Despite rampant speculation to the contrary, at times fueled by the Sheriff himself, Mike Wade has declined to mount an actual challenge to incumbent Rep. Dave Brat for the 7th district GOP nomination.
Today’s development means Rep. Brat will be the Republican nominee from the 7th District.
Wade had previously indicated an intent to announce a challenge, when it was presumed the 7th District Republican Committee would choose a primary to determine the party’s nominee. In the interim, district lines shifted, tilting weight on the district committee towards a more grassroots-friendly convention to choose the nominee. Wade and his backers apparently did not have the stomach for a convention challenge.
Sources with the 7th District Committee also indicate that Goochland GOP Chairman Ben Slone will be deemed elected as the next chairman of the 7th District Committee, as he was the only candidate to file. Recent speculation had Chesterfield Chairman Donald Williams as a potential competitor to Slone.
Opponents of Brat, who had been backing Wade’s potential challenge, appear to have instead trained their energy on reclaiming seats on the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee that were lost in re-districting. As part of this effort, they successfully maneuvered to ensure that convention delegates who will vote on these party offices must pay a mandatory filing fee. This was an effort to cut any coat tails Rep. Brat might have been able to provide for allied State Central Committee candidates.
The 7th District Convention is May 21st, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.