And the challenges are coming from within. Two high-profile Republicans are threatening third-party bids that would effectively kill the GOP’s chance to reclaim the governor’s office. Several other candidates are trying to cobble together a coalition that features both pro-Trump extremists and mainstream moderates, an ideological blend for which there is no successful model.

At the center of the Virginia GOP’s challenge sits gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase, a polarizing state senator who seems to have won the hearts and minds of the Trump faithful with her fiercely anti-establishment, pro-gun positions and her embrace of the false notion that Trump is the legitimate winner of the November election.

Nicknamed “Trump in heels,” Chase emulates the former president in manner and policy. She was censured by Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature just last week for exhibiting a pattern of “conduct unbecoming of a senator,” including an allegation that she described the pro-Trump mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol last month as “patriots.”