Roger Jarrell, a Ben Cline campaign surrogate, delivered an appeal to RPV yesterday, May 13th, continuing the pattern of allegations against 6th District Chairman, Scott Sayre, and Cynthia Dunbar.
Mr. Jarrell was hand selected by Ben Cline to speak for him and his campaign at a meeting called by Scott Sayre back in April. Chairman Sayre wanted to bring all the candidates together to try and deal with some of the issues that had been plaguing the campaign and the convention process.
The appeal, filed by Rockingham County Chairman, Dan Cullers, presents no new information, and repeats many of the same complaints against Scott Sayre and the Dunbar campaign that were leveled by a campaign insider posting under a fake name at Bearing Drift, including the debunked “metadata” gambit.
The appeal also makes that claim that delegates are being de-certified by the 6th District and forced to endure “burdensome appeals requirements” in order to be seated as delegates to the convention. This claim seems to ignore the fact that only the delegates themselves are able to certify or deny the credentials of any of delegate. This has already been pointed out by Chairman Whitbeck in one of the many emails he has been sending to the campaigns, and apparently directly to delegates, about this convention.
Any delegate who was duly elected by their committee must be given credentials for the temporary chair election.
*The ad hoc credentials committee has no right to de-certify delegates. Only the convention has the right to determine who is seated.
*The local units certify delegates, the credentials committee recommends to the convention whether a delegate is seated. The convention seats delegates.
This latest move by the Cline campaign looks designed to do two things. First, it is an attempt to continue the narrative that the 6th District process has been “rigged,” and that Scott Sayre and Cynthia Dunbar are corrupt. The second appears to be an attempt to have RPV come and “take over” the 6th District convention.
The appeal is asking for immediate relief, not only for supposed delegate disqualifications that have never happened, a complaint about the Augusta Unit committee that is outside the purview of any appeal from Rockingham, but also “other issues not yet reported.” Since there are only 5 days before the convention it would be impossible for RPV State Central committee to meet before the convention is held, much less to rule on things that have not actually happened, especially the ominous “issues not yet reported.” They only recourse here would be for RPV to step in and attempt to take the decision making process for the convention out of the hands of the 6th District Committee.
Whether this could be accomplished legally is an even greater question. Chairman Whitbeck would be well advised to take the numerous complaints coming out of the 6th District with a healthy grain of salt. He has already been convinced once before to respond to issues that had already been solved. He should also remember that this would not be the first convention where allegations of wrong-doing were lodged by people with not-so-pure motives. In 2016 the RPV State Convention that re-elected Mr. Whitbeck faced charges of obstruction and collusion for not considering Vince Haley to be a properly filed candidate for Chairman after he had withdrawn. Chairman Whitbeck himself, along with Executive Director, John Findlay, were also accused by Haley supporters of improper influence in the 7th District. Those allegations, on closer examination, turned out to be exaggerated and overblown.
The race to replace Bob Goodlatte has become one of the most contentious races I have seen in a long time. The last thing it needs is for the heavy hand of RPV and State Central to be seen stepping in to take power out of the hands of the people that were elected to do the job. It is a great shame that things have sunk to this level.