Tareq Salahi, the vintner and White House party crasher running as a Republican for Virginia governor, is refusing to sign a pledge to support all of the party’s 2013 nominees — a stance that could prevent his participation in the GOP convention and lead to an independent bid.
Salahi met Friday with state GOP Chairman Pat Mullins, who presented Salahi with the candidate form he has to file by Jan. 14 if he wants to compete in the party’s May 18 nominating convention. In addition to declaring himself a candidate, the form requires each office-seeker to “hereby state my intent to support all of the Nominees of the Republican Party.”
Salahi’s Republican rival, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, is heavily favored to win the convention. They are running to succeed term-limited Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe is unopposed for his party’s nomination.
“I’m not going to support the nominee” if it is Cuccinelli, Salahi said in an interview after their meeting.
Salahi said his “intention right now” is to remain in the race for the GOP nomination. He said he might simply cross out the line on the form that refers to supporting GOP nominees, submit it with his $25,000 filing fee and see what happens.
“I think if I line out the part that says, ‘I’m going to support whoever,’ and I put a $25,000 check, I’m not too sure, you know, what they’re gonna do,” Salahi said.
If he is shut out of the party convention, Salahi said he will still seek the governor’s office. He noted that his name will be on the general election ballot so long as he collects the required 10,000 signatures.
“Then I won’t be running technically as under the Republican Party of Virginia,” he said. “I’m still going to say I’m a Republican. My TV spots are still going to say I’m a Republican.”
Garren Shipley, spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia, confirmed that the meeting took place and provided a copy of the form, but otherwise declined to comment.
Noah Wall, Cuccinelli’s political director, also declined to comment.