A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury – Sept. 11, 2018)
Conservative Del. Dave LaRock’s bid for re-election has hit a snag after a local party official failed to file paperwork declaring him the GOP nominee before a state-imposed deadline passed this month.
On Tuesday, a Republican lawyer asked the State Board of Elections to certify LaRock, R-Loudoun, as a candidate anyway, despite the board’s recent stance against making accommodations for late paperwork. The elections board did not take action at Tuesday’s meeting, but the lawyer requested a decision by the July 4th weekend.
“We’re on a tight turnaround time,” attorney Lee Goodman said on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. “There may be other statutory alternatives.”
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, LaRock said his campaign called state election officials prior to the deadline to ask if any paperwork was missing and was told everything was in order. He stressed that the late document was supposed to be filed by the chair of the Republican committee for his legislative district, not his own campaign.
Democrats stripped LaRock of a committee assignment earlier this year after he and two other Republicans pushed baseless claims of election fraud and urged Vice President Mike Pence to block some Electoral College votes that went to President Joe Biden.
Depending on how the state board handles the situation, LaRock, who did not face an opponent for the GOP nomination in his district, could be facing the prospect of having to run a write-in campaign or pursue some other process to allow his party to re-nominate him past the deadline. However, he noted that the board made an exception for Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, when he had a similar problem during the 2019 cycle.
“I think that the board would be hard-pressed to come up with a different decision when the circumstances are identical,” LaRock said. “I would hope that’s the case.”
Increasingly frustrated with having to grant exceptions to the rules, the elections board refused to allow several other House candidates on primary ballots this spring, a shift from the laxer approach the board took in the past.
Unlike those primary contests, LaRock was the only Republican candidate for the outer Northern Virginia seat he’s held since 2014.
“Delegate LaRock is our nominee in the 33rd District,” said Garren Shipley, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah. “His campaign diligently filed all the necessary paperwork, and we’re confident he will be on the ballot in November.”
LaRock, who won his last re-election campaign with almost 57 percent of the vote, is set to face Democrat Paul Siker in November.
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