Republicans try to pull a fast one, renominate delegate who withdrew from race
By Keya Vakil
July 25, 2019

A Republican committee voted unanimously this week to renominate Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) as a candidate for the House of Delegates just days after Freitas informed state election officials that he was dropping out of the race.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Freitas had missed campaign filing deadlines and faced potential disqualification from the ballot by the State Board of Elections. He opted to withdraw instead, allowing Republicans the chance to take advantage of a measure in Virginia state law that allows parties to replace a nominee who withdraws or dies. 

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the law also says that no candidate who is “disqualified” for failure to file paperwork can be renominated.

Freitas’ withdrawal and renomination highlight an attempt by Republicans to circumvent the filing issues. It’s unclear if the State Board of Elections will approve his nomination, or if they’ll see the maneuver for what it is and reject his nomination. 

Bruce Kay, the chairman of the Republicans’ 30th District Legislative District Committee, told the Times-Dispatch that he expects the state to accept Freitas’ new nomination. “They have no reason not to. We followed all the procedures laid out by the state and the [Republican Party of Virginia],” Kay said.

Freitas responded to the news in a Facebook post.[0]=68.ARAkfYyvLacupkLihEB0GBg8_Pa9uR248ubw7A3fs4gh2-voPDpRrVgLp-VXzxc-PMcfWE-DfJVXv6a4d9xc7daxQLlXN4Iih4DU9hH4psFI8mpedvLigMPcKCKmEqGTWRNiKWN06TuPpYbMpbov3wHGMe9mY-Ev8kFbT_yAIUDjVkSn6pB-xhS3P9jz4JIw5lNPRkA-GSnsq45sKv85LOdQSOBKkQMfGF436EXYb2Hn_Duje2o9plfFC_E0SZsMQB8YAFM5-3nd6voi9zuyNp4j3AlNp0sw4uv3uHNgVRKA0PcbFCX61f5rvCSVSBLhFZaa26QGLKm2bs0TZb1q0g&__tn__=-R

If the Board rejects his nomination, Freitas could challenge the decision in court or run a write-in campaign. If they accept his nomination and it withstands any potential court challenges, Freitas would face off against Democrat Ann Ridgeway come November.

Ridgeway, a native Virginian and lifelong Democrat, is running on a platform that includes improving public education, increasing teacher pay, increasing funding for mental health services and protecting women’s access to safe reproductive healthcare. 

Freitas made waves this year for suggesting “the abortion industry” could be a cause of mass shootings and accused Democrats of being the historical party of slavery and Jim Crow.

In recent weeks, he also took to Twitter to reiterate his anti-choice stance and attack Planned Parenthood.

The 30th district is safely Republican and Freitas coasted to victory in 2017, but should he be rejected from the ballot, it could give Democrats a chance to pick up a critical seat in November, when all 140 seats of the General Assembly are up for grabs.

Photo © Gage Skidmore

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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