Senator Amanda Chase Still Dominates Virginia Gubernatorial Conversation as Other Candidates Announce New Policy Plans, Make Campaign Stops

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More gubernatorial polls this week show most voters are undecided, allowing contest leaders to continue to claim front-runner status while allowing everybody else to claim theoretical wins. But there’s more gubernatorial news than that — this week’s campaign news features new policy announcements, major endorsements, messaging controversy, and a late-night television mention.

First, the poll: 49 percent of Democratic voters and 55 percent of Republican voters are undecided, according to a Christoper Newport University/Wason Center Poll. Former Governor Terry McAuliffe leads Democrats with 26 percent, while Senator Amanda Chase leads Republicans with 17 percent.

Pollsters contacted 1,005 registered Virginia voters by phone from January 21 through February 14, and featured a 3.4 percent margin of error.

The poll also shows 78 percent of voters undecided among Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor. 71 percent are undecided in the Republican race, but Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) leads with 8 percent. Attorney General Mark Herring is at 42 percent in the Democratic attorney general race, while lawyer Chuck Smith leads the Republican race with 10 percent and 68 percent undecided.

Senator Amanda Chase

The outspoken state senator has continued to dominate Virginia gubernatorial headlines and even earned some late-night mockery from Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel said in his Friday evening show, “She’s dumb, she won’t wear a mask, and since she won’t wear the mask, they put her in a plexiglass box at the [Virginia Senate] meetings.”

The rest of the country is pretty sick and tired of you Hollywood liberals pedaling your mentality depraved and dumpster trash morals and values to our kids,” Chase replied on Facebook.

On Friday, a court shot down Chase’s lawsuit against the Republican Party of Virginia over the party’s ongoing candidate nomination discussion. Chase said she’ll continue to lobby party leadership to hold a primary until the February 23 state deadline.

Chase also visited a gun show in Doswell on Saturday.

Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights)

The former Speaker of the House earned 10 percent in the CNU poll.

Cox has been traveling around southwest Virginia this weekend, including a meet and greet in Blacksburg with Delegate Nick Rush (R-Blacksburg)

On Valentine’s Day, Cox tweeted,”The silencing and shaming has gone too far. In order for our representative democracy to work, we have to be able to have a robust exchange of ideas. As Governor, I’ll fight back against Cancel Culture.”

That tweet attracted critical replies from McAuliffe and Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas).

Pete Snyder

Virginia Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell endorsed Snyder this week.

“Pete is the strongest conservative candidate for governor I have seen in Virginia’s recent history,” Blackwell said.

Snyder signed Americans for Tax Reform’s taxpayer protection pledge this week. Snyder has also continued his Open Our Schools tour.

Visited Nelson County Middle School on Tuesday and no surprise, school was closed. Parents are struggling and children are hurting. We need to open our schools NOW,” he tweeted Thursday.

Snyder got six percent in the CNU poll.

Glenn Youngkin

On Monday, Youngkin announced an election integrity task force. On Tuesday, he appeared on WCHV’s Joe Thomas in-the-morning where he said, “Boy, can I sympathize with Senator Chase on her frustration about the fact that our State Central Committee, here we are on February the 16th, we have an election in November and we don’t even have a plan to select our candidate.”

He continued, “I mean this is absolutely amazing to me, we’re arguing here about making sure that we have faith in our election process, and the State Central Committee can’t even define how we’re going to select our candidates.”

On Wednesday, Youngkin appeared to use talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s death to build his supporter list, according to reporting by Politico.

Conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt announced his endorsement of Youngkin on Friday.

I’m a Virginian now, and I’ll be voting for @GlennYoungkin this year. The Commonwealth has a chance to put a great intellect and wonderful guy to work for it,” Hewitt tweeted.

Youngkin got three percent in the CNU poll.

Jennifer Carrol Foy

Former Delegate Carrol Foy (D-Prince William) announced a health care plan on Tuesday. Carrol Foy’s plan focuses saving Virginian’s money including through price transparency; improving healthcare access broadly for all Virginians; and initiatives focused on improving healthcare access and care for minorities. She cited disparities among minorities and across geographic regions in Virginia.

“Throughout my life I’ve gotten to know the Virginians that put faces to these statistics,” she wrote in the plan. “I thought of these Virginians at work every day as a Delegate, and I was proud to work in the legislature alongside Governor Northam to expand Medicaid to bring healthcare coverage to more than 500,000 more Virginians.”

She continued, “And it’s why one of my top challenges as governor will be to make healthcare more affordable, more accessible, and more inclusive for Virginians.”

Carrol Foy also stopped in her hometown Petersburg on Saturday, where her campaign organized a car caravan. The CNU poll has her at four percent among Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas)

On Wednesday, Carter’s staff announced they would unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400. Carter tweeted, “In 2019, I worked with UFCW Local 400 to ensure that jobs on my campaign were good, union jobs, with great health benefits. I’m [proud] to say that I’m working with them again in 2021 to make sure my Gubernatorial campaign is up to the same standard.”

In response to Cox’s tweet calling for an end to cancel culture, Carter replied, “During your two years as Speaker, you used the Rules committee to prevent bills you didn’t like from ever getting a hearing. That meant no recorded vote, but also no presentation by the patron, and no public comment period.”

Carter continued, “Where was your robust exchange of ideas then?”

Carter got one percent in the CNU poll among Democrats.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax

The CNU poll was good news for Fairfax, placing him in second place among Democrats with 12 percent, up from four percent in a recent YouGov poll.

Terry McAuliffe

The former governor maintained his position at the top of the Democratic gubernatorial race with 26 percent. On Wednesday, McAuliffe toured the homeless services Carpenter Shelter in Alexandria. On Thursday, he announced a “plan to build an equitable post-COVID economy and invest in Virginia workers.”

The plan calls for supporting women in the workplace through means including paid sick days and affordable child care services. The plan also focuses on improving career training and education.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the pervasive inequities in our systems and disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities when it comes to education, minority-owned businesses, housing and health care. Terry’s plan will rebuild our economy again so that all Virginians can prosper,” his campaign website states.

McAuliffe responded to Cox for his criticism of cancel culture. “Why don’t you stop whining about all the progress VA Dems are making and actually put forward some plans to improve the lives of Virginians,” McAuliffe tweeted.

He also reacted to Youngkin’s election integrity plan. “Glenn – Donald Trump and Amanda Chase are so proud of you for bringing up this conspiracy theory so important to Virginia voters,” McAuliffe tweeted.

Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)

The senator tied with Carrol Foy in the CNU poll with four percent. She announced virtual meetings with Democrats across the state, and appeared on the Zerlina Maxwell show on Peacock.

She also participated in a panel discussion and screening of the “400 Years Later…’free-ish'” docuseries featuring the Emancipation and Freedom Monument.

This week, the General Assembly passed several of McClellan’s bills, including SB 1395, her Voting Rights Act of Virginia.

In a press release obtained by Blue Virginia, McClellan said, “My great grandparents, grandparents and parents faced literacy tests and poll taxes, and many Virginians have fought and died to protect the right to vote for over 150 years.”

She added, “The Voting Rights Act of Virginia will comprehensively protect Virginia voters from discrimination, suppression, and intimidation for generations to come. I am proud to see it advance.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].

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