Archive for the ‘Election Law and Process’ Category

Call for Sixth Congressional District Convention

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

EDIT: A previous version of this post accidentally showed Roanoke City’s allotment twice and left out Shenandoah. This has been fixed. Sorry for the confusion.

Below you will find the official call for the 2012 Sixth Congressional District Convention. This document lays out the time and date for each meeting, as well as the delegate allotment for each county in the Sixth. What it does not lay out, however, is how to become a delegate—that is because it is up to each county committee to decide how and when delegates are selected. Each county will be issuing their own call for an event to select delegates for both the Sixth District and State Convention. As of this writing, a call has not been issued for Shenandoah County. I will provide that as soon as it is available.

The nomination for Congress on the Republican side will not be decided at this convention but rather by the June 12th primary. Incumbent Congressman Bob Goodlatte and liberty activist Karen Kwiatkowski are the only announced individuals seeking the nod. The filing deadline is March 29th.

Even though the nod is not up at the Convention, I still strongly encourage activists to attend. The Convention will select our District Chair, District Representatives to the State Central Committee (the Republican Party of Virginia’s governing body), the district vice-chairs,  and three delegates to the National Convention. These delegate slots could prove particularly crucial should it look like we will be headed to multiple ballots at the convention, as delegates are free to vote their conscience after the first ballot. As towards the leadership positions, we need principled conservatives who also understand the political process and how to win elections as well as how to deal with inevitable conflicts that arise in party politics. Read all about the convention below, and if you are interested in running for a position, the form can be found here.



District Convention

Of the Sixth Congressional District

Of the Republican Party of Virginia

May 5, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Local Time

As Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District of the Republican Party of Virginia and pursuant to the Plan of Organization, and as recommended and directed by the District Committee, I, Wendell Walker, do hereby issue this Call for a District Convention to be held at the Rockbridge County High School, 143 Greenhouse Road, Lexington, Virginia 24450, or its alternate site, starting at 10:00 a.m. local time on May 5, 2012.


  1. Elect three (3) delegates and three (3) alternate delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention to be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, beginning on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. The purpose of the Republican National Convention is to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States.
  2. Nominate one (1) presidential Elector for the election on November 6, 2012.
  3. Elect a District Chairman of the Republican Party.
  4. Elect three (3) members of the State Central Committee.
  5. Elect three (3) regional vice-chairmen to the Sixth District Committee.
  6. The transaction of any other such business as may properly come before the convention.


All legal and qualified voters of the Sixth Congressional District under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, nation origin, or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as a member of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.


Convention registration shall begin at 8:30 a.m. and shall end at 10:30 a.m.  The Convention shall be called to order at 10:00 a.m. Every person elected as a delegate or alternate to the Sixth District Convention will be asked to pay a voluntary $20.00 fee. This fee will be paid to the unit represented, and the unit will forward it to the Sixth District Convention.


All contests shall be by majority vote. Upon completion of the first ballot, if the contest has not been decided by majority vote, another ballot shall be held to decide the remaining contest, and the candidate who has received the lowest vote will be dropped after each ballot. Subsequent ballots shall be so conducted until the contest has been decided by majority vote. Balloting shall not begin before 10:30 a.m.


The District Convention shall be composed of delegates and alternate delegates of the respective units they represent. Each Unit shall have one delegate vote per 250 votes of “Republican Voting Strength” as defined in the Republican State Party Plan of Organization (“the Plan”). The delegates and alternates shall be elected in county and city mass meetings, party canvasses or conventions called for this purpose by each unit committee in conformity with the Plan. The number of delegates and delegate votes of each Unit shall be as follows:

Amherst 58 290
Augusta 155 775
Bath 8 40
Bedford 80 400
Botetourt 77 385
Buena Vista 8 40
Harrisonburg 39 195
Highland 6 30
Lexington 6 30
Lynchburg 121 605
Page 45 225
Roanoke City 101 505
Roanoke County 154 770
Rockbridge 39 195
Rockingham 156 780
Shenandoah 85 425
Staunton 36 180
Warren 58 290
Waynesboro 33 165


The delegates present in a given delegation shall designate which alternate delegates shall vote in the place of an absent delegate except where the electing body electing the delegates has determined another method of alternate delegate selection.
Convention delegates so elected shall be certified in writing with their respective names and addresses including zip codes over the signatures of the permanent chairman and permanent secretary of the unit mass meeting or convention, or of the unit chairman of the unit committee which may have conducted a party canvass to select the delegates and alternate delegates.
ALL CERTIFICATIONS, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF LOCAL MASS MEETING, PARTY CANVASS OR CONVENTION MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER APRIL 26, 2012. After the filing deadline of the certification, no change may be made except a certified alternate delegate may be made a delegate. A copy of the published call of the convention, mass meeting or party canvass called for the purpose of selecting delegates and alternate delegates to said convention, must accompany the certification with the date of publication included. Certification should be mailed or delivered as follows: Original – District Chairman and Wendell Walker, 2421 Old Forest Road, Lynchburg VA 24501
Second Copy – District Secretary and Sandy Gates, 2847 Country Club Road, Troutville, VA 24175
Third Copy – Unit records
A delegate or alternate delegate is not certified until his or her name, address, and phone number have been provided on the certification form.


Any person seeking election to the offices listed above under “Purposes” must file a written declaration of candidacy and a filing fee with the Sixth Congressional District Secretary, Sandy Gates, 2847 Country Club Road, Troutville, Virginia 24175, to be received by 5:00 p.m., March 31, 2012.  Postmarks shall not be considered. Required filing forms can be obtained via the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia website at  or at the Republican Party of Virginia website at
Paid for and authorized by the Sixth District Congressional District of the Republican Party of Virginia.


As Goes Virginia…..

December 27, 2011 1 comment

UPDATE: Via Bearing Drift, it has been learned that Rick Perry has launched his own legal challenge. Actually, it’s beyond launched–the suit has already been filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Their argument seems to be that the requirement that voters be registered to vote or eligible to register in Virginia unconstitutionally restricted his ability to recruit signature gatherers. (Focus on seems to be–I’m not a lawyer) They cite a number of other cases in which registration requirements were struck down. We seem to finally have a number for Perry–6k signatures. This isn’t even close to the 10,000 valid required. We’ll see how this pans out–he may get relief from the court, but I imagine the jeers will be even louder from the blogosphere than they were before. Also, one correction–any legislative fix will require 80 delegates, not 60 as I wrote earlier. That means they’ll need 13 Dems to cross over (12 if Putney votes with the GOP).

This is a Virginia-centric blog, so of course, one would expect me to view the entire political landscape through the prism of the Old Dominion. And sometimes, that can be a rather jaundiced view. However, a funny thing happened over the weekend….Virginia became kinda important. Or at least we think we did, or maybe we became less important….at any rate, people were talking about us.

That came when, in the early hours of Christmas Eve, it became known that the ballot for the March 6th Republican Presidential Primary would feature only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Volunteers at RPV’s Obenshain Center had been working since the morning of December 23rd. Paul and Romney got through easily, but on that evening it was discovered that Texas Governor Rick Perry wouldn’t make it. That pretty much left Gingrich for those who don’t much care for either candidate, and the supporters of those two to root for Gingrich to fail. Facebook and Twitter lit up with conversation rivaling election night itself. Granted, some of this was likely due to the fact that “Ron Paul” is something of a fighting word for both Ron Paul detractors and supporters, but it was still pretty amazing for the night before Christmas Eve. Ultimately, around 3 a.m., word came out that Gingrich had indeed fallen short. Huzzahs rang out from those who don’t much care for Gingrich, while everyone else who doesn’t much care for Romney or Paul found themselves rather disgruntled. To add tragedy to all of this, one volunteer died in an automobile accident after a day of working to verify signatures.

So what now? Well, let’s first look at this close to home. The very first reaction to this was the first thing that comes to the mind of any loser (or to the mind of any candidate too lazy/principled to fill out paperwork *cough*AlAsbury*cough*): Write-in Time! However, despite the fact that it is discussed every time a primary comes up, write-ins are not allowed in Virginia primaries. Newt Gingrinch, a Virginia voter, was out of the loop on this, along with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who suggested such a thing in his post-Christmas newsletter. What’s left for Gingrich? Well, there could be a legal challenge, but the Washington Post talked to observers who suggest this as unlikely. The other possibility would be an emergency change in election law that would allow write-ins. But the RTD notes this too is a problem: the GA doesn’t convene until Jan 11th, and ballots must be printed by Jan 21st. Emergency legislation requires a supermajority of (updated) four fifths–32 Senators, and 60 80 Delegates. Those are high barriers, and with a very slim Republican majority based solely on the fact we hold the LG’s chair, very unlikely to be reached.

Read more…

26th District Update–Potential Candidates

March 17, 2010 9 comments

Well, it looks like Rockingham and Harrisonburg is settling in for its first special election since 2008 and the first one for the General Assembly that I know of (feel free to chime in if anyone has history on this). The timing is still very tentative on all this, as under state code it is the Governor that calls special elections for the House of Delegates, unlike with local vacancies where all sorts of timelines are dictated by law. Before anyone accuses me of jumping the gun, let’s face the facts:

  1. This special was triggered by a happy event, not tragedy, and Delegate Lohr has made clear his intention to leave the House
  2. Rockingham and Harrisonburg have very active and vocal committees
  3. Given the redness of the county, there are a large number of Republican elected officials who could conceivably run, to say nothing of former officials and candidates.
  4. Given recent performance by the Democrats in Harrisonburg, this seat will be viewed as at least somewhat in play by DPV, particularly given that redistricting will likely move the district inwards towards Harrisonburg and take away some of the most Republican territory in the district

If you still think I’m jumping the gun, forgive me. Sometimes you just can’t help yourself when it comes to intra-party intrigue. So what will the process look like? Well, from my reading of state law, primaries CANNOT be held in the event of special elections, so the nominee is going to be chosen using one of three party-run mechanisms: a firehouse canvass (which is essentially a primary except run by the party and generally not for the full 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. timeframe of public primaries), a convention (in which Delegates are elected by the units {in this case Harrisonburg and Rockingham} and the number of Delegates elected by each are determined by the unit’s relative strength in the District), or a mass meeting (in which all Republicans may participate but again is run for a much shorter period of time and according to the rules of parliamentary procedure). I think a mass meeting is highly unlikely given the district comprises two units. We may see some wrangling over the method itself–however, the vote on the method will fall to just two men–Dave Huffman, Rockingham County Chair, and Tracy Evans, Harrisonburg City Chair. A nominee must be selected either a) within five days of the writ being issued if the election is to be held less than 35 days from the time it was issued or b) no less than thirty days before the special election. The method of nomination may very well dictate who gets in and who doesn’t given that some methods will clearly not favor some candidates.

We will have continuing analysis of the district throughout the week, including the interplay of deeply red Rockingham and purplish Harrisonburg, along with the effect redistricting will have on the district as well as the campaign. However, for the time being I want to start by discussing the candidates in play. Again, this may seem to be jumping the gun, but let’s be honest–the jockeying has already begun. Additionally, the announcement comes just days before the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Lincoln Day Dinner sponsored by the combined Republican Women’s Club, so there will definitely be some jousting going on by that time. Below the fold is a blow by blow for the names floating around. For right now we’ll start with the Republican side for one simple reason–I know the players.

Read more…

The ties of the Working Families Party

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Every once in a while a little quirk of a state’s politics makes national news. A recent example is New York’ 23rd, where two of the three major third parties made news–the Conservatives for embracing Doug Hoffman over the Republican nominee, and the Working Families Party for having had allowed Dede Scozzafava to run on its line in the past. New York law allows candidates to run on multiple party lines and to have those votes added to their total. Generally speaking the Liberal Party endorses the Democratic candidate and the Conservatives the Republican, but this is not always the case. A key case of this was the 1980 Senate race, when Republican nominee Alfonse D’Amato won over Democrat Elizabeth Holtzman and Republican turned Liberal nominee Jacob Javits. It happened the other way in 1968 when liberal Republican/Liberal Party cincumbent Charles Goodell split the liberal vote with the Democrat, leading to the election of Conservative Jim Buckley.

At any rate, the Atlantic (courtesy of City Hall) shows how the Working Families Party actually has four different avenues to wield influence. The graph is below, but the post is more detailed.

There may be something to be learned here for state parties, even those affiliated with “the big two.”

Wagner: Not the Details Candidate

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention to the Democratic race for the LG nomination. Wagner appears to be winning that race in both those few polls that have been done and in terms of money. However, candidate Mike Signer has turned up an interesting issue in the race. It appears that Madame Wagner did not vote in the 2004, 2005 and 2008 Democratic primaries. While this is rather curious coming from someone who is seeking a major party’s nomination for the second highest office in the state, what is even more curious is how she chooses to explain it away. From Not Larry Sabato:

As Jody said, she tried to get back to her home in Virginia Beach from her job in Richmond as a member of the Kaine Administration in time to vote, but traffic prevented her. It demonstrates the need for Virginia to pass early voting, which Republicans in the General Assembly once again killed.

Really? You’re going to blame this on the Republicans?

Anyone who has voted absentee in Virginia even once knows that the acceptable excuses for doing so are rather varied. They include if you will be away from your precinct for more than 12 hours during Election Day due to work obligations. So this means one of two things: either Mrs. Wagner just absolutely loves the thrill of feeding her ballot into the machine and just can’t vote absentee, or she doesn’t know the rules for voting absentee in the very Commonwealth that employed her for seven years. I could understand if we still used real voting machines (I just love that little bell!), but c’mon.

So there you have it folks. Not only is the Dem frontrunner for LG bad at math, but she’s not very good with details either.

Dropping Conventions

February 17, 2009 Leave a comment

I have long been a proponent of using conventions over primaries as the method of nomination for our Republican in candidates. There are two major reasons for this: One, I feel that a convention, by setting a higher threshold for participation than someone looking to intentionally disrupt the nomination process would be willing to cross, prevents those who want the party to have a weak nominee from forcing such and ensures that the activist base is given its due. Two, conventions tend to be cheaper for candidates and saves taxpayers the expense of a primary. 

That, and I just love a good old fashioned floor fight. 

However, I’ve been revisiting my position of late. One important point is that, because proxies are not allowed in any of the party run processes, active duty members of the military are essentially disenfranchised, particularly in the instance of conventions that are held in Richmond for statewide office. Over at Too Conservative, VA Blogger gives two intriguing arguments for using primaries:

The first argument has the merit of being true, but that’s really irrelevant, for a reason I like to call the Gilmore Syndrome of Idiotic Reasoning (GSIR). It goes like this: Let’s say there’s a candidate, we’ll call him Gim Jilmore. Gim isn’t good at raising money, and doesn’t have any money, so Gim wants a convention so he can have an easier time winning the nomination. But Gim fails to take into account the fact that he’ll still need money for the general election, and the state party fails to take into account that someone who can’t raise money and doesn’t have money wouldn’t make a good candidate.

Certainly a sound point given the context of that particular scenario. However, remember that both candidates were relatively weak in terms of their fundraising ability. Such is the nature of politics. Same with VA Blogger’s second point:

The second argument is harder to convince the Old Guard the error of their ways. Back in the run-up to the Gilmore/Marshall convention, Morton Blackwell said that conventions were necessary as a way to guarantee a conservative candidate is chosen. I did a post about it (which has since been lost in the purge) pointing out that the two “conservative” candidates we were choosing from were pro-choice and protectionist, respectively.

I think the best way to convince the Old Guard that conventions are terrible is to point to other states that, like Virginia, have open primaries. Included in that list are: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas. Look at some of the Senators those states have produced: Jeff Sessions, Saxby Chambliss, Trent Lott, Jim Talent, Jim DeMint, Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn. I’m a real big fan of Sessions, Talent, Alexander, and Cornyn, but no one can argue that any of those aren’t suitably conservative, despite being in states that, like Virginia, have open primaries.

Now look at states with closed primaries, like Pennsylvania, Florida, and Oregon, which gave us Arlen Specter, Mel Martinez, and Gordon Smith. I don’t buy a correlation between open primaries and less conservative candidates.

I can certainly see the argument here, but remember that this is politics. Politics in a federalist system. Each state has its own quirks and intrigue in the nominating process. Also, each race is different–such as with Bob Corker coming up the middle in a bloodbath between two even more conservative candidates. It’s difficult to make the argument for primaries based on an apples-oranges comparison. More compelling is VA Blogger’s summary. 

As for the reasons why conventions are bad and primaries are good, those have been gone over again and again, but as a quick primer: primaries build up state-wide organization, build-up name ID, don’t force candidates to the far right, and are more inclusive for the party, which allows it to expand rather than contract.

All valid points, and I think we certainly saw the benefit of that in the 2005 LG race when Bill Bolling got a rather vigorous workout from the Connaughton team. However, circumstances should always dictate the decision. Frankly, the US Senate nomination was a beauty contest–our candidate was likely going to lose no matter what. Yes, Davis probably had more of a chance and was shut out by the choice of a convention. However, these are gambles you always take. One could make the argument that the 2005 Primary harmed Bob McDonnell because Baril thought he had a shot in an open contest, thus draining the McDonnell team of resources. 

Still, this is an argument that continues to need to be discussed, particularly in light of the ever growing influence of Northern Virginia.

Herring Seated

January 27, 2009 Leave a comment

After a fierce recount battle, Charniele Herring has been certified and seated as the Delegate from the 46th District. From the WaPo: 

Alexandria lawyer Charniele Herring was sworn in to the House of Delegates this afternoon, nearly two weeks after being certified as winner and just minutes after the conclusion of a recount that found identical results.

Shortly before 2 p.m., Herring was escorted to the front of the House chamber by three delegates, including House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), who had fought for more than a week not to seat her, and House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry)



Workers sitting at four tables in an Alexandria Circuit Court room determined that Herring defeated Republican Joe Murray by 16 votes in the Jan. 13 election for the 46th District seat.

Murray said he is considering another legal challenge before the House of Delegates itself but wanted to see Herring seated immediately.

“I congratulate Delegate Herring and pledge to support her in her work,” Murray said.

The judges today denied a series of motions from Murray’s lawyers that would have added 25 absentee votes to the recount. Some of the votes failed to include basic information such as the city name from a required oath on the back of ballots. Others arrived after the polls closed.

Three lessons from the special election:

  1. Always have a lawyer on retainer–even if you’re running for the Soil and Water Board
  2. Every vote counts, and absentee ballots are key–make sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed
  3. Given the right tools and messages, if Republicans can’t win in NOVA, they can at least be competitive