In the Nomination for Attorney General, Buyer Beware
Chuck Smith is a relative unknown outside his home region of Hampton Roads. He gives a solid speech, and may have the attention of some folks who now find themselves considering the possibility of supporting criminal defense lawyer turned wannabe “law and order” candidate Chuck Smith for Attorney General. However, for anyone who has seen Chuck Smith’s track record up close for years, the message to voters in other parts of Virginia is simple: “Buyer Beware”
Now, it’s no secret that the GOP’s statewide losing streak in Virginia reaches back over a decade. In the meantime, we’ve seen Attorney General Herring ignore the rule of law, refuse to defend various laws passed by the General Assembly, and turn his office into a progressive think tank.
Virginia Republicans have limited viable choices that can go head-to-head with Herring in the race for Attorney General and win. At first glance, Chuck Smith may look like the type of candidate they should consider. After all, he’s a former JAG corps officer and an experienced attorney. While his military service worthy of respect and he has relevant experience as a lawyer, he’s actually the type of candidate Virginia Republicans must avoid, and for good reason: he can’t win. If you don’t believe me, believe these facts.
Chuck Smith has run four separate times for different political offices and has lost every single time.
(1) His attempted 2nd District Congressional campaign fizzled.
(2) He also ran for Congress next door in the 3rd District and missed the signature filing deadline.
(3) When his 3rd district congressional campaign didn’t work out, he ran for Virginia Beach City Council as an independent. He finished in fourth place … out of four candidates.
(4) Finally, Smith ran for Attorney General in 2017. Well, he tried to run. His petition woes from 2012 repeated themselves and he didn’t get enough valid signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. You have to wonder how many of the petition signatures he did manage to turn in were even valid at that point. As a matter of fact, he might want to double check his delegate list ahead of the upcoming convention.
To be fair, Chuck Smith did win once: He served as the Virginia Beach GOP Chairman from 2006-2008 after he won a race in which he was unopposed.
What is Chuck Smith’s campaign slogan? Fifth time’s the charm? This is not the track record of winning that we need to win back the Attorney General’s office. Furthermore, the Attorney General of Virginia is often called “Virginia’s Top Cop.” How can Chuck Smith, as a criminal defense lawyer, campaign against the progressive, out of control Virginia Parole Board for releasing violent offenders when he’s spent a substantial part of his career representing the same kinds of criminals?
Questions about Smith’s record as a candidate aside, he has also chosen to align himself with a faction of the Republican Party that would sooner burn the whole thing to the ground than actually move into the future and try to win elections. Chuck Smith is an unwavering supporter of State Senator Amanda Chase (Q-Chesterfield). When he endorsed Chase’s 2021 bid for governor, Chuck Smith said he “came away convinced that she has the qualities and courage to be elected Virginia’s next Governor.”
There is zero doubt that nominating Amanda Chase for Governor would cost the Republicans the Governor’s race while sinking the nominee for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. It would further ensure the House of Delegates remains in Democrat control. This endorsement definitely calls into question Chuck Smith’s political judgement.
Chuck Smith also appeared at a rally with Amanda Chase. Indeed, Chuck Smith wasn’t Amanda Chase’s only friend at this event. The QAnon flag showed up that day. While Chuck Smith does not appear in the linked photograph with Chase and the QAnon flag, his total endorsement of Chase speaks loudly enough. As candidates from the nominee for Governor to everybody running for seats in the House of Delegates should be focusing on the incompetent administration in Richmond, the media and the Democrats would be handed the perfect issue to make the entire Republican ticket look unhinged.
In short, Chuck Smith has lost every time he’s run for office. Indeed, 2012 and 2017 show that this guy is incapable of meeting the most basic candidate filing deadlines. He wholeheartedly supports the one candidate for Governor who not only can’t win the General Election, but who would nuke the entire ticket down to the proverbial Dog Catcher.
Chuck Smith may deliver a show-stopping speech full of some good one liners that bring down the house. But when you look beyond his words to his record, you see that Chuck Smith as a candidate will lose and take the Virginia GOP ticket with him. Nominating Chuck Smith will allow the Democrats to continue their stranglehold on the Office of Attorney General while placing the House of Delegates races in jeopardy in an election cycle where the Virginia GOP can least afford it.
So to all those “impressed” by Chuck Smith, my advice is yet again: “Buyer Beware.”