Virginia Republicans announced Tuesday night that they will scrap plans to require voters to pledge support for the party’s eventual nominee at the presidential primary March 6.
Pat Mullins, party chairman, wrote on his Facebook page that he had informed the State Board of Elections that he will rescind the “loyalty oath” after informally polling the state GOP’s governing board .
“We welcome all newcomers like these to our party with open arms as we build a coalition to bring our Country back to greatness once again,’’ he wrote.
Late last month, the State Board of Elections approved the “loyalty oath,” a form for primary voters that would say: “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”
But since then the state GOP has received a slew of criticism. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) opposed the move as well.
In Virginia, voters do not register by party, raising the possibility that Democrats could vote in the GOP primary,.
Only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) will be on the Virginia primary ballot. The others did not submit the signatures needed to qualify.
The party’s State Central Committee will formally approve the change Saturday.