I got a call on Thursday evening. It was a friend that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Work and family had taken him out of the bubble that is Republican Party politics. After catching up, he noted that both my wife and I were signed up for the RPV convention and asked if we were going to support Jack Wilson for chairman. I told him that there was no conceivable way that we were supporting Jack Wilson. He asked why. I told him about the debacle in the 97th House of Delegates nominating process, the retribution against one of the players, and the fact that three Republican Congressional Committees had sanctioned Jack (in addition to the other two, we did it twice in the First district).
Indeed – one would have to wonder exactly how long ago Jack Wilson departed the bubble if he thought that there was any scenario where his continued presence at the Obenshain Center would be of value to the Party. Sorry Jack, but that’s how most of us see it.
Honestly, making Jack the third choice in this three-way contest should be a no-brainer for the vast majority of us. For most of us, I would think that the person to put as our number one choice shouldn’t be that difficult either – certainly it isn’t at the Card household. I admit, I’m a bit biased. Rich Anderson exploded onto the Prince William County scene in 2009 even though his wife was well known to all of us in the local Committee, having retired from the USAF before Rich. I saw him nearly every day during that campaign as I was supporting the Bob McDonnell for Governor call center in the front of our office, while Rich’s campaign was using the back room of the building.
Rich has always been a tireless campaigner, fundraiser, and supporter of all things Republican. In my three terms as Chairman, Rich has been a tireless worker in the Prince William County unit. On top of that, Rich was always able to build his own loyal army of volunteers as well. He’s done all of this while still maintaining his adherence to conservative values.
Unlike the other two RPV candidates, Rich is tailor-made for RPV because of four qualities born of his journey through life:
First, he’s lived in every corner of our Commonwealth and in Richmond—and knows every inch of Virginia. He can bring our party together, regardless of where its members reside. Sounds like Anderson is tailor-made for RPV.
Second, he has led big military organizations numbering thousands—light-years larger than any of his rivals for RPV Chair have led. That means complexity, staggering budgets, and big missions. Sounds like Anderson is tailor-made for RPV.
Third, he’s done grunt work in the trenches as a Republican activist in one of the biggest Republican committees in the state—and in the toughest political climate in Virginia for Republicans. And he’s done it far longer and on a scale that eclipses anything his opponents for RPV Chair have done. I know. I’ve watched him up close and personal in my role as committee chair for six years. Sounds like Anderson is tailor-made for RPV.
Fourth, he knows Virginia politics and the grassroots far better than his RPV Chair competitors. As a member of the House of Delegates for eight years, he knows how the General Assembly works and knows the players. He’s the only candidate for RPV Chair who has held public office. Wilson hasn’t. Schoelwer tried with the Lancaster County School Board in 2019 and didn’t make it with 38% of the vote. If you ask me, someone who has been elected to state-level office for nearly a decade has a graduate degree in campaign and election leadership. Sounds like Anderson is tailor-made for RPV.
Someone said of Mike Schoelwer in these pages recently that Mike “gets it.” I know Mike, I like Mike, and I’m not sure what the author thought “it” was, but in the party politic, I can most assuredly tell you that Rich can bring us together and is all over “it.” You see “it” comes down to addition vs. subtraction. Anyone who thinks that RPV and Virginia Republican fortunes will be served by bringing someone in to blow things up is frankly out of their mind.
You see the real worth of each and every campaign is measured in our Republican candidates. We don’t need someone in Richmond telling our Congressional and Senate candidates how to run their contests in their respective districts (much less tell the President). Rather, we need a chairman to run honest nominating contests, support the needs of local units, and build the party infrastructure to support the current campaign season and then quickly reorient to 2021. I think that it is particularly telling that Rich is endorsed by the people who have the most skin in the game – our Congressional candidates. And that’s on top of his overwhelming support by grassroots people across Virginia.
Lastly, don’t confuse Rich’s generally affable manner with a lack of toughness. I’ve seen him in the trenches when things were getting nasty or looking hopeless. Rich is a brawler. He doesn’t shy away from a fight. Most importantly, he runs through the tape, leaving nothing on the field. No one can guarantee us success in any given election, but we do have a chance to put a guy in charge who knows how to give us the best opportunity to win.
Bill Card is a retired active duty Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and grassroots Republican activist in Prince William County. He just stepped down as PWC Republican Committee chair, one of Virginia’s largest committees, after serving three terms (six years) in the seat. He and his wife Karen make their home in Dumfries, VA.