Republican incumbent Delegate Chris Peace has a serious problem.
He could be just days away from losing his seat over his vote for Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in 2018.
But to make matters worse for Peace, his own comments in the wake of his vote with every Democrat in the legislature to pass the expansion of government in Virginia history, are now being used against him.
After passing Obamacare expansion in 2018, Peace naturally faced a wave of backlash in the fiercely conservative district he represents centered in the overwhelmingly Republican suburbs north of Richmond.
Delegate Peace Labels Obamacare Opponents As “Welfare Queens” Driven By Race
Peace decided to double down on his vote for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, even going so far as to label conservative opponents to Obamacare as racists, comparing Republican opposition to Medicaid Expansion to the Massive Resistance tactics Democrats employed in the 1950s to keep schools in Virginia from being desegregated.
“I think there’s this notion that they’re welfare queens, which was something of the past that we dealt with,” Peace told the Richmond-Times Dispatch. “And I don’t think they liked it when I said that some of the opposition to ‘Obamacare’ had to do with race.”
Peace’s also went on to claim that an “older demographic” is opposed to more government interference in the healthcare industry primarily because of their own bigotry towards younger Americans and minority groups.
The campaign tactic of calling one’s own constituents racists because they opposed Obamacare expansion, and then comparing those opposed to more government-run healthcare to 1950s segregationists almost immediately backfired on Peace.
Scott Wyatt, Peace’s challenger who is seeking to unseat him at the May 4th convention at Atlee High School in Hanover County, harshly attacked Peace’s comments apart on social media.
“This is not the language of a Republican or a conservative. It’s time for new leadership in our district,” posted Wyatt in a Facebook post quoting Peace’s comments to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“Peace said he doesn’t regret his vote for Medicaid expansion, but he acknowledged some of his rhetoric on the issue may have upset some of his constituents” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “Before the expansion vote last year, Peace compared the lingering GOP opposition to Massive Resistance, the strategy deployed by white politicians to block school desegregation in Virginia.”
It remains to be seen whether Peace’s strategy of comparing conservatives who oppose more Obamacare to being racists will pay off for him at the May 4th convention to decide the Republican nominee to the 97th District, but comments like this aren’t the first time that Peace’s rhetoric landed him in hot water.
Peace continued this narrative on social media, continuing to attribute Obamacare opposition to opposing school desegregation.
“On the even of the prospective end of a second ‘Massive Resistance’ in this Commonwealth, be encouraged, do not fear the fear-mongers, instead take heart that after years of legislative debate the process has yielded…to our better angels with full Transformation,” Peace said in a Facebook post shortly before the final passage of Medicaid Expansion.
Republican Delegate Accuses Peace Of ‘Legislative Extortion’
Peace has since found himself under fire for trying to solicit an endorsement from Republican Delegate Nick Freitas in exchange for allowing several of Freitas’ bills to pass through the House General Laws Committee, which Peace currently serves as Chairman of.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Delegate Freitas asked Peace on the last day of the 2019 session that bills could be assigned to a subcommittee or whether several of his bills would get a hearing.
Peace told Freitas they wouldn’t, before texting Freitas to meet with him at the back of the House chamber.
Freitas then states that Peace tried to solicit his endorsement in exchange for letting his bills be heard.
In a video viewed over 15,000 times on Facebook, Freitas states his side of the account:
Peace: “I would really appreciate it if you would endorse me.”
Freitas: “Are you telling me that if I endorse you, you’ll have my bill heard at subcommittee? … Chris, I’m not very comfortable with that kind of transactional politics.”
Peace: “Everyone’s transactional, Nick, and this is just kind of how things work.”
Freitas said he replied “that it was not how things worked with me and that [Peace] was free to kill my bill.”
In his video, Freitas said in that in his four years in the House of Delegates, “I have never had a committee chairman take me aside and suggest that if I endorse them, then maybe my bills could be heard before their committee.”
In a Facebook post on the Richmond Times-Dispatch covering the story, Peace attacked Freitas for the video, but did not deny the claim that he had tried to extort an endorsement from the Republican Delegate.
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