Lately, there have been a spate of attacks against the campaign of Ben Cline for Congress ahead of the 6th Congressional District convention this coming Saturday in Harrisonburg, all originating from, or on behalf of, the campaign of Cynthia Dunbar. Itâ€™s time to address all of that, and this race in general. When Bob Goodlatte announced that he wasnâ€™t running for re-election, I celebrated, knowing that the 6th would likely replace him with a more conservative member of Congress. Shortly after Goodlatteâ€™s announcement, Cynthia Dunbar and Ben Cline announced their candidacies. I was initially overjoyed. I supported Del. Cline, but had great respect for Cynthia Dunbar as well, given her performance as Republican National Committeewoman. There would eventually be four other candidates, the most significant of whom is Chaz Haywood, backed by the Obenshain establishment (As an aside, how crazy have things gotten when the Obenshains have turned establishment? If youâ€™d said that in 2010, no one would have believed it), and a fair amount of funding. But as I reported in January, there was more than first met this eye about this race. And itâ€™s gotten far worse since.
The Dunbar campaign immediately went negative on Cline. Laughably, they call him establishment, based solely on the fact that he served as Goodlatteâ€™s Chief of Staff! His record in the House of Delegates would tend to refute such an assertion. It is ridiculous on its face, no matter how many times consultants and activists that back Dunbar parrot it. It only exposes that they can be bought wholly, or at least rented. Itâ€™s fairly obvious that, because Dunbar was planning to challenge Goodlatte for re-election before he announced his retirement, Dunbar feels entitled to the nomination. This does not help her case in the slightest. Nominations must be earned, along with the trust of voters and activists. To be blunt, Ben Cline has done more for conservatism in the Old Dominion than Dunbar or anyone associated with her campaign has, or ever will. This smear by Dunbar might be disqualifying by itself.
To get a leg up in her expected battle with the entrenched Goodlatte, Dunbar had secured the support of 6th District Chairman Scott Sayre, Vice Chairman Matt Tederick, and other members of the committee. Sayre, from my encounters with him, seemed involved with a kind of multi-level marketing scheme to sell RVotes, which is a terrible product. Ask the folks from the Jackson campaign in 2013 about it sometime. For his part, Matt Tederick was behind the nauseating hot garbage Tom Gear â€œwoodshedâ€ emails in 2013 for Scott Lingamfelter, designed to smear all Lingamfelterâ€™s opponents. This is the â€˜conservativeâ€™ leadership of that committee. At the meeting of the committee in January, as reported earlier, they showed their true colors. Thankfully, RPV has since stepped in and ruled some of their skulduggery out of order.
Since then, Dunbar and her supporters, including on this blog, have lobbed every conceivable allegation against Ben Cline, demanding he be held accountable for the action of everyone who supports him, even if theyâ€™re not connected to his campaign, while taking no responsibility for the behavior of her own supporters. I took the step of speaking with the leadership of the Cline campaign, and they deny any connection with any article published at Bearing Drift about the race in the 6th, categorically and repeatedly. They also disapprove of the comments made by Matt Hall on the John Fredericks show, which Dunbar has tried to make considerable hay of, despite the fact that Cline himself is a thoroughgoing Christian. Neither does the Cline campaign want RPV to step in and â€˜take overâ€™ the convention. Unless the author in question can produce actual proof otherwise, these claims stand as nothing more than the act of throwing everything at the wall just to see if anything sticks.
Thereâ€™s also the matter of the â€œde-credentialâ€ emails from â€œDunbar Campaign Credentialsâ€. Many delegates received this email:
From: Dunbar Campaign Credentials <[email protected]>
To: “Charlie Nave” <REDACTED>
Cc: “DELEGATE NAME REDACTED” <REDACTED>
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018, 3:27:43 PM EDT
Charlie Nave â€“ Chairman, Credentials Committee, 2018 Convention:
Pursuant to the Virginia State Party Plan and the 6th District Convention Call:
Section A, Point 1: All legal and qualified voters under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions, or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.
Section A, Point 4: In addition to the foregoing, to be in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, unless otherwise stipulated by the appropriate Official Committee, a person otherwise qualified hereunder shall not have participated in Virginia in the nomination of a party other than the Republican Party within the last five years.
We find this individual ineligible to be credentialed as a delegate to the 6th district convention due to their participation â€“ within the last five (5) years â€“ in the election process of the Democrat party. Verification of this complaint is attached.
The Dunbar Campaign Credentials Team
The Cline campaign didnâ€™t go through the delegate list searching for people other campaigns had signed up as delegates to try and do this, because they knew these people werenâ€™t Democrats. Additionally, according to the Cline campaign leadership, there was a local registrar that had Republicans who voted in a 2013 GOP primary down as voting in a Democratic primary that same year. These are people who have never voted in a Democratic primary and the registrar has admitted it was a mistake. This reeks of petty gamesmanship and bullying, and is effectively an attempt at â€˜slatingâ€™. Top it off with the Dunbar camp screeching in protest when the Cline campaign told those delegates that they could, in fact, vote for temporary chair.
It is also fairly obvious that the â€˜metadataâ€™ accusation against Dan Moxley is true, or it would have been denied by the Dunbar campaign. The email from Cornell, Moxleyâ€™s business partner, to delegates, exacerbates this. It also bears mentioning that the Moxleys supported populist-cum-white nationalist Paul Nehlen in 2016, going up to Wisconsin to assist him, and (to my knowledge) have yet to recant that support.
As far as Clineâ€™s father-in-law giving to a PAC goes, this is completely legal and ethical, and there has been no communication, let alone coordination, with the Cline campaign. Groundless accusations of coordination are unethical and dishonest.
Lastly, it is important that Dunbar loses this convention not just because of the behavior of her campaign here, but also because she, and her evangelical supporters, have joined forces with the rootless, nihilist, populist wing of the party behind the Corey Stewart campaign(s), and the â€˜Virginia Freedom Caucusâ€™. These people must be driven from the political field.
In short, Dunbar has disgraced herself to the point that I would prefer to see even Haywood win this convention rather than her.
Ben Cline for Congress, now more than ever.