Former Delegate Winsome Sears, candidate for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, was endorsed by gubernatorial candidates State Senator Amanda Chase (I-Chesterfield) and former Roanoke City Sheriff Octavia Johnson. The dual endorsements have caused an uproar in a race was considered rather quiet.
In endorsement on Sears’ Facebook page, Senator Chase stated, “I believe Winsome Sears will usher in the next generation of firebrand Republicans who are passionate, articulate and uncompromising on our conservative values.”
In an additional endorsement on Sears’ Facebook page, Sheriff Johnson stated, “Winsome Sears is a person of character, courage and determination. Winsome is a proven leader uniquely suited to the office of Lieutenant Governor,” former Sheriff of Roanoke City Octavia Johnson said. “It is my pleasure to endorse Winsome Sears for Lieutenant Governor.”
Delegate Sears acknowledged the women’s endorsement in a press release provided to The Virginia Star, “I’m absolutely honored to receive endorsements from these conservative women and the momentum my campaign is receiving can only be attributed to the work of the Lord.”
Delegate Sears’ Campaign Manager Andrew Leppert said to The Star, “We are here to play for keeps. Ms. Sears is a Marine, she assessed the battlefield, and is ready to bring the fight.”
When asked about the endorsement, Sears’ opponent Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) stated in an email:
I’ve been honored to have over 1,000 conservative activists and elected leaders endorse my campaign for Lieutenant Governor. These leaders know my record as a proven conservative fighter as well as my proven ability to win against Democratic headwinds. That is why so many have united behind my candidacy. They know I’m the only conservative candidate for Lieutenant Governor who has run for elected office before and has never lost to a Democrat. 2021 will be no different.”
Delegate Sears was considered not considered a frontrunner until this endorsement. This has also solidified her in the conservative lane in this nomination contest. The former Marine and Jamaican immigrant was last elected to public office in the 1990’s. She served on the Virginia State Board of Elections and then was an appointee of the Bush administration. In 2018, the former Delegate ran as a write in candidate against Democrat Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Republican nominee Corey Stewart.
Prior to her announcement for Lieutenant Governor, the former Marine served as the President of Black Americans Re-Elect the President, supporting the efforts to re-elect President Trump in the 2020 election. The mother and small business owner also has the endorsements of former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, Delegate David LaRock (R-Loudoun), and former Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor E.W. Jackson.
Chase and Sears have a history of bucking the party establishment. Former Delegate Sears ran as a write-in for Senate in 2018, while Chase threatened to run as an independent for Governor during the debate over method of nomination earlier in the year.
The endorsement of two gubernatorial candidates, especially by one of the frontrunners like Senator Chase, is practically unheard of in Virginia Republican nomination contests. The state senator from Chesterfield has also campaigned with Attorney General candidate Chuck Smith, implying that Chase has her running mates in mind and that she will instruct her convention delegates to vote for her choices.
The convention will be held on May 8th at over 30 polling locations across the Commonwealth. With less than two months left in the nomination contest, Sears just shocks this race, and has left her opponents scrambling.
– – –