Del. Wren Williams, R-Patrick County, and Del. Marie March, R-Floyd County.

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Since this report, Cardinal News obtained footage of the incident. Watch surveillance footage from inside the building and body cam footage of the delegate’s interactions with police.

Two Virginia lawmakers facing each other in a highly competitive nomination battle next year got into a real-life confrontation at a Republican fundraiser in Wytheville Saturday, resulting in Del. Marie March, R-Floyd, pressing criminal charges against Del. Wren Williams, R-Patrick County, for assault and battery.

According to the warrant, the incident occurred at around 8:30 p.m. at the 9th Congressional District Gala at the Wytheville Meeting Center. The event was also attended by Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem. March told law enforcement officers that Williams “intentionally pushed/shouldered slammed” into her “in front of a large group of people.” 

Williams, who was charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor – which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both – denied the accusations, stating he accidentally bumped into March as he was trying to leave the event with his wife, who is two months pregnant. 

“Later into the night the event had turned into a party. It was loud, and my wife was ready to go home, so I gathered up her things and we headed for the door. It was very crowded,” Williams said in a phone interview Sunday morning. “I bumped into Marie March, I apologized and kept going.”

As Williams and his wife were getting ready to get into their car, they were approached by police officers. “Next thing I know I had the cops coming after me. They stopped me and started asking questions,” Williams said. “I waited for them to tell me what’s going on. They said that she is trying to file charges against me. Are you kidding me? Bumping into someone is now assault?”

Williams said that police didn’t do anything and it wasn’t until later in the evening – after March had filed the charges against him at the local magistrate’s office – that he was served the warrant. “The officers didn’t see the need to arrest me,” he said. 

Williams later in a statement called March’s move to press charges “deranged and bizarre behavior” that has “no place in the Republican Party nor in our commonwealth’s General Assembly.

“I am frankly outraged by this politically motivated attack and outraged that March would attempt to smear my reputation with these absurd allegations.” 

March, who owns Due South BBQ and Fatback Soul Shack in Christiansburg, was elected to represent the 7th House of Delegates district last November. She replaced former Del. Nick Rush, R-Montgomery, who retired after serving five terms. During her campaign, she ran as an anti-establishment candidate.

In the same election, Williams, an attorney from Stuart who was part of former President Donald Trump’s legal team challenging the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin, succeeded seven-term incumbent Del. Charles Pointdexter, whom he defeated in the Republican primary in the 9th House district earlier last year. 

Dels. Marie March, R-Floyd County, and Wren Williams, R-Patrick County, are now paired in this district, which will be up for election in 2023. Source: Virginia Supreme Court.

In December, the Virginia Supreme Court in December approved a new legislative map that paired March and Williams in a newly drawn district, setting up a primary for next spring that is expected to be one of the most competitive in the state.

March said in a phone interview Sunday that she believed Williams intentionally bumped into her. “He didn’t need to be anywhere near me, but he seemed really angry the entire evening. When he was leaving he kinda hit me and pushed me. I never had any exchange that, I don’t know how to describe it. I’m not hurt, I’m OK, but I’m not going to stand for bullying.”

March didn’t detail the intentions of her charges. “A public apology would be great,” she said. “He needs to act like a statesman and needs to learn how to treat women. I don’t think he’s fit to hold public office.”

Jody Early, a member of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, said that he witnessed the incident. “It was a pretty uneventful event, the program had just concluded when I saw Wren push his way through the crowd and he gave Marie an elbow and pushed her out of the way. It was absolutely deliberate, that’s not becoming of a gentleman,” Early said.

Williams said Sunday that his arraignment has been scheduled for Nov. 21 at 8:30 am. “I will hire an attorney and we will prove how ludicrous this is,” he said. “Everybody knows what this is and that she is completely unhinged.”

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Part of the warrant that Del. Marie March swore out against Del. Wren Williams.
Part of the warrant that Del. Marie March swore out against Del. Wren Williams.

Markus Schmidt

Markus Schmidt is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach him at markus@cardinalnews.org.