Virginia GOP seeks input on two proposals for 2021 convention

Capitol Connection

A “Vote Here” sign at the Cedarafield polling precinct on Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo: 8News)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With plans to hold a statewide convention in Lynchburg out the window, the Virginia GOP’s chairman is seeking input from Republicans across the commonwealth on two new options for a nominating process utilizing remote voting locations.

Rich Anderson, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, asked all local Republican unit chairs, appointed representatives serving on congressional and legislative district committees, to pick between two plans in a letter Monday.

“We have two proposals before us,” Anderson wrote. “One is for Congressional District Committees to select remote voting locations for units in their district. The other is for local Republican units to select one remote voting location for their delegates only (or by agreement with one or more other nearby units, one combined voting location for delegates from multiple units).”

The Republican Party of Virginia has congressional and legislative district committees, panels with authority over the nominating process for candidates. The committees cover Virginia’s 11 congressional districts and 140 legislative districts — 100 House of Delegates seats and 40 Senate seats. Some legislative district committees could have only one member and others could have “a dozen or more persons.”

Virginia Republicans are expected to pick candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in a few months. With another State Central Committee meeting set for Friday, Anderson requested for unit chairs to check between two boxes and share the feedback by a Tuesday evening deadline.

“Because of the compressed timeline for SCC discussions before our meeting on March 12th, I ask that you return this form with your preference by 5pm on Tuesday, March 9th,” Anderson added in his letter.

Last week, Anderson informed members of the GOP State Central Committee that a proposal for a statewide drive-in convention at Liberty University would not work.

The SCC, the party’s governing body, opted for a statewide convention for this year’s nominating process, approving a plan on Feb. 23 to host it at Liberty University in Lynchburg. The proposal called for convention delegates to cast their ballots for statewide candidates from their cars while parked in lots owned by Liberty. 

The GOP’s convention plans appeared to surprise Liberty University, pushing the school to issue a statement denying an agreement had been reached. Those who backed a convention said no agreement was reached before the committee voted and stressed a site survey would need to be completed before any decision was finalized. 

A team conducted a survey on March 3 and reported back its findings to Anderson, who sent a letter Friday to the committee and members of the party about what the team learned.

“Afterwards, the team concluded that a statewide convention of delegates on a single off-campus LU property is not feasible,” Anderson acknowledged in the Feb. 5 letter. “The convergence of as many as 4,000 automobiles and 70 buses at a single venue makes that impossible.”

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