In a letter to the 6th district committee and the State Central Committee RPV Chairman John Whitbeck responded to some of the rules for next week’s 6th district convention in Harrisonburg:
I have become increasingly alarmed by reports I have received over the past two weeks regarding the 6th Congressional District convention process. In the event you are not aware of the situation, let me start by giving you some background.
On March 28, 2018, the head of the 6th District Arrangements Committee discussed proposed rules that would prevent children from sitting with their parents during the convention and prohibit campaigning on the floor by candidates. Both of the aforementioned rules would be unprecedented in the history of our Party’s conventions and are totally unacceptable.
In addition, this past weekend I became aware of a proposal to ban the media from the floor of the convention. This lack of transparency compelled me to speak out against this proposal publicly on Monday.
Now it has come to my attention that there is an effort to ensure the entire Rockbridge County Delegation will not be seated because of a clerical error in their filing. Apparently, their mass meeting forgot to elect a temporary chair. The meeting was not contested, the delegates were elected unanimously, and there has been no appeal or notice of a problem until yesterday. To be clear: these are not grounds to disenfranchise delegates from voting in the 6th District convention.
In light of all of the above and the continuing controversy that has engulfed this convention process in the 6th District, I am requesting the following basic requirements be implemented at the 6th District Convention. All of the below requirements are in line with the best practices for running conventions and are consistent with the fair and orderly process the voters deserve, and our Party demands, of this convention:
1.) Children, relatives and guests of delegates must be allowed in the convention and children of delegates must allowed on the convention floor if accompanied by their parent serving as a delegate. Our Party has a long history of guest credentials for non-delegates. There is no reason it cannot be done for the 6th District Convention. I refuse to send a message to delegates that we are not pro-child and pro-family by excluding these individuals from the convention.
2.) Political campaigns must be allowed to campaign on the floor of the convention. I shouldn’t even have to demand this requirement. This is complete common sense and consistent with every convention I have ever seen in Virginia.
3.) A press area must be made available on the floor of the convention. Our conventions are elections for public office. We should encourage the press to attend, not drive them away. Our message needs to get out to the voters. The press is one way to do that.
4.) All delegations must be seated and allowed to participate in the entire convention process. There is not a single instance in this convention process of an entire delegation committing an error that is fatal to their participation as voting delegates. Moreover, excluding a properly filed delegate from voting should only occur in truly extreme conditions. The notion that we would use minor clerical errors to disenfranchise entire localities is unacceptable and must not stand.
5.) A standing vote must be allowed for temporary chairman with outside observers from the Party to be allowed to oversee the process. There are two declared candidates for temporary chairman and this process needs to be above reproach. There must be no question that the temporary chair is elected in a fair manner or the entire convention process will be tainted.
Due to the fact that 6th District Chairman Scott Sayre has appointed the committees that handle arrangements and rules prior to the election of a temporary chairman, I hereby request a public pledge from him that these requests will be agreed to and implemented by his committees.
In addition, I caution any members of the credentials committee who might be considering the exclusion of entire delegations of voters. If you are inclined to do so, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney immediately. Rest assured, the Republican Party of Virginia will not expend resources to defend anyone who seeks to disenfranchise delegates.
I sincerely hope that there is no need for appeals or a potential emergency meeting of the State Central Committee and that we can get back to providing for a fair, efficient and even fun process at the 6th District convention. However, please be advised that the RPV will act swiftly and emphatically to protect our candidates and our delegates in this process should the need arise.