Editorial Note: This statement comes in response to revelations that Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Whitbeck hired staff and paid filing fees for convention delegates who would oppose Ron Hedlund of Henrico for his race to join the State Central Committee. Hedlund and others have suggested this is improper, and harms conservatives who are allegedly Whitbeck’s allies. More on the story can be found here.
By John Whitbeck, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia
I raised funds for my reelection and since my opponent dropped out of the race I have mainly focused on supporting those individuals who stood with me during my contested race. There is one exception. I oppose and have actively worked against Ron Hedlund. The reason I oppose Ron is quite simply because I believe he does not have the character or temperament to serve on State Central.
In 2014 Virginia had the one of the closest Senate races in the country. I and our State Central members worked tirelessly for our nominee. Unfortunately, we came up just short.
Where was Ron Hedlund? He was publicly stating he refused to support our nominee less than two weeks before the election. With the Senate hanging in the balance and the Republican nomination decided weeks before, Ron thought it was better to not only sit out an election but advocate against a Republican nominee, that is unacceptable.
We have heard over and over again in 2016 Republicans saying they will not support the nominee for President if it is one candidate for another. While this is their right to do so, Members of the RPV State Central Committee are held to a higher standard by our Party plan. As Chairman of the Party I must take a stand and say that it is the duty of elected Republican leaders to support the nominees of our Party. This duty of State Central Members to support the Republican nominee has never been more important than 2016. Ron Hedlund cannot be trusted to do so and therefore should be disqualified from serving in leadership.
In addition, Ron has spread further disgraceful falsehoods about me such as: I donated money to VCN, I have been spending RPV funds to defeat him and even saying that I cast a tie vote in favor of a primary in June 2016. Every one of these accusations are demonstrably false through campaign finance reports and State Central Committee minutes. He has gone as far as fabricating conversations I have had with him and then talking to media outlets about these fake conversations.
I could provide further examples but the point remains the same: character counts. When we select members to the State Central Committee they represent our Party. No one is perfect, but selecting someone who constantly makes false statements, refuses to support our nominees and actively works against Republican nominees is wrong for our leadership. We must not elect individuals who advocate for “burning our Party down” instead of building it up. I don’t care what Party processes Ron Hedlund does or does not support, what part of Virginia he comes from or who he supports in 2016. I am actively opposing him to serve on our State Central Committee.