There is currently a write-in campaign being promoted in the 29th House of Delegates (Winchester, Frederick and Warren Counties) in support of Delegate Mark Berg. Delegate Berg lost the Republican nomination to Chris Collins in a very contentious primary in June.
So far Mark Berg has not publicly denounced this write-in campaign.
Many individuals are upset Democrats were able to participate in the Republican nominating process. Many think it decided the outcome of the nomination. It probably did. It was a state-run open primary.
For a little background, there are two ways to nominate a political candidate: via an open primary, or via a party-run process. Open primaries are run by the local government and paid for by local taxpayers. Since we do not have party registration in Virginia, any registered voter may participate. Democrats can vote in Republican nominations contests. In Clarke County we did an informal study a few years ago and found up to 10% of voters in our Republican open primaries were known Democrats. Consequently most conservatives prefer a convention or party canvass (also known as a firehouse primary), which are organized, run, and paid for by the Republican Party (no taxpayer dollars used). Rules are written to limit, or eliminate, participation by Democrats.
Unfortunately the Republican Party only has the privilege of choosing the nominating process for the General Assembly when the seat is vacant. According to Virginia Code 24.2-509, the incumbent General Assembly members are able to choose the method by which they wish to be renominated. Almost all incumbents choose open primaries, and some even actively court Democrats to participate.
A party shall nominate its candidate for election for a General Assembly district where there is only one incumbent of that party for the district by the method designated by that incumbent or absent any designation by him by the method of nomination determined by the party.
This is where it gets confusing. Mark Berg was the incumbent. He is also known to be a strong conservative, and even a member of the Republican State Central Committee pledged to support the party-run process.
Yet, the 29th House of Delegates nomination process in June was an open primary.
The Republican Party regularly nominates candidates via its own processes. In April 2014 we had a very successful party canvass for the nomination of our Rep. Barbara Comstock, with over 13,000 voters participating. The Republican Party of Virginia frequently holds conventions to nominate candidates for statewide office, with thousands attending. Unit and District Committees utilize local mass meetings, conventions, or party canvasses to nominate their candidates. The 10th District Republican Committee even organized a party canvass for the Winchester Commonwealth Attorney nomination after the local unit committee had internal conflicts preventing it from doing so itself.
I do not know why Mark Berg chose an open primary, or abdicated his responsibilities to others to make that decision. He is smart, so I am sure he understood the Virginia Code. I suspect he was very poorly advised.
The bottom line, Mark Berg and his advisors bear 100% of the responsibility of making it possible for Democrats to openly vote in the 29th’s HOD Republican Nomination, not Chris Collins.
Two years ago some conservatives accused ‘The Establishment’ of turning their backs on Ken Cuccinelli, EW Jackson and Mark Obenshain, and accused them of being less than Republican. Are the Conservatives in the 29th no better?
I call on Delegate Mark Berg to publicly denounce this write-in campaign and have a press conference with our nominee Chris Collins declaring his full support for our candidate.
It is time for all of us to start being 100% Republican.
These two paragraphs are misleading:
“I do not know why Mark Berg chose an open primary, or abdicated his responsibilities to others to make that decision. He is smart, so I am sure he understood the Virginia Code. I suspect he was very poorly advised.
The bottom line, Mark Berg and his advisors bear 100% of the responsibility of making it possible for Democrats to openly vote in the 29th’s HOD Republican Nomination, not Chris Collins.”
My understanding is that Berg did not file the SBE-516 DESIGNATION OF METHOD OF NOMINATION form with his LDC. As far as I know, no Republican Delegates in the entire Commonwealth did so this year, after being advised not to due to the ongoing lawsuit. The decision of what method of nomination to use was entirely the responsibility of the Legislative District Committee, with the Frederick County Chairman or his designee having the controlling share of the vote.
[…] against his successor, Chris Collins, in last week’s election. More on that write-in effort here. To replace Berg, the 10th District Committee elected Clarke County Republican Chairman Andrew […]
Open primaries are the only way for the people to pick the candidate of their choice. There is no way to tell if a democrat voted in the republican primary.
Well, that was the democratic thing to do. It takes a great level of honesty and altruism to choose a public primary instead of one run by the party when you know that the IPA is going to tip the odds in your favor. Even more so when you know that it is very, VERY likely that whoever wins the nomination is going to get the Delegate seat for our district no matter what.
I was under the impression that Mark Berg DID defer to his legislative district committee, which chose a State-run Primary.
You are exactly correct – Del. Berg DID defer to his Legislative District Committee AND they chose a State-run Primary!
Some people – who do NOT believe in the principles of self-determination and grassroots rule – are upset because Del. Berg did NOT act like a TYRANT and impose HIS WILL on his constituents.
I was one of five people in the room. The LD Chairman, the Warren County Representative, Mark, his staffer, and myself. The LD meeting was done in the conference room of my law firm. Mark spent 20 minutes outside deliberating then came in and proactively chose a state-run primary. Any representation to the contrary is false.
i quit reading when an “informal” study showed 10% of Clarke Co primary voters were “known Democrats”. what does this mean? & how does anyone know how a person votes?
WHAT.!!!! Collins calls for Democrats to participate in Republican Primary.
Collins has former Senator Russ Potts (supporter of Dems McAuliffe & Warner) host a fundraiser. Collins sends mailer to tens of thousands of Frederick County residents accusing Del. Berg of “…championing the privacy rights of sex offenders who assault children” and “…won’t protect abused children”. REALLY.!!??? I am supposed to support & cast a ballot for a man that would do these things. I guess Collins is 100% Republican.
Was one of Berg’s “advisors” Republican Chairman Beau Correll who ended—up
supporting Collins and holding a party run process for himself. I guess Correll is 100% Republican.!!!
If this is the standard to be Republican, I’ll keep the label of Conservative.
I’m with you on that. In my opinion Mr Berg’s a better conservative and he’ll get my write in vote unless he repudiates the process himself publicly.
Exactly how do you “be” 100% Republican in a state that does not support the very common concept of party registration, hereby allowing ANY registered voter to participate regardless of party affirmation in a tax payer funded open primary? It’s a little like complaining about an old time range war in the west but rather then stringing bard wire you have a piece of chalk to draw a line on the ground. Seems to me you need to take your own advice and accept the fact an open primary was chosen and save the arm twisting for an issue you have more solid ground to stand on. If they want to write in they have every tight to do so.
Nope; completely disagree with this whole article! The Incumbency Protection Act (IPA) is abhorrent, crony politics at its worse, and it should be done away with!! It is corrupt and is anathema to bottom up/grassroots rule. Besides, didn’t the SCC vote this past June for our state party to NOT endorse the IPA any more?! They sure did; and I was proud of them!
There is a lawsuit going on in the 24th Senate Leg. District right now over this IPA matter. The RPV again is RIGHTFULLY standing by the 24th Senate District Committee and their attempt to have the IPA in the VA code declared illegal.
Mark Berg RIGHTFULLY left the decision as to THEIR nomination process up to his Republican District Committee. Bravo for Del. Mark Berg!! His allegiance is to his constituents: the ETHICAL thing for him to do was grant THEIR RIGHT to choose their own nomination procedure!! And that he did. (Hear that Sen. Emmett Hanger – you can take a lesson in integrity from Mark Berg!)
It’s just too bad the 29th House District Committee could not muster up enough Conservative primary voters and so choose the better candidate – Mark Berg, but them’s the breaks.
Now some voters want to write in Mark Berg. Good for them: I hope they’re successful. May the best Conservative win in that race.
Tell you what – when the Republican Party is 100% Republican – i.e. they follow THEIR OWN limited government principles, their own CREED, THEN I’ll be 100% Republican.
Overall a good comment, but the last sentence seals it. RINOs and other candidates are increasingly ignoring the party creed. The %100 Republican idea is suicide. The Mark Berg write-in campaign is an extreme long shot, but I wish him well.
It is hard to hear, but
“The bottom line, Mark Berg and his advisors bear 100% of the responsibility of making it possible for Democrats to openly vote in the 29th’s HOD Republican Nomination, not Chris Collins.”
I was annoyed when Berg abdicated the choice of his renominating convention. Just because there are bad laws on the books like the incumbent protection act, doesn’t mean you don’t use them to your advantage. Mark explained to me that a firehouse primary would have been difficult to achieve in the district based on a variety of reasons. I think based on who he discussed this with, he was convinced that it was more hassle than it was worth and he would just fight it out in a primary. And so he lost. I worked the polls that day and we tried to get him to win, but the other side raised more money and campaigned better and got out the vote better. And we still didn’t lose by much. It was a very winnable race.
I spoke to a guy from Collins campaign who said they were shocked and super happy when Berg chose to allow an open primary. Easy win for them. And now we lose the number 1 or 2 best delegate in VA.
I heard the same about Berg not feeling he had much of a choice from another source. I like Berg, I trust Berg, we have lost a good conservative here. The good news is, his political career doesn’t need to be over.
We pray that it isn’t. Everything that was done was legal, but was it right? Many think that it wasn’t. Politics is ugly at times. This was one of them.