Republican candidates seeking statewide offices are flocking to Culpeper County this weekend to participate in forums at the local GOP committee's 10th annual Ronald Reagan Legacy Dinner.
The event, which was created to honor Regan's legacy and conservative values, will kick off 4 p.m. on May 1 at Kildee Farms in Stevensburg. It will include three forums for candidates seeking to become the Republican nominee for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Dinner will follow at 6 p.m.
Of the seven candidates seeking the gubernatorial nomination, those participating in the forum will include Amanda Chase, Sergio de la Pena and Peter Doran. Those unable to attend include Kirk Cox, Glenn Youngkin Octavia Johnson and Pete Snyder.
Although every hopeful governor nominee is unable to attend, Culpeper County Republican Committee Chairman Marshall Keene noted that Snyder offered the highest level of sponsorship for sheriff's office employees to attend. He added that Youngkin is also one of the event's major sponsors.
All six lieutenant governor Republican nominee hopefuls - Puneet Ahluwalia, Lance Allen, Glenn Davis, Tim Hugo, Maeve Rigler and Winsome Sears - will also participate in a forum. Additionally, all four attorney general candidates seeking the Republican nomination - Leslie Haley, Jason Miyares, Chuck Smith and Jack White - will participate in a forum.
During the forums, each candidate will provide one question while the rest are submitted by GOP committee members. The forums will be moderated by Keene, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Russ Rabb and Tina Freitas.
The legacy dinner and forums come one week before the May 8 convention in which Republican delegates from across the state will select the party's nominees for the November state races. Culpeper delegates, which total over 400, will vote at a polling location in Madison County. While voting, each delegate will list their top three candidates for each office and the nominee is chosen through a weighted formula.
Keene noted that having so many candidates present one week before the convention is "huge for Culpeper" and illustrates the county's conservative values and that citizens here care about what happens in Richmond. Keene encouraged residents to attend as the event is a great opportunity to decide who should be representing the Republican party.
In addition to the forum, the event will feature a legislation update from Del. Nick Freitas and the presentation of the Public Servant of the Year Award. ICE Director Tom Homan, who served during President Donald Trump’s administration, will be a keynote speaker and be introduced by Sheriff Scott Jenkins. Attorney Erick G. Kaardal will serve as the other keynote speaker and discuss election integrity.
The Ronald Regan Legacy Dinner - which is the committee's largest fundraiser - will be catered by Peppers Grill. There is a $70 admission fee for Republican committee members and a $100 admission fee for non-members. Tickets can be purchased at https://tinyurl.com/r2tv6wd2.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that Glenn Youngkin would participate in the gubernatorial forum. A campaign representative said that while Youngkin was highly considering doing so, he is unable to attend.