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Weyer’s Cave Ticket Stop a Success

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Alas, my Flip video camera was AWOL, so I wasn’t able to get video from Monday’s stop by our Republican team at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyer’s Cave. However, Steve Kijak over at Righside VA did have his act together and was able to document the event in pictures. The team landed just shortly after noon. On hand to greet them were Delegates Ben Cline, Steve Landes and Matt Lohr; Senator Mark Obenshain; Unit Chairs Mike Meredith, Tracy Evans, Bill Shirley and Chris Darden; and former Delegate Allen Louderback. About 60 ardent supporters packed the lobby of the airport. By 12:45, they were off to the next stop, but not before we set them off with bagged lunches from Shaffer’s Catering of Woodstock. A whirlwind day for our ticket indeed!

More can be found at the Daily News Record, the Staunton News Leader, the Waynesboro News Virginian, WHSV, and NBC29.

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Change is a-comin’

I have hinted at this for a while, but my employment status has changed and thus will also be changing this blog. 

I have accepted a job offer from the Republican National Committee to serve as field representative for the Shenandoah Valley during the upcoming general election. In this capacity I will be responsible for motivating voters for the Republican ticket and mobilizing the grassroots volunteers to do so. Because of the nature of the job, I’ve decided to change the focus of this blog. In my capacity I’ll be doing alot of work in the field, and via the written word, photos, and video, I hope to bring you a glimpse of the campaign that is often underreported in the media–the grassroots. I won’t be commenting as much on issues of the day, the challenges our party faces, or on the “horse race” aspects of the primary campaigns. However, I do want to keep this blog up as a place for me to use during hiatuses as well as to provide a creative outlet for me during the campaign, so expect more book reviews and personal musings. I’ll also still try to bring you the big news from the Governor and Delegates races. For now, however, my focus is on electing our entire Republican team in the Valley, and I hope to bring you a unique perspective on that during the coming weeks and months. Don’t expect nearly as frequent posts, but I hope to bring you something at least once a week. 

Thanks to those of you who have spent a little bit of time reading my thoughts on politics, and particularly to those of you who have challenged me. I like to think I’ve demonstrated what can be done on a local level with a blog such as this and provided some pithy thoughts on the big picture issues along the way. 

Thanks again, and I’ll be seeing you on the trail.

BREAKING: Sandra Liddy Bourne Drops Out of RPV Race

Sandra Liddy Bourne has dropped out of the race for RPV Chair to be elected on May 2nd. If Pat is elected she has agreed to serve as chair of Victory ’09. More later…..

Morris, Baroncelli look safe for GOP Sup Nods

Hardcore Republicans (and extremely curious Democrats) who are on top of Republican politics know that mass meetings were held last night in the precincts that make up Districts 1 (Forestville, New Market, and Orkney), 4 (Woodstock and Fort Valley), and  5 (Lebanon Church, Toms Brook, Mt. Olive, and Cedar Creek) to elect delegates to the County Convention on May 15th. For those of you who are confused, yes, we still hold mass meetings at the precinct level to elect Delegates who then gather at the County Convention to conduct business (nominations for public office in odd years, part organizing in even ones). As far as I know, mostly only suburban or urban counties in Virginia use the county convention; most others use mass meetings or canvasses (although some put in a clause canceling whatever method  is selected if only one candidate files). There have been discussions of switching to another method, with the main argument being that participation would increase if there was only one meeting to go to (even though you may submit your name to someone for nomination, although this is not widely known and varies by precinct), but so far the only progress made has been a pre-filing deadline and filing fee. I think its a function that should be reconsidered, but as it stands, this is the method for at least one more year. 

At any rate, at the meetings last night Delegates were elected. In District 5, no candidate emerged to challenge incumbent Supervisor Dennis Morris within the party. Early word was that HB Sager, backed by Morris foe Mark Prince, would run within the party, but he did not file on April 2nd and there are reports that he has been circulating filing petitions to run as an indy. Additionally, no nominations will be allowed from the floor unless a candidate has not filed for that office, and as far as I know, Morris did indeed file.

Regardless, the meetings were still held in District 5. In Toms Brook, we had a grand total of three people and elected 17 delegates. In Mt. Olive, six people attended and elected 25 delegates. 

In District Four there was a much different story. A late challenger arose to incumbent Sharon Baroncelli, Carolyn Miller, a former jailer at the county jail. Early reports indicate that 58 people were in attendance. It should be noted that a handful of people is far, far more common. However, this is a contested nomination–hence the turnout. According to a source, there were a number of motions made that were withdrawn–however, when the dust cleared, it appeared that Baroncelli had elected the most delegates, 41, to Miller’s 17. Since delegates are not pledged to any particular candidate, the nomination is still technically up in the air. Indeed, there will be a candidate’s forum at the County Breakfast at the Mt. Jackson Denny’s at 9 A.M. this Saturday. However, with such an overwhelming advantage, Miller may very well pull out, unless Fort Valley offered up a suprise (doubtful, given that Miller is from Woodstock). The big question: will she take advantage of the loophole that allows the loser of party run processes (canvasses, conventions, and mass meetings) to run as an independent if they gather the signatures in time? Will another independent arise? Will the Dems take advantage of their increasing share in the District and file someone? 

Still waiting on word from District 1. However, last we heard, no one filed other than Dick Neese. Another Dem challenge doesn’t seem likely, but might we see an independent? Doubtful, since Neese tends not to track much controversy, but with the county’s budget still up in the air and a general anti-incumbent mood striking conservatives these days, possibilities abound.

Stolle Out

For years, Ken Stolle has been a thorn in the side of conservatives, often breaking with Democrats on key budget votes and on some law enforcement issues (i.e. Triggerman). Indeed, he is often considered one of the ring leaders of the great tax hike of 2004. However, it appears that he has decided that perhaps his twilight years are best spent back in law enforcement. From the Virginian-Pilot:

State Sen. Ken Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, a longtime power broker in the General Assembly, declared his candidacy for Beach sheriff Friday, potentially leaving a void in the legislature and creating a political domino effect.

An attorney and former Beach police officer, Stolle explained his decision as a desire to return to law enforcement after years in the halls of government.

“When I initially ran for office, it was on a strict law-and-order platform… and I find myself now fighting other battles,” said Stolle, noting he has “accomplished everything that I had initially set out to accomplish” in 18 years in the legislature.

“I’m a police officer at heart,” he added. “That’s what I want to be in – law enforcement.”

However, he is leaving under less than ideal circumstances:

In an interview with The Virginian-Pilot, Stolle also disclosed that he has Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological disorder that can impair motor skills.

Having dealt with a major health issue myself, I know that it is not an easy task and I wish Mr. Stolle well. Although I strongly disagree with his politics, I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers, and indeed hope he is victorious in November, as I do believe his style is best suited for an administrative spot (though he has pledged to follow his predecessor Paul Latigene in being a loud voice for increased LE spending). 

If Stolle does vacate the seat, it leaves an exciting opportunity for conservatives to pick up an additional seat in the Senate.

Lincoln Day DInner Tonight

Tonight the Shenandoah County Republican Committee will gather for an annual tradition, its Lincoln Day Dinner. The event is such an integral part of Committee tradition that no one’s entirely sure when the first one was held–it dates at least back to the 1950s. For many, many years it has been the premier event for the party. However, its role as the party’s main fundraiser traces back only to last year–however, its already starting to prove its worth, as last year we made nearly $1,000 (much needed when we discovered we had to buy our own supplies), and this year we are looking to shatter records for both fundraising and attendance, as keynote speaker former Governor George Allen is bringing many people out of the woodwork. We’ll also be joined by Delegate Todd Gilbert, Senator Mark Obenshain, and all three candidates for Attorney General. 

Tonight begins, hopefully, another new tradition–digital documentation of the event. I hope to bring updates to you via Twitter, along with video with excerpts of speeches and tons and tons of photos. So stay tuned if you aren’t able to make it, and be sure to come back tomorrow if you’re going to be there.

The People Speak

February 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Although most of the nation’s attention tonight was focused on the speech given in Washington by the most powerful man in the Western world, a few more average citizens of these United States were doing some speaking out of their own. I’m talking about the rally that was held by Citizens for Honest Government, with support from Americans for Prosperity. The rally was to protest the Board’s decision to change its budget for the current fiscal year to allow for down payments and initial work on tracts adjacent to school property in Strasburg and Woodstock. Below are some photos.

Now, as usual, the fix was in before even a single word of public comment was even uttered. Both sides came out, but it became very clear through the course of the evening that those who favored the purchase outnumbered those opposed. However, this was not the only issue that brought out those who were protesting the decision. You see, those involved in Citizens for Honest Government stayed through the entire meeting. They are interested in the entire process. Do they have an agenda? Of course–anyone involved in politics should. Tonight, however, was a key example of special interest politics as work. 

When the meeting truly got underway with Sheriff Tim Carter’s speech on the state of the department, the crowd shrank to nearly a quarter in size. The reason? Those interested in the school land purchase knew it was a done deal–they had put on their theatrical production, citing “it’s for the children” all the time, never considering the debt load that the children will bear nor the fact that, perhaps, fine buildings do not an academic make. 

Who stayed? CHG. Earlier in the evening Ben Marchi, the representative from Americans for Prosperity, was accused of being used as a pawn in local politics. That is not the nature of the game. Does this board member not understand coalition politics? You go with those who are supporting your issue, and in this case, AFP was supporting the side of fiscal prudence. Certainly the current board members have their gripes with CHG, as CHG has its own problems with the board. I will grant that there is a great deal of backstory that goes into the history of CHG, some of which I don’t agree with. What I do agree with, however, is their attitude towards fiscal responsibility and open government, no matter who the players are.

I understand that the Board members may pride themselves on being “independent.” Perhaps it is lost of them that they were elected as Republicans, not independents. I understand that they believe they have the county’s best interests in mind, no matter if those best interests are really a select few. However, is it truly too much to ask that when our politicians make promises, or stand on a party label with a specific platform, that they at least give a nod towards the stances of that party? I hate to say it, but I am becoming convinced that there is no longer a true fiscal conservative on the Board of Supervisors.

AFP will step away from the stage now, but CHG will remain, active and ready to fight for honest government as we head into the November elections. It was noted several times that the rally wasn’t really about the decision being made. 

It was about the decision makers being changed. 

This will be a very interesting cycle indeed–more video and commentary as I can get it up.