The GOP is suing to try and get McAuliffe off the ballot for a missed signature

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Virginia Republicans file lawsuit in attempt to remove McAuliffe from the ballot

The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) announced Thursday that they are suing the State Board of Elections (SBE) in an attempt to get the Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe removed from the ballot for not signing a declaration of candidacy form in March. It is unclear, however, if a judge would be able to find the grounds to rule in favor of RPV and remove his name from the general election ballot this November. 

“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and Terry McAuliffe’s clear violation of the law severely jeopardizes the integrity of our elections in Virginia,” said Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson. “For decades, Terry has used his political connections and proximity to power to avoid consequences for his reckless behavior and disregard for people and laws, but no amount of political favors and back-slapping can refute the fact that McAuliffe is a fraudulent candidate and cannot be Virginia’s next governor.”

The lawsuit from RPV states that leaving McAuliffe on the ballot would cause irreparable harm to Virginians. ​​”The RPV seeks to protect its rights, and the fundamental rights of its members and the voters who associate with it, from the serious and irreparable harm that would occur if Defendants—the Commonwealth’s chief election authorities—do not immediately act to address a serious misrepresentation and deficiency in the candidate qualification process for the upcoming election for Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the 20-page complaint reads

McAuliffe’s campaign has only provided one statement since RPV announced the lawsuit. “Our campaign submitted the required paperwork,” tweeted McAuliffe spokeswoman Christina Freundlich. “This is nothing more than a desperate Trumpian move by the Virginia GOP to deprive voters of a choice in this election because Terry is consistently leading in the polls.”

The State Board of Elections has not commented. 

Experts don’t believe that the lawsuit has much ground to stand on, however. Michael Gilbert, a vice-dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, told the Washington Post that his “guess would be this lawsuit doesn’t go anywhere.” 

He also noted that the state code does not specifically say that a signature is required on this form. “The declaration shall include the name of the political party of which the candidate is a member, a designation of the office for which he is a candidate, and a statement that, if defeated in the primary, his name is not to be printed on the ballots for that office in the succeeding general election. The declaration shall be acknowledged before some officer who has the authority to take acknowledgments to deeds, or attested by two witnesses who are qualified voters of the election district,” the code reads.

“So maybe it isn’t even a technical violation,” Gilbert told the Washington Post. “It’s hard to imagine a court saying yes, we’re going to unwind the last six months of campaigning in the commonwealth over such a small issue.”

Marc Elias, an election law attorney that represents Democrats didn’t hold back when sharing his opinion of the lawsuit. “I’ve seen a lot of dumb lawsuits by the GOP. This is a really dumb lawsuit,” he tweeted Thursday. 

A similar lawsuit filed by Roy Perry Bey and Carlos Howard is already being heard in a Richmond Circuit Court. Judge Bradley Cavedo declined to place an injunction on the printing of ballots at the request of the plaintiffs,  – though he has not yet made a final ruling in the lawsuit.  

Perry Bey and Howard filed their lawsuit for the same missing signature and a theory that they believe McAuliffe should be ineligible to run for a second term as governor. The Virginia Constitution does not allow for consecutive gubernatorial terms but does not restrict non-consecutive terms. Mills Godwin served two non-consecutive terms as the 60th and 62nd governor of Virginia. 

The campaign for the Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin said in a statement that they will be “closely monitoring the situation to ensure all legal requirements are followed,” according to Macaulay Porter, a Youngkin spokeswoman. “These are very serious questions, and the McAuliffe campaign seems to be claiming that Terry McAuliffe doesn’t have to follow the law like everyone else who runs for office in Virginia.”

Early voting begins in Virginia begins on Sept. 17. 


Rep. Spanberger called on President Biden to extend Afghanistan withdrawal deadline

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) released a statement Thursday morning urging President Joe Biden to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for the complete removal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The statement from Spanberger, a former CIA agent, was co-authored by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) and endorsed by 75% of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group in Congress comprised of 58 members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

“As Democrats and Republicans, we stand united in our commitment to protecting U.S. citizens, diplomats, intelligence officers, and our foreign partners who are currently attempting to flee Afghanistan. In this time of tremendous danger, politics must be put aside to advance our common goals,” Spanberger and Gonzalez wrote in the statement. “From this week’s bipartisan Member briefing, it is apparent that the Administration’s set date for departure from Afghanistan on August 31st does not provide enough time to evacuate all American citizens and our partners. We respectfully call on the Administration to reconsider its timeline and provide a clear plan to Congress that will result in the completion of our shared national objectives.”

The statement was released early Thursday morning, prior to the terrorist attack that took place outside of the airport in Kabul, killing 13 U.S. service members and wounding 18 more. An ISIS affiliate has claimed credit for the attack. 

“In this moment, I am praying for our troops, diplomats, and public servants on the ground who have been carrying out their complex mission under extremely dangerous circumstances,” Spanberger said in a statement after the attacks in Kabul. “Our men and women serving in harm’s way represent the best of America.”

The president held a press conference Thursday afternoon and vowed revenge for the attack. “For those that carried out this attack as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget,” Biden said Thursday. “We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.”

Biden indicated during the press conference that he will be sticking to the Aug. 31 deadline for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan. “We can and we must complete this mission,” he said. “We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation.”

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA-02)is a Navy veteran and has also expressed concern over the Aug. 31 deadline. She stressed the importance of getting resources into the Kabul airport to continue the mission. “I am heartbroken for the loss of brave Marines in a senseless act of terrorist violence,” Luria said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “We must provide all available resources to our commanders on the ground to restore order at Hamid Karzai Intl. Airport and continue evacuations without delay to ensure no further loss of life.”

Neither Spanberger nor Luria have commented specifically on the deadline since the terrorist attack took place Thursday morning.

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan retaking control in a short time and captured the Capital city of Kabul weeks earlier than expected. This made the safe evacuation of U.S. citizens and allies from Afghanistan much more complicated, leading to security concerns and providing the opportunity for the attack that happened today, even with repeated warnings from intelligent agencies across the world.

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-01) criticized the president’s handling of the situation in Kabul. “Today’s bombing in Afghanistan took the lives of 12 servicemembers. This attack leaves parents without children, children without a parent, and spouses without a loved one. President Biden’s absence in the face of this tragedy is a disgrace,” he tweeted. “My colleagues on [House Armed Services Committee] and I repeatedly demanded President Biden show us his plan to withdraw. Each time, he refused. The closest thing to a plan he has shared with us or the American People has been to ‘knock on wood.’ Those we lost today deserved better.”


Virginia GOP tries legal tactic to force Democrat McAuliffe off the ballot for governor - Washington Post

by Greg Schneider and Laura Vozzella

The Republican Party of Virginia filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to remove Democrat Terry McAuliffe from the ballot for governor because his signature is missing from a candidate form he submitted to the state in March.

Republicans touted the lawsuit on social media, but a similar suit against McAuliffe argued last week by a pair of Virginia voters failed to persuade a Richmond judge to halt the printing of ballots for the November election.

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Statement of House of Delegates’ Republican Leader Todd Gilbert on U.S. Casualties in Afghanistan

House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert issued the following statement:

"The U.S. Marines and Navy corpsman killed today gave their lives doing what the best of our armed forces have always done: standing in harm's way, putting themselves between innocent civilians and those who would do them harm. I ask that each and every Virginian join me in holding their loved ones in our prayers."

"The loss of anyone who wears our country's uniform is a tragedy. This one is all the more so since it was wholly unnecessary. The failure of the Biden administration to execute an orderly evacuation and withdrawal from Afghanistan put more American lives at risk. The fruits of placing one's trust in terrorists are always bitter."

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This is a daily newsletter covering Virginia politics from top to bottom. Please consider supporting non-partisan, independent news by becoming a paid subscriber today.