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After infighting, Virginia GOP finalizes nomination process

March 13, 2021 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — After months of infighting, the Republican Party of Virginia has agreed to choose its nominees for this year’s statewide contests by allowing convention delegates to vote at more than three dozens sites around the state.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the compromise was agreed to Friday by factions of the party’s State Central Committee. It would allow the party to nominate its candidates on May 8 by using the multiple voting locations for a convention.

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The GOP had opted for a convention rather than a state-run primary to nominate candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. But because of COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, many Republicans worried that an in-person convention wouldn’t be possible and that the State Central Committee would end up selecting nominees, instead of voters.

Last month, the committee approved a “drive-in convention” on the campus of Liberty University. But the next day, the university said that an agreement had not been reached. State GOP Chairman Rich Anderson said last week that bringing up to 4,000 automobiles and 70 buses to a single location wouldn’t be possible.

The compromise came after former GOP governors and local party chairs called on the GOP to stop bickering and show some leadership. The party that hasn’t won a statewide Virginia race since 2009.

Nate Boyer, a member of the committee, said many people worked on the plan to allow voting locations around the state.

“This current plan, whatever imperfections it may have, serves the people that we represent — the base of our party — better than anything else that’s on the table,” he said.

Voting sites will be announced next month for the May 8 convention. The general election will be held on Nov. 2.

The Democratic Party of Virginia said the GOP “has failed to execute the most basic party functions.”

“No matter how they decide to run their so-called ‘convention,’ the candidates are mired in a brutal, chaotic race to the far right,” spokesman Manuel Bonder said in a statement.