Newman, a Youngkin supporter , who said he was confident the process would be completed quickly.

Virginia Republican Party officials also said they were confident in the process: “We have taken so many steps to make sure this is a well-run, functioning and seamless convention,” said John March, a party spokesman.

Democrats won’t pick their candidate until June, when a five-candidate field runs in the state primary. Former Governor Terry McAuliffe tops the polls available, and the other four candidates in the field couldn’t break out a month before the end.

Many Republicans were dying to have another bang at McAuliffe, who ousted then Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in 2013, believing he was a well-defined candidate who would not revitalize the democratic base.

But it’s also important that Republicans rally around their candidate quickly in a state where Republicans have fought for national victory for the past decade. “He’s going to be very, very prepared and very well funded and we have to get together quickly,” said Newman. “And if we do that and have adequate funding, I think we have a great opportunity to take Virginia back.”

But Democrats claim that no matter who wins the Republican nomination, they will not be able to successfully promote swing voters while sticking to their grassroots in November, citing the Republicans’ talk on “electoral integrity.” “As a prime example.

“Even if they do not mention Trump by name in a video, they are pushing for the exact guidelines his base requires in order to gain credibility, whether it is about the integrity of the voters, whether it is ‘The Big Lie’. ” It doesn’t believe in science and COVID, ”said Marshall Cohen, the political director of the Democratic Governors Association, speaking to reporters earlier this week.

Leave a Comment