State GOP to choose statewide slate in May 8 convention held from 37 locations

(NBC12)

The Republican Party of Virginia’s governing body voted Friday to choose its nominee for governor and two other statewide offices in a May 8 convention spread out at 37 sites across the commonwealth.

RPV’s State Central Committee, meeting via videoconference, overwhelmingly adopted a convention call that apportions a different number of sites for each of the state’s 11 congressional districts, accounting for each district’s geography and difficulty of travel.

They range from as many as six polling locations in southwestern Virginia’s sprawling and mountainous 9th District to just one apiece in Northern Virginia’s compact, suburban (and Democratic-voting) 8th, 10th and 11th districts.

The “unassembled convention” plan does not specify cities or locations of polling sites. Districts will have until April 12 to select them and as late as April 24 to amend them.

The committee’s action belatedly sets the official course the party will follow after months of fits and starts. The party late last year narrowly opted for a convention over a primary, provoking a lawsuit from Sen. Amanda Chase, a firebrand Trump loyalist from Chesterfield and gubernatorial candidate who preferred a primary. Her lawsuit — asserting that packing thousands of delegates into a single location would be a COVID-19 super-spreader event — was dismissed.

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Last month, RPV announced plans to hold a “drive-in convention” consisting of delegates participating at Liberty University parking lots, only to have Liberty promptly note that it had not agreed to such an arrangement. RPV chair Rich Anderson announced in a March 5 memo that the idea had been abandoned and that the party was “fatigued” by the protracted process.

Under time pressure, RPV scheduled the rare Friday night SCC meeting to decide the issue.

Here is the number of sites for the May 8 Republican State Convention apportioned by Virginia’s 11 congressional districts.

Congressional District              Number of sites
1st                                                   3
2nd                                                  5
3rd                                                  3
4th                                                  5
5th                                                  4
6th                                                  4
7th                                                  4
8th                                                  1
9th                                                  6
10th                                                1
11th                                                1
TOTAL                                             37