Incumbent Delegate Chris Peace appears to be using the financial leveraging and influence of Richmond lobbying firm, McGuireWoods Consulting, and Hanover Republican Committee (HRC) Chairwoman, Dale Taylor, to seize power in the nomination process of the 97th House of Delegates district.
McGuireWoods is best known for its lobbying and money connections with projects like the property right infringing Atlantic Coast Pipeline and utility giant Dominion Resources. Reportedly, this morning, the Wyatt campaign released a call for Mike Reynold, Hanover Republican Committee representative to the 97th Legislative District Committee (LDC), to resign based on his employment with McGuireWoods, his lack of a membership in good standing with the Hanover Republican Committee, and the unethical McGuireWoods financial contributions.
HRC Chairwoman Taylor, has yet to publicly answer inquiries about the membership status of Mike Reynold despite members of her Executive Committee reportedly asking her to validate her claim that he is a member. She refused to answer, but it has allegedly come to light that Mr. Reynold is not a member of the local Committee. The HRC Executive Committee has called for her resignation, and the resignation of Mr. Reynold, with no action being taken by either party. At this time, the HRC Executive Committee is using the methods laid out in the State Party Plan to have Chairwoman Taylor removed and an official petition for her removal was sent this past Sunday evening.
McGuireWoods, with the help of Ms. Taylor, appears to be buying influence in this election. The day that their employee, Mike Reynold, maneuvered to shut down the Convention, a large campaign donation was made to Chris Peace’s campaign. To further insult the people of the 97th House of Delegates, Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) Chairman, Jack Wilson, weighed in, stripping the LDC and the 1st District Committee of its rights and responsibilities to oversee these local matters and the appeals process regarding recently held meetings. The fault in his weighing in is that he determines that the actions of one group in the meeting (Hanover proxy and King William Chairman) outweighed or overruled the actions of another group (the Chairman Tom Miller and the New Kent Chair).
Like the attempts to cancel a nomination process in its final stages, the move by RPV Chairman Wilson will ultimately hurt the party as a whole, creating division and doubts about fairness in this process. This is incredibly disappointing.
The Wyatt for Delegate campaign is not be deterred by what appears to be backroom dealings, public campaigns to confuse Delegates and Alternates to the Convention, or the RPV’s heavy-handed declaration that violates the duties of the Chair per the State Party Plan.
They are moving forward with the convention on Saturday.