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Orndorff for Chairman

April 9, 2012 1 comment

By now, you’ve likely heard that I am seeking the Chairmanship of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee. I’m seeking the Chairmanship after a decade of political work and leadership on the committee. I wanted to lay out my platform below here for visitors to the blog, as I know that some have come here seeking more information. I’ve also uploaded a brochure that can be viewed here.

The brochure provides a great deal more information, and I feel my vision lays out some clear goals should I be elected chair, so I don’t feel the need for a lengthy post. Basically, I am seeking the chairmanship at this time, a time when our committee and our party is desperately in need of leadership to advance our shared values. This is not a public policy position, but I consider myself a strong conservative. Ultimately, we must recognize the fact that, although we may not agree on every single issue, we absolutely must work together or else risk allowing those who are diametrically opposed to our values to prevail. As Ronald Reagan said, “My eighty percent friend is not my twenty percent enemy.” We need a chairman who will work with all sides and will encourage people to always be civil and to recognize the need for unity. We have alot of work to do, but I feel up to the challenge and have the experience to prove I can lead this committee to victory. Again, check out my brochure, and if you’re interested, please attend your local precinct mass meeting (locations here) at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, April 12th so you can be a delegate at the Monday, April 23rd convention, at 7:30 pm at Central High School in Woodstock. I hope that between now and then I can earn your support!

OPENNESS

  • Ensuring all party calls are written clearly and to legal requirements
  • Publicizing party procedures to all interested participants
  • Providing rosters and state and local party plans to all committee members
  • Holding regular meetings and conferences with executive board members
  • Actively recruiting volunteers through regular social events
  • Regular website updates and e-newsletters
  • Conducting all party business by parliamentary procedure and party rules

UNITY

  • Open door policy to address concerns of committee members and officeholders
  • Believes the position of chair is one of a fair and unbiased arbiter of the process
  • As chairman, Craig will seek no other party or public office
  • Having frank and open discussions about our nominating processes

ACTION

  • Establishing clear fundraising and campaign plans every year
  • Making media outreach strategies a planning priority
  • Writing and approving a budget each year
  • Working with candidates for victory across the board
  • Establishing new databases of supporters and voters
  • Making sure that we start each year with clear contact goals and timeliness
  • Providing political education for precinct and district leadership (manuals/training sessions)

Call to 2012 Shenandoah County, Virginia Republican Precinct Mass Meetings and Convention

March 19, 2012 1 comment

Below, for the purposes of public information, is the complete call to Shenandoah County’s Precinct Mass Meetings and County Convention. All of the legal information necessary is below. However, for newbies, here is a basic guide to the process. On Thursday, April 12th at 7:30 pm precinct mass meetings will be held at the locations listed below to elect delegates who will then represent their precinct at the County Convention on Monday, April 23rd at 7:30 p.m. at Central High School in Woodstock. That convention will then a county party chairman and other members of the committee. It will also elect delegates to the Sixth District Convention, which will elect a district chair, three vice-chairmen, three members of the state central committee, one presidential elector and three delegates and three alternates to the Republican National Convention. The County Convention will also elect delegates to the State Convention, which will elect a state chairman, two members of the Republican National Committee, two at-large presidential electors, and thirteen delegates and thirteen alternates to the Republican National Convention. Information on these further up conventions is below, but feel free to ask any questions you may have about the process. I have further news to blog about regarding both the LFSWCD and the County GOP Committee, but for now I wanted to be sure this info gets out there for all interested Republicans.

Note: The voluntary registration fee for the 6th Congressional District Convention is actually $20. However, this is not a required part of the below call and was included for informative purposes only. Also, as these events are technically part of the nominating process for the public office of President, all fees are strictly voluntary.

CALL TO SHENANDOAH COUNTY, VIRGINIA
REPUBLICAN PARTY PRECINCT MASS MEETINGS
AND COUNTY CONVENTION

As Chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, pursuant to the Plan of Organization of the Republican Party of Virginia, and as recommended and directed by the Shenandoah County Republican Committee at its regular meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2012, I, Jeremy D. McCleary, do hereby issue this Call for Precinct Mass Meetings and a County Convention to be held as follows:
Precinct mass meetings will be held in the sixteen precincts of Shenandoah County at the following locations on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 7:30 PM:

Orkney Springs – Fire/Rescue Building
New Market – Fire Department
Conicville – Fire Hall
Mt. Jackson – Town Hall
Edinburg – Fire Hall
St. Luke – Parish Hall
Woodstock – Circuit Courtroom
Fort Valley – Fire Hall
Cedar Creek – Community Center
Toms Brook – Fire Hall
Lebanon Church – Community Center
Strasburg – Town Hall

The purpose of the precinct mass meetings is to elect delegates and alternate delegates to the Shenandoah County Republican Convention to convene at Central High School in Woodstock, Virginia, or its alternate site on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 7:30 PM

The purposes of the convention are:
1. To elect a Unit Chairman, members of the Unit Committee, and six (6) District Chairmen of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, in accordance with the Plan of Organization of the Republican Party of Shenandoah County, Virginia, and for the transaction of such other business as may properly come before the Convention; and
2. To elect up to 85 delegates and an equal number of alternate delegates to the Republican Party of Virginia State Convention, to be held on June 16th at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, beginning at 10:00 a.m. for the purposes of electing a State Party Chairman, RNC National Committeeman, RNC National Committeewoman, 13 At-Large Delegates and 13 At-Large Alternate Delegates to the RNC Convention, and two (2) At-Large Presidential Electors. Each unit is entitled to one (1) delegate vote per 250 Republican votes for Governor and President at their last election, so that Shenandoah County is entitled to 85 Delegate Votes; and
3. To elect up to 85 delegates and an equal number of alternate delegates to represent Shenandoah County at the Sixth Congressional District Convention of the Republican Party of Virginia to be held at 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. The purposes of the Sixth Congressional District Convention of the Republican Party of Virginia are as follows: (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; Elect a District Chairman of the Republican Party; (3) Elect three (3) members of the State Central Committee; (4) Elect three (3) regional vice-chairmen to the Sixth District Committee; and (4) the transaction of any other such business as may properly come before the convention. Each unit is entitled to one (1) delegate vote per 250 Republican votes for
Governor and President at their last election, so that Shenandoah County is entitled to 85 Delegate Votes; and

Voluntary Registration Fee

A voluntary registration fee of $1 is requested of each delegate and alternate delegate to the County Convention, but it is not required to participate in the convention. A voluntary registration fee of $35.00 is requested of each delegate and alternate delegate to the Sixth District Convention, to be paid when the certification is filed with the District Chairman. A voluntary registration fee of $35.00 is requested by the Republican Party of Virginia per delegate or alternate elected to the State Convention. All fees are subject to the limits and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act and are not tax-deductible.

Allotment of Delegate Votes

The convention shall be composed of delegates and alternate delegates from the respective precincts they represent. Representation shall be based on a percentage of the total number of Republican votes cast in each precinct in the last Presidential and Gubernatorial elections combined. Each precinct will be allowed one (1) delegate vote and one (1) alternate vote for each seventy-five (75) Republican votes cast, or a major fraction thereof. Each precinct shall be entitled to at least one (1) delegate vote. Up to five (5) delegates may be elected for each delegate vote, but no delegate shall have less than one-fifth (1/5) of a vote. Pursuant to Section H (3) of the Plan of Organization of the Republican Party of Virginia, each precinct delegation shall vote full vote at the convention unless otherwise designated by the electing members of the precinct at its mass meeting. Precincts shall be entitled to vote as follows:

Orkney Springs – 13 Delegate Votes and 13 Alternate Votes
New Market – 34 Delegate Votes and 34 Alternate Votes
Conicville – 24 Delegate Votes and 24 Alternate Votes
Mt. Jackson – 19 Delegate Votes and 19 Alternate Votes
Edinburg – 21 Delegate Votes and 21 Alternate Votes
St. Luke – 22 Delegate Votes and 22 Alternate Votes
Woodstock – 40 Delegate Votes and 40 Alternate Votes
Fort Valley – 12 Delegate Votes and 12 Alternate Votes
Cedar Creek – 2 Delegate Votes and 2 Alternate Votes
Toms Brook – 28 Delegate Votes and 28 Alternate Votes
Lebanon Church – 19 Delegate Votes and 19 Alternate Votes
Strasburg – 31 Delegate Votes and 31 Alternate Votes
Vote Total: 265 Delegate Votes and 265 Alternate Votes
Delegate Total: 1325 Delegates and 1325 Alternate Delegates

Candidacy Filing Requirements

Candidates for the election for the position of Shenandoah County Unit Chairman shall file a written declaration of candidacy by mail or in person to Mr. Jeremy D. McCleary, Chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee by Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm to Jeremy D. McCleary, Chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, 147 N. Main Street Woodstock, Virginia 22664. Postmarks shall not be considered. Only those who so file may stand for election at this Convention. Should only one person file for chairman under these requirements then he/she shall automatically be declared elected as chairman. No nominations shall be accepted from the floor of the County Convention, unless no candidate files for the position.

Qualifications for Participation

All legal and qualified voters of Shenandoah County, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested to 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 members of the Republican Party of Virginia in the Convention. All individuals desiring to participate in the Convention may be required to present some form of identification such as a voter registration card, driver’s license, or other positive identification.

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.

__________________________________________________________________________

OFFICIAL CALL

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.

PURPOSES

  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.

QUALIFICATION FOR PARTICIPATION

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.

REGISTRATION

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.

BALLOTTING

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.

COMPOSITION OF THE CONVENTION

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:

UNIT VOTING STRENGTH MAX. NO. DELEGATES
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

CERTIFICATION OF DELEGATES

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.

CANDIDACY FILING REQUIREMENTS

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 http://www.sixthdistrictgop.org/  or at the Republican Party of Virginia website at www.rpv.org.
Paid for and authorized by the Sixth District Congressional District of the Republican Party of Virginia.

The Saga Continues: The AG Race (POLL INCLUDED)

Movie franchises work best in threes. Comedy has its own rule of threes. And here in Virginia, we have three statewide elected officials elected in the year between the presidential and midterm elections. So, of course, I feel like I have to complete my own trilogy of posts about the state of the race for 2013. As has been said by me and plenty others, much is in flux right now, and this isn’t even the biggest race on the radar. Those, of course, are the US Senate Race and the Presidential election, for which the GOP will need all hands on deck next year to prevail in. However, as we recently saw with the discussions over the presidential primary ballot requirements and the “loyalty oath” issue for said primary, these races are definitely coloring how people are approaching the 2012 races. So, since we’ve already gotten a feel for where we’re at for the Governor and LG races, why not go for a threepeat?

A caution–let us not read too much into any results I have to offer. If anything, the only thing internet polls are good for are for giving us a slight idea of who has the best organized and motivated people. That, and just who reads what blogs. (My readers/acquaintances seem to be more Bolling fans than Cuccinelli fans, given that my poll results were the inverse of Bearing Drifts) But, in a number driven business, they’re just fun too, so why not?

Your Contenders

Announced

  • Delegate Robert Bell–Bell is starting his fifth term in Richmond as a Delegate representing a Piedmont based district, with territory in Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and just a chunk of Rockingham Counties. (This makes for an interesting race, as that means two candidates represent parts of the same locality) Bell was first elected in 2001 and has represented a “purplish” district–mostly due to the Albemarle based precincts but has consistently done well. Bell’s ambition has been known for a long time, but this cycle marks his first clear shot at the brass ring. Bell has often been considered one of the “young guns” of the General Assembly (though at forty four, he’s just five years younger than another candidate). He’s married with two young children. Bell has been a pretty reliable conservative in the General Assembly, but some of his legislative agenda has tended towards strengthening laws and regulations–something that may not play well with the current libertarian leanings predominant amongst many Virginia GOP activists. Bell chairs the powerful Criminal subcomittee, which handles a large chunk of legislation that comes through the GA each year. Additionally, Bell is a former prosecutor, something that’s always a plus (though not a necessity) in this race. Bell is also a pretty formidable fundraiser.
  • Fairfax Circuit Court Clerk John Frey–Frey, the three term clerk of the combined Fairfax and Fairfax Circuit Courts, is something of an unknown entity to many activists–even a few in Northern Virginia. However, from what I had learned about Frey, he certainly brings an interesting angle to things. For one, he’s not in any real way tied to Richmond as it is, and I think we can expect him to talk alot about the relationship between the state and localities, a tack that will likely also be taken by Corey Stewart in the AG’s race. Additionally, he brings the sort of executive experience that Bell and Obenshain don’t quite have, running an office of more than one hundred fifty employees with a budget of $11 million. I’m not sure about Frey’s experience as a lawyer nor his fundraising abilities, but it’ll be interesting to learn more, as he’s attempting a path that hasn’t been successful on the GOP side since Jim Gilmore won the AG slot in 1993 (going from local to statewide office).

“Exploring”

  • State Senator Mark Obenshain–Right now Obenshain is said to be “exploring” a run for Attorney General, but he has launched a committee specifically for this race and its said that an official announcement is forthcoming–he’s in. Obenshain is embarking on his third term in the State Senate. Obenshain has twice handily dispatched opponents in this rock solid red district, and in 2011 no one even bothered running against him. Obenshain has been a stalwart conservative in a Senate that was, earlier in the last decade, more under the influence of moderates. Obenshain has a reputation as a fighter but also as somebody who can get things done. Obenshain has been a decent fundraiser, but compared to Bell, he’s never had the real need to raise a huge chunk of coin to get the job done. Obenshain is more closely linked to Cuccinelli than Bell, the two having been close in the State Senate, and therefore may draw many of Cuccinelli’s supporters, but Obenshain has clearly stated his neutrality in the Governor’s race. It certainly doesn’t hurt, either, that Obenshain is the son of a party legend, former RPV Chair and 1978 Senate Nominee the late Richard Obenshain (who died in a air crash during the campaign and was replaced on the ticket by now Former Senator John Warner). I’m not sure but I don’t believe Obenshain has any prosecutorial experience but is regularly named one of Virginia’s “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business Magazine. Obenshain has two children in college, is married, and is 49.

Possible Candidates

  • Former Arlington School Board Chair Dave Foster–Foster ran in 2009 and came in third at the convention to Cuccinelli and Brownlee on the first (and only) ballot. Foster’s primary claim to fame is as a member of the Arlington County School Board (0nce as chair) and is regularly touted as a figure who can break the Democratic stranglehold in that region (although the School Board is non-partisan). Foster raised a decent amount of money in the AG’s race last time but never really gained any traction, squeezed by Cuccinelli’s strident conservative legislative accomplishments and Brownlee’s tough on crime rhetoric. Foster has remained active, hosting hospitality suites at recent Advances. Foster’s biggest appeal was and is as a Republican in deep blue territory–but last time he wasn’t the only one, with Cuccinelli in the mix, and this time he won’t be the only one either if Frey does indeed make it to the primary. Foster may instead make the race to replace now-State Senator Barbara Favola on the Arlington Board of Supervisors, but the guy’s scrappy–if he takes a pass on that, and its looking very likely, then we’ll have a better idea of where he’s leaning.
  • Former US District Attorney John Brownlee–Brownlee could make the race again, having placed second to Cuccinelli at the 2009 State Convention. Brownlee is many a consultant’s perfect storm candidate–a veteran, a tough on crime prosecutor, young, great looks. However, Brownlee, despite his sterling prosecutorial credentials, never really made a strong case against the Cooch and managed to lose a good chunk of the rural counties, supposedly his strongest area as he served in the Western District in Roanoke. Still, Brownlee was a pretty decent fundraiser and pulled in some pretty good supporters, but don’t count him out yet. However, keep in mind that a GOP win in November could lead to different opportunities for Brownlee…..

So there’s your slate, folks. Vote above, with the usual choices (all of the above mentioned plus undecided and someone else). Feel free to share any further thoughts or candidates in the comments below.

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…

Selecting A Second (POLL)

December 19, 2011 1 comment

The biggest political news in Virginia over the last few weeks has been the emerging primary between Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Well, to a certain degree….that story is slowly being overtaken by talk of the Governor’s agenda for the upcoming General Assembly Session and the upcoming Presidential Primary (though if Virginia will have much impact right now is anybody’s guess).

However, a new survey from Public Policy Polling (a Democrat leaning firm in North Carolina) put the conversation back in the news. Right now, Cuccinelli has a tentative lead over Bolling, 44% to 25%. A few issues with this poll–one, they use automated polling, rather than live interviews. Two, there’s no indication in the toplines that there was any real attempt at geographic weighting. One big issue right now for Bolling is that he simply doesn’t seem to generate much attention from the GOP faithful, despite having been in the limelight for the last seven years, stemming back to his first run for his current job. While his net favorable is +24%, 52% of primary voters don’t have an opinion of him. This compares to Cuccinelli’s net +41%, with 27% not having an opinion. However, Bolling is already attempting to heighten his profile, starting with this WaPo profile on his new role as the state’s “part-time decider” (referring to his new role as the tie breaking vote in the State Senate). Meanwhile, Cuccinelli has fired back at some of the key criticisms of his decision in an email to supporters shared at Bearing Drift.

So all that’s going on….but what about the race for the silver medal? That is to say, what about the Lt. Governor’s race? Right now, the other race ginning up alot of attention is Bell v. Obenshain v. Fairfax Circuit Court Clerk John Frey for Attorney General. Historically, here in Virginia, Attorney General has been the preferred stepping stone to the Gubernatorial nomination, but that all really depends on just how things play out in the general. If your AG candidate lose but the LG wins, then they suddenly find themselves in the catbird seat. Given that Virginia has few statewide offices compared to neighboring states, its not a bad place to be if your aspirations eventually head in the direction of the Governor’s mansion. So, naturally, the position tends to draw stiff competition, even if, statutorily speaking, its pretty dang boring (though most LGs preside over the Senate more actively than their federal counterparts and McDonnell has given Bolling more duties to Bolling than usual, the primary duty is still the macabre responsibility of waiting for the unthinkable to happen).

So, who wants this possible diamond in the rough? Here’s the rumored/announced contenders so far:

Announced On the precipice of announcing, but not quite yet…..

  • Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart–So far Stewart is the only announced candidate for Lt. Governor. Corey has been making the rounds for several years around the state and already earned a great deal of cachet through his localities efforts on illegal immigration. He would not be the first local elected to make the leap from county politics to the state level (his predecessor, Sean Connaughton, ran for the position in 2005), but he’s probably the best positioned, coming from a key locality for statewide campaigns. He also carries less of the baggage that weighed down Connaughton in terms of fiscal issues. Furthermore, Stewart is also guaranteed to shake up the debate on localities versus the state in a way that Warrenton Mayor George Fitch failed to do in his quixotic 2005 Gubernatorial campaign. UPDATE: Corey isn’t exactly announced, but he’s definitely way more “in the game” than the rest of the field. So I’ll keep him separated from the rest of the bunch with the caveat that he’s not announced–but he’s more or less running.

Rumored

  • Keith Fimian–Mr. Fimian has twice been the GOP nominee against now Congressman Gerry Connolly (formerly Fairfax County Chairman). Fimian came very close to an upset in 2010, but alas, no cigar. However, he still has a large following and certainly would start out with some strength in 2010–something that would make the roadmap more difficult for Stewart. However, Fimian won’t start with much of a base outside of the 11th unless he really steps up his operation over the next twelve months, and as a two time loser may have an image problem to overcome. Still, he’s a dynamic figure and one to watch at this stage.
  • Pete Snyder–Mr. Snyder is the founder of New Media Strategies, an Arlington based social media firm. He recently left the firm to start a venture capital firm, Disruptor Capital, and to head RPV’s Victory 2012 program. Snyder is certainly well known within professional political circles, but less-so-amongst rank and file activists. However, he has strong business ties (ones that will only get stronger with his new venture) and his part in the Victory program will bring him a higher profile over the next year. Again, his NOVA ties are a plus. However, his part in the Victory program could possibly be as much a hinderance as a help, as there will likely be pressure for him not to be campaigning while trying to win Virginia for the GOP.
  • Ed Gillespie–Former RPV, RNC, and McDonnell for Governor chair, Gillespie has a long, long history of Republican political work. He’s going to bring not only political expertise to the table but also financial ties and likely a top notch management team. Gillespie won’t likely be able to bank on NOVA ties as much as the aforementioned candidates. He’s one of those Beltway types who lives in Virginia because, well, what professional Republican wants to live in Maryland (Sorry Krystle, but if its any consolation, I still want Crabs for Christmas)
  • Senator Jeff McWaters–I’ve gotta admit, I’m somewhat in the dark on McWaters, other than he won a special election for the seat of now Sheriff Ken Stolle down in VA Beach. Also, he’s earned a 92% rating from the American Conservative Union–not shabby. It would be a big jump to go from one and change terms in the State Senate to a statewide bid–right now, I imagine the talk is driven largely by the lack of other contenders from that part of the state. But he’s not a horrible fundraiser and was certainly generous with his money in 2011, so we shall see.

So that’s the field right now. I have them all included in the poll above, so vote away….well, them plus one. Right now, as a wild card, I’m including Delegate Ben Cline. Why? A few reasons. One, although is pretty much assumed that Delegate Cline is the heir apparent to Congressman Goodlatte, Goodlatte is pretty young in Congressional terms–he could conceivably serve another decade or so, so long as he beats off his upcoming primary challenge (and right now that seems like a good bet). Cline has a leadership PAC (although its seen little activity), and he hosted a hospitality suite at the Advance this year. He’s put himself through law school since he started his run in the House. I’d be surprised if Cline, a young comer by any account, sits still for too long–it’d be curious for someone to go from LG to Congress, but hey, stranger things have happened. At just 39 Cline certainly has room to grow, so hey, why not?

I suspect that the field we discuss now will not be the one we end up with in June of 2013. I suspect a Richmond based candidate will pop up, and I would be very surprised in that many NOVA based candidates stay in. In 2005 there were 5 candidates flirting with LG at one time or another but only 2 ended up on the ballot. It’s a big task getting on the statewide primary ballot (ask Emmet Hanger), so we’ll revisit this later. For now, though, have fun, and include any additional rumors you’ve heard in the comments.

Books and the Ballotbox (Poll Included)

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Ah, the joys of campaigning. There’s many things to love about it….meeting new people, the rush of contacting voters, putting up signs and handing out bumperstickers. There’s one thing, though, I’ve never really loved: the quaddrenial rush of books from presidential contenders. There’s a few reasons I’ve come to loathe this. Largely, I feel bad for not reading them, even though most of them are just filled with ghostwritten pablum that differs little from the candidate’s stump speeches. I don’t read as quick as I used to, but with all these candidates, even if you are a fast reader, that’s still alot of time. Then there’s the whole thing of actually shelling out $30 if you want to read them before their author is little more than an afterthought in the race…..(I’m not on the Kindle train yet)

Apparently, somebody reads them, though. There was much ballyhooing about Cain’s book a little bit ago, how it appeared his campaign was more book tour than campaign. Now, the New York Times notes the same thing about Newt:

Even as he widens his lead in the polls, Newt Gingrich spends substantial time on an activity that raised questions about his ultimate motive when he was a back-of-the-pack candidate: selling and signing $25 copies of his books.

As his primary foe, Mitt Romney, and the White House intensify their efforts to negatively define Mr. Gingrich, his sole public event on Friday is at a bookstore in Washington. On Saturday he flies to Des Moines for a Republican debate but plans to squeeze in an afternoon book-signing.

Experienced campaign strategists cannot recall a top-tier contender devoting so much time to pitching products while seeking the White House. Mitt Romney, who also has a book out, has never sold it while stumping, his campaign said. President Obama, a best-selling author in 2007, did not incorporate sales events into campaign appearances, according to a spokesman for his re-election committee.

Mr. Gingrich’s devotion to book-selling, Republican strategists said, raises questions about the propriety of a candidate who is generating personal income while seeking the White House, as well as whether he is making the optimum use of limited campaign time.

There’s certainly plenty to talk about here, but let’s face it–Newt has spent the last twelve years or so as a political entrprenuer, starting organizations here, shilling a book there, appearing on this or that news network. I’m sure its a hard habit to break. And of course, Newt has always been a prolific writer (or the one whose name is on the jacket, at least), having written 21 some odd books throughout his career (some of which one intrepid New York Times Magazine author dared to read).

But what about candidates that are new to the writing game? Well, not so hot for Michele Bachmann (h/t Political Wire):

Michele Bachmann’s weak poll numbers may be showing up in slow sales of her memoir, Core of Conviction. In the two weeks since the book was released, it’s sold just 3,000 copies despite a media blitz and numerous book-signing events by Bachmann.

Those numbers come from Nielsen BookScan, which gets the information directly from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and most other retailers. The company estimates its sales numbers capture 75 percent of the book market although it currently does not get information from discount retailers Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club.

As of 5 PM ET on Wednesday, the book ranked 4,200 on Amazon’s bestseller list, although it ranked 62 on the site’s political bestseller list.

Ouch. It’s hard to judge how well her book is doing–sooooo many books are published in America that the average per book is around 500 copies (keep in mind that we’re talking about a really wide range of numbers here, so the average isn’t all that great of a statistic). But the fact that its not even intriguing readers of political books indicates that Bachmann’s book is not breaking through.

Honestly, not only is it not that important (trot out old “x’s don’t vote” trope here), but its not all that uncommon. If you really want to read any of these books after their shelf-life, I suggest in about nine months you head down to the Green Valley Book Fair, where they’ll be available for about $5/pound (ok, so they don’t sell them by the pound, but on average you’ll be paying about $3-5 per title)

Basically, there’s five kinds of political books

  • The reporting/history book–usually written by a third party shortly after or around the time of the events in question (“What It Takes”). A subset of these books may fall more in line with the history genre (The Last Campaign, about either the 1948 Election or RFK’s 1968 campaign, depending on which one of these same titled books you pick up) but still are plenty interesting for politicos
  • The kiss-off/tell all–written by an ex-administration official or someone who played a pivotal role in the events in question–you know, your Scott McCllellans of the world. Some my be polite, like Christie Todd Whitman, but even she had a critique in there
  • The campaign book–written by people who are actively running for office or considering it. Most are ghostwritten (see above)
  • The policy book–closely related to the campaign book, but written by someone who may not be seeking higher office in the near future but is trying to build support for their policies (Think “Young Guns” here)
  • The memoir–written by former officeholders. Usually written by the subject, but likely polished by a professional author (“Decision Points”, “My Life”)

Again, very few of these books have a very long shelf life. Probably the ones that last the longest are the memoirs and the history books, because they’ll be of interest long after the fact. The others, however, don’t tend to lend too much to either political professionals or historians, so don’t be surprised if they don’t see additional print runs.

So what say you, dear readers? Add categories in the comments, and chime in with the polls below about your political reading habits.

The Style Primary

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

The problem with taking the time to gather your thoughts, at least in the blog world, is that there’s probably someone out there who’s quicker on the draw than you….you wanted to get all the facts straight, double check everything, but somebody else already has (or isn’t too bothered by those pesky “facts”). And so it was with this post, where I had the basic idea that Cuccinelli v. Bolling isn’t going to come down so much to the issues but as a pure contest of political style.

First, DJ over at the Right Wing Liberal:

Very little distances either man on issues: In the State Senate, both Cuccinelli and Bolling established low-tax, low-spending, and culturally conservative records. They even made the same mistake (backing the Howell version of HB3202), and walked it back during the critical but now nrealy-forgotten 2008 special session. We may see some dramatic magnification of miniscule differences, but I doubt it will be enough for any neutral (of which I am one) to go one way or the other.

……

As candidates, Bolling and Cuccinelli have very different skill sets. This is the political version of apples and oranges. Bolling is steady, predictable, and affable; all excellent qualities in a candidate running on a good record in an electorate generally favorable to him. Cuccinelli, by contrast, is dynamic, originial, kinetic, and on occasion hyperactive. Many more voters would be comfortable with Bolling than Cuccinelli (good for voter breadth). Cuccinelli forces voters to think, takes risks that could be game changers, and never backs down from a challenge, thus appealing to voters who are more focused and engaged (good for voter depth). To make things even more complex, each man’s traits could be strengths or weaknesses depending upon the political climate – and that means the political climate could be the one thing that determines which one would be the better candidate.

Chris over at Mason Conservative has much the same thinking, though he framed it more in regional terms:

Its a battle between Richmond and Northern Virginia.

 

The agendas of business interests, local governments, and even the citizens themselves of Richmond and Northern Virginia are different.  Richmond is old Virginia.  Its business interests are defined by old bankers, law firms, and tobacco companies that have been bankrolling Virginia elections since forever.  Northern Virginia is defined by developers, contractors, dot.coms, environmentalists, public servants that come from PTAs and HOAs and where education and transportation and the biggest issues.  And when you look and the needs of both regions of the state, then look at the relative small size of the state budget (compared to other states), there isn’t enough money for both of them.

………

You want to know why Bill Bolling is so outraged at Ken Cuccinelli?  Because Ken represents the biggest threat to the power of Richmond in this state it’s ever seen.  He’s charismatic, made a national name for himself, never was able to be controlled in the senate, and he cannot be pushed aside as a “moderate” someone downstate conservatives would be embarrassed to support.  Bolling has done things the Richmond way.  He’s paid his dues, worked hard, been loyal, said and done the right things, and waited his turn.  Just like all of them.  There isn’t much of a difference in politics between the two, which is a much bigger problem for Bolling.  Ken can’t be brushed aside like Davis was by the claim he’s some wishy-washy Fairfax moderate RINO.  That card is gone, and Bob Marshall proved in 2008 how strong a conservative with a NOVA base can be in a primary, and Ken only confirmed that in 2009 with his drubbing that he laid on two other candidates.

Ken is like Northern Virginia because he doesn’t play by the old rules, he doesn’t care about who’s turn it is, he doesn’t care about the old way of doing things.

And so goes my thinking. What we have here isn’t so much a fight over issues as a fight over style. Bolling comes from the political school of thought that you need to bide your time. Principles are important…you wouldn’t be bothering with this if you didn’t have something pulling you in, right? But what good are you going to be if every time someone challenges you your first move is straight for the jugular? Work the vineyards, move up….you’ll get your chance to make a difference. Cuccinelli doesn’t quite see things that way…..its all about principles, values. You’re either right or you’re wrong. You’re not doing it right if you don’t fight in the streets, leave no stone unturned, refuse to confront people. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Which I think is what makes all of this so disconcerting for so many activists. Let’s face it—RPV is predominantly conservative. Yes, there’s a few, just a few old hat moderates left, but their numbers are dwindling every year. And yes, there’s always someone right behind you saying that you’re not conservative enough……remember, it wasn’t even twenty years ago that George Allen and Ollie North’s people were looked upon with some distaste. It wasn’t so long ago that Allen was the outsider…..and Bolling was one of his guys. But things change. So who do you go with? The guy who takes no quarter on your issues and is willing to lose, so long as he’s right—or the guy who was there all along, used to even be more like his now opponent, but waited, worked for this moment?

A sidenote: A lot of people seem to be framing this in the context of “Republicans always go with the guy whose turn it is.” First off, this is largely based off of experience in presidential primaries—Bush ‘88, Dole ‘96, McCain ‘08. This is comparing apples and oranges. I’m not convinced that “its his turn” holds as much sway as it did prior to the Tea Party rise and their domination in primaries in 2010, nor that it ever really existed below the presidential level—ask former Delegate Clint Miller if he thought it was Allen’s turn in 1993. Secondly, these races are very different—yes, presidential primaries are a long slog, but there you’re dealing with contacting millions of voters in different states, each with its own nuanced system for choosing delegates to the national convention. Here, you’re dealing with getting voters in one state out on just one day (remember, the State Central Committee has already settled on a primary). Yeah, sure, you need to target your areas of the state, but they’re not weighted—whoever gets the most voters wins. Finally, the reason we’ve ended up with “the anointed one” in many past GOP Presidential primaries is not so much that they were always the front runner—Buchanan was whipping Dole hard before South Carolina, and Bush had lost more contests than he won up to South Carolina in 1988. McCain was in a similar situation, and even the Gipper lost Iowa to George H.W. Bush in 1980. The reason they ended up winning was because either they were prepared for the long slog or the new favorites of the activists withered under the hot lights of the media. Say what you will about Cuccinelli upending the order—fair or not, he’s been through this before, as has Bolling, but to a degree he’s had it tougher in no small part to his narrow re-election to the State Senate in 2007. Cuccinelli, love it or hate it, is ready for prime time.

To underscore just what’s going on here in terms of this being more a contest of style than issues, I decided to do a little more research—I decided to actually LOOK at both men’s records. Well, scratch that—I decided to look up where the two men have stood in the eyes of various groups, left and right, that dare to rate members of the General Assembly.

Two important caveats here. One, let’s keep in perspective that Ken and Bill only served concurrently for three sessions—2003 to 2005. If you follow the GA, you know that no one session is quite like the other. Sure there are perennial bills, but those are not the ones that define each session—those bills come up year after year because they always fail. The issues that define each session change. Secondly, just as both men are going to go over each other’s records with a fine toothed comb, so did these interest groups. The bills that each group takes into consideration are rarely, if ever, a complete record of every bill that touched upon that group’s issues, and those issues change from year to year—which is why one year you may get a 100% rating but the next 40%. But until I or some other intrepid blogger gets the time to examine every bill both men voted on (which will likely be around the time one of them or their Democratic opponent is sworn in), this will do.

This information is gleaned, largely from both men’s pages at ProjectVoteSmart (Ken here, Bill here). If either camp wants to correct the record here, I welcome it. So with no further ado:

Cuccinelli and Bolling: Interest Group Ratings

Key:

NS—Not Serving in the body that was rated

NR—Not rated (group did not issue ratings)

All scores are out of 100% unless otherwise noted

Abortion

Virginia Society for Human Life (Pro-Life)

1999

2000

2001

2002

2004-05

2004-2007

Cuccinelli

NS

NS

NS

NS

100

100

Bolling

100

NR

100

100

100

NS

NARAL/Pro-Choice Virginia (Pro-Choice)

2002

2004

2005

2008

2009

Cuccinelli

NS

0

0

0

0

Bolling

0

0

0

NS

NS

Planned Parenthood (Pro-Choice)

2004-05

2009

Cuccinelli

0

0

Bolling

0

NS

Business
Virginia National Federation of Independent Businesses

1996-7

1998-99

2000-01

2006-07

Cuccinelli

NS

NS

NS

100

Bolling

100

83

100

NS

Virginia Chamber of Commerce

1998

1999

2000-01

2002-03

2005

Cuccinelli

NS

NS

NS

NS

82

Bolling

88

89

79

89

100

Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education
97 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
Cuccinelli NS NS NS NS NS 62 68 82 NR 61 94 89
Bolling 84 85 100 79 86 71 67 100 NS NS NS NS
LGBT Issues
Equality Virginia

2003

2004

2005

2007

Cuccinelli

0

0

0

67

Bolling

100

0

0

NS

Social Conservatism
The Family Foundation

1999

2001

2002-03

2004-05

2006-07

2008-09

Cuccinelli

NS

NS

100

100

92

91

Bolling

88

93

100

100

NS

NS

*Note: The Christian Coalition did ratings prior to Ken’s service. Bill received a 95% in 1997 and 100% in 1999.

Education

Virginia Education Association

1998

2002

2004

2005

2006

2006-07

2008

Cuccinelli

NS

NS

33/0*

67

80

78

75

Bolling

30

43

33/0*

50

NS

NS

NS

*Note: I found two different scores for 2004; both are included here
The Environment
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
Cuccinelli NS NS NS NS 17 11 0 43 50 57 10
Bolling 33 60 100 80 20 50 0 NS NS NS NS
Labor
Virginia AFL-CIO
99 2001 2002 2003 2004* 2005* 2006 2007 2008 2009
Cuccinelli NS NS NS 9 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bolling 0 0 50 0 6 11 NS NS NS NS
Gun Rights
National Rifle Association
1999 2003 2005* 2007 2009*
Cuccinelli NS A NR A A+
Bolling A A A NR A+
*Note: Bolling’s 2005 score is for his first LG run. Both men’s 2009 scores are for their respective statewide runs that year. The NRA assigns alphabetical grades that are based both on legislative work and survey responses
Virginia Citizen’s Defense League
I’m having trouble working out percentages here, since VCDL assigns one grade but VCDL-PAC is the one that hands out endorsements. Suffice it to say that both men, as far as I know, have been endorsed by VCDL in all of their runs throughout VCDL’s history. However, if I am wrong here, please let me know. Candidate surveys can be found here—figured I’d provide the source on this one because of the very nuanced nature of this exercise (or rather, the fact that too much nuance will earn you scorn from VCDL).
Conclusion
Obviously there’s a lot to chew on here, and again, this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you’re highly interested in all of this, I suggest tracking down the actual scorecards for that year—again, something’s gotta be up for both men to earn over 50% from Equality Virginia once while pulling in zeroes the rest of the time—same with their wildly gyrating League of Conservation Voters Scores. This is the tip of the iceberg, and we have over a year and a half to go, but for right now—its pretty clear that the two men are relatively close when it comes to core issues for the Republican base. (As DJ pointed out, they both even made the same mistake by backing the miserable transportation plan in 2007, abuser fees and all). I have no commentary beyond that—just wanted to throw this out there.
Corrections, additions, and just plain criticism welcome.

Mullins more than Mulling

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I broke it–well, insinuated at the possibility by reading in to something, anyways–first, but Bearing Drift confirms: RPV Pat Mullins will be seeking re-election at next June’s State Convention. The State Convention will likely be lightly attended compared to 2008 and 2009, as no nominations for federal office will be at hand (well, other than the nominations for Republican at-large presidential electors). However, the Chairman is still an important position as RPV heads into 2012 and 2013.

Over the past few days I have started calling folks to let them know that I intend to seek re-election as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia at the 2012 State Convention and to serve a full 4 year term. I hope to talk to you directly in the next few days or chat with you at the Advance about this decision.

When you first elected me Chairman in the spring of 2009 our party was deeply divided and reeling, as we had just come off our worse electoral defeat in a generation. Barack Obama had just won our electoral votes, the Democrats had just taken a 6-5 Congressional delegation majority, they held the Governor’s mansion, a state Senate majority, and both of our U.S. Senate seats.

I believe that because of this adversity, we all came together and worked together to change the direction of not only our party, but the Commonwealth of Virginia. We did it together.

In 2009, with your help and those of thousands of other grassroots activists, we elected Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Ken Cuccinelli and added six seats to our majority in the House of Delegates.

In 2010 we defeated three incumbent Democratic Members of Congress and came within a few hundred votes of defeating a fourth. We flipped the Democrat’s 6-5 Congressional majority to an 8-3 Republican majority which helped elect Congressman Eric Cantor as U.S. Majority Leader.

In 2011 we added seven additional seats to our majority in the House of Delegates and defeated two incumbent Democratic state Senators to gain control of the Virginia Senate.

And while the past three years have been some of the most successful our party has had, we cannot rest on our laurels. The elections of 2012, 2013, 2014 and beyond are critical for our party and our nation.

I am seeking to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia for another four years to keep the momentum going and to continue to elect Republicans who will stand strong for our shared principles.

Mullins has done a fantastic job as chairman. He’s one of the best judges of political horseflesh we have out there (and why not–the man’s occupation is insuring horses!), and it shows. RPV has one of the best professional teams its has had in years, and the proof is in the pudding–the Governorship, both lower constitutional offices, control of the GA, and a majority of the state’s congressional delegation. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but RPV is in very good shape right now. No major gaffes on Mullins’ part, and the man is a true workhorse (if not exactly a dynamo) on the trail.

Is RPV perfect? No. I think there’s still a great deal of work to be done. I personally would like to see more engagement with local units–not just providing resources but helping to create a culture of campaigning, with every single member of every single unit viewing their job not just as a sinecure that shows their “dedication” but taking an active role in every campaign, in whatever way they can or are best able to. RPV also has some work to do with winning the data war, as there seems to be a feeling that Voter Vault is not at all what it could be.

However, I think Mullins is the man to continue this battle, particularly as someone who has put in the time as a county chair. RPV has also done fairly solid work with helping party units on procedural matters. The only real issue that one could take with Mullins is on the perrenial “convention v. primary” battle–but even there, Mullins is not the one to “blame.” That’s a decision made by the State Central Committee writ large, some of whom are elected directly at the District Conventions, some who hold the position by virtue of election to head an auxillary organization, some by elected office, and others elected by the District Committees, which consists of unit chairs. If you prefer a convention system, this is the year to hold the individuals you elect to party office accountable on this issue. To punish Mullins for a decision reached by a whole swath of people directly and indirectly elected by party activists would be to take away a steady hand at the wheel, the one keeping everybody together.

Unless something happens on the road to the convention or a much, much more compelling figure arises (and they’re going to have to have a heck of a record), Mullins is my prohibitive pick for Chairman next June.

Advance on the Advance

December 2, 2011 3 comments

The last twenty four hours has put a whole new spin on the Republican Party of Virginia’s annual retreat/conference, the Advance. Certainly spirits were expected to be high, given the GOP’s narrow gain of control of the State Senate and continuing enthusiasm for unseating Barack Obama. Of course, as is always the case, various figures were anticipated to start jockeying for position for statewide bids. Which ones, exactly, we didn’t know…..

Then last night the picture became a whole lot clearer when it was leaked that AG Ken Cuccinelli is preparing to announce a bid for Governor. It was expected that this wouldn’t happen until after the Advance, but, now its all out in the open. Cuccinelli has pretty much made it official, starting with an email to his staff that was leaked this afternoon:

You have likely heard in the media the many rumors about an announcement of a run for governor. While I wanted to wait to announce a candidacy until after the General Assembly session, as the rumors swirl, I find it necessary to put them to rest.

After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to run for governor in 2013. I have always intended to let you know before the media. Shortly after you receive this email, I will be sending a statement to the media announcing my candidacy.

Also of note: Cuccinelli stated that he would buck the recent tradition of AGs who seek the Governorship resigning to focus on their campaign/make sure the citizens have a full-time AG (depending on who you ask). Generally this doesn’t happen until the spring of election year, so I find it interesting the Cooch went to lengths from the start to say he wouldn’t be doing that.

We will continue this work together until the last day of my term. Just as I had intended not to resign as attorney general to run for a second term, I will not resign as attorney general to run for governor. The people of Virginia trusted me to be their attorney general, and I intend to give them their full four years. I also think it is important to see these lawsuits against the federal government all the way through, as they are unprecedented battles for liberty in our lifetimes.

I am committed to you and to the citizens of this commonwealth to leading this office and making this job my priority. I have no right to ask the voters for a promotion if I cannot continue to do my current job well.

Meanwhile, there’s been reaction from all corners, ranging from enthusiastic to downright icy. The only reaction anyone really cared about, though, was Bill Bolling’s, and as expected, he is not pleased:

Needless to say, I am very disappointed by Mr. Cuccinelli’s decision to run for Governor in 2013.  During the 2009 campaign, and since taking office in 2010, Mr. Cuccinelli had repeatedly stated that he intended to seek re-election as Attorney General in 2013 and that is what I and other Republican leaders had expected him to do.  Unfortunately, he has now decided to put his own personal ambition ahead of the best interests of the Commonwealth and the Republican Party.

But that much we figured. Bolling, however, has already been able to get the Governor squarely in his corner:

Virginia is fortunate to have both Ken Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling serving in statewide office. They are dedicated public servants and I enjoy working closely with them on a daily basis. While I do prefer a scenario in which both men continue to serve in statewide office together going forward, I certainly respect the right of the attorney general to make his own decision regarding future races. Since early 2008, I’ve been clear that I will strongly support Bill Bolling for Governor in 2013. Bill is a trusted advisor and a close, personal friend. As Lieutenant Governor, Bill has been a key member of our Administration. Serving as our Chief Job Creation Officer, Bill has been tireless and successful in his work to bring more jobs and economic opportunities to the Commonwealth. I look forward to supporting Bill in his campaign for Governor.

So what about the people who will actually decide this thing–you know, Republican voters? Again, reaction has ranged from enthusiastic to ambivalent to polite but disapproving to downright icy, with many in the comments sections of some of the state’s top right leaning blogs cheering for Cuccinelli but just as many chastising him for upending the “system”. Two bloggers have suggested Cuccinelli back off and run for re-election–one a Bolling supporter who fears a bloody primary will upend the party’s chances and another who specifically wants Cuccinelli around to fight UVA on the global climate records issue (UPDATE: for the record, that author is neutral between Bolling and Cuccinelli). For what its worth, in my extremely unscientific and lightly traveled poll, Cuccinelli and Bolling are tied, although there’s a bit more support for Ken running than not. Meanwhile, at Bearing Drift’s equally unscientific but far more participated in poll, Cuccinelli is leading Bolling 64%-32% (for some reason, they included neither rather than undecided). In the only scientific polling that has been done, an automated poll by PPP last August, Cuccinelli garnered 45% to Bolling’s 21%.

Others are bashing Ken for not upholding his “word”. For what it’s worth, as Chris at Mason Conservative points out, Ken wasn’t party to any agreement between McDonnell and Bolling, though at an AG’s debate in 2009 he said he wouldn’t:

“Will you pledge tonight that if elected Attorney General, you will support Bill Bolling for Governor in 2013 and not run against him?, asks Jay Warren.

“That’s just not something I would foresee happening.”, says Cuccinelli.

“So equivocally no?”, asks Jay Warren.

“Yes. Correct.”, responds Cuccinelli.

But he was guarded enough to say he didn’t foresee it….so that was then, and this is now. As I pointed out before, Cuccinelli is a darling of the right, not just at home but across the country. Indeed, rather than being at the Advance on Saturday Night, Cuccinelli will be playing a role as a moderator of a Fox News Presidential forum in New York City. (No word on what his Friday night plans are)

So if we’re looking at a Bolling-Cuccinelli match-up for the big job, where does that leave us for the rest of the potential field for other statewide offices? It was assumed that Lt. Gov. would be the only prize open, but now, it looks like that and AG will both be up for grabs. First out of the gate to finalize his plans is my own State Senator Mark Obenshain, who has announced (unofficially, at least) for AG:

Harrisonburg Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain confirmed Thursday he’s exploring a bid for attorney general in the 2013 statewide election as news broke about the future plans of that office’s current occupant.

A more formal announcement from Obsenshain is expected soon — he said he’ll make his intentions clear after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli declares his plans for the next election. (Cuccinelli is expected to reveal his plans to run for governor in the near term.)

I won’t be shy about sharing this–I’m with Mark. I’ve worked with him since his very first run for State Senate in 2003 (when we shared the back of a pickup truck following a sudden downpour after a July 4th parade in New Market–he got us all to dry land post-haste–my kind of leader). In his time in the State Senate Mark has been a solid leader on issues like eminent domain reform, auditing VDOT, strengthening law enforcement in the battle against the scourge of crystal meth, and the like. He’s also not too shabby of a lawyer, having been repeatedly been named as one of Virginia Business Magazine’s Legal Elite. He brings both the heft on public safety and the sound legal mind we should be looking for in an AG contender. Obenshain will be hosting a hospitality suite at the Advance for himself on Friday night and as part of the Conservative Caucus with Delegate Ben Cline on Saturday night.

Also on tap, Corey Stewart. For what, though, we don’t quite know yet:

Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart just won reelection last month but he’s already eyeing higher office.

Stewart said he will make an announcement in January about a run for statewide office — an office in Richmond.

Earlier this year, Stewart considered seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate but eventually ruled that out. He recently endorsed George Allen.

Stewart’s made no secret of his ambition to seek higher office. He won’t yet reveal which job he’ll seek, but today Republican State Sen. Mark Obenshain, who had been seen as a leading candidate for lieutenant governor, said he’s exploring a bid for attorney general instead now that Ken Cuccinelli will run for governor instead of seeking reelection.

Stewart has received high praise for his local battle against illegal immigration in Prince William County. Stewart’s biggest obstacle will be his record as Supervisor–not that he has a bad one, as the average tax bill in PWC is actually substantially lower than a few years ago. But past history shows that being a Supervisor always yields a few votes that can be spun as “un-conservative”–both former PWC Chair Sean Connaughton and former Hanover Supervisor turned State Senator and now LG Bolling lobbed charges against each other in the 2005 LG race stemming from their own service on their respective Boards. Stewart will host a hospitality suite as well.

So what about the rest of the field, as it were? Well, we really don’t know yet, but there’s a few names that have been floated already, and several will have hospitality suites at the Advance. Here’s the rest of the names we’re seeing:

  • Dave Foster–rumored to be considering a second run for AG, but also noted by some as a potential choice to square off for an open seat on the Arlington County Board of Supervisors
  • Delegate Rob Bell–thought to be another contender for AG
  • Delegate Bob Marshall–with Radtke floundering and no other challenger picking up speed, combined with coming very close to beating former Governor Jim Gilmore for the US Senate nod in 2008, Marshall is seen as possible late entry to the US Senate race
  • Though not listed on the official RPV agenda, Dick Black is said to be hosting one as well. I’m not sure Black is really eyeing anything–after all, he just made his political comeback by securing a State Senate seat this year. I think this is more about securing a statewide financial base for future runs than anything in the near future
  • Keith Fimian, who has twice gone up against Gerry Connolly in the 11th (in an open seat in 08 and as a challenger in 10). He came very close in the 2010 wave, but it looks like he may now have his eye on LG in 2013.
  • Delegate Ben Cline, a former chief of staff to Congressman Bob Goodlatte, is said to be the heir apparent when Goodlatte retires, but with two potential NOVA based candidates for LG, there may very well be a place for Cline in that race…
  • Dumfries Town Councilwoman Kristin Forrester–this is her second go around–she’s up to SOMETHING, but it’s not entirely clear what….
  • former Governor and former Senator George Allen–if I have to explain this one….but yeah, he’s running for the US Senate nomination
  • RPV Chairman Pat Mullins. Interestingly, this one is billed as Pat Mullins FOR Chairman–could be reading too much into this, but that would seem to indicate that Mullins is likely leaning towards seeking re-election as chairman at next June’s state convention

Also hosting suites: Americans for Prosperity and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, along with the Senate Caucus. Plenty of fireworks, what with the sudden start to the 2013 campaign and the Presidential Primary which, ironically, may lurk in the shadows to a certain degree….although many will still be gathering signatures, I imagine.