This past week, the first major upset of the 2019 cycle just took place.
And Republican Delegate Chris Peace just found himself on the losing side of a massive conservative backlash over Obamacare expansion in Virginia.
But now his supporters are trying to change the nomination method to re-elect him.
Incumbent Republican Delegate Chris Peace outraged conservatives across Virginia when he voted with the Democrats to pass Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion last year.
Peace was unapologetic about the vote, 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 on social media to defeat him in his re-election bid.
So that’s exactly what conservatives across the Hanover County-based 97th District planned to do.
Hanover County Supervisor Scott Wyatt decided to challenge Peace for the Republican nomination in the heavily conservative district.
The moment Wyatt announced a campaign against Peace however, Peace decided to try and rig the nomination method as best he could.
Despite daring conservatives to challenge him a year ago, Peace has since spent the bulk of the 97th District’s nomination process either attempting to undermine the system, or complain about the fact that he’s being challenged for his votes with Richmond Democrats.
Months of back and forth challenges and disputes finally came to a head recently when the 97th District convention attempted to illegally change the nomination method from a convention to a firehouse primary just days before the convention was set to take place.
Peace and his allies have routinely argued that a convention would hurt their chances of victory, as it precludes Democrats from voting to select the Republican nominee.
And once a key Peace ally was appointed to the Legislative District Committee by Hanover County Republican Chair Dale Taylor, the votes were finally in place to rig the nomination method in Peace’s favor.
Wyatt’s campaign claimed the last minute nomination method change in favor of Peace was illegal, especially in light of the fact that the District Committee chairman had gaveled out the meeting before the motion to change methods was made and passed.
Even worse, the move to change the nomination method was made after all the delegates to the Republican convention had been elected.
Wyatt’s team thus conducted the convention as planned, with Peace’s campaign boycotting the event in protest. The result was a Wyatt victory.
On Monday, the chairman of the 97th District Republican Legislative Committee, Tom Miller, filed with the State Board of Elections making Scott Wyatt their nominee for Delegate.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, “Virginia’s elections commissioner, Chris Piper, confirmed that the Department of Elections on Monday received an official party nomination form filed by the chairman of the legislative district committee in the 97th District, Tom Miller.”
“Piper said in a statement that political parties have until June 17 to submit the names of their nominees. According to the Code of Virginia, nominations are not final until that date,” adds the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The question on everyone’s minds now is whether or not Wyatt is the official nominee, or whether Peace’s campaign will successfully change the nomination method at the last minute to benefit the incumbent.
We will keep you up to date with any new developments in this ongoing story.