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Poll: McAuliffe, Chase with early, uneasy leads in governor nomination races

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A new poll has Terry McAuliffe and Amanda Chase at the head of the crowded fields of candidates running for governor.

The poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University has McAuliffe at 26 percent among likely Democratic Party primary voters, with the current lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, in second, at 12 percent.

Former Prince William State Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and Richmond State Sen. Jennifer McClellan are at 4 percent each. Manassas State Del. Lee Carter is at 1 percent.

That still leaves just under half the electorate – 49 percent – undecided.

That can’t be good news for McAuliffee, a known entity as a recent former governor.

“New Democratic faces and priorities have emerged since Terry McAuliffe was governor,” Wason Center Academic Director Dr. Quentin Kidd said. “He opens with a head start, but he’s a long way from closing the deal.”

That’s putting it mildly. McAuliffe seems to carry some baggage forward to the primary race. The poll registered the former governor with a favorable/unfavorable rating of 25 percent to 21 percent.

Fairfax, for his part, is actually under water in terms of favorability, at 17 percent favorable and 20 percent unfavorable.

In the GOP race, Chase, a Chesterfield state senator, is at 17 percent among Republican voters, with former House Speaker Kirk Cox at 10 percent and entrepreneur Pete Snyder at 6 percent.

Fifty-five percent of Republican voters are undecided.

So, too, it seems, is the party itself. The state GOP has revisited its decision to decide on its gubernatorial nominee in a May party convention a couple of times, and the news this week is that Chase has filed suit to force the party to decide its nominee via a primary.

She also has pending litigation involving a vote by a bipartisan majority in the State Senate to censure her for her presence at the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol rally that preceded the insurrection attempt by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

That can’t be good, in general, for Republicans, that members of the Senate Republican Caucus joined the movement to censure the candidate currently leading the race for their top nomination, and that said candidate is involved in litigation against the party to force its hand on how it decides its nominee.

“The underlying friction between Chase’s fervent Trumpism and Cox’s Reagan Republican credentials could crack the party and open the door for Snyder or another contender,” Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo said.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press