John Chapman "Chap" Petersen

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John Chapman "Chap" Petersen
Chap Petersen.jpg
Virginia Senate District 34
In office
2008 - Present
Term ends
January 11, 2016
Years in position 7
Base salary$18,000/year
Per diem$180/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 8, 2011
First elected2007
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sWilliams College
J.D.University of Virginia
Date of birth03/27/1968
Place of birthWashington, DC
Office website
Campaign website
J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (b. March 27, 1968) is a Democratic member of the Virginia State Senate, representing District 34. He was first elected to the chamber in 2007.

Petersen served in the House of Delegates from 2002 to 2005.


Petersen received a B.A. at Williams College and a J.D. at the University of Virginia.

Petersen is an attorney.

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Petersen served on the following committees:

Virginia Committee Assignments, 2015
Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
Education and Health
General Laws and Technology
Rehabilitation and Social Services

2014 legislative session

In the 2014 legislative session, Petersen served on the following committees:


In the 2012-2013 legislative session, Petersen served on the following committees:


In the 2010-2011 legislative session, Petersen served on the following committees:


Ethics legislation

In January 2014, Petersen submitted legislation that would establish a state ethics commission. In an interview, Petersen said the commission "will be able to make recommendations for disciplinary proceedings against legislators found in violation of disclosure laws to their respective house, where members will vote on any disciplinary action." Petersen's legislation would further impose contribution and gift limits, ban use of private law firms for state business and end legislative exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act.[1]


Petersen and Del. Bob Marshall sought to introduce legislation to start reforming and shedding more light on the foreclosure process.

"It would start to bring transparency to those who cut corners to make a profit," Marshall said.

In Virginia, once a foreclosure notice of sale is posted, a house can be sold at auction just 14 days later in some cases, although most foreclosure processes take more time.

"It's a very disorganized system," Petersen said. "I'm looking to standardize the process."

Petersen planned to introduce three bills. The bills aimed to extend the notice period for a foreclosure sale from two weeks to 30 days and make it illegal for loan servicers to fake signatures or documents in order to obtain an order of foreclosure. Petersen also wanted to created mandatory recording requirements in the land records of the county where the property is located for loans transferred from one lender to another.[2]



See also: Virginia State Senate elections, 2011

On November 8, 2011, Petersen won re-election to District 34 of the Virginia State Senate. He was unchallenged in the August 23 primary and defeated Gerarda Culipher in the November 8 general election.[3]

Virginia State Senate, District 34 General Election, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Chapman "Chap" Petersen Incumbent 59.8% 23,662
     Republican Gerarda Culipher 40.2% 15,933
Total Votes 39,595


See also: Virginia State Senate elections, 2007

On Nov. 6, 2007, Petersen won election to the 34th District Seat in the Virginia State Senate, defeating opponent Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R).[4]

Petersen raised $1,522,069 for his campaign while Davis raised $1,589,670.[5]

Virginia State Senate, District 34 (2007)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png John "Chap" Petersen (D) 25,513 55.33%
Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R) 20,490 44.44%

Campaign donors


In 2011, Chapman received $593,735 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[6]

Virginia State Senate 2011 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to John Chapman "Chap" Petersen's campaign in 2011
Virginia Democratic Party$31,975
Rice, Edward H$12,500
Murayama, Jared$10,000
AJ Dwoskin & Assoc - Albert Dwoskin$9,250
Surovell Isaacs Petersen & Levy PLC$7,500
Total Raised in 2011 $593,735
Total Votes received in 2011 23,662
Cost of each vote received $25.09


Below are Petersen' top five campaign contributors in the 2007 election:

Contributor 2007 total
Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus $249,200
Democratic Party of Virginia $241,117
Moving Virginia Forward $117,750
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee $60,000
One Virginia $30,000


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in Virginia

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of Virginia scorecards, email suggestions to

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2014, the Virginia General Assembly was in session from January 8 through March 10. In 2015, the Virginia General Assembly will be in session from January 14 to February 28, 2015.

  • Legislators are scored based on their support of pro-business issues during the 2014 legislative session.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on environmental and conservation issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on business and quality of life issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on bills that VMA introduced or was part of an coalition that introduced it.


In 2012, the Virginia General Assembly was in regular session from January 11 to March 10. In 2013, the Virginia General Assembly was in session from January 9 to February 25.

  • Legislators are scored based on their voting record on Reproductive Health and Rights.
  • Legislators are scored based on important legislation affecting business and industry.
  • Legislators are scored based on their voting record on the issue of equality.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key conservative issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their voting record on the issues of the principles of life, marriage, parental authority, constitutional government and religious liberty.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on environmental and conservation issues.


Petersen was born in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 1968.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Jeannemarie Devolites Davis
Virginia Senate District 34
Succeeded by