Virginia: The Ill-Advised Return of Vance Wilkins

Former Virginia House Speaker Vance Wilkins

Former Virginia House Speaker Vance Wilkins

Vance Wilkins is a disgraced Republican plotting a comeback. Once the man at the helm in the Virginia House of Delegates, Wilkins now has his eyes set on the 6th District Republican Committee. Word of his comeback has prompted press coverage:

Former Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Vance Wilkins Jr. is returning, in a subdued role, to state politics after a more than a decade-long hiatus.

Wilkins, 77, is challenging incumbent Wendell Walker for Virginia’s 6th District Republican Committee chairmanship, a seat Walker has held since 2011. By winning the chairmanship, the Amherst County native would gain a seat on Virginia’s Republican executive committee, a position that would give him access to greater decision making within the party and a role in potentially reversing recent Republican defeats.

“I know what it takes to win, and I have the drive to do it,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins is running against current 6th District Chairman Wendell Walker. I find myself having plenty of disagreements with Walker when it comes to methods of nomination, candidates and interparty issues. That being said, Wilkins has no business plotting a political return.

Why is that? Because Wilkins plays directly into the “war on women” narrative that Democrats are building. Let’s flashback to what forced Wilkins to leave the House of Delegates:

Wilkins’ resignation came six days after The Washington Post reported that he paid $100,000 to Jennifer L. Thompson, 26, to settle an out-of-court sexual harassment claim. She said Wilkins groped her and pinned her against office furniture last summer at the construction company he used to own.

Another woman, Elizabeth P. Massie, came forward on Saturday with the allegation that Wilkins aggressively rubbed her leg during a Christmas party in December. Wilkins and the host of the party denied the allegation.

I am a big believer in personal forgiveness, but there’s a big difference between forgiveness and lack of consequences. Wilkins’ transgressions warranted his resignation from the House of Delegates, and they certainly disqualify him from serving as a party chairman.