Quite frankly, I seldom if ever read the Bearing Drift. However yesterday they were onto something. In a recent BD article, Shaun Kenney talked about the need to have an unassembled convention. This is something that myself and a majority of State Central Members have supported for months. However the pro-primary people refused to relent, never negotiated in good faith, and now are shocked “SHOCKED I TELL YOU” that there will be an “assembled convention” in Lynchburg. Don’t let the spin doctors fool you, this convention will take place at Liberty University in Lynchburg in a series of parking lots on May 8. There may not be a signed contract, and there are a couple of details to work out, but the convention will take place at LU. Anyone who says differently does not know what they are talking about.
Mr. Kenney goes onto say that like most people, he’s sick of the infighting and the want of some Republicans to be more interested in destroying each other than defeating Democrats. Truer words were never spoken. However with very few exceptions, the overwhelming majority of this comes from the pro-primary people. Using every tactic from robo calls to threats of physical violence (at least one and possibly 2 death threats have been hurled at pro-convention SCC Members), to cyber bullying to bizarre insults, elements of the pro-primary caucus have been over the top when it comes to their tactics.
With that being said, and I won’t go into any detail here, elements of the pro-convention side have not been the models of virtue and perfection either. However the overwhelming majority of pro convention persons have tried in good faith and on multiple occasions to try and work with the pro-primary people, sadly to no avail.
It should be stated for the record, that the overwhelming majority of the pro-primary people are good people, and they and we agree on 98% of issues in both how to lead a party to policy issues important to the average Republican voter. We have more that binds us than that which separates us. And people on both sides here need to remember this.
It has been said on multiple occasions that the overwhelming majority of Virginia voters want a primary, hands down, no ifs ands or buts. I cannot speak for all of Virginia, but I can definitely tell you that the overwhelming majority of voters in the 6th Congressional District (who are represented by Doc Troxel, Karen Kwiatkowski, Curt Lilly, Steve Kurtz, myself, and the Dean of conservative politics in the Shenandoah Valley – yes pun intended – Dean Welty) support conventions – in this case because of COVID, an unassembled convention. Each Member of State Central should be representing their own locale. And I am proud of how the SCC reps from the 6th Congressional District have represented our home.
From having spoken with at least three of the pro-primary persons on State Central, it is quite obvious to me that these pro-primary people would want to negotiate with us in good faith, but that they are afraid of retribution from the leaders of the pro-primary caucus. They have legitimate philosophical issues as to why they support primaries (and if I were in their shoes I might support a primary also), and their issues need to be heard and given a fair hearing. Everyone from Mike Ginsburg, to Dan Webb, to Doc Troxel, to Melvin Adams, several others, and myself have offered compromises to the pro-primary crowd, only to have them knocked down by Jeff Ryer, Kristi Way, Jill Cook, Dennis Free and company. To make matters worse, several pro-primary people have gone out of their way to misrepresent us or to mock us or other SCC Members who they may not agree with or just to be silly. This is obviously a horrible idea. We should be firing with all cylinders at the Democrats who are destroying this state as they turn it into a “workers paradise”. Not taking pot shots at each other because one side lost a debate and could not accept the fact they lost.
If the outcome had been a primary, I’d have accepted the loss of a debate, and moved on to other issues. So would the overwhelming majority of the pro-convention group. This is because there are bigger fish to fry. Namely Terry McAwful, Governor aka King Ralph Northam, and the radical leftists who are trying to destroy our Virginia. The pro-primary people on State Central – well I view them as strategic partners in a fight against radical leftism. I am certain that the majority of the pro-primary supporters would view pro-convention Members in the same way. However there is a small cabal of pro-primary people who do not share this view. It is these people who Shaun Kenney hopefully is referring to.
2nd Congressional State Central Member Elizabeth Lankford made a very compelling argument about how people on Tangiers Island would be disenfranchised under an assembled convention. Ms. Lankford may be shocked to hear this, but I tend to agree with her. However Ms. Lankford should not be upset with us – she should be upset with herself for following Mr. Ryer, Mr. Free, Ms.Way and Ms. Cook down a rabbit hole with no exit strategy. I can 100% guarantee you that in an unassembled convention, we could have ensured a voting location for the people of Tangiers Island.
Maybe I am being naïve, but it is my hope that the State Central Committee will do the right thing and change the Party Plan to allow for an unassembled convention. There are many pro-convention people who will work with the pro-primary people to see this gets done. To those many of you who emailed pro-convention SCC Members asking why you are being disenfranchised, sorry but you should not be upset with us. Instead you might want to ask Dennis Free, Jeff Ryer, Kristi Way, and Jill Cook as to why they will not accept reality and instead are making you drive hundreds of miles to sit in a parking lot when you could have driven 20 miles instead.