Congratulations to Speaker Howell

Congratulations to Speaker Howell

The Speaker ran a great race.  He showed real engagement with his community, and committed from early on to winning the race on the doorsteps of thousands of residents of his district. Good for him.

Conservatives who had backed Howell’s opponent, Susan Stimpson, are rightly disappointed in her loss. But let’s get some perspective here. Howell outraised her 10-to-1, and had a veritable army of paid door knockers, lobbyists, and legislative aides doing a textbook job of individual voter contact, along with all of the financial resources one could need in order to target the right doors to knock, and which mail piece to send to which door, and so forth. Objectively speaking, the odds were always very long.

But even though we don’t have an X in the Win column, not all was lost. Susan courageously took on the state’s most powerful politician and gave him a run for his money. Although not a total victory, Susan’s performance has the salutary effect of telling all other Republican elected officials “Stray from the GOP Creed at your peril.” Primaries against incumbents are about holding elected officials accountable for their actions. All of the legislators without Howell’s resources (in other words, the rest of them) have gotten the message loud and clear.

The other message that should come through loud and clear is that party unity starts with party leaders adhering to our shared principles.

I disagreed with the Speaker on a few very important things. But now it’s time for all of us to unify behind our nominees until the next time. That’s the deal. We face off internally in the nomination contest, then we get behind the Republican candidate even if he/she is not our guy. Rinse and repeat next year. That’s the only way a political party can function. We don’t get to simply walk away when the nominee wasn’t our favorite, and we don’t get to justify such actions by pointing to the likes of Bill Bolling. The “they started it” defense doesn’t cut it.

I congratulate the Speaker, and am looking forward to backing him and all of our nominees this fall. And I congratulate #TeamHowell for all their efforts and hard work. In particular I’d like to tip the hat to Matt Moran, who did a fantastic job dealing with the press and the blogs on Bill’s behalf. From where I sit, Matt is truly an asset to the Speaker and the caucus.

Now, let’s keep our Senate majority, and turn our focus to registering and engaging new voters to push us over the top in 2016.

50 comments

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  • No Name

    This came up really quick. Seems like a pre-written piece.

  • Jay Hughes

    A unit committee and congressional district chairman should know their district well. Apparently neither you nor Eric Herr know your own backyards. If you were truly men of principle you’d be drafting your resignation letters right now.

    • Nick Bukowski

      Steve, is supporting Howell in November. Uniting behind the winner. Your side won, why are you being “sore winners”?!? I’m pretty sure that’s not even an expression. Thanks for being classy Steve. Primaries are important for keeping politicians accountable and ousting them if necessary. The voters wanted Howell to stay. Good for him and them.

      • Jay Hughes

        Mr. Bukoski:

        The only classy person in this race was Bill Howell. Susan Stimpson ran a despicable campaign against Bill. That having been said I totally agree with you that primaries and competition are good things in the political arena.

        • Eric McGrane

          Well thank you for showing “class” with all of your gracious commentary. Perhaps you should learn something from Howell’s behavior which you laud here.

        • Steven Thomas

          You must be kidding me. She ran almost exclusively on his record of hiking taxes and spending. If as Republicans we can’t hold our electeds accountable for what they do in office, their record, then we may as well just surrender whatever freedom we have because this has ceased to be a democratic republic- it has become tyranny.

          • Burt Macklin

            Yes. She ran on his record of “hiking taxes.” And she lost. Because that doesn’t convince most voters. Only TEA partiers. Wake up.

            To be fair to Mr. Hughes, though, she was nasty as could be when “running against her opponent’s record.” But honestly, that’s what most of these anti-tax conservatives do when they’re up against a solid civil servant. They figure the only way they can make up for their disadvantages and the fact that most people don’t care as much about the issue they care about is to demonize their opponent, stretch the facts and, in the case of Joe May, call him a baby-killer if need be. The TEA party is backed into a corner, and feels its only weapon is bullsh*t. That’s why someone posted the other day about how the Speaker was foolish for “not having volunteers at the polls to convince voters.” Any experienced campaigner knows that 99% of voters have made up their minds before coming to the polls–but if you’re yelling at them and demonizing your opponent, you can *sometimes* scare them into changing their vote. I heard of that happening several times the other day. But just because it works sometimes doesn’t make it right. Moreover, even with the emphasis on conversion at the polls with hyperbole and hysteria, Susan still had her ass handed to her. Justice.

    • Mark Jaworowski

      This is not the former Soviet Union, Jay. We have primaries for a particular reason – to allow the people to exercise their choice. Would you rather our system FORCE party officials to endorse the incumbent or to not voice their opinion? No one – not even Bill Howell – has a lock on anything. Steve Albertson is right. Howell outspent Susan 10 to 1. He is been in office for nearly 30 years and is the most powerful Republican in Virginia. He should have done even better.

      • Jay Hughes

        Mr. Jaworowski:

        I was just starting to like you. No, I don’t wish party officials to be “forced” to endorse incumbents. I want party officials like Eric and Steve to be strategic thinkers with good judgment to know that just because they can inject themselves into a contested race doesn’t mean they must. There’s a difference. I was a party official when I was state YR chairman and I would’ve never endorsed a candidate in a contested nomination because I understood the responsibility I accepted. My partner and I are gay conservatives and I don’t like being compared to a totalitarian regime not one god damn bit. We are the walking, breathing definition of anti-communist, anti-totalitarian philosophy and we had to live under your inane, big government “marriage amendments” so don’t fucking call me or insinuate I’m a communist or a fascist .

        • mezurak

          From the looks of things you are just a loud mouthed asshole. You want to go down that road, well there it is.

          • Jay Hughes

            And you’re a coward who hides behind a pseudonym. Fuck off.

          • Language like that makes me not like you. Stop it.

        • Mark Jaworowski

          Let me say this again, Jay. I know Eric Herr PERSONALLY. And I know him well. Although we differed on the McDonnell 2013 Tax Hike, I completely understand his support for Susan Stimpson. Believing that control of the General Assembly by the GOP would not have produced a huge tax hike, Eric, who had worked his tail off for the party and in 2011, 2012, and 2013, felt betrayed by the GOP leadership in Richmond. Being a man of principle, he had no other choice. Each person has to call it as he or she sees it. BTW, in no way was I comparing YOU to a totalitarian.

          • Jay Hughes

            Mr. Jaworoswki: thank you for your very kind words.

  • Reinhardt Reganbacker lll

    Congratulations to Speaker Howell.

  • Jay Hughes

    “Susan courageously took on the state’s most powerful politician and gave
    him a run for his money. Although not a total victory, Susan’s
    performance has the salutary effect of telling all other Republican
    elected officials “Stray from the GOP Creed at your peril.”

    Oh. My. God. She didn’t give him a run for his money. He whipped her ass. Not a total victory? Jesus man…..no….was a total loss. defeat. This has the salutary effect of telling folks like you, Eric and Susie that the Cantor/Brat situation was a fluke brought about by Eric’s mishandling of his own district. Voters want public officials who build relationships and solve the problems that government was designed to solve like building roads.

    • Donna W

      Mr. Hughes you are correct in your assessment of this race. Howell buried her and now her followers are making excuses for her failed candidacy. Susan attracted some of the most vicious and mean spirited supporters to her campaign as well.

      After losing the Lt Gov nod and now the Delegate nod, I hear Susan will be jumping in the Presidential primary with the other candidates, which might make Cuccinelli envious of her.

      • Jay Hughes

        Thank you, Donna. I interacted with Bill Howell when I was state YR chairman from 2001-2005 and I was impressed with what a kind and decent man he was. A couple years after I left political activism and when my partner and I were living in Caroline I ran into the Speaker at the Total Wine in Fredericksburg…he was standing in front of me in the checkout line. I initiated a conversation by saying “Mr. Speaker not sure if you remember me”….and he interrupted me to say “Jay Hughes I know exactly who you are…how are you and Eddie doing?” Speaker Howell is a good man who also knows how to govern effectively as the Speaker of the House.

        • Eric McGrane

          Obviously having a good memory is the most important trait when selecting your representation. We obviously have differences in what we see as “memorable” behavior from Howell. Yawn.

    • Savoia di Lucania

      Fully concur. I expected Albertson to be bigger than his editorial comrades and simply congratulate Howell. Instead we got spin, bad spin.

      Stimpson got her ass handed to her on a platter of her own design. No further examination or explanation is merited or necessary.

      • Steve Waters

        Keep supporting losers like Howell and we’ll keep losing our freedom to liberals and big government. Dems don’t move to the center, only most republican elected leaders, like Bill Howell do. How about our republican leaders take a page out of the democrat party manual and act like u have a spine. Howell’s given us three major tax increases, didn’t fight for our state constitution against the federal overreach and suppresses good conservative legislation from seeing the light of day. Howell is the Cantor of Richmond. Sorry, republican majorities really only matter when we’re pushing the conservative agenda like the dems do with their liberal agenda and guess what, in that battle were getting our hat handed to us!

    • Eric McGrane

      Here’s your clue: From Howell’s massive mobilization of people and money, its clear that his campaign was taking Stimpson seriously. This alone is a testament to her impact in the race.

      And who is “Susie”? You might want to cover that up a bit…your misogyny is showing.

    • Jay, yes, she got beat bad. There’s no spinning that. But there is also no denying that Howell had to work hard to do it (yes, she gave him a run for his money), and ran a campaign that essentially no other politician in Virginia could hope to replicate. That message is not lost on every other incumbent.

  • Donna W

    Congratulations to Speaker Howell who ran a civil and honorable campaign unlike his opponent who whined and complained like toddler throwing a fit. Running a dirty campaign doesn’t make you are star Susan no matter who is whispering how wonderful you are in your ear.

    Hopefully, all the Cuccinelli minions have learned a lesson from this race particularly those that door knocked and made phone calls for Stimpson. The message here is begone you have no power here!

    Mr Herr and the others who should have remained fair and impartial need to resign their posts.

    Cuccinelli hopefully has gotten the message as well!

    • Tomorrow is Another Day

      I’m sure a lot of people in the TEA party have gotten the message, but I doubt it is the message you were hoping for.

      Congratulations Speaker Howell

      • Burt Macklin

        Yeah, those types tend not to be the most receptive.

  • No Name

    Eric Herr is a joke who must be removed from office. The whole SCC needs to be changed out. These clowns couldn’t run a lemonade stand, much less a Party. The voters have overwhelmingly rejected your candidates. This is what happens when Virginians actually get to vote in a democratic process and are not shut out by your moronic nomination methods that do nothing but stifle good voting practices.

    • notbent

      Too bad – so sad .. for you!!! Consevatives/grassroots/Tea Party are in control of the SCC – and will be for some time to come!! You old, dried-up RINO supporters must face facts! Despite this loss for us tonight, your RINO-hold days are numbered here in VA and in the USA!

      Steve Alnertson, Eric Herr, Susan Stimpson, Dan Moxley, Ken Cucinnelli, etc are much YOUNGER than your OLD FART – Hanger, Howell – establishment types. And BTW ‘Cantor for next VA Gov” is SO DOA.

      You guys should get together with Hillary and form a senior citizens’ candidates group.

      • kelley

        true. relative youth of some of your “TEA” party types is key in waiting out the ultimate death of what you call Establishment politicians. But what voters perceive is even more impt. Controlling the SCC does not necessarily equate with controlling the General Assembly or winning statewide office.

    • Conservative Mind

      It’s time for Eric Herr to get the hell out of here. We need to clean house of these people who have no idea how to lead or govern. As for party unity I love how the Stimpson supporters are tripping over themselves to “Support the nominee.” The hypocrisy of these folks is without equal. Anyway big win for the normal folks tonight. I hope Stimpson crawls back into whatever hole she came from and never comes back. She is a two time loser and the only time she won was when she was riding on Howell’s coattails.

      • Eric McGrane

        I wish we could have even more cowardly anonymous posters. It greatly improves debate.

        • Savoia di Lucania

          You’ll get over it, the rest of the Internet has. What makes you so special that we must provide accommodation?

          • Eric McGrane

            Expecting forthrightness is not “accommodation”.

  • Greg Letiecq

    Now that Stimpson’s supporters are talking about how they’re going to back your guy since he’s the nominee, it’s a wonderful time to throw some more gasoline on this fire and burn a few more people to death. I’m sure that’ll help fix everything.

    Next week I’ll be graced with another message about the need for a “big tent,” no doubt. I am unsure how receptive I’ll be then, but after reading these comments I’m not optimistic.

    • Jay Hughes

      Greg: I think there’s a carton of unfiltered Camels somewhere that needs to be chain smoked. Please go away. If this were a close race you’d have a point. But it wasn’t close. It was an ass kicking. The candidate in this race opposing a big tent and effective governance was Stimpson….not Bill Howell.

      • Nick Bukowski

        Stimpson received 2900 Republican Primary voters in this district. What do you possibly get by trying to drive them out of the party? IN a primary battle, candidates and their supporters duke it out on the issues. The fighting happens before the primary. After the primary the fighting needs to stop and the candidates and supporters need to get behind the nominee. This is how the game is played. I am no Howell supporter and I don’t live in the district, but If I did I would be voting for him in November because he’s the nominee. And I don’t think he would condone this post-election mud-slinging. All that results in this is you feeling big and getting some gratification about putting others down and the party as a whole is more fractured than ever. It’s not worth it.

    • Burt Macklin

      You make a fair point, but don’t ask people to pretend that Susan didn’t try to pull the shit she tried to pull. I’m sure Bill and others who have remained loyal to the party will be happy to have Susan’s supporters return to the fold, but don’t even bother reminding us of the fact that you plan to jump ship again in two years when the opportunity presents itself. Let’s just be friends for a while, mkay?

      • Greg Letiecq

        I’m not responsible for Stimpson’s behavior or campaign, regardless of how good or bad it was. I’m not even talking about her. I’m talking about how counterproductive it is to throw more gasoline on this fire right now.

        As far as lending support to Howell’s opponent in two years, I’d say it’s likely. If Howell keeps ramming through tax increases and pulling shenanigans like the last-minute absentee ballot rule change, you bet I’ll support anyone running against him. Unless Howell makes a dramatic turnaround (and I’ll give him the chance to do so), I’ll back anyone running against him who has a pulse.

        Still, I’m not going to call Republicans that backed Howell names or otherwise be rude to them. There’s utterly no point to doing so.

        • Jeanine Martin

          Howell won’t have an opponent in two years because he won’t run in two years. This is the good ol’ boys last hurrah.

    • Savoia di Lucania

      The fire is mythological, a figment of your imagination. If anything it’s the self immolation of the Tea Party. Soon all that will remain are charred wood and ashes, and ultimately dust.

  • Conservative Mind

    Steve: I commend your efforts to try and save your chairmanship. You made your bed when you endorsed Susan.

    • There’s no saving my chairmanship here. I’ll be stepping down…no worries. This piece was a genuine congratulations to the Speaker, and an admonition to all who opposed him that we now need to focus on the General as a unified front.

  • notbent

    You gave a nice, magnanimous, congratulatory messge, Steve and yet the establishment wonks are out to kick you in your teeth.

    Classy, they aren’t.

    • Savoia di Lucania

      Is this your version of a reach around?

      • Eric McGrane

        Yeah, I’m sure the comment hit a little too close to home, causing you to lash out. Sorry about that.

    • Steve Waters

      Spot on “not bent”!

  • Eric McGrane

    Howell has massive power and massive money in Virginia. OF COURSE he was the favorite in this race, and everyone knew (and openly commented) that Stimpsons campaign was an incredible uphill battle. Which is why all the gloating and chest-thumping is curious. Do some of you think you have some grand insight by picking the heavily favored horse? It is healthy to cycle politicians. This deference to long-term incumbents is perplexing.

  • John Massoud

    Well said Steve! You’re a credit to the Tea party and to all us conservative activists.

  • Nick Bukowski

    To all the people commenting here, bashing Steve and proclaiming that Stimpson got crushed, it might be important to point out some actual data. I copied this from a Post that Russ Moulton made on FaceBook:

    In spite of Susan’s loss, it’s important to note that the Stimpson campaign exceeded its vote goal of 2600 votes anticipated needed to win in a high turn out Republican Primary (10% total voter turnout). With 51,000 voters in the 28th, she got 2900 votes — enough to win a 10% turnout primary easily. 2900 is more more than enough votes to win any other hotly contested HOD primary in the state. By comparison in the neighboring hotly contested 2nd district where about 2300 voters participated, Susan’s numbers more than exceeded the total number that voted in the 2nd. To Howells credit he expanded the universe to a record 16% voter turnout. Susan’s 2900 votes were a remarkable achievement — blowing past Howells prior record turnout of 1378 in the 28th and the second highest in the state. The only other candidate to get more primary votes anywhere else in the state than Susan was the speaker. He remarkably expanded turnout with hundreds of paid door knockers pulling in voters outside the normal GOP universe, Delegates Kirk Cox and Tim Hugo coming into district to knock for him, 28 years of supporters lists, and an impressive gotv operation with paid door knockers.

    My thanks and admiration to Susan for her courage to challenge Howell and his disappointing voting record.

    Now we move on to unifying the party for the critical fall elections.

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