ROANOKE — The Virginia Board of Elections voted Tuesday to allow several candidates running for Congress — including Republican Bob Good — the ability to have their names appear on the November ballot despite them failing to file paperwork on time.
The board granted an extension to all eight candidates — seven of whom are Republicans — on a vote of 2-1. Board Chairman Bob Brink reluctantly voted to accept the late candidate paperwork, saying the board was “forced to give a pass to the scofflaws at the expense of the candidates who followed the rules.”
Some of the candidates’ confusion seemed to stem from their misunderstanding about the deadline to file their candidate qualification paperwork, which is a short form asking questions like whether the candidate is a U.S. citizen and over the age of 18.
The state code says the deadline to file this paperwork is the second Tuesday in June. Virginia’s primaries for the November election are generally held on the second Tuesday in June.
Gov. Ralph Northam extended the June primaries by two weeks out of concern for the coronavirus pandemic. However, the deadline to file the paperwork stayed the same.
The filing flub was especially embarrassing for Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, who made the same mistake last year and was forced to run a write-in campaign to maintain his seat in the House of Delegates.
Good apologized for the inconvenience caused by him not sending his paperwork on time, but asked that the board grant him an extension to respect the will of the voters who chose him over Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Nelson. Good defeated Riggleman last month at an unusual and controversial drive-thru convention hosted at a church near Good’s home.
Good is facing Democrat Cameron Webb for the open 5th Congressional District seat in Central Virginia in what is shaping up to be a competitive race.
Good, who describes himself as a “biblical conservative,” criticized Riggleman for not being strict enough on abortion and immigration issues. Good’s supporters also were upset Riggleman officiated a same-sex marriage.
Good has spent the past few weeks meeting with Republicans around the district. Meanwhile, Riggleman’s campaign has said he won’t support Good’s candidacy, and there are Riggleman supporters saying they don’t plan to vote for Good.
After Webb’s sweeping win in the Democratic primary last month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is focusing money and resources on helping Webb to flip the seat that stretches from Fauquier County to the North Carolina border and includes most of the Charlottesville area.
The DCCC wrote to the Board of Elections urging it not to grant an extension to Good, arguing the coronavirus shouldn’t be blamed for him missing his filing deadline.
“The filing deadline was clear and unequivocal, and neither the Republican Party nor Mr. Good have provided any legitimate reason why the Board should extend the deadline at this point,” the law firm PerkinsCoie wrote on behalf of the DCCC.