In the race to replace Bob Goodlatte in Congress, we now have the usual whining from some 6th Congressional District Establishment hacks who think that having a convention as a nominating process is both unfair and prejudicial. Let me say that nothing could be further from the truth and this is little more than carping from the Old Guard.
Conventions have very practical purposes and are a better way to nominate a candidate for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, it is guaranteed that only the hardest of the hardcore will show up. It is all but impossible for anyone who is not a known Republican to participate in a convention the same way that members of the opposite party can participate in a primary. Conventions also cut back on people who break the party oath by refusing to support a duly nominated Republican. Shenandoah County will be having quite a few people who took the party oath be barred from the upcoming convention for having supported liberal incumbents over a duly nominated Tea Party Republican. Forcing so called Republicans to actually support nominated Republicans or be cut out of party activities is reason enough to have a convention as a nominating process alone. But there are more reasons to support the convention process.
Secondly, the convention is inexpensive to put on, and each person running for the nomination knows just who to try and contact because only those who filed to attend the convention can vote. This process saves money which will be needed against a well funded incumbent this upcoming November. Now let’s be honest, the 6th Congressional District is a very Republican area – and is likely to remain in GOP hands. But who really thought that the Democrats would do as well as they did in the Delegate elections? No one I know of. Better we save that money for November.
But the best reason for having a convention over a primary is that at a convention, especially one where there are multiple candidates, it forces the delegates to remember that people supporting other candidates are not enemies, but we are (or at least should be) friends who just happen to be supporting different candidates. Take this past primary election – Gillespie vs Corey Stewart. The Stewart people were attacking anyone who wasn’t supporting their guy, and many Gillespie supporters did the same to the Corey supporters. The hate between some of the activists was beyond bizarre. And it took months for many to get over their anger. People will say things on social media or in print that they won’t say to another person’s face (for fear of physical harm), meaning that having a convention likely means a united party, something which took a long time to occur after the June 2016 primary.
We have 3 perfectly qualified candidates running for the nomination this year. Anyone can be proud to vote for either Ben Cline, Cynthia Dunbar, or Chaz Haywood. And we may have more potential nominees in the coming weeks or months. And having a convention will ensure that the party and the nominee will be best served by the convention process set up by our Fearless Leader Scott Sayre.
And to those who are still whining about Scott and his outstanding management team (Matt Tederick, Al Tucker, Doc Troxel, Sandy Gates, Anne Fitzgerald, Ken Adams, Donna Moser – and too many others to name here) – man up and grow up. Scott and his team have done an outstanding job in training activists and in making sure that the local committees support the party nominees. I am proud to call each of these patriots my friends, and have learned more from Scott/Matt/Anne etc in the past year than I have since being involved in Republican Politics, and I worked on my first campaign in 1980, getting Ronald Reagan and Frank Wolf elected. For Virginia to win and take back our commonwealth, we need more like Team Sayre. And we need less like those who call themselves loyal Republicans, who are only loyal to the party and the nominees when it suits their interests.