Ever since 1980, even before I could vote, I have been working on GOP campaigns – first as a foot soldier for Reagan/Bush/Wolf in NOVA, and last as a regional field director for Ed Gillespie for Governor in 2017. And in one way or another, I have been involved in pretty much each campaign for either local, state, or federal office since 1980, either as a foot soldier, a steering committee member, a campaign manager, or a candidate.
For maybe the second time ever, I decided to sit out a campaign, and to watch it from the sidelines and/or blog about the race instead of being an active participant on one team or another. And that campaign is the race to replace Bob Goodlatte in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District.
I sat out this race for a multitude of reasons. Among them I am so very impressed with the quality of candidates we have in the race. Another reason was I a candidate for (and won) a Town Council seat in Strasburg Va. There are other reasons which are my no one else’s business. As many of you are aware, I have blogged about this race at least twice for TBE – and have watched multiple candidate forums and have spoken personally to 7 of the 8 candidates at length. And to be honest, it’s difficult for a guy like me who likes being involved in everything to sit out a race. It’s been a fascinating yet bizarre experience. Here is what I have learned in sitting out a race yet being an uncommitted delegate:
- I wasn’t aware precisely how big a piece of human garbage I am – until I filed to be a delegate for this race. Some people in the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley complain about my rhetoric. However anything I’ve ever said pales in comparison to the carping of certain “VIP”s in CD6. Among the better ones are Congressional candidate Ed Justo comparing me to a member of the Taliban. Another good one is Craig Storrs referring to me as an elitist snob (remember this is a candidate for 6th District Office) Another Cline supporter referred to me a “misogynist”. This goes on and on. If this woman knew anything at all about me or paid attention, she’d have known that I ran Carly Fiorina for President in CD 6. Assuming we have 4000 delegates filed, probably only 2500 are affiliated with any one candidate. More and more delegates are being turned off by the stupidity of these online wannabe tough guys/gals. And I’m not the only person who has been subjected to such abuse. Many are seriously considering boycotting the convention because of the hatred spewed by certain persons – like those mentioned above. Certain persons actually fear for their safety if they attend. That’s not helping YOUR candidate of choice. Fortunately I take these things in stride – whining does little good. I take such rantings as the philosophical jargon of a sage who lives in their Mumsie’s basement. However most aren’t as thick skinned. So people like Mr. Storrs – who aspires to the regional office, should not whine about lack of voter participation after publicly insulting unaffiliated delegates that Ben Cline will need to win. For the record, none of the 3 top tier campaigns are innocent here. Everyone needs to take a few deep breaths and remember that like it or not, we will need to figure out a way to work together after the convention.
2.The new definition of “establishment”. According to most dictionaries, establishment means “ruling class” or elite. However now the term means anyone who disagrees with you on an issue. Calling a fellow conservative a “member of the establishment” or an elitist snob is as stupid as a liberal calling any conservative a racist. Usually people call others names only when they can’t come up with a better argument as to why their candidate of choice is the better one. Here’s some news for certain online warriors. Cynthia Dunbar is not a monster. Scott Sayre is not an establishment hack. Ben Cline is a great American and amazing conservative legislator. Chaz Haywood may not be as conservative as Cline or Dunbar, but he’s not a screaming liberal either. Jennifer Brown may not be my 1st choice for District Chair, but she’s an outstanding young lady with a bright future and deserves respect. And one can declare their support for Desjadon/Pope/Wright/Lewis and be a good person too.
3. The 2nd tier of candidates is as impressive, if not more so, than the 1st tier. Instead of being out there telling everyone why they should be voting for my preferred candidate, I’ve gotten to know 7 of the 8 Congressional candidates quite well. And the more I see of all of the candidates, the more I am impressed by Mike Desjadon, Elliot Pope, and Dr. Douglas Wright. Dr. Wright has become an outstanding speaker on the stump and is quite the charming gentleman. For those who love policy wonks, listen to Mike Desjadon talk about the health care system, and how it needs to be fixed. One can see him sitting in the backrooms of Washington DC cobbling together a deal to put a patient centered replacement of Obama Care into service. Elliot Pope is just an amazing young man who understands that we need to work on our youth to get them interested in the GOP and the conservative movement, or else we are doomed. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and vote for one of the 2nd tier candidates. At the very least we need to encourage younger Americans like Kathryn Lewis, Elliot Pope, and Mike Desjadon to run for public office.
4. A reminder that the people working behind the scenes to get their candidates elected are heroes as well. The work that so many are doing on behalf of their candidates of choice never ceases to amaze me. The staffers and volunteers who can make a positive case for their candidate of choice are the very best of us, and more should take lessons on how to act from their actions. From Cody Hanshaw to Tyler Adams to Matt Tederick to Anne Fitzgerald to Dianne Wyss and Karen Kwiatkowski and so many more that there is not enough time to mention them all – we don’t have a democracy without the tireless work of each of the campaign staffers. Special shout out to Elizabeth Small of Orkney Springs for all her hard work and always being a class act.
Remember that CD6 is a highly Republican district. The man or woman who you vote for likely will be the next Congressman/woman from the Valley and Valley region. Think hard on who you will support, and be sure to go to the convention and support them. I will always tell you to vote for the most conservative person running. Hope you do. But having been in politics a long time, I must remind you that 7 people will lose on the 19th and one will win. And the one that will win need our support. Whoever wins the 8, they will have my 100% support and should have yours also. Don’t let a loss get you down. Learn from it and do better next time. And don’t let some wannabe online tough guy or know it all dissuade you from voting for the candidate of your choice. Smile and be strong. See you in Harrisonburg.