Hampton Electoral Board chairman, accused of racism, resigns

HAMPTON, Virginia (WAVING) — President of the Electoral Council David Dietrich resigned from his post following racist comments posted on Facebook, officials told 10 On Your Side.

Governor Youngkin demanded Dietrich’s resignation in a tweet saturday afternoon. It’s less than a day after 10 On Your Side reported that Hampton’s GOP asked the nominating authority for all election board members to remove Dietrich.

“As governor, I serve all Virginians. I will not accept racism in our Commonwealth or our party,” Younkin said.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office later confirmed that Dietrich had agreed to resign following Youngkin’s request.

However, after the governor tweeted about the resignation, 10 On Your Side asked the governor’s office and Hampton’s GOP chairman, the person who recommended Dietrich for the job, if they had received anything. it be in writing from Dietrich indicating that he has resigned.

“Ideally, he [Dietrich] would submit his resignation to the Circuit Court since they nominated him,” Chairman Phil Siff said.

As of late Saturday evening, there was no response to WAVY-TV from the governor’s office as to whether there is a document establishing the reported resignation.

The racist Facebook post allegedly made by Dietrich came to light last week.

“In the message, Mr. Dietrich uses hateful and unacceptable racist language that has no place in our Party or our Commonwealth,” said a press release from Hampton’s Republican Party. The organization The Facebook page includes a screenshot of a disturbing post attributed to Dietrich.

Hampton GOP Chairman Philip Siff spoke to WAVY News 10 on Friday morning, backing up the call for Dietrich to step down. At that time, he said Dietrich refused to resign.

“He is responsible for what he wrote; I am responsible for who I recommend to the court. I can’t speak to what he thinks or what he believes, but I can right the wrong I’ve done by getting him nominated there,” Siff said.

Siff said they are ask the court to use their legal authority to impeach him. The Chief Justice of the Hampton Circuit Court has the power of appointment for all members of the Electoral Council.

Members of Virginia Black Caucus condemned Dietrich’s comments in online statement stating that his message has “profound consequences” beyond Hampton Roads.

Ten on Your Side contacted Hampton Circuit Court, and a clerk for Chief Justice Michael Gaten said Justice Gaten would have no comment at his time.

Dietrich did not respond to two emails sent by WAVY-TV.

Rebecca Winn (WAVY/Regina Mobley)

Another Electoral Council member, Rebecca Winn, released a statement saying, “Given the history of race-based voter suppression in Eastern Virginia, I believe it is appropriate that Dietrich resign. . It is our duty to protect all voters and the people of Hampton should feel comfortable knowing that their rights will be protected.

The Republican delegate for the 91st district AC Cordoza also responds to Ten on Your Side. In a statement, he said:
“Racial discrimination and bigotry have no place in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Dietrich should resign.”

Hampton’s GOP chairman told Ten on Your Side that Dietrich was also removed from Hampton’s GOP and his dues were refunded. Siff added that his organization is in the process of identifying people who could replace Dietrich on the board of directors in the event he is removed from office by the Chief Justice of Hampton.

On Friday, a clerk for the Chief Judge of Hampton Circuit Court told WAVY-TV the court had no comment on the matter.

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