According to RPV chairman Rich Anderson, in a letter to the State Central Committee (SCC), we are now on a trajectory where Republicans in Virginia will have no method to nominate their statewide candidates, other than the SCC choosing our nominees for November. This is supported and encouraged by those on the committee (the minority) who believe this will help in their quest for a primary.
SCC has voted 4 times, since December 5th, to have a convention as our method of nomination for our statewide candidates. The Chairman, Rich Anderson designated May 1st as the date for the convention. However, because of COVID-19, it is not likely the Governor will allow us to have a regular, assembled, convention. Therefore SCC moved to have an unassembled convention, with each district holding a drive-through convention, but that requires a change in the Republican Party Plan (RPP) and that requires a 2/3 vote by the SCC. Those who support a primary convention (primarily Establishment Republicans) voted against a change in the Party Plan, thus blocking an unassembled convention.
That leaves us with one more option, a primary. However, the state board of elections must be informed by February 23rd if Republicans in Virginia want them to run a statewide primary, open to all voters, to choose our candidates. At the close of last Saturday’s SCC meeting, they voted to meet again on February 27th, after the deadline for a primary. (While some primary supporters hope to force an earlier meeting, it’s not likely to happen.)
What happens if all avenues to a nomination are blocked, a convention, an unassembled convention, and a primary? That will result in the State Central Committee choosing our statewide nominees from a growing list of candidates. (Businessman and entrepreneur Pete Snyder declared his candidacy today, more on that in a coming post.) Rich Anderson summed up the current party nominating dilemma in a letter to SCC members yesterday:
Without approved SPP amendments for an unassembled convention, we are now on a trajectory that will preclude an assembled convention, an unassembled convention, and a primary. That will require that our three statewide nominees be selected by the SCC, which will take on the perception of party bosses huddled in a smoke-filled back room. To the best of my knowledge, the last statewide nominee designated by the SCC was in 1978 under extraordinary circumstances when Senator John W. Warner III was selected after the death of our convention-nominated candidate, Richard D. Obenshain. Four decades later, I don’t wish to employ this method.
Chairman Anderson also said in his letter that he has asked RPV staff to begin preparations for both an assembled convention and an unassembled convention prior to the SCC meeting on February 27th. We hope by that date those opposing a change in the Party Plan, to permit an unassembled convention, will have come to their senses and vote for it. Otherwise, the State Central Committee will be making their backroom deals and choosing our statewide candidates for November. That is not something anyone wants to see happen.
Let those who represent you on SCC, know how you feel about them choosing your candidates. Encourage them to vote for a change in the Party Plan to allow us to have an unassembled convention. Without that change, the SCC will choose all of the statewide candidates for this year. While some of them may enjoy having that power, the rank and file Republicans in Virginia will resent them for it.