According to The Post’s Laura Vozzella, Chase complained about the “liberal, socialistic agenda that has taken control of the Capitol” and she “can’t take it anymore.”
Not exactly Howard Beale. More along the lines of another Republican who, seeking to redeem a party he believed had left him behind, mounted an independent campaign for governor, just as Chase has promised to do if she’s denied the GOP nomination.
Yes, Chase, you’re a lot like former GOP senator and nearly forgotten gadfly Russ Potts.
For those who can’t remember or have tried to forget Potts, he ran as an “independent Republican” in the 2005 gubernatorial race, inserting himself between GOP nominee Jerry Kilgore and Democratic standard-bearer Tim Kaine.
There were plenty of dark rumors about why Potts decided to run, some more incredible than others.
But Potts told Chris Graham of the Augusta Free Press that he was running against the strident social conservatism and irresponsible anti-tax orthodoxy that had taken over the Virginia GOP.
He wanted to get the GOP “train back in the middle of the track of where you govern. And I believe in my heart that at the end of the day we’re going to have a major influence.”
Not exactly the Chase critique, which seems to suggest Capitol Square is morphing into Red Square, stoppable only with a populist counterrevolution.
Let’s also remember that Potts, unlike Chase, was an influential senator who chaired committees and shaped policy. Chase was kicked out of her local party unit and abandoned the GOP Senate caucus before she declared her gubernatorial run.
After Potts declared his independent gubernatorial candidacy, he was strongly criticized, of course, but retained his Senate posts. A move to strip those from him post-election failed.
So aside from a party label and a few other loose threads, how can these two be remotely alike, let alone pose a threat to a more mainstream GOP nominee?
Through their constituencies.
For Potts, it was the media — which was a more substantial thing back in 2005. The media loved him and his plans to spend big on transportation and education.
But that admiration didn’t translate into voter support. Before the election, The Post’s Marc Fisher wrote that the media affection for Potts wasn’t nearly enough to compete with well-financed, well-run, publicly popular campaigns.
Potts thought voters would prefer a guy who told it straight over a “totally orchestrated and scripted” campaign. He looked at our clogged roads and told Northern Virginians, “The only way you can ever fix this mess is with money, massive amounts of money."
The response was silence. We’re going shopping now. How 'bout them ’Skins? Where can I find cheaper gas?
Chase isn’t angling for more spending on roads or schools. She’s more of a Second Amendment fan with a Potts-like desire to tell it straight.
And unlike Potts, whose greatest contribution to the 2005 campaign was the infamous “We Want Potts” TV ad, Chase could run a campaign that appeals to portions of the GOP base who crave unapologetic, confrontational, off-color candidates — be it Chase, 2017 gubernatorial and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Corey A. Stewart or President Trump.
And if the Democrats win the presidency in November? Chase may be counting on it — and her own ability to paint whichever Democrat might sit in the Oval Office as a Lenin wannabe.
Potts finished a distant third in the 2005 race, pulling just 2.2 percent of the vote. Amanda Chase will probably do much better — maybe even rivaling Marshall Coleman, that other GOP spoiler-with-a-purpose.
Buckle-up Virginia. It’s going to be a long, bumpy gubernatorial campaign.