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Amanda Chase: And the politics of censure

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The Virginia Senate voted Wednesday to censure State Sen. Amanda Chase, a Republican who is running for the party’s gubernatorial nomination, in an act that does, what, exactly?

Censure is basically an item in your personnel file, if even that. Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, noted last week in an advisory opinion that the Senate and House of Delegates each have the ability to actually remove members if they so choose, but in this case, the Senate did not so choose.

Instead, it opted for censure, and though it’s significant that the vote was by a bipartisan 24-9 margin, it’s also significant that it wasn’t whatever it was in support-to-one.

For example, Emmett Hanger, our Valley Republican, ended up being one of the nine to vote against censure, no doubt caught between a rock and a hard place, because Hanger is also seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Hanger is anything but a pro-Trump Republican, but if he votes for censure, it comes across as political opportunism, and if he abstains, as seven state senators did, he looks mealy-mouthed for not taking a stand either way.

As it is, Hanger fights the flames of this particular pro-Trump fire, but there’s more fire coming his way between now and the Republican convention, assuming he gets that far.

Chase, for her part, gets to play the victim. She’s already hinting at filing a lawsuit against senators for violating her First Amendment right to support those assembled at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to protest the Electoral College vote ahead of what turned into an attempted insurrection led by a group on the front lines of that protest.

Chase is styling herself as the choice of pro-Trump voters, which would play better in a primary – as primary voters, on both sides of the ledger, tend to be more ideological – but may still be a boost for her chances in a convention.

It wouldn’t seem to be the best path forward for the Republican Party of Virginia, given how Trump polled in his two runs for president in the Commonwealth, including that resounding 10.1-point loss to Joe Biden in November.

That’s what the censure vote from yesterday was about, in case it’s not obvious.

Democrats are feeding Chase’s Trumpian proclivity toward self-martydom, helping her raise her profile among a Republican base that lacks the self-awareness to realize that a Chase nomination makes a Democratic sweep in November practically inevitable.

In a state that has gone consistently blue for the past decade, it may be an inevitability anyway.

Doesn’t hurt to make sure.

Story by Chris Graham


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