WASHINGTON — Results from the Virginia primary cement the Virginia Republican Party as the party of Trump, voter suppression, and insurrectionists. Across the board, the GOP nominated dangerous antidemocratic candidates who threaten to roll back the clock on progress in the commonwealth. These candidates have embraced conspiracy theories and spread false information, putting their support for Trump over their support for democracy. The GOP’s overwhelming support for these candidates on Tuesday proves that far-right extremists are going to continue to be the face of the party.
“I’m not surprised that candidates who echo lies about election fraud and hold far-right views on issues from abortion rights to gun safety were most successful,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “The GOP has courted the votes of the far-right for years, and Tuesday’s primary results only demonstrate that these extremists have become the party’s mainstay. Today’s Republican Party is completely out of touch with Virginians, and we’re ready to make sure voters hold them accountable this November.”
The Virginia GOP’s extremist nominees include:
- Gina Ciarcia (HD-02) is an anti-choice activist who credited her opposition to a bill that would have expanded access to abortion as the inspiration for her entire political career.
- Wren Williams (HD-09) defeated a seven-term incumbent Republican, who he attacked for not speaking up about the imaginary fraud during the last election. Williams also represented Trump in post-election lawsuits.
- Nick Clemente (HD-10) is a longtime partisan Republican operative who has supported conspiracy theories about the results of the 2020 elections, pledging to support an audit of the settled presidential election. He’s also voiced support for anti-trans laws and measures that would defund Planned Parenthood.
- Jason Ballard (HD-12) strongly opposes commonsense gun safety regulations that passed over the past two years, arguing that the proposals were anti-Second Amendment. His comments come even as Americans have suffered from a wave of increased gun violence. Ballard is challenging Delegate Chris Hurst, a champion of gun safety legislation whose girlfriend was shot and killed on live TV.
- Christopher Stone (HD-13) is a former Trump Administration official who has continued to question the integrity of the 2020 election, despite the absence of any evidence of widespread fraud.
- Ben Baldwin (HD-31) is another Republican who has attacked our democracy. He supports measures to make it harder for Virginians to vote and has been fearmongering about voter fraud.
- Steve Pleickhardt (HD-50), a hard-core Trump enthusiast, described himself as a member of the America First movement and said Trump inspired his run for office. Among many other extremist positions, Pleickhardt opposes abortion in almost all circumstances.
- Tim Cox (HD-51) is an extreme social conservative who said transgender Americans who had received gender-affirming surgery were “gross and disgusting and unfit for service.” He also supports banning abortion and maintains that marriage is between a man and a woman. He’s even compared abortion to slavery. If all that wasn’t enough, he also downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 11,000 Virginians.
- Mike Earley, Jr. (HD-68) doesn’t even live in the district, so he moved in with his parents. He also failed to disclose his home in his statement of economic interest, which triggered a Virginia State Police investigation. Earley supports fetal personhood rights from the moment of conception and refused to clarify whether he believes in marriage equality.
- Christopher Holmes (HD-72) doesn’t believe in our founding democratic principles, supporting Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election and opposing measures that would expand access to the ballot box. He also posted dangerous anti-trans rhetoric on his Facebook page.
- Mary Margaret Kastelberg (HD-73) claimed to support more background checks in a campaign ad during her 2019 run for office, but she later walked it back saying that she does not actually support the policy.
- Michael Dillender (HD-76) supports a conspiracy-driven audit of the 2020 election and pledged to repeal Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
- Tim Anderson (HD-83) is a right-wing extremist who supports a wasteful audit of the 2020 election, dismisses minimum wage protections as a “sham,” and even represented radical Republican Amanda Chase in court after she was censured by the Virginia Senate.