Cox considering run for governor

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Chase, Morrissey respond to him joining race

On Aug. 3, state Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) announced that he was considering a run for governor. 

In making the announcement on Twitter, Cox criticized what he called a lack of leadership from Gov. Ralph Northam on “coronavirus testing, the parole board illegally and secretly releasing violent criminals early, [and]the mismanagement of how to best send our kids back to school this fall.” 

Cox said he will make a decision following the Nov. 3 general election. 

If he joins the race, Cox would be the second Republican candidate who represents Chesterfield County. State Sen. Amanda Chase announced a gubernatorial campaign in February. 

On Friday, Chase said Cox compromised with Democrats to pass a Medicaid expansion in 2018. It imposed a work requirement, which the Northam administration removed in December after the Democrats won control of both houses of the General Assembly in November. Nineteen Republicans in the House and four in the Senate voted for the measure. 

“I hoped he would join me in leading the fight against a Medicaid expansion,” Chase said of Cox. “I was shocked he didn’t fight it more. People want a fighter.” 

Chase said she’s been campaigning on weekends since she announced. She was scheduled to campaign with singer/songwriter/guitarist Ted Nugent in Chesterfield on Saturday, Aug. 8. Tickets were advertised on Chase’s Facebook page at $100 each or $1,000 for VIPs. 

She told the Village News earlier this year that she would run as an independent if the GOP chooses a nominating convention instead of a primary. Last week, Chase said she believes the party’s state central committee will choose a primary for next year’s race instead of a convention in light of COVID-19.

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan of Richmond and state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy — a Petersburg native who represents Prince William and Stafford counties — have announced campaigns for governor this year. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring previously said they plan on running. In addition, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe “has told a lot of people” that he’s running, state Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) said. McAuliffe is well known and is a top fundraiser but isn’t a “slam dunk” for the nomination, Morrissey said. 

Morrissey hasn’t endorsed a candidate, but said he’s always held Cox in high regard, calling him “a real statesman who never got too emotional and was always fair to me.” 

“I like Amanda. I like Kirk,” Morrissey said. “They will likely compete for a lot of the same votes.” 

He speculated that Charlottesville businessman Pete Snyder will also run. Snyder ran for the Republican Party’s lieutenant governor nomination in 2013, but lost to E.W. Jackson at a convention in May of that year. 

Morrissey said he is supporting state Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) for attorney general. Jones, son of former delegate Jerrauld Jones, is running against Henrico commonwealth’s attorney Shannon Taylor. 

“He’s very bright, extremely hard working, knowledgeable, and right on the issues,” Morrissey said of Jones.  


Special session

In light of the special Aug. 18 session called by Northam to address the budget, criminal justice and police reform, Morrissey touted a couple of his bills. 

One would allow jury trials for defendants but give them the option of having a judge render sentencing if convicted. Forty-four states allow this, Morrissey said. 

Another bill that Morrissey is sponsoring would ban law enforcement from using “chokeholds” or applying artery pressure.

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