Grassroots Flex Muscle in Cantor Country

youngguns_noslatingLast night at the Henrico GOP Mass Meeting the conservative grassroots demonstrated that, when they work together, they can be victorious against the big money, paid staff, and consultant antics of Eric Cantor’s Young Guns PAC. The victory might be lost on some who don’t understand the inside baseball of partisan politics (since it makes most of us want to vomit), but I can guarantee the significance of last night was not lost on Eric Cantor’s consultant, Ray Allen, and his Young Guns Team.

Eric Cantor’s hometown is Henrico County. This is where he, his family, and parents live. It is significant that the grassroots was able to bring out more people to the mass meeting than Eric Cantor – who has lived in Henrico for practically a lifetime. In fact, Eric Cantor and the Young Guns did not marshal together even 200 people to come out and support Cantor’s efforts. Pretty amazing.

Historical context will help you appreciate the accomplishments of last night. Before the tea party and liberty movement, there has always existed a small group of us “anti-establishment” members in the Republican Party. We affectionately referred to ourselves as conservatives (fiscal and social conservatives) who were challenging the status quo Establishment. We were the squeaky wheel in the Party as we called out Republicans who voted for massive tax increases, substantial spending increases, more nanny-state regulations, and for anti-family legislation. We were a small, but loud voice. Unfortunately we didn’t have the critical mass we needed to successfully and consistently challenge these wayward Republicans. As a result, the Establishment was unhappy with our complaining, but they didn’t see us as a threat.

All that changed a few years ago with the arrival of the tea party and liberty movement. The fiscal and social conservative veterans who had been fighting the battle for decades joined forces with the tea party and liberty activists and a coalition was born. We finally had the critical mass required to have a seat at the table and demand that the Republican Party return back to its Republican Creed roots. As a result, many of these local grassroots members ran for elected positions within the Republican Party (State Central Committee and Unit Chairman) and won a few years ago.

Eric Cantor and his team made it very clear that they were not happy with these results. They had lost control! Conservative grassroot activists now had the majority of votes in the Virginia GOP and could make decisions that were best for “the people” and not the politicians. That never sits well with politicians since power and control is imperative for them.

Cantor’s Young Guns hired field staff, sent slick mailings, made professionally paid phone calls, and leaned on other politicians to push their narrative – all in an effort to capture the votes they needed to start regaining control of the Republican Party of Virginia. We have seen the destruction they have left in their wake in Virginia Beach and Campbell County. The fact that the conservative grassroots successfully pushed back against such heavy “guns” (yes, I went there) and won last night in Henrico is substantial. We only won by 6 votes, but the victory was huge considering the location of the challenge and the time and money poured into Cantor’s effort.

A few things to note about last night:

  • The Henrico Tea Party leaders were confronted in the parking lot after the meeting and were told by the past Henrico GOP Chairman, “You have hurt our Party here more than you know! We were not going to slate. You have upset a lot of people for no reason.” Keep in mind that many Henrico Tea Party members independently volunteered in the GOP election last year. However…

  • I was able to unequivocally verify through more than one directly connected source to Cantor’s Young Guns that they WERE planning on slating last night. They were going to slate in the Henrico 3rd Congressional District to remove current 3rd District GOP Chairman (and liberty activist) Chris Stearns.

  • We were able to convince many people as they arrived not to vote with Cantor’s people by sharing the truth about what really would be attempted in the meeting. We were all wearing NO SLATING lapel stickers and handed out flyers. I spoke to no less than a dozen people who found this troubling and, even though they supported the opposing candidate, said they would join us in opposing any slating effort that would disenfranchise voters. Memo to  Ray Allen –  people don’t like being lied to and deceived just to get their vote. Truth won out.

    HenricoFlyer

  • Ray Allen (Cantor’s consultant) was nervous that we might slate THEM once he saw our turnout. Allen actually stated to one of our leaders, “You guys aren’t going to slate us, are you?” It is funny how they abhor the idea of getting a dose of their own medicine. Note to Linwood Cobb –  Just remember that we could have defeated you last night by using Cantor’s slating strategy. We chose not to do it. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve already won regardless of the 7th District GOP Convention results.

  • Ray Allen also said to one of our leaders, “Come on, just let our guy run the meeting, we promise we won’t slate!” (Proposed when it became clear to him that he did not have the temporary chair votes needed to run the meeting and slate). You can imagine our response! :)

We won last night because GOP conservative veterans, tea party and liberty activist worked together. We won last night because we were unified in our efforts, with help from conservatives all over the state – Lynchburg, Virginia Beach, Newport News, New Kent, Spotsylvania, Chesterfield, Goochland, City of Richmond and elsewhere. We won last night because EVERYONE was willing to roll up their sleeves and do the unsexy part of campaigning – phone calls and door knocking. We won because we were organized. We won last night because we clearly and concisely articulated a focused message.

The lesson here is big. It is easy for the grassroots to become deflated and demoralized when we lose elections, especially when we have a couple of losses in a row. It is even worse when we know that victories by the opponent have been achieved through underhanded tactics such as disenfranchising conservative voters through slating. But what we demonstrated last night should send a Chris Matthew’s tingle up the leg of every single conservative activist. We showed that if we work together, focus on a singular mission and every single person carries their load, we can accomplish even the unthinkable – winning in Cantor Country!

About The Author

Jamie is a former U.S. Senate candidate and co-founder of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation. Jamie has worked in federal and state government, for political action committees, for issue-oriented nonprofits, and in political campaigns. Jamie has spoken nationally at conferences across the country, interviewed with national affiliates such as Fox News, CNN, C-SPAN, and ABC and frequently writes editorials for national blogs and newspapers. She is a homeschool mother of three children. She and her husband happily live on a small farm in Hanover County.

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  • Mark

    It will be interesting to see how those within the Henrico GOP now act after what Del. Massie’s said about working together after this meeting was over. Their actions after the meeting have so far spoken very loudly. Not very welcoming. They act as though we forced our way into their so called “Big Tent.” They act this way, and do these things, all in an effort to maintain their power and control. In their thinking the power comes from those in control of the party machine, when in fact the power comes from “We the People”. Until that reality sinks in, they will continue to have problems “accepting and welcoming” others into their “Big Tent.”

  • SusanL

    What a great example of self governance in action!

  • Patricia Evans

    Cantor’s attack on local Virginia GOP organizations should serve to
    energize Virginia conservatives statewide in a crusade to unseat the
    author of these outrages by providing megaphones via blogs and Tea
    Parties, many volunteers, and money in the run-up to the June 10th GOP
    primary. The 7th district should be angry and disgusted by Cantors
    actions. It’s time to vote for Dave Brat and issue Cantor his marching
    orders.

    Cantor primary must now be a statewide conservative cause!

    Strike back: Support David Brat!

    Learn more, volunteer, donate to Dave Brat here: http://davebratforcongress.com/

    Remember the video of the September 4, 2013 Richmond TEA Party holding its
    rally
    outside the locked doors of Mr. Cantor’s Richmond office? The Richmond
    TEA Party group had repeatedly asked to schedule meetings with Majority
    Leader Cantor and each time they were denied. Mr. Cantor never emerged
    during the Rally, while Mr. Cantor’s staff, represented at the highest
    levels
    were meeting with far-left representatives of pro-Amnesty, pro-Obamacare and pro-entitlement groups. Follow the money:

    Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nsu1lxw_ABk

  • Chris Shores

    The Henrico GOP has long been run by political bosses and a machine akin to the Tammany hall politics of old New York City. Last night the machine was ground to a halt….Eric Cantor and Ed Gillispie’s consultant, Ray Allen was thwarted in his own back yard. The Henrico elected officials and politicos who lined up with Ray Allen and Eric Cantor may want to re-think their allegiances to the machine and focus on representing the people that their elected to serve. I hope Henrico will serve as a notice to cease the slating. Let the delegates who want to be seated be seated.

    • Turbocohen

      Chris, As you are a paid Shak staffer, are you sure Ray Allen is Ed Gillespies consultant? What grassroots did last night was remarkable, don’t make stuff up here.

      • Steve Waters

        Turbocohen, you know full well Ray Allen is Ed Gillespie’s consultant and Eric Cantor is backing Gillespie as well as Cantor’s Young Guns. Lets not forget as Chair of RPV in 2007, Gillespie publicly supported HB3202, which the VA Supreme Court later ruled unconstitutional for taxation without representation. Is this the kind of typical establishment rino republican we need back in DC representing us NOW? I don’t think so. There’s a whole lot worse out there on Ed as well. How any conservative can support Gillespie is ridiculous, their either ignorant of the facts or not a conservative to begin with.

      • Chris Shores

        This blog originally had written in error in an earlier pist that Gillespie had retained Ray Allen as its chief consultant and has since corrected the record. So I stand corrected, happy to make the record right. Thanks Turbocohen for pointing out this out. I like to keep thongs accurate…

        • Chris Shores

          *post

          • Eric McGrane

            Geez…you can click the edit button to make changes..o need to continually post corrections as new posts. The edit button is RIGHT DOWN THERE.

        • Chris Shores

          *things

  • Meg Jaworowski

    As I stood in the foyer last night at Henrico’s Mass Meeting, unable to enter the overly crowded meeting room, I overheard many coversations swirling about me. One in particular that caught my attention was from a man wearing Eric Cantor and Linwood Cobb stickers boasting that, “I think slating is good. It’s allowed for in the rules, and if you can get more of your people out…HEY, that’s politics…democracy in it’s purist form.” He didn’t appear so animated and jovial when the voting was finished.
    Victory is indeed sweet…especially enjoyed in Cantor’s backyard.

  • Jeanine Martin

    It’s a big disconcerting that Ray Allen also works for 10th district candidate Barbara Comstock.

    • Turbocohen

      Alas, the real problem is the money.. follow the money.. Eric Cantor.. where does Eric get the money and the orders? Jebs machine.

  • Tim Boyer

    It is also a lesson in the utter folly of doing ANYTHING just because an elected official or his staff want you to. 99 times out of 100 and elected is looking out either for himself or for another elected. Anytime a false scare tactic is used, you know the opposite is true. Props to all ya’ll!!!!

  • SammysDad

    When you’re out of touch, you should be touched out!

  • Mike Thompson

    Ray Allen helping Barbara Comstock has nothing to do with what happened in Henrico last night. We have a firehouse primary in Barbara’s district and that doesn’t lend itself to slating since there are no conventions tied to this election. As I said a couple of nights ago, we stopped slating up here 30 years ago. Parliamentary tactics like slating would not be possible if we nominated by primary or firehouse primary.

    • Alexis Rose Bank

      The statement we have made by nominating by convention is that we will no longer tolerate the buying, selling, and trading of GOP nominations.

      Slating can and will likely be eliminated by a simple rule change. There is no need to change the preferred nomination method in order to eliminate it.

      As far as Ray Allen and Barbara Comstock are concerned – birds of a feather flock together. And it has everything to do with what happened in Henrico last night, at least from the point of view of those of us who will no longer tolerate Republican candidates who don’t faithfully represent the views of Republicans.

    • Steve Waters

      Yes it does Mike. It has everything to do with the battle between conservatives and rino’s!

  • jonathonmoseley

    And if anyone wants to talk about hurting the party, didn’t John Warner just endorse Democrat Mark Warner for re-election to the US Senate, stabbing INSIDER Ed Gillespie in the back (and every Republican, actually)? That was reported. Is it correct?

    Is it possible that John Warner is senile and thought Mark Warner was his relative? Can we have the endorsement nullified on the basis of John Warner — potentially — not being mentally competent (if that is the case)?

    When we hear talk about 80% conservatives — John Warner earned a 79% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union (which often provides cover for RINO’s moving among us).

    So an 80% conservative (says ACU) stabs the GOP in the back and endorses the Democrat for US Senate? In a year where control of the US Senate is at stake in a crucial way?

    Are people starting to understand the problem?

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/61922

    • palintologist

      I honestly don’t think John Warner’s endorsement of The Invisible Man carries much weight. I was surprised to hear it only because I thought he was dead. John Warner — to this day — and consider some of the braintrusts we have in Congress — is STILL considered THE dumbest man to have ever graced the halls of the senate.

  • Sandyman3

    Not to take away from all others who admirably took a stand, but I felt good knowing that I was able to get 8 persons to attend… having read that we won by 6 votes.

  • notbent

    Great news and excellent article! Bravo and thanks to those people and groups who stood up and made a difference for righteousness.

    I’ve got a few years on you, Mrs. Radtke, so I well remember how 35 years ago the Moral Majority made a similar impact on the (establishment) Republican party back then.

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  • Juicy Farts

    This article is ridiculous. Whatever happened to Reagan’s 11th commandment? Keep on stirring crap in the GOP, the Dems love it – easier for them to win.

    • Eric McGrane

      Thank you for your sage advice. I can FEEL your genuine concern.

      • Anita Hile

        And his name defines who he is!

    • jory12

      A wolf in sheep’s clothing is far worse than a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Nice try JF.

      • Alexis Rose Bank

        I don’t care what kind of cesspool behavior is permitted in your normal stomping grounds over at BD, but it is in no uncertain terms completely unwelcome here.

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  • Jenna H.

    I personally witnessed Cobb & Cantor’s YES MEN exclude at least a half dozen people from the Henrico meeting who were wearing BRAT stickers! It was my first meeting ever and it was a gigantic chaotic mess. It seemed like it might have been intentionally planned that way? Went there as a Cantor supporter and came out a Brat supporter, GO DAVE! http://www.DaveBratforCongress.com

    • Anita Hile

      Jenna – WELCOME! The truth always prevails and so glad you got to see that in action. That is what we fought against that night, and because of folks like you showing up to vote, we were victorious. Could not have done it without you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jchristopherstearns J. Christopher Stearns

    Candidates usually only slate if they think they’re going to lose…

  • jory12

    Unsurprisingly Cantor is supported by the establishment and the big corporate
    interests. Nevertheless he is in more trouble than he probably thought he would
    be. His support in the grassroots is non-existent.

    This Cantor race is a microcosm of what we face across the country. Over a period of years the
    old Conservative alliance of the Reagan years has been eroded and undermined by
    the multi-national interest. That is of course a generalization, but it’s basically true.

    People in the top five percent of income earners are split. Some at the high end like Bloomberg,
    Zuckerberg, the entire Rove cabal, the Bushies – are into lording it over the rest of us; fooling andcajoling and manipulating us just before election day, then holding us in contempt for how
    easily we were duped. This is the open borders, cheap labor, high immigration group.

    Others in this upper income bracket have not forgotten their roots, the people who went to
    grammar school with them, the people who still work for weekly paychecks and worship in the
    same churches as their parents. They cannot and will not abandon them. Not just because they
    care, but because they understand that this middle class of blue and white collar workers is the
    glue that holds the country together.

    Cantor is owned by and obedient to the Bush-Rove-Establishment oligarchy. He is a poster boy
    for the Crony Class. He must be defeated.

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  • bettefunn

    Massie is very suspect. Get a candidate.

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  • Mark

    Here is the link to the video of the Henrico County Mass Meeting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UFGdLDnMqc

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  • Curt Diemer

    Well that last sentence turned out to be damned prophetic.