Members of the State Central Committee,
Some of you may have heard about the controversies surrounding the mass meetings in Virginia Beach and Campbell County, and the canvass in Fauquier County.
All of these party elections have something in common that makes them unquestionably controversial – and frankly, very troubling for the integrity of future intra-party elections.
These intra-party elections appear to have had substantial numbers of Democrats and other non-Republicans participate – and they all resulted in the purging of large numbers of long-time Republican activists and leaders (The canvass in Fauquier County set up two slates for voters, which is another matter).
Unfortunately, it appears that certain individuals within our own ranks went to extraordinary lengths to encourage these scandalous actions.
On one side of the coin, these elections broke turnout records by Republicans – which is outstanding.
Unfortunately, the apparent and unprecedented turnout by Democrats and other non-Republicans appears to have decided these elections – and resulted in the purging of hundreds of Republican activists.
As up can imagine, individuals who are hostile to Republicans would have no compunction disenfranchising our party activists via the parliamentary process known as “slating.”
With respect to the slating events in certain localities, Pat Mullins has previously requested documents for the Virginia Beach Republican Mass Meeting, and likewise Eric Herr for Fauquier County and Tim Boyer for Campbell.
These repeated requests by party officials have been consistently refused by the organizers of these mass meetings.
Apparently, the organizers don’t want the lists of participants exposed to any transparency and scrutiny.
All three contests appear to have lacked meaningful credentialing of participants against the Article I, Section A membership requirements of the State Party Plan.
Documents have revealed that participants in the Campbell County Republican Mass Meeting were openly encouraged to lie about being a Republican.
In Virginia Beach and Fauquier County, there was no attempt to verify the qualifications of the participants, other than voter registration.
But the obfuscation by the organizers withholding the participant lists precludes more concrete evidence of the decisive magnitude of the likely corruption.
The evidence of this illegal participation from eyewitness reports is quite compelling, but also very disturbing…
For example, in Virginia Beach, well-known Democrats and city employees (who were literally bussed in) and non-Republican deputies from the Sheriff’s Office attended and voted in what appears to be large numbers.
Eye-witness accounts attest that some of the most prominent Democrats and other non-Republicans voted in the Virginia Beach Republican Mass Meeting, including:
– Mayor William Sessoms: Endorsed Mark Warner in 2008, endorsed Jodi Wagner over Bolling in 2009, and endorsed Terry McAuliffe in 2013, and is featuring Terry McAuliffe as a keynote speaker at an upcoming fundraiser.
– School Board Member Leonard Tengco: Endorsed Terry McAuliffe in 2013.
– City Councilman John Uhrin and his spouse
– Former-City Councilman Leonard Branch
– Local NAACP Chapter Vice-President Venus Marshall
This may explain the participation of a large number of municipal employees…
At the Virginia Beach Republican Mass Meeting, a group of individuals coming off of busses who were unfamiliar to any Republicans followed the lead of Mayor Sessoms.
According to eye-witness accounts, when the mayor’s hand went up to vote by hand, about 150 hands in the 4-to-5 rows behind him went up in unison and stayed up until the mayors hand dropped.
At the Campbell County Republican Mass Meeting, long-time Republicans attest that nearly 70 participants at their mass meeting were known Democrats or members of an anti-Republican third party organization.
Out of those, 40 of them have been identified to have voted in Democratic Party primaries or are Democratic Party donors – two of whom were well-known fundraisers for former Congressman Tom Perriello.
The anti-Republican third party organization, who also showed up in large numbers, has been found previously to regularly campaign against the duly-nominated Republican candidates in Campbell County.
Many other participants were members of the local teacher’s union in Campbell County – who had been mobilized by a mass email to “stop Republicans from cutting taxes, the budget and their jobs.”
Finally, at the Fauquier County Republican Canvass, eye witness accounts report there was large-scale participation by members of the Democrat-dominated Piedmont Environmental Council.
As State Central Committee Members, you will likely see all three contests come to you in an appeal under Article X, Section B. There, we will have to fashion an appropriate remedy.
With clear evidence of intentional cheating by corrupting our Republican processes with known Democrats and non-Republicans – mobilized primarily by promises to block the implementation of our Virginia Republican Creed – it is our duty to defend the principles and integrity of our processes.
Thus, there is only one fair, principled outcome – the results of all the improperly performed slating must be, in one fashion or another, overturned.
We must not allow those who do not represent our Creed to corrupt our intra-party elections.
Furthermore, we cannot allow those responsible for facilitating this type of nonsense to be elected to their respective offices through a venue of anti-Republican influence, or hand them a “consolation prize” of throwing out all the delegates from a given locality.
The integrity of the process is the responsibility of the organizers of these mass meetings and canvasses.
When sufficient evidence is presented showing the integrity of our process to have been intentionally corrupted, the burden of proof falls upon those who presided over the meetings and canvasses, and also those who orchestrated the proceedings, to show that they ran a fair and legal process with regard to the rules in our State Party Plan.
Whether it’s credentialing the participants in accordance with Article I, Section A, to meeting deliberations, to debate and rules, and the fair election balloting itself, actions of this nature are undoubtedly going to come under greater scrutiny – and rightfully so.
Slating is a rare, highly controversial parliamentary maneuver. For this reason, it should be held to the very highest level of scrutiny, and where it fails – as it does here – it should be soundly rejected.
Christopher Stearns serves as Chairman of Virginia’s Third District Republican Committee, and on the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia. He was re-elected Chairman quite handily this year, overcoming slating efforts in Richmond City and elsewhere in the Third District.