Jack Wilson, a Chesterfield County lawyer and longtime Republican chairman of the 4th Congressional District, was elected state party chairman Saturday.
Members of the party’s State Central Committee elected Wilson in a 53-25 vote — with one abstention — over Chuck Smith, a Virginia Beach lawyer. Wilson, a former Army captain, is a graduate of West Virginia University and the Columbia University School of Law.
Wilson will finish the term of former Chairman John Whitbeck. Whitbeck, chairman since 2015, stepped down July 21. Wilson is eligible to run for re-election in 2020.
The party faces challenges this year vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate and maintaining its seats in the House of Representatives.
In seconding Wilson’s nomination, Ben Slone, the GOP’s 7th District chairman, said, “We face the most important election of our lifetime. This is going to determine what happens with regards to our president and the policies of the Republican Party.”
Wilson, in asking for committee member votes, noted his work for the party in Chesterfield and elsewhere in the state organization. “I know how this party works. I know its strengths, I know its weaknesses, and I know that we can work together to build this party.”
“We need to elect all our nominees this fall,” he said.
In other matters Saturday, the committee — in a 38-34 vote — tabled indefinitely an appeal challenging the 6th District GOP Committee’s decision to spend $30,000 on a law firm to defend against three federal campaign finance complaints that named supporters of failed congressional candidate Cynthia Dunbar.
The 6th District committee’s new chairwoman, Jennifer Brown, criticized the decision, complaining it would divert money that could be used for get-out-the-vote efforts in support of GOP congressional nominee Ben Cline, a state delegate who defeated Dunbar at a party convention in May.
The vote to table the matter effectively leaves the earlier 6th District committee action in place.