Following a year of unprecedented changes, the Republican Party will hold an unusual “unassembled convention” Saturday at 39 polling sites throughout the commonwealth.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., certified delegates from around the commonwealth will cast their votes for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Shenandoah County and Warren County delegates will vote at the Shenandoah Valley Fairgrounds in Woodstock.
“The delegates are ready to vote and start the beginning of the end of a nightmare of the last eight years,” said John Massoud, chairman of the Republican Party chairman for the 6th Congressional district, which includes Shenandoah, Warren and Page counties.
Fifty-three thousand delegates are registered across Virginia, making it the largest convention in U.S. history, Massoud said.
This year, there are 326 registered delegates for Shenandoah County and 221 delegates for Warren County, Massoud said Wednesday morning.
The convention will work by way of ranked-choice voting, which ensures that the eventual nominee receives at least 50 percent of the votes, Massoud said.
Delegates will rank the candidate they want the most as number one, their second choice as number two, their third choice as number three and so on, Massoud said.
If a candidate doesn’t receive at least 50% of votes, then another round of voting will begin. In this second round, the candidate who received the least amount of votes is removed.
The process continues for however many rounds needed until one candidate receives 50% of the vote, Massoud explained.
Results of the convention may not be known for days. Winners will be on the ballot in the Nov. 2 election.
The convention is run and funded by the party, Massoud said, versus a primary, which is run by the state. The cost to run the convention in the 6th Congressional District was not immediately available, Massoud said.
For this convention, potential delegates were cross-referenced with voting rolls to ensure anyone who voted as a Democrat in a previous primary could be vetted out, Massoud said.
Votes will be placed in bins, transported to Richmond and then counted with a representative from each candidate watching.
COVID-19 precautions will be in place, with designated voting areas and rope barriers. Delegates will be able to vote directly from their car if they prefer, Massoud said. Masks will be provided.
With the ranked-choice voting, delegates will be able to submit their entries and then go about their day as they please, instead of sticking around all day and voting each round, Massoud said. That helps with COVID-19 precautions, Massoud said.
Ranked-choice voting was used in 2020 state convention and the 7th Congressional District Convention. It worked well and produced a nominee quickly, Massoud added.
The seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor are: state senator Amanda Chase, state delegate and former Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Kirk Cox, former U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs Sergio de la Peña, former CEO of Center for European Policy Analysis Peter Doran, former Roanoke Sheriff Octavia Johnson, entrepreneur Pete Snyder and former co-CEO of The Carlyle Group Glenn Youngkin.
For lieutenant governor, the Republican candidates are consultant Puneet Ahluwalia, security company executive Lance Allen, state delegate Glenn Davis, former state delegate Tim Hugo, business executive Maeve Rigler and former state delegate Winsome Sears.
The four GOP candidates for attorney general are: Chesterfield County Supervisor Leslie Haley, state delegate Jason Miyares, former Virginia Beach Republican Party Chairman Chuck Smith and Jack White, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
A link with all voting locations is available at: https://virginia.gop/2021-locations/