It’s official: Chris Peace has lost re-election to the House of Delegates over his vote for Obamacare Expansion last year.
The move came after the Hanover County GOP voted to remove a close ally of his as chairman of the committee on May 29.
And now, challenger Scott Wyatt has finally been declared the Republican nominee in the 97th District.
The Republican nomination battle in the 97th House of Delegates District just took a dramatic turn this morning.
On May 29, the Hanover County Republican Committee voted by a 80-1 margin (with 2 abstentions) to remove Chairman Dale Taylor.
The move comes as a devastating defeat for embattled Republican Delegate Chris Peace, who has faced a massive conservative backlash in his district over his vote to expand Obamacare and fund Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars in 2018.
Taylor’s removal from the office of Chairman of the largest Republican unit in the 97th House of Delegates is part of a larger heated nomination fight between Delegate Peace and his challenger, Hanover County Supervisor Scott Wyatt.
Taylor had previously tried to rig the 97th District nomination in Peace’s favor, appointing Mike Reynold, a vocal Peace supporter who is not even a member of the Hanover County Republican Committee, to the District Committee.
Reynold then immediately worked to cancel the previously called Republican convention to determine the nominee of the 97th District and replace it with a “Firehouse Primary”, a move which was taken by Peace supporters after vote counts led observers to conclude that Peace would likely lose the 97th District Convention.
This move ignited a political controversy within the Republican Party unlike anything seen in recent history.
Taylor refused to attend the committee meeting where the vote was taken to remove her from her position as chair, and is now claiming that the Hanover GOP lacks the authority to remove her from office.
The RPV Party Plan states Chairmen must be given 30 days notice of an attempt to remove them, and that 1/3 of the membership of the committee must sign a petition to that effect, and both of these requirements were met by the committee prior to their vote to remove Taylor.
However, the Peace campaign is still threatening to sue the Hanover GOP, knowing that if the removal of Taylor from office stands, they will lose control of the 97th District committee and thus lose his bid for re-election.
This is a fact Peace’s lawyers have admitted.
In a letter to the Hanover County Executive Committee, Peace’s attorney writes that Taylor’s removal from office “adversely affects Delegate Peace’s attempt to seek the party’s nomination, we hereby notify you that the campaign reserves all of its rights to seek legal recourse against you.”
After the vote to remove Taylor was held, Nick Collette, a member of the Hanover GOP Executive Committee, had the following to say: “A date and time will be determined in the coming days to elect a new Unit Chair to fill the remainder of the term, finally ending what has been a very difficult time for Hanover Republicans through the chaos created by our former Unit Chair.”
Collette also pointed out the 97th District Committee would be meeting Thursday morning, with its new membership in place.
According to Collette, that meeting promptly “ruled in favor of Scott Wyatt’s appeal, affirmed the 1st District Committee’s decision to uphold the results of the convention on May 4th, and cancelled the June 1st ‘Firehouse Primary.’”
“Yet again, Scott Wyatt has been confirmed as the official nominee in the 97th District,” Collette added.
The 97th District Republican Committee, and the District Committee Chairman will now certify with the State Board of Elections that Wyatt is the nominee, though it appears likely that Peace’s campaign will take up the issue with the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee and possibly even the courts.
The Wyatt-Peace race is one of the most closely watched Republican nomination battles of 2019.
Incumbent Republican Delegate Chris Peace outraged conservatives in the 97th District when he voted with the Democrats to push through the final piece of Obamacare in Virginia last year.
Peace ultimately earned a challenger after being unapologetic about the vote, with the Republican Delegate even going so far as to compare opposition to Obamacare to the racist “Mass Resistance” tactics Democrats employed in the 1950s to keep public schools segregated in Virginia.
Throughout 2018, Peace dared conservative activists who lived in his district to defeat him in his re-election bid.
And conservative activists did just that, despite multiple attempts by Peace’s campaign to derail the nomination method, change the rules, and threaten legal action to get their way.
Peace’s re-nomination defeat at the hands of Scott Wyatt marks the first electoral loss for a Republican who voted for Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion last year.
We will keep you up to date with any new developments in this ongoing story.