Trump Effect: How his investigations will play into Virginia politics

Lots of hot button issues will be on the ballot this fall with every single seat inside the Virginia Statehouse up for grabs. But, a former president and his in
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 3:25 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Lots of hot-button issues will be on the ballot this fall, with every seat inside the Virginia Statehouse up for grabs. But, a former president and his investigations could be a significant thorn for state Republicans.

“We’ll see how it goes. It’s too early to say, but I think for some of the Republicans who are in competitive districts, Donald Trump is going to be quite a stone around their necks,” said Larry Sabato, UVa Center for Politics.

However, that does not deter state Senator Amanda Chase and her support for the former president.

“I believe in equal treatment under the law, no exceptions, but what we’ve seen is clearly a political weaponization of our criminal justice system, and that’s what’s going on here,” said Sen. Amanda Chase, (R) 11th District.

President Donald Trump lost Virginia by a landslide in both presidential elections. And don’t forget, Virginia put a Republican in the governor’s mansion in 2022.

President Joe Biden’s unpopularity, at the national level and here in the commonwealth, got Glenn Youngkin elected over rival Terry McAuliffe.

“The short-term effect for Trump has been very positive. He’s had all kinds of senior Republicans, including our Governor Youngkin, rally around him and say great things about Trump and terrible things about that liberal Manhattan DA,” said Sabato.

The political analyst says statewide redistricting has carved out several competitive statehouse races for this year’s upcoming fall elections, and that’s where you will see Trump’s influence unfold.

Some of those races are in northern Virginia, but there are plenty in the suburbs around Richmond. Senator Chase says she will run on her record this fall for the newly redrawn District 12.

“I will continue to support President Trump as he runs for reelection. I believe his policies are good for America,” said State Sen. Chase.

Nationally, Sabato says more legal woes could also be on the horizon for the former president.

There’s the investigation into 2020 election interference in Georgia, Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and an FBI raid over classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

Virginia Democrats are shying away from discussing today’s events and Trump’s impact on fall elections.