The Wyatt campaigns’ actions in the 97th District are a blueprint for continued Republican electoral defeat in Virginia (as if we haven’t already had enough of those in recent years).
The race for the Republican nomination for House of Delegates in the 97th District has been a hot mess from the get-go. Sitting Delegate Chris Peace invited a challenge on his right after backing Medicaid expansion in 2018 in the Virginia General Assembly — a betrayal to some in the district who had hoped Republicans would continue to stand strong in the face of huge Republican electoral losses in the 2017 elections.
Unfortunately for the 97th District, the challenge to Chris Peace has been driven by the same people and consultants who have routinely tilted at the windmills in an effort to beat Republicans with scorched-earth strategies that instead leave the Party weak, the race a laughingstock (and fodder for Democrats) and the values of the people unrepresented.
Wednesday night’s email from the Scott Wyatt campaign is the latest example of the misinformation and outright lies that these interests will go, to in an effort to scrape out any amount of power and influence, or die trying.
The email (subject line: What is Chris Peace Up To?) opens with a swipe about a Chris Peace fundraiser being held that evening, complete with a MAP to the event’s location – a wink and a nod to Wyatt’s supporters on where to show up and harass the Peace campaign.
The email then continues with an often repeated lie by the Wyatt campaign and its supporters that “special interests” are Peace’s number one contributor, an accusation that utilizes a screenshot that supposedly supports their assertion. Except the screenshot doesn’t show gifts from special interests — it’s actually a list of the industries who Peace’s donors are employed by, both group and individual. In an attempt to take a swipe at health care interests, the Wyatt campaign instead attacks doctors, nurses, physical therapists, nurses, dentists, and all levels of employees in the health care industry.
But see, the Wyatt campaign doesn’t expect you to know that about how to read donor records, or care to look it up. He just wants you to believe his screenshot because it fits his narrative at the moment. So here — you can read the “donors by occupation” record for yourself. 
Actually, in the spirit of “read it for yourself,” here’s the Wyatt email. Go ahead and read it through, because it gets worse.
Dear Friend,Tonight Chris Peace is holding a fund raiser in a ritzy part of Richmond sponsored by large hospital lobbyists.These special interests have directly benefited to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars they will receive in extra revenue because Chris Peace voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia just 12 months ago. You see, while Medicaid Expansion will cost billions of dollars to taxpayers across Virginia, hospitals reap the benefits and then pass along the costs. (emphasis original)
Because Chris Peace was one of their biggest champions in expanding Medicaid in 2018, they are showing their gratitude by hosting a high-dollar fundraiser for him tonight.Indeed, this fund raiser tonight is in addition to the fact these special interests are already his number one contributor by almost 2 to 1 over any other industry sector. They know he’ll continue to support their interests at our expense so they are working to get him re-elected.Click here to see more:
His vote was opposed by Republicans and conservatives but in spite of this he went back on previous campaign promises to give Democrats their number one legislative priority of 2018.Sadly, this event tonight shows how he continues to be so out of touch with voters in his district.So why is Chris Peace holding this fundraiser when he was beaten at the convention on May 4? Because we believe he is setting himself up to run as Democrat-backed Independent for the General Election, as he knows he has now lost the Republican nomination.Otherwise, why would he be raising so much special interest money?In order to fight back I need the help of the voters who care about our district.It now appears I have to raise money for a contested General Election sooner than I realized, so it is urgent to raise money quickly.Can you help with a donation of $200, $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford?
Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. I’ve been working hard to defeat Chris Peace for many months. I will not give in to the dirty tactics that my opponent has used to obstruct this race while he wines and dines with wealthy elites on River Road.
Republican Nominee, 97th District
PS. Tonight Chris Peace is raising special interest money from the very industry that most benefits from his Medicaid expansion vote. Will you help me fight back with a contribution of $200, $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford?
So you see, not to be out done by posting maps of the fundraiser and erroneous information about Peace’s donors, the Wyatt campaign then goes off into complete fantasy:
“…we believe he is setting himself up to run as Democrat-backed Independent for the General Election, as he knows he has now lost the Republican nomination.”
This statement is a slap to the face of voters in the 97th district.
– It’s an effort to INTIMIDATE and SUPPRESS turnout in the June 1st Firehouse Primary that will select the nominee for the 97th District by suggesting Peace has already lost the nomination.
– It’s accusing the Peace camp of pursuing an ILLEGAL campaign. Virginia has a “sore loser” law that prohibits candidates who lose a party’s nomination process from running in the general election.
The Wyatt campaign’s messaging is not one of confidence of ideas.
The entire campaign has lived up to the same blueprint used by the same consultants and interests that have routinely run and lost these campaigns across Virginia: manipulation of party process, underhanded campaign tactics, direct personal intimidation, and outright lies to try and manipulate and mislead voters.
In face, just this morning, Wyatt posted on his Facebook page  that the 1st Congressional District ruled in favor of his appeal and declared him the nominee.
Do you know what he conveniently left out this morning? The fact that RPV ruled on May 21 (two days ago) that, under the Party Plan, the 97ths LDC’s actions were not properly before that 1st District Committee (the one which voted to declare Wyatt the nominee), so therefore the original appeal to the 97th LDC is still before the 97th LDC.
The ruling, which you can find here,  restates Article X of the Party Plan verbatim regarding the appeals process. It is also rehashing the same issue that happened four years ago. Here — you can read an excerpt from a 2015 General Counsel  opinion covering the contest/appeals process:
From the appeal you submitted, it appears that the Winchester Republican Committee has not considered any of the actions taken at the June 18 meeting in the form of a contest as contemplated in the Party Plan. In order to consider a contest, the Unit Committee must consider an appropriate motion to resolve the controversy or contest. Once the Committee has considered and acted upon such a motion, it would then be appropriate to lodge an appeal with the Congressional District Committee.
Additionally, two other emails were sent out prior to the 1st District meeting on Monday’s meeting reinforcing the language in the Party Plan regarding appeals. One was sent from the Party’s legal counsel on May 10th. Another was sent by RPV on May 14th. But Wyatt doesn’t tell you that.
He also doesn’t tell you that RPV checked their archives to see if there were any records regarding any committee (either the SCC or a Congressional District committee) which heard an appeal of contest while it was still before a Legislative District Committee, the situation we are in now in the 97th. There were no examples.
Who else is tired of this? This continued infighting doesn’t make the party stronger. It creates chaos and confusion. It’s a purposeful effort to drive down participation to only a handful of activists who are banking on the the average voter to not know about process, procedure, or Party rules, who scramble to get their narrative out even if it’s not grounded in truth.
This is why we are fractured.
This is why we keep losing.
Voters in the 97th District have a valid issue with Delegate Chris Peace’s Medicaid vote. But they also deserve better than Scott Wyatt and his campaign tactics.