5:18 PM Saturday: Without a doubt, this will leave hard feelings on both sides. More on this later. For now, live coverage is completed.
5:11 PM Saturday: The State Central Committee adopts Chairman Mullins’ motion to certify Curtis Colgate as 2nd District Chairman, and to leave the Virginia Beach mass meeting undisturbed. WE’RE DONE!! This was done by voice vote, with only a handful of nays.
5:00 PM Saturday: Sen. Wagner now speaking in support of the compromise. Concedes chairmanship to Colgate, to a standing ovation.
4:58 PM Saturday: FINALLY, on to Virginia Beach. Chairman Mullins is undertaking the extraordinary practice of ceding the chair so that he can take the floor to move to certify Ken Longo as Virginia Beach Chairman, and Curtis Colgate certified as 2nd District Chairman. This gives effect to a deal between the Wagner and Colgate sides. This does not address concerns of those disenfranchised at the Virginia Beach mass meeting, but the sense of the body as far as I can tell reflects a sense that this may be the best thing for the Party.
Del. Jackson Miller is trying to make the point (out of order, as it turns out) that the ad hoc committee is illegitimate. Mike Thomas ruled the statement out of order, and recognized 10th District Chairman John Whitbeck to discuss the findings of the ad hoc committee. Whitbeck explaining the negotiation process over the last several days.
4:53 PM Saturday: Prior motion to uphold the GC opinion has been upheld and essentially amended to invalidate the votes taken by the 5th District Committee. Lots of procedural gymnastics, which is why this took so long.
4:05 PM Saturday: The General Counsel’s ruling was sustained. Yours truly attempted some parliamentary jiu-jitsu to short circuit debate on the next appeal, but failed miserably. At least I provided some comic relief. Up next is an appeal from the 5th about votes improperly excluded from the 5th District Committee. On that, there will be questions about whether the appeal was submitted with the proper number of signatures. For now, a brief recess.
3:48 PM Saturday: Still going. Very technical arguments. Some eyes glazing over among the folks sticking around to hear the Virginia Beach debate.
3:34 PM Saturday: Now debating whether the 5th District Convention acted properly in stripping State Central members of their votes on the 5th District Committee. First Vice Chairman Mike Thomas arguing on behalf of 5th District Chairman Jon Berkeley. RPV General Counsel Pat McSweeney will be defending his ruling that the action was improper.
3:24 PM Saturday: Campbell appeal is sustained, and Campbell County will be required to hold a new mass meeting. Vote was decisive: 50-27.
3:20 PM Saturday: Voting happening now on Campbell County appeal, after exhausting time for debate.
3:02 PM Saturday: Question is being called now, with motion by 5th District Committee Representative Peyton Knight to void the Campbell County mass meeting; for a RPV staff-run new mass meeting for electing unit chairman and committee members (from among only those previously pre-filed); that there is a statement of intent for participants; that these people be screened for adherence to Article I.
2:47 PM Saturday: Lots of debate. Much different mood in the room on this one. The difference between this one and the Fauquier meeting is that all participants in Campbell signed a statement of intent.
2:27 PM Saturday: Vener claiming that just by signing statement of intent, all voters were qualified. He apparently wasn’t here before lunch, when the SCC made it clear by a 2-to-1 margin that they don’t buy that. Now he is criticizing the deterioration of the local committee under “their” leadership.
2:22 PM Saturday: There’s a proposed deal to settle the 2nd district controversy. Essentially, give Scott Rigell the ability to pick a new 2nd District Chairman (if both sides agree on the candidate), and leave the Virginia Beach mass meeting alone. If they can’t agree on a new 2nd District Chairman, then the appeal would be reconsidered in December. This doesn’t work for several reasons, not the least of which is that the voters who allege they were improperly disenfranchised by Democrats participating in the mass meeting aren’t part of that deal.
2:20 PM Saturday: Neil Vener, former Commonwealth Attorney in Campbell, is providing rebuttal. Says appeal is moot because 5th District convention already held. However, this ignores the request from Boyer to hold another mass meeting. Says “they” (meaning the people appealing apparently) bear responsibility for allowing any Democrat pre-files, as “they” were the incumbents.
2:19 PM Saturday: Late reconvene. Campbell County appeal being considered. Rick Boyer providing his case.
1:53 PM Saturday: Doors still closed on the negotiations about the 2nd District. No indication if there will be compromise.
12:48 PM Saturday: Long recess for lunch…apparently working to get the two sides to agree on a compromise in the 2nd. Will reconvene at 2:00 pm.
12:46 PM Saturday: The First District ruling is upheld, by a vote of 51-24.. Fauquier will be required to re-conduct its canvass.
12:35 PM Saturday: Vote generally falling along same lines as most contentious questions (i.e., convention backers voting to uphold 1st District, others voting to overturn).
12:33 PM Saturday: Roll call vote on Fauquier happening now.
12:30 PM Saturday: Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell makes the point that the State Central Committee has plenary power about what it means to be in accord with the principles of the Party.
12:27 PM Saturday: Kinda sloppy process…people asking questions of Herr and Russell, resulting in a lot of argumentation rather the fact exposition.
12:21 PM Saturday: Matt Wells from the 7th asks whether anyone actually asked for a statement of intent. The answer there is yes, Cam Jones asked for the statement of intent and the then-Chairman said that the Plan allowed all registered voters to participate.
12:13 PM Saturday: Russell still making the point about the 1st District having sway over portions of the 5th. YRFV Chairman John Scott asking questions about practical ways to protect process going forward.
12:11 PM Saturday: Russell still making the point about the 1st District having sway over portions of the 5th. YRFV Chairman John Scott asking questions about practical ways to protect process going forward.
12:04 PM Saturday: The debate has begun. I just spoke…made the points below. Mike Thomas responded in thoughtful way, but suggests that if we want to require screening out of non-Republicans there should be affirmative requirements.
11:52 AM Saturday: Herr makes the critical point about the “loyalty oath.” It’s about whether the participants are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party. Says he would have voted against it had the FCRC had even simply asked orally each voter if they were a Republican.
11:48 AM Saturday: First District Chairman Eric Herr is now defending the 1st District actions. Says appeals committee was independent (knew no one involved) and that he didn’t know what the results of their report were until 48 hours ahead of the meeting.
11:47 AM Saturday: Russell rightly proud about how Republican Fauquier county is, and how solid the majority for Republican candidates is. Unfortunately, that’s part of the issue here…the Republican game is the only game in town, and that means when people want to effect change, they have an interest in influencing the GOP. Hence, the invitation that said,
“You do not need to be a Republican. Democrats, Progressives, Independents, Libertarians – all registered voters in Fauquier County are welcome to vote in the Fauquier County Republican Canvass…”
11:43 AM Saturday: Russell identifies the key issue as Article I, Section A, Item 1 of the Plan. Says Fauquier has never required a “loyalty oath.” Incorrectly says only 55 Democrats voted, and says that they wouldn’t make up the difference. In actuality, it was almost 10% (something close to 120) who recently voted in Democrat primaries, but that’s not the true measure of non-Republican participation. UPDATE: I’m unclear on these numbers, as I haven’t seen the source documentation. I think the 50 or 55 number is for people who voted in a recent Democrat primary, and the other number is something like 107, which is the number of additional people deemed ‘D’ or ‘Hard D’ in the GOP voter database, but who hadn’t voted in a recent Democrat primary. That puts the number at something like 157 or 162 identifiable Democrats.
11:40 AM Saturday: Russell starts out well…jokes well received. Talks about how procedural history of the matter. Objects to 1st District having say here (because only 4 precincts in Fauquier are in the 1st District, while 17 are in the 5th).
11:36 AM Saturday: Chairman discusses procedures, and admonishes people to keep it civil, etc. Scott Russell from Fauquier is presenting his appeal.
11:30 AM Saturday: Finally, appeals beginning. Fauquier is up first.
11:24 AM Saturday: Hooff Cooksey, representing the Gillespie campaign is speaking. Talking about great progress with data, and how the campaign now is focused on only a very small slice of the electorate that we don’t know much about. Says Ed is gaining quickly with voters as they begin to pay attention to the race. Ed is also making great outreach efforts. Says Ed will be on the air soon with TV ads…says Labor Day is basically the kickoff date for the real campaign.
11:13 AM Saturday: Still people from the 10th and 11th who haven’t arrived, so Chairman Mullins reordering the agenda to take reports from District Chairmen.
11:07 AM Saturday: Appeals procedure and debate limitations being discussed. For everything except Virginia Beach, each side gets 10 minutes to present, then 40 minutes to debate (each speaker limited to 2 minutes). Motion passes.
11:03 AM Saturday: Churning through regular business before starting appeals…giving time for I-95 stragglers to arrive.
10:27 AM Saturday: Chairman Mullins reiterated that he cut off payments to Ray Allen for his threats to bankrupt the Party in litigation. Then he says he’s not amenable to deferring action to December as Wagner’s folks have asked, as he doesn’t want to leave three counties in limbo during the election. Calls talk about deferral “bogus” last-minute political consultant-driven rubbish. Says this isn’t a story unless the people in this room make it one.
10:23 AM Saturday: Chairman Mullins speaking about Washington Post article this morning, “Divisions may Flare at Va. Republican Central Committee Meeting.” Mullins criticizing the Post for trying to promote Mark Warner, and warns people in the room not to give the press ammo for that narrative.
10:15 AM Saturday: Speaking with members who do not support overturning any of the processes in 1st, 2nd, or 5th. They genuinely find it unconscionable. I respect that, but at the end of the day, the wrecking ball swung through the 2nd and the 5th was intentionally divisive. The aims were two-fold: have their candidate win, and leave a bad taste in people’s mouths about party-run processes. (My friend Brian Schoeneman has posted a few times in this vein, suggesting this controversy is nothing but evidence that we shouldn’t use party processes for nominating candidates.) If it weren’t, and if as the Wagner supporters say, they had a two-thirds majority, then why slate?
I think that approach—one that is intentionally divisive—should not be rewarded. If you undertake it, you’d better make sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s, or else it’s not going to be allowed to stand.
10:10 AM Saturday: Meeting has convened. Sparse attendance from Northern Virginia (11th, 10th, 8th, and some of the 1st) because of backed-up traffic on I-95.
12:47 AM Saturday: Just arrived at the Hilton Short Pump. Nothing happening here, but I understand State Central members’ phone lines have been burning up all evening with calls from legislators, lobbyists, and consultants urging them to delay consideration of these appeals until the December meeting. Apparently, after the appeals committee recommended ruling against Sen. Frank Wagner in the 2nd District, and to overturn the Virginia Beach mass meeting, Wagner says he’s surprised that the appeals process has anything to do with the Virginia Beach mass meeting, and that he needs for SCC to delay its consideration, again, so that he can better absorb that fact.
That’s a curious position, considering what Wagner had to say in the last email he sent out prior to a State Central Committee meeting. In June, on the eve of the State Convention, Wagner appeared to very clearly understand the centrality of the Virginia Beach mass meeting to the appeals process:
The issue before you as Chairman of RPV or as a member of the State Central Committee is not about one’s opinion of slating (which is allowed in the Party Plan), nor is it about whether Curtis Colgate or Frank Wagner should serve as Second District Chairman. The decision we face is whether State Central will overturn the outcome of a properly led, procedurally correct Mass Meeting where the clear will of the majority (68 percent!) of those attending – and their votes expressing their will – cannot be questioned, at least on any rational basis.”
(Emphasis added). Wow. That’s pretty brazen. And the delay request, too, considering that over two months ago Wagner was urging SCC, “for the sake of party unity and the desire to move forward [to adopt] a quick resolution…”
It doesn’t get much more transparently self-serving than that.