RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Republican gubernatorial contender Amanda Chase is suing the Virginia GOP over the party’s plan to hold a convention instead of a statewide primary to selects its nominee, arguing that possibly having 5,000 to 10,000 delegates “under one roof” violates gathering restrictions imposed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in response to the global pandemic.
The lawsuit, filed in Richmond Circuit Court on Tuesday, seeks an injunction and a trial by or before Feb. 23, the deadline for the party to elect for a primary through Virginia’s Department of Elections.
Without an order from a judge, the party is likely to hold a convention as the Republican State Central Committee has opted for the method in several meetings. In a statement Tuesday, state Sen. Chase (R-Chesterfield) expressed her sense of urgency with the deadline two weeks away.
“Instead of being inclusive, the Republican Leadership SCC has held the process hostage. Instead of working around the clock to resolve the details and rules for holding an unassembled convention, they have chosen to remain at a standoff,” she said. “Instead of working together to provide clarity to candidates running, they have opted not to meet again until it’s too late.”
The suit cites Gov. Northam’s executive order restricting gatherings to no more than 10 people, claiming that a party-controlled convention would break those rules as it would require delegates from across the commonwealth to come together to nominate candidates.
“When all Delegates assemble for the entire state, it is estimated a convention would have at least 5,000 Delegates to as many as 10,00 Delegates under one roof,” the lawsuit states. It adds that Northam has not permitted gatherings with over 250 people since restrictions were announced.
“Accordingly, the decision of the Defendant by its State Central Committee to hold a convention nomination method is unlawful at this time and is likely to be unlawful through June 8, 2021,” the lawsuit asserts.
A spokesperson for the Republican Party of Virginia did not immediately respond to 8News’ request seeking comment.
Chase had threatened to run as an independent in this year’s governor’s race due to her concerns about a nominating convention but ultimately reversed course.
In a live Facebook video in December, Chase said she is still advocating for the party to hold a primary but was concerned that running as an independent would split the Republican vote and guarantee a Democratic victory.
“I think it should be an easy process. One of my reasons for supporting a primary, people are familiar with the process,” Chase said then. “They simply go to their local polling location, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., and cast their vote.”
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