There is a new poll in the Democratic primary races for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general

The latest in Virginia politics

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New poll from The Wason Center shows McAuliffe, Rasoul, and Herring with lead in Democratic primaries

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe holds a commanding lead in the latest poll with less than 50 days until Democratic voters across Virginia choose the gubernatorial nominee. Del. Sam Rasoul holds a lead in the lieutenant governor field but the majority of voters were still undecided in this race. Attorney General Mark Herring continues to show a strong lead over his challenger, Del. Jay Jones.

According to the poll completed by the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University, 47% of Democratic voters support McAuliffe for governor. Next was Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (8%), state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (6%), Jennifer Carrol Foy (5%) and Del. Lee Carter (1%). 

27% of voters remain undecided. 

McAuliffe is the most widely known candidate in the field with a favorable/unfavorable rating among Democratic voters of 56% to 14%, while 28% indicated no opinion. Fairfax follows with a closely divided favorable/unfavorable rating of 27% to 26%, and 45% indicating no opinion. 

According to the poll, most voters say they have no opinion of McClellan (73%), Carrol Foy (78%) or Carter (86%). 

Among those who hold an opinion, however, McClellan has a 20% to 5% favorable/unfavorable rating and Carroll Foy has a 15% to 5% favorable/unfavorable. “Name recognition is a big head start, but it’s better when voters’ impression is mostly favorable,” said Wason Center Academic Director Dr. Quentin Kidd. 

Nearly two out of three Democratic voters (64%) responded that they are undecided in the crowded contest for the party’s lieutenant governor bid where six candidates are vying for the nomination. 

Del. Sam Rasoul is the front runner in The Wason Center poll with 12% support. Del. Elizabeth Guzman was in second with 4% of Democratic voters saying they support her, she actually dropped out of the race last week, however, when the poll was in the field. 

None of the remaining lieutenant governor candidates received more than 2% support.

Two-term attorney general incumbent Mark Herring (42%) has a solid lead over Del. Jay Jones (18%), with 34% of Democratic voters undecided. Jones’s support has grown while Herring’s support has not changed since the February Wason Center poll (42% Herring to 3% Jones, 50% undecided).

Voters will choose the nominees in a June 8 primary election.

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Chase, Cox, and Youngkin sent a joint letter to the Republican Party’s State Central Committee

Three Republican gubernatorial candidates excluded another candidate when they sent a joint letter to the Republican State Central Committee (SCC) urging them to reject the proposed method for counting ballots, tabulating delegate votes, and calculating the final weighted results of the May 8 convention. 

Del. Kirk Cox, Sen. Amanda Chase, and Glenn Youngkin signed the letter that was addressed to the state party chairman, Rich Anderson, and the members of the SCC Rules Committee. The party’s full governing body is scheduled to vote on hiring a technology firm to handle the vote counting for the nomination process. Chase, Cox and Youngkin want the ballots to be counted by hand. 

“Each of us are vying for the nomination, and while we are all competitors in that contest, we are writing to you now to express our shared resolve that all elections must be free, fair, and transparent,” the candidates said. “The Republican Party—the party of election integrity—must lead by example as it prepares to conduct its May 8 nominating convention. Unfortunately, the method currently being considered by the State Central Committee to count the ballots, tabulate the delegate votes, and calculate the final weighted results of our convention does not meet this standard.” 

The candidates stressed that the electronic system would also prevent campaign observers from overseeing the process. “Utilizing software takes away oversight from campaign observers and hides the very important process of counting the ballots and tabulating the final weighted results,” Chase, Cox, and Youngkin wrote. “We cannot substitute expediency for an open and transparent process that provides confidence in the outcome.”

According to a source from within a Republican gubernatorial campaign, the fourth frontrunner for the nomination, Pete Snyder, was purposefully excluded from the letter. “This is the start of an anybody but Pete movement,” the staffer said. “This is palpable anger toward him from every campaign. They’re just lying about everything.” 

Separately, Chase has been accusing Snyder of rigging the convention for weeks. She often points to the members of the SCC that are on his payroll, though as she notes, that is not actually illegal. Chase also said that she believes that the proposed electronic software before the SCC is something that the Snyder campaign is supporting. 

The SCC will take up the recommendation from the Rules Committee at their next meeting. 

After the letter was released Wednesday, Snyder sent out a statement in support of what the other candidates were requesting. “We love this! As we have from the beginning, we support a verifiable, independent, and accurate count that gives Republicans confidence in this process and the results,” said a spokesperson for the Snyder campaign. “We have always advocated for the measures outlined in the letter.”

Anderson was in Texas for the RNC Spring meeting Wednesday and was not immediately available for comment. 

The SCC took several months to finalize a nomination process before they eventually decided on an unassembled convention with 37 different voting locations across the commonwealth, instead of one location. The ballots will also be ranked-choice, where voters rank their candidates in order of preference. That will make the process of counting votes more complicated, either way. 

“We believe that you share in our commitment to free, fair, transparent, and honest elections,” Chase, Cox, and Youngkin said. “Therefore, we urge you to undertake these steps to guarantee confidence in this convention process. We want to reiterate our appreciation and respect for all you do for our party in Virginia.” 

In addition to Chase, Cox, Snyder, and Youngkin — Octavia Johnson, Sergio de la Pena, and Pete Doran are also seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor.

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Free Beacon: Virginia Candidate Will Forgo Salary if Elected Governor

Glenn Youngkin, the former CEO of the Carlyle Group, an investment firm with roughly $246 billion in assets, told the Washington Free Beacon he will donate the annual $175,000 salary paid to Virginia's governor to charity.

"I will do the job of governor without accepting a salary because I want to continue giving back to the commonwealth and helping Virginians in every way I can," Youngkin said.

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Civil rights groups skip ceremonial signing of marijuana bill, as Black-led activist group left out - Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Mel Leonor

Key civil rights groups involved in the effort to legalize marijuana in Virginia skipped a ceremonial signing of the legislation Wednesday, protesting the Northam administration’s decision to exclude a key advocate from the event.

Marijuana Justice led by activist Chelsea Higgs Wise of Richmond was among groups that worked with the legislature on marijuana legalization, and eventually swayed political leaders to accelerate legalization of simple possession to this summer.

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ICE grants sanctuary seeker a stay on federal removal order - Daily Progress

by Bryan McKenzie

A Guatemalan woman given sanctuary in a Charlottesville church for more than two years has received a one-year stay of removal from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who had sought to deport her.

Maria Chavalan Sut, 46, came to the U.S. in 2015 after land grabbers threatened her family and later set her home on fire with the family inside. She and her four children survived, but all of their belongings burned.

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Windsor police want to hire company to help revise policies, will create hiring panel that includes citizens - The Virginian-Pilot

by Jane Harper

The Town of Windsor’s police chief proposed several ideas to council members this week he hopes will help boost officer training and improve the department’s relationship with its citizens and the thousands of drivers who pass through each day.

Chief Rodney “Dan” Riddle presented his four-point plan Tuesday during the first of many workshops the council plans after police body cam video of a controversial traffic stop recently went viral.

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Richmond casino proposals down to 2: City strikes Bally's Stratford Hills proposals from project shortlist - Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Chris Suarez

Richmond has removed the Bally’s project in the Stratford Hills area from the city’s shortlist of casino development proposals.

The city announced the decision Wednesday, after two weeks of public protests against the Rhode Island-based company’s plans to build a $650 million casino resort in the northeast quadrant of the Chippenham and Powhite parkways.

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