GOP Virginia state lawmaker announces gubernatorial run amid Democrats' gun reform push

GOP Virginia state lawmaker announces gubernatorial run amid Democrats' gun reform push
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Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase (R) announced on Monday that she is launching a 2021 campaign for governor, a move that comes as the Democratic-led legislature pushes forward a slate of gun control measures. 

Chase, who has represented Virginia's 11th District since 2016, said she felt compelled to run because of the "liberal, socialistic agenda that has taken control of the Capitol.” 

"I can't take it anymore," she said while speaking on the Capitol steps, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported. “As a humble servant to my district, Virginia and my country, I can no longer just continue to hold accountable the leadership and legislators that embrace the stripping of law-abiding citizens of their First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights and their constitutional freedoms. It’s just not enough. So I’m going to do something about it.”

Her announcement comes just months after Democrats won control of both the state Senate and General Assembly for the first time since 1994.

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Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam pledged to push forward a package of progressive legislation following the electoral triumph. The state House passed eight gun-control measures earlier this year, though a state Senate committee on Monday blocked a bill that would have prohibited assault-style weapons sales. 

Chase said Monday that she would seek the GOP governor nomination, but added that she would run as an independent if the state party selected a different candidate. 

The second-term lawmaker gained widespread attention in the Capitol last year after wearing a holstered .38 while on the Senate floor, The Washington Post reported. She's also become the source of controversy over other incidents, including reportedly arguing that certain rape victims were "naive" about their circumstances.

The Chesterfield County GOP in September removed Chase from the local party, though she remained the Republican nominee in her district in November's elections. Chase left the Senate Republican Caucus after state Sen. Tommy Norment was reelected as Republican leader. 

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Northam is term-limited from running for another term as governor in 2021.

Chase is the first Republican to announce a gubernatorial campaign to replace him.

Her announcement came in front of a crowd of more than 100 people, including many who were sporting “Guns Save Lives” stickers, the Post noted. The senator has been an outspoken advocate for Second Amendment rights, and she spoke at a guns rights rally in January that turned out thousands to the state capitol. 

"Looking forward to seeing [Chase] continue Virginia Republicans' perfect record of losing every statewide election for ten years running," the Virginia Democratic Party said in a statement