Republicans buckle up for the last week of campaigning before the nomination convention

The latest in Virginia politics


Cox looks to win Republican nomination, executive mansion

By Noah Fleischman

Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, has his sights set on the Virginia executive mansion in November, but first he must beat six other candidates for the Republican nomination.

It’s the first time Cox, the former speaker of the house, is running for governor. Cox, 63, has served as a state delegate since 1990 and was elected as speaker of the house by a unanimous vote in 2018. He served one term in the position before Democrats took control of the Virginia General Assembly. 

Cox said he wants to end the “one-party control” the Democratic party currently has in the legislature and the governor’s office. Virginians haven’t elected a Republican governor since 2009 when Bob McDonnell won the seat. 

“There’s no question, I think Virginia doesn’t like one-party control, especially when the Democrats have done it,” Cox said. “They just overstepped in so many progressive areas. So, I think that that's going to be huge for Republicans.”

Key issues

Cox said he wants to focus on “getting Virginia back on track” after the pandemic. He wants to reimplement policies from when he was speaker, such as tax cuts and freezing tuition at Virginia colleges and universities. When Cox was speaker, he helped install a $1 billion tax cut in Virginia, which he said was the second largest in the state’s history.

Cox, a retired schoolteacher, wants to recuperate the learning loss that some children experienced while virtual learning during the coronavirus pandemic. He seeks to create tutoring programs in Virginia’s public schools for the rest of the 2021 school year and the summer

“What it would do would be particularly focused on learning loss and remediating students in a one-on-one or small group tutoring,” Cox said. “I always found that to be the most effective as a teacher if you're particularly trying to deal with kids that have lost three to six months.”

The state would have to gather an “army of educators” composed of retired teachers and substitute teachers. He’s willing to teach children in the program, he said. 

Cox said he would create the Partnership for a Safe Virginia, a coalition to advocate for law enforcement. Law enforcement would also get a pay boost in a Cox administration, he said. He wants to prioritize the starting pay of state police and sheriff deputies and address compensation issues for law enforcement officers. Higher ranking and veteran police officers make similar amounts of money to those just joining the force, Cox said.

“I want to make sure we're attracting the best men and women to be in law enforcement,” Cox said. “I think the pay issue is going to be a really big issue.”

Cox said he will dedicate $50 million for starting pay to law enforcement.

The challenge

Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, called Cox the “strongest general election candidate for the Republicans,” but he added that Cox might not get to the November election.

That could be the residual influence of former President Donald Trump.

“The challenge that the former speaker faces is the concern in some corners that he isn’t pro-Trump enough — that he isn’t conservative enough,” Farnsworth said. “For a growing number of Republicans, the definition of conservatism is: ‘Were you willing to overturn the Electoral College?’— which doesn't sound very conservative to me.”

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'A lot of confusion': Virginia Republicans stumble over their own voter ID requirement - NBC News

by Alex Seitz-Wald

As Republicans across the country insist more laws are needed to protect election integrity, Virginia Republicans have found themselves in a bit of a voter ID quagmire.

At issue is a decision to quietly allow voters to participate in their complicated primary process even if they left blank parts of the application, including required fields that asked for their state-issued voter ID number and a signature, according to documents and an audio recording of a call obtained exclusively by NBC News.

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Cox writes nice things about his Republican opponents

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kirk Cox sent an email to his convention delegates on Thursday where he said nice things about his Republican convention opponents. “While no one can profess to be in agreement with someone 100 percent of the time, I do think we need more civility in our politics - so I'm not afraid to say a nice thing about my political opponents,” Cox wrote in the email. “Maybe that's a little weird, but it shouldn't be.”

The convention is taking place on May 8.


Sen. McClellan “disappointed” with the direction UR is headed in as community members discuss building renaming - The Collegian

By Elyse Kimball

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D- Richmond, is watching the University of Richmond, her alma mater, gain national media attention following the Board of Trustees' decision to not remove the names of Robert Ryland and Douglas Southall Freeman from two campus buildings. 

McClellan said for a long time, few people had talked about race at UR. “It makes sense that, with the racial reckoning we have experienced across the Commonwealth and across the country over the past year, those tensions have been ignited on campus,” she said.

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For Virginia Republicans, Running Their Own Election Hasn't Gone Smoothly - VPM News

by Ben Paviour

Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase still believes — falsely — that the wrong man is in the White House.

"We want the right president put in office!" Chase told a crowd in Florida last week at a rally headlined by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. "We the people will not shut up."

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CASA In Action Endorses Del. Sam Rasoul for Lt. Governor

“We are excited to champion Sam Rasoul, who with his unconditional support of immigrants and civil rights will make sure our families are protected,” said Alonzo Washington, CASA in Action executive director. “Moreover, his 100 percent support of the Green New Deal means we can tackle the multiple crises we face – economic inequality, racism, and climate change. We are a grassroots powerhouse and are ready to fight for him.”


VHHA Publishes Podcast Interviews with Statewide Candidates

With voters in the Commonwealth set to nominate candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General this spring, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) is launching a limited-run spinoff of its Patients Come First podcast series featuring short interviews with candidates for statewide office. All declared candidates for these offices have been invited to participate in podcast recordings to help introduce them to voters, give them an opportunity make their case for election, and to articulate their health care policy views and positions.

So far, VHHA has recorded and published podcast episodes with the following individuals:


Northam loosens mask restrictions for people outdoors

Governor Ralph Northam today amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to adopt new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on mask use in outdoor settings. The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks outdoors when alone or in small gatherings. Mask use is still required indoors and outdoors at large crowded events like concerts, sporting events, and graduation ceremonies. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine.

“The CDC’s recommendations underscore what we have said all along—vaccinations are the way we will put this pandemic behind us and get back to normal life,” said Governor Northam. “Our increasing vaccination rate and decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases has made it possible to ease mitigation measures in a thoughtful and measured manner. I encourage all Virginians who have not yet received the vaccine to make an appointment today.”

The Governor also revised Executive Order Seventy-Two to allow up to 1,000 spectators for outdoor recreational sports, effective immediately. This change advances by two weeks a change that was scheduled to go into effect on May 15 and will allow additional spectators to participate in final games of the current high school sports season and the summer sports season.


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