RICHMOND—State Sen. Amanda Chase, a Trump-style Republican at odds with both parties in Richmond, announced on Monday that she will run for governor next year as a Republican—and failing that, as an independent.
“I can’t take it anymore,” Chase, of Chesterfield, said referring to “the liberal, socialistic agenda that has taken control of the Capitol.”
She said she would seek the GOP nomination but would pursue an independent bid if the party denies her the nod.
Chase, 50, made the announcement on the sunny South Portico of the state Capitol before a cheering crowd of more than 100 supporters, many wearing orange “Guns Save Lives” stickers.
Chase first gained attention last year for wearing a holstered .38 special on her hip on the Senate floor. Then came a string of controversies, including cursing at a Capitol Police officer over a parking spot, calling the Senate clerk “Miss Piggy” and declaring rape victims to be “naive and unprepared.
The episodes led to her ouster from her local GOP committee and alienated Chase from Senate GOP leadership, which called her a threat to its efforts to keep its majority in the chamber in November elections.
But Chase—who embraced the criticism as a proof of fearless, politically incorrect straight talk—easily won a second term and has continued to infuriate Republicans and Democrats alike. She quit the GOP caucus. She’s been stripped of all but one committee assignment—the Local Government panel.
After winning a second Senate term last year, Chase said she planned to run for governor in 2025. But she has decided not to wait, according to conservative radio host John Fredericks, who said Chase told him she plans to run for governor in November 2021.
Chase is the first Republican to formally enter the race to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat who by law cannot seek back-to-back terms. Pete Snyder, a northern Virginia technology entrepreneur, has been publicly considering a bid. Republicans have not won a statewide race since 2009.
Far more Democrats have expressed an interest in running, including former governor Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Mark Herring, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan of Richmond, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy of Prince William, and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.
Chase has been one of the Senate’s most vocal advocates for gun rights. When a joint House-Senate committee voted this year to bar lawmakers and the public from bringing firearms into the Capitol, she hinted that she would buck the rule by stowing her gun in her purse. As a lawmaker, Chase is not screened when entering the building.
As other suburban Republicans stuck to “kitchen table” issues during pivotal legislative races last year, Chase played up her staunch support for President Donald Trump and gun rights and her fierce opposition to abortion.