Ex-Virginia House speaker files papers to run for governor

RICHMOND, Va. — Former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox has filed paperwork with the state to run for governor next year, joining a small field of Republicans looking to enter the race.

Cox, a retired school teacher who has served in the House of Delegates since 1990, on Wednesday filed a “statement of organization” to establish a campaign committee. Cox said he will not formally enter the race until after the presidential election in November.

Cox, 63, was elected as speaker in 2018, but lost that role after Democrats won a majority in both the House and Senate in November. He announced in August that he was seriously considering a run for governor, citing what he called a “vacuum of leadership” created by Democrats.

Cox has criticized Democrats during the current special legislative session, which was called by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to deal with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and to consider dozens of criminal justice and police reforms in the wake of the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. Cox has characterized some of the police reforms as “anti-law enforcement.”

In a written statement released Thursday, Cox said the special session has convinced him “that Republicans not only need to put forward a strong candidate that can actually win statewide, but also a series of ideas and policies that will improve lives and livelihoods.”

Cox has strong pro-business and anti-abortion credentials, but also helped push through Medicaid expansion, which conservatives opposed.

Firebrand conservative state Sen. Amanda Chase has announced she’s running for governor. Northern Virginia businessman Pete Snyder may also run.

Republicans have not won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009. Several Democrats, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, have either announced they are running or have indicated they might. Virginia law blocks Gov. Northam from running for re-election.

Cox represents the 66th District, which includes Colonial Heights and parts of Chesterfield.

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Court Papers: Woman Wrote ‘Give Up’ in Ricin Note to Trump | Texas News

By MICHAEL BALSAMO and ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Canadian woman accused of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House included a threatening letter in which she told President Donald Trump to “give up and remove your application for this election,” according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested Sunday at the New York-Canada border and is due to make her first court appearance Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Buffalo, New York. She faces a charge of threatening the president.

The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but intercepted at a mail sorting facility on Friday. The package, postmarked from Canada, included a letter in which she referred to Trump as “The Ugly Tyrant Clown” and directed him to “give up and remove your application for this election,” according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

“So I made a ‘special gift’ for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter,” she wrote, according to the affidavit. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if Ferrier had a lawyer.

During the investigation, the FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas in September and also had stamps indicating that they’d been mailed from Canada, according to court papers.

Those letters “contained similar language” to the letter that was sent to Trump and were sent to people affiliated with facilities where Ferrier had been jailed in 2019.

Investigators also matched Ferrier’s fingerprints from four of the letters, the complaint said.

In Facebook and Twitter posts in September, Ferrier also wrote “#killTrump” and used similar wording as she did in the letter, calling him an “Ugly Clown Tyrant,” according to the document.

When she was arrested Sunday while trying to enter a border crossing in Buffalo, Ferrier told Customs and Border Patrol agents that she was “wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters,” the complaint said. Officers found a loaded gun in her waistband and said she was also carrying a knife.

Ferrier was booked into the Hidalgo County jail in March of 2019 on two charges of unlawfully carrying a weapon and one charge of tampering with government records, according to online jail records. Pascale is listed as living in Quebec, and was released in May of last year. The records state the charges against her were ordered dismissed.

Associated Press writer Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.

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