Citing swelling grassroots support, state Sen. Amanda F. Chase teases speculation on gubernatorial bid, but her camp claims she also is looking at possibly running for Congress
RICHMOND — A state legislator from the area plans a major announcement for Monday afternoon, fueling speculation that she will run for the Virginia governorship next year.
An adviser to state Sen. Amanda F. Chase, R-Chesterfield, said Saturday that Chase plans a 2 p.m. Monday announcement at the state Capitol. While that adviser, Philip Search, would not specifically say what the announcement will be, he did say it will address one of two possibilities, a run for governor in the future or a bid for Congress this year.
Late Friday, The Washington Post reported Chase — who has gained statewide attention for her strong support of gun rights and ending abortion — was leaning toward a gubernatorial run in 2021. Adding to the speculation is a Facebook group formed last month encouraging Chase to run for the GOP nomination for governor next year.
When pressed for details Saturday, Search neither confirmed nor denied that was the specific announcement she would make.
Chase’s 11th Senate District includes the city of Colonial Heights and portions of southern Chesterfield County.
Chase was highly visible in the state gun lobby’s push for governments across the state to support non-binding resolutions supporting the Second Amendment. Five localities in the Tri-City area, including Colonial Heights in her district, passed resolutions supporting the right to bear arms, and a sixth — Chesterfield — opted to let individual statements from the county Board of Supervisors serve as its message on the issue.
Chase has taken to social media often during the 2020 legislative session, criticizing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for their support of gun-control and pro-abortion legislation.
On Friday, she teased her announcement on her Facebook page.
“Monday is a very big day,” Chase said in the post. “I have an announcement to make ... that you wouldn’t want to miss.”
Chase said she was “tired of the failed leadership here in the General Assembly,” adding that Virginians “expect and deserve better.” Over the past couple of years, she has been feuding with Republican leaders in both the Senate and in her district over the direction of the party.
Chase has a major following among the GOP’s right-wing arm. She rode that support to victory four years ago, and despite being targeted by Democrats last year, she won re-election.
Search, her adviser, said Chase is beginning to garner support from pro-Second Amendment supporters in both parties who have noticed what he called the “socialistic” pattern of the Democratic majority in both General Assembly chambers.
If she chooses to run for governor in 2021, Chase will be the first announced Republican candidate. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax — someone Chase referred to as a “colleague” in defending him against claims of sexual assault last year — and Attorney General Mark Herring are expected to vie for their party’s nomination, but there has been growing support for several women in the legislature, as well as Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to consider a run.
If she chooses the congressional route, Chase would join a crowded field that includes state Dels. Nick Freitas and John McGuire, Christian non-profit director Tina Ramirez, and five others, according to the website Virginia Ballotpedia. The 7th, now represented by Democratic Rep. Abigail D. Spanberger, stretches from Culpeper County in north-central Virginia to northern Chesterfield County.
Should she not win the GOP nomination in any of the races, Chase would run as an independent, even though her adviser said she would not abandon her Republican ideology with a run like that.
“She is determined to see this through one way or the other,” Search said Saturday.
Bill Atkinson can be reached at 804-722-5167 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @BAtkinsonpi