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Here's the complicated way Virginia Republicans will pick their nominee for governor

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Virginia Sen. Amanda Chase
Virginia Sen. Amanda Chase and Republican gubernatorial candidate, speaks from her desk at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, on Feb. 2, 2021.Ryan M. Kelly / AP file

WASHINGTON — In this year’s race for Virginia governor, Democrats are choosing their nominee via a primary on June 8, while Republicans are holding a convention a month earlier on May 8.

And that GOP convention has been the subject of controversy and potential worries.

Back in December, the party announced it was opting for a convention instead of a primary — for a GOP gubernatorial field that currently consists of four major candidates: state Sen. Amanda Chase; state Del. Kirk Cox, a former House speaker; businessman Pete Snyder, a former candidate for lieutenant governor; and businessman Glenn Youngkin, the former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group.

The move prompted Chase — a self-described “Trump in heels” who called for martial law to overturn the results of the 2020 election and flouted Covid rules on the state senate floor — to say she would run as an independent before later deciding against it. (The consensus thinking is that while Chase could win the nomination with a plurality vote in a primary, winning it at a convention will be much harder for her, because she’ll need a majority.)

Then earlier this month, the party said the convention would take place at an off-campus site at Liberty University, where delegates would drive up and cast ballots for their choices for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

But the party later concluded that plan wasn’t feasible, so it’s now holding the convention at as many as 37 different satellite locations across the state.

And here’s where the convention process gets complicated, recalling memories of last year’s botched Democratic Iowa caucuses: In addition to those 37 satellite locations, Virginia Republicans are using ranked-choice voting to select their nominee. (Back in 2018, it took days for Maine officials to determine who won the state’s Second District congressional race via ranked-choice voting.)

On top of that, Virginia Republicans become delegates — and thus voters at the convention — by applying with the local party. And while the number of potential delegates isn’t capped (like you’d see at an ordinary nominating convention), their voting power is weighted by county/locality population and past GOP performance.

Multiple voting sites. Ranked-choice voting. An unlimited number of delegates. Weighting by locality.

It’s unlike any convention we’ve ever covered. And it’s far different from a state primary.

Previewing Biden’s first formal presser

At 1:15 p.m. ET, President Biden holds his first formal news conference from the White House.

And while the early focus of Biden’s presidency was on the coronavirus — vaccines, the stimulus — other topics now dominate the political conversation.

The shootings in Atlanta and Boulder.

The situation at the border.

North Korea’s missile launches.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

$100 million: The amount Biden intends to steer toward the all-volunteer Medical Reserve Corps to aid with speeding up vaccinations.

Nearly $10 billion: How much the administration is committing to efforts to closer racial, geographic and income gaps in vaccine coverage

100 days: How long it’s been since the first American got a vaccine

30,137,092: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 76,448 more than yesterday morning.)

547,918: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 1,478 more than yesterday morning.)

130,473,853: Number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

13.2 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated,

35: The number of days left for Biden to reach his 100-day vaccination goal.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

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North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

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A bipartisan coalition in the Senate is re-introducing a measure that would fight the sale of counterfeit, expired and stolen goods online by beefing up transparency requirements.