Peace, Wyatt intend to make their cases before state committee Saturday

Staff writer

The Chris Peace and Scott Wyatt camps will appear before the GOP state central committee Saturday, hoping the body will throw its support behind their candidates’ opposing claims to the GOP nomination for the 97th District race.

Del. Peace, the incumbent, and Wyatt, a Hanover Supervisor, have been embroiled in a contentious political struggle for the Republican nomination to run as the party’s general election candidate for the 97th District seat in November. In appealing to the state central committee, both hope to sway those top state GOP officials to see things their way.

“This is the only time we can show Republican leaders from across Virginia that it is time to stop this attempt to hijack our election,” Peace said in an email to supporters Thursday afternoon. Peace encouraged supporters to attend the meeting in Richmond as a show of support for his bid.

In the email, Peace characterized the meeting as the place where the committee “will discuss whether Chris Peace or Scott Wyatt is the Republican nominee.”

The public notice of the meeting doesn’t obviously state that discussion is on the docket, though both the Peace and Wyatt camps seem intent on showing up to argue why their respective candidate should be the nominee.

Jeff Adams, an attorney with the Wyatt campaign, said they too will be there. He said a recent ruling by the 1st Congressional District Committee to declare the disputed May 4 convention, which Wyatt won, the legitimate means of picking a nominee still stands.

"The First District Committee ruled that the convention was the legitimate method of nomination for the District, and that Scott Wyatt is the Republican nominee. That ruling has not been appealed, much less overruled, and remains the party's final and definitive word," Adams said in an email.

The 1st District has appellate power over the 97th Legislative District Committee, which chose to hold, then voted to cancel, the May 4 convention. When the committee canceled the convention just days before the event, it also voted to hold a party canvass, or party-run primary, on June 1. Peace declared victory in that disputed canvass.

The 1st District and the state central committee’s executive committee voted to affirm Wyatt as the Republican nominee in May.

The state board of elections has received election results for both the convention and the canvass, and is waiting on the party to reveal who the Republican nominee is.

“Because nominating candidates is a function of a political party, the Department asks the appropriate party to clarify and provide the name of the nominee,” Virginia Department of Elections spokeswoman Andrea Gaines said in an email.

State Central Committee meeting

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, June 22.

Where: Richmond Convention Center, 403 N 3rd St., Richmond.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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