The Washington Post

Virginia’s top Republicans removed from party

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) has been removed from his local Republican committee in Virginia.

So have state officials Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and House Speaker Bill Howell from theirs.

Every Republican who endorsed Del. Bill Janis, the Republican turned independent who is running for the post of commonwealth’s attorney in Henrico County next month, is out.

The Republican Party of Virginia’s party plan says any Republican who supports a non-Republican in a contested race will be automatically removed from the rolls of his or her local committee, according to the state party’s executive director, Dave Rexrode.

They can be voted back in with a simple majority by their local committee, but for many that is not likely to happen until after the Nov. 8 elections.

Janis, who had been serving as the Republican whip in the House of Delegates, announced in August that he would not seek reelection.

Instead, he is is taking on the embattled Republican candidate for commonwealth’s attorney in Henrico County, Matthew Geary, whom party leaders abandoned after he admitted to an extramarital affair. A Democrat, Shannon Taylor, is also running.

Janis has lined up support from Virginia’s top Republicans, including Cantor, Cuccinelli, Bolling, Howell (Stafford), legislators — some on the ballot in November — and prominent GOP activists.

Many asked others to give money to him or have given him money themselves, including Cantor ($10,000), according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in politics.

A GOP activist recently sent a letter to local committees asking that any Republican supporters of Janis be removed from the committees. Rexrode said the removal was automatic and had already happened.

Noah Wall, Cuccinelli’s political director, acknowledged that Cuccinelli had been removed from the Prince William committee.

“He was automatically removed from the member rolls of the committee that he was a member of,” Wall said. “Ken can be voted back on the committee after the election.”

Randy Marcus, Bolling’s chief of staff, said Bolling had been removed from the Hanover committee.

“Lt. Gov. Bolling is proud to stand with Congressman Cantor, Attorney General Cuccinelli and every elected Republican in Henrico County in support of Bill Janis,” Marcus said. “Lt. Gov. Bolling endorsed Janis because he is the most qualified, capable candidate in the race, and it was the right thing to do.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has not weighed in on the race.


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