Chair of Hampton Electoral Board accused of racist post resigns

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Electoral Board Chair David Dietrich has resigned from his position following racist comments posted on Facebook, officials tell 10 On Your Side.

Gov. Youngkin demanded Dietrich’s resignation in a tweet Saturday afternoon. That is less than a day after 10 On Your Side reported about the Hampton GOP calling upon the appointing authority for all electoral board members to remove Dietrich.

“As governor, I serve all Virginians. I won’t accept racism in our Commonwealth or our party,” said Younkin.

A spokesperson from the Governor’s office later confirmed that Dietrich had agreed to resign following the demand from Youngkin.

However, after the Governor posted a tweet about the resignation, 10 On Your Side asked the governor’s office and the chairman of the Hampton Republican party, the person who recommended Dietrich for the position, if they had received anything in writing from Dietrich stating that he is resigning. 

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

As of late Saturday evening, there has been no response to WAVY-TV from the governor’s office about whether there is a document that establishes the reported resignation.

The racist Facebook post believed to be posted by Dietrich came to light last week.

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

Hampton GOP Chairman Philip Siff spoke with WAVY News 10 Friday morning, confirming the call for Dietrich’s resignation. At this time, he said Dietrich has refused to resign.

“He’s responsible for what he wrote; I am responsible for who I recommend to the court. I can’t speak for what he thinks or what he believes but I can rectify the wrong that I made in having him appointed there,” said Siff.

Siff said they are asking the court to use their legal authority to remove him. The chief judge of the Hampton Circuit Court has the appointing authority for all electoral board members.

Members of the Virginia Black Caucus condemned Dietrich’s comments in an online release stating his post has “far-reaching consequences” beyond Hampton Roads.

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

Dietrich has not responded to two emails sent by WAVY-TV.

Rebecca Winn (WAVY/Regina Mobley)

Fellow Electoral Board member, Rebecca Winn, issued a statement saying: ” Given the history of race-based voter suppression in eastern Virginia, I think it’s appropriate for Dietrich to resign. It is our duty to protect all voters and the people of Hampton should feel comfortable knowing their rights will be protected.”

Republican 91st District Delegate A.C. Cordoza also respond 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 Chair told Ten on Your Side Dietrich has also been removed from the Hampton GOP and his membership fee has been refunded. Siff added, that his organization is in the process of identifying individuals who could replace Dietrich on the board in the event he is removed by the chief Hampton Judge.

Friday, a clerk for the chief judge in Hampton Circuit Court, told WAVY-TV the court has no comment on the issue. 

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