Virginia GOP Lawmaker Used Campaign Funds To Attend ‘Stop The Steal’ Rally

Virginia GOP Lawmaker Used Campaign Funds To Attend ‘Stop The Steal’ Rally

April 16, 2021

The campaign of Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase, a Republican seeking her party’s nomination for governor, spent hundreds of dollars in campaign funds for a Washington hotel stay and parking the night after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Chase appears to have used the funds, at least in part, to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally earlier in the day when then-President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol in protest of an election that he and Chase claimed was stolen.

Chase, who embraces the nickname “Trump in heels,” used $389.68 in campaign money to book a room for the night of Jan. 6 at the Hyatt Place in Washington right next to the National Mall, according to her latest campaign spending disclosure. She also spent $40 on parking at the hotel.

HuffPost reached out to Chase’s campaign to inquire about the purpose of her spending and whether she considered attending the rally part of her campaign expenses. The campaign did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

“Amanda Chase’s campaign donors deserve to know that they bankrolled her participation in the January 6 insurrection rally,” Zach Hudson, a spokesperson for Democratic super PAC American Bridge, said in a statement. “Republicans like Amanda Chase tried to violently overturn a presidential election and her potential election as Virginia Governor is yet another threat to our democracy.”

Unlike many other Republicans who disputed the election results, Chase refused to apologize for the actions of her fellow marchers, many of whom subsequently stormed the Capitol building and attacked police officers.

In a Facebook video she posted hours after the riot, she both suggested that left-wing agitators were responsible for the trouble and that if conservatives had been involved in the violence, it was out of a justified sense of desperation.

“When you give them no other options, when you cheat them of their elections, when you take away their constitutional rights and freedoms, you’re backing patriots like myself into a corner,” Chase said. “We would like to have a peaceful [resolution] to the events of today, but as you can see … we’ve had enough.”

Facebook subsequently suspended Chase’s state senate account for two months.

Virginia Democrats have seized on Chase’s rhetoric to raise the stakes ahead of a November election in which they hope to maintain control of the governor’s mansion.

Chase’s campaign web site features a photo of her autographing an assault rifle and boasts that she is the “strongest voice for our small businesses, the leading champion for our 2nd Amendment, a strong advocate for Pro-Life, leader for our family values and a fighter against the socialist agenda going after our Liberties and Constitutional Freedoms.”

But Virginia Republicans will not select their gubernatorial nominee through a traditional primary, as Democrats plan to do. 

Instead, party activists can become delegates to a state convention on May 8 where a smaller group of politically active Republicans and insiders will select the party’s nominee for governor.

Establishment Republicans hoped to use the convention to block a candidate like Chase from securing the nomination, but in a nod to activists, they agreed to make the process more open than initially planned. The party is set to allow convention voting at 37 locations across the state and permit ranked-choice voting, though participants will still have to be nominated to become delegates by local party committees. 

Chase’s more mainstream conservative rivals are former state House Speaker Kirk Cox, entrepreneur Pete Snyder, investor Glenn Youngkin, nonprofit executive Peter Doran, Army Col. Sergio de la Peña, and retired sheriff Octavia Johnson.

Chase has threatened to run as an independent in protest of the party-convention nominating process.

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