Virginia GOP nominating contest confusion deepens

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia GOP appears to be headed back to the drawing board in its ongoing struggle to sort out how to choose its nominees for this year’s statewide contests.

After months of division over the matter, Republicans decided in February to hold an in-person convention on Liberty University property. But Rich Anderson, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, wrote in a letter to party leaders Friday that after meeting with Liberty officials this week it became clear that a “statewide convention of delegates on a single off-campus LU property is not feasible.”

Anderson wrote he would call a meeting of the party’s central committee next week to discuss proposals for a convention configuration that involves satellite locations across the state.

“To be frank, I and most Republicans are fatigued by this process. It is now time to put this business behind us, focus on our forthcoming convention, and get behind three winning candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General,” Anderson wrote.

Party leaders have been at odds for months over how to choose their nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general amid the coronavirus pandemic, which constrains in-person options that involve big gatherings.

Candidates have been waiting for a final decision so they can tailor their campaigns to whatever the nomination process will be.

Virginia and New Jersey are the only states electing governors in 2021. New Jersey’s Democratic incumbent is heavily favored to win reelection, so political observers across the country are keenly interested in Virginia’s election as a barometer of political sentiment after Democrats won the White House and Congress last year.