Conservative Virginia senator breaks away from Senate Republican Caucus over leadership

A conservative Virginia senator, Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, says she is formally breaking away from the Senate Republican caucus over disputes with leadership, including new caucus leader Tommy Norment, R-James City.

Chase made her announcement shortly after Senate Republicans voted to keep Norment as the caucus leader. She said that she opposes his leadership because Republicans failed to hold onto a majority in the Senate under his leadership, among other reasons.

“If we continue down the same path under the same leadership it will not be good for the Commonwealth, as it has just been proven by a complete party flip with the Senate, House and a Governor who advocates for abortion at birth,” Chase said in a statement posted to Facebook. “I vote for and will continue leading the charge for your Constitutional freedoms, Conservative values and Prosperity in our Commonwealth.”

Chase said that she will remain a Republican, but breaking from the caucus removes herself from Norment’s leadership.

In response to Chase’s decision, Norment said in a statement that the Republican Caucus is disappointed that she will not caucus with the party.

“While we respect her right to make this decision, the people of Amelia, Chesterfield, and Colonial Heights voted to be represented by a Republican in the Senate,” Norment said. “Now, they will not be.”

“Senator Chase fully participated in the Caucus leadership elections held yesterday,” Norment continued. “She was given every opportunity to voice any concerns she may have had and to nominate any candidates for leadership she might have preferred, herself included. She neither nominated any candidate nor proposed any candidate for any leadership position.”

In a video response posted to Facebook, Chase disputed Norment’s statements, saying that she will still be a Republican and that she did nominate someone else for caucus leader. She said that she nominated Sen. Steve Newman, R-Forest.

This is not the first time that Chase picked a fight with Republican leadership. She was kicked out of Chesterfield County Republican Party after supporting an independent candidate against Republican Sheriff Karl Leonard.

Chase said that she could not support Leonard, alleging that he did not fully cooperate with immigration laws. She cited a study by the Center for Immigration Studies that claims Chesterfield County does not fully participate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

*story by InsideNoVa