WINCHESTER — Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Boyce, on Friday publicly called for 33rd District Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, to resign, accusing the Republican of encouraging the violent siege at the U.S. Capitol and condemning him for spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

On Jan. 6, thousands of President Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, interrupting a joint session of Congress to count the Electoral College’s votes to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November presidential election. The siege led to the deaths of four civilians and one police officer. The siege occurred after thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington to protest Biden’s win and support Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.

LaRock, who represents parts of Frederick, Clarke and Loudoun counties, has attended various “Stop the Steal” rallies and has supported Trump’s claims of voter fraud. LaRock has said he took part in the Jan. 6 protest in D.C., telling The Winchester Star last week he was honored to “walk among the hundreds of thousands of patriots who traveled from far and wide to peacefully protest the 2020 election.”

He also joined two other Virginia delegates — Mark Cole and Ronnie Campbell — last week in signing a letter urging Vice President Mike Pence to nullify Virginia’s certified election results. LaRock’s actions have sparked much controversy the past few days.

Gooditis on Friday said the public letter was a blatant effort to overturn the results of a legitimate election and contributed to the false and dangerous rhetoric that incited the violence in Washington, D.C. She said LaRock and the other delegates spread lies and were hoping to deny the peoples’ voice by urging the overturning of a presidential election.

“Their actions undermine the oaths they took to uphold the United States and Virginia constitutions and protect our democracy,” Gooditis said. “ I call on them to resign and make way for successors who can more honestly and patriotically represent their constituents.”

As a result of the letter, Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) stripped LaRock, Cole and Campbell of committee assignments, with LaRock being removed from the Transportation Committee.

Gooditis said her view of LaRock was further lowered by LaRock’s “derogatory racist term.” Early last week, after growing pressure to be removed from office, LaRock attacked his critics on his campaign website for not focusing on “the needs of the colored community.” The remark drew widespread criticism and LaRock later replaced the word “colored” with “minorities” on his website.

In the past week, LaRock has faced calls to resign from the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, the Clarke County Democratic Committee and the Winchester-Frederick County Democratic Committee, as well as two Loudoun County supervisors and the Loudoun County NAACP and the Winchester Area NAACP. He also is facing four misdemeanor charges including trespassing and destroying a posted sign. LaRock is scheduled to appear in the Loudoun General District Court on March 25. LaRock’s attorney Caleb Kershner has called the misdemeanor charges “baseless.”

Publicly, LaRock has said “I condemn in the strongest possible terms those who forced entry into the Capitol, destroyed property, disrupted the meeting of Congress, and caused injuries and a death.” He has defended the majority of the protesters as being peaceful and stated on his campaign website that “It is highly likely that reports of people who had the audacity to forcefully enter the Capitol building were paid provocateurs sent in to taint an otherwise orderly protest.”

Many right-wing politicians have made claims that paid provocateurs and groups such as left-wing antifa were behind Wednesday’s insurrection at the Capitol, but there has been no evidence for these claims.

The Winchester Star asked LaRock if he had any response to Gooditis’ statements and also asked if he entered the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 siege. LaRock chose not to answer the questions.

“Tempting as it is, I am too busy with important work to keep track of the Democrats as they conduct their witch hunt at the local state and federal level,” LaRock said in a text.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com