Second-term senator says she may run as an independent
She was first out of the gate.
Chesterfield County’s second-term state senator announced a run for governor in 2021 on Presidents Day, Feb. 17, and was the first person to do so.
Sen. Amanda Chase, a Republican who decided not to caucus with her party this year due to reservations about Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment of Williamsburg, had earlier said she planned to run in 2025. She decided to move forward with the campaign four years early because some constituents asked her to do so.
Chase has been relegated to sit on one committee this session and none of her bills advanced in the Senate.
In a Feb. 20 Facebook post, Chase said she will likely run as an independent next year if the GOP chooses a nominating convention. Chase said she doesn’t trust Republican conventions. “If it is, I will probably run as an independent because I’ve seen too many shenanigans (at conventions),” she said.
Chase said that a candidate can’t run for the Republican nomination at a convention, lose and then run as an independent in the general election. Parties typically have more control over party conventions than primaries, where anyone can vote since Virginia doesn’t register voters by party.
Although she is generally conservative, Chase has worked across the aisle on a bipartisan basis, including a coal ash remedy and live streaming legislative committee sessions and recording subcommittee votes. She has received ratings as high as 78 percent from the Sierra Club (2018) and 73 percent from the AFL-CIO (2017), which could attract independent voters in a three-way race for governor.
The state should be prioritizing pay for teachers and law enforcement, she said in a Feb. 21 Facebook post, noting that Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Springfield, and Democrats rejected a move to give sheriff’s deputies a 3-percent raise this year instead of next year.
Chase said she plans on conducting listening tours across the state during her campaign. Presumably those would start after the conclusion of the current session, which is scheduled to finish Saturday, March 7.
Chase, 50, noted that she is a businessperson and a fiscal conservative who has a degree in finance from Virginia Tech. “The budget concerns me,” she said, noting that spending continues to creep up every year.
The Monacan High School graduate won a three-way race for the Republican nomination in 2015, defeating 24-year incumbent Stephen Martin and challenger Barry Moore in a primary. Shen then defeated E. Wayne Powell by 27.3 percentage points in the general election that year and was re-elected last November by 10.3 percentage points over Amanda Pohl in Senate District 11, which includes most of Chesterfield County, along with Amelia County and Colonial Heights.