RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Senate voted 24-9 to censure state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) following a long debate Wednesday over her past conduct and statements, including comments she specifically made in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
A vote on a substitute resolution was expected Tuesday but after a tearful revelation from Chase on the Senate floor, outspoken critics of the senator agreed to delay the vote to give her additional time.
The substitute filed Tuesday morning cited Chase’s response to the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, statements she made falsely claiming the presidential election was stolen.
“The inflammatory statements and actions of Senator Amanda F. Chase during her tenure in the Senate of Virginia have created and aggravated tensions, misled constituents and citizens, and obstructed the Senate’s business in service of the Commonwealth, and such behavior constitutes a failure to uphold her oath of office, misuse of office, and conduct unbecoming of a Senator and, collectively, has caused a material effect upon the conduct of her office,” the substitute reads.
Three Republican senators approved the measure, nine others voted against it and six GOP lawmakers did not vote at all. All of the Democrats in the Senate voted to censure Chase.
The censure resolution places Chase “last in seniority for failure to uphold her office, misuse of office, and conduct unbecoming of a Senator.”
- Read the full substitute resolution here.
Sen. John Bell (D-Loudoun), with the support of several other Senate Democrats, filed a resolution to censure Chase claiming she instigated “insurrection against the United States” during a speech she gave at the “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“I think it’s completely ridiculous,” Chase said in an interview after the bill was filed. “I think it’s political because I’m running for governor. Let’s make no mistake about that.”
The caucus asserted that the Republican gubernatorial contender helped empower “a failed coup d’état” at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and called on her to resign from office before any resolution was submitted. After deciding not to leave office, the chamber voted 37-1 to strip Chase of her last committee assignment.
On Tuesday, Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) ruled that the substitute from Sen. Bell was germane with the original resolution after both Bell and Chase gave their arguments. Bell made brief remarks, taking just a few moments of the five minutes allotted. Chase contended that the substitute was “completely different” and that Sen. Bell should have to file another bill.
“He [Bell] realized how absurd his comments are and has tried to come up with another reason to embarrass me,” Chase said on the Senate floor.
A motion to approve the substitute was quickly agreed upon following Fairfax’s decision and a vote appeared near. Just as Sen. Bell began to call for a formal floor vote, Chase asked that the bill go by for the day.
Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) spoke in defense of Chase’s request, telling other senators that they should provide her with more time. Bell and Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City) objected to the idea of delaying a vote, arguing that Sen. Chase did not testify during a committee meeting last week in her defense.
Before any motion could be made, Chase disclosed that her mother-in-law had just had open-heart surgery as she began to cry. After her remarks, Bell and Norment both withdrew their objections and the bill went by for the day.
After the censure, the Virginia NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. released a statement on the Senate’s actions:
“As State Senator Amanda Chase sympathized with the insurrectionists who attempted a coup on our democracy through her words and actions, the Virginia State Conference NAACP called for her immediate censure by the Virginia Senate.
While the Virginia Senate took a step in the right direction today, it cannot be the last step. The Virginia Senate should not permit anyone who defends sedition and engages in race-baiting political theater to serve.”