Below is a rough transcript of a speech delivered by Vince Haley to Republicans gathered in Greene County on April 18. Haley will try to convince delegates to the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Convention on April 29-30 in Harrisonburg to allow him on the ballot to challenge current RPV Chairman John Whitbeck. Audio of the speech is embedded below.
Vince Haley: My name is Vince Haley. I’m running for state chairman. Against John Whitbeck.
There’s only really one issue in this race.
I want to illustrate that issue by asking you a question.
In addition to the functions that you expect of the state chairman — recruit good candidates, be a great service resource center for local parties, take it to the Democrats communication-wise, support Republican nominees — what would you say if I told you that the other thing I wanted to do was to pick sides in local races, local party races, when I decide, when I decide, that somebody’s temperament doesn’t meet with my expectations, my desires?
What would you think about that?
If the answer to that is no, well I think you will find I’m the person to support.
If the answer is hell no, then I’m really the person for you to support.
The question came up a little bit earlier talking about water and the question was follow the money. Well, the reason I’m running is the state chairman, unfortunately, got involved in a local party race, an SCC race, state central committee race, down in Henrico County where I live. I’m from Henrico County, western suburbs of Richmond.
He didn’t write the check.
His executive director of RPV wrote a check from his [Whitbeckâ€™s] personal political fund for $3,050.00 to support the pre-files of someone he didn’t like, someone whose temperament he didn’t like. Now how do we know he didn’t like his temperament? Because he wrote a press statement the next day saying he didn’t.
That was on March 22nd.
Now, I started this race in January. The way I came to get involved in the state chairman race was I was upset about the loyalty pledge which had been initiated last fall by the RPV. In the great American tradition, you’re upset about something you write an op-ed. So I wrote an op-ed in Breitbart.
I thought it [the loyalty pledge] was unwise. I thought it was foolish at a time when many grassroots Republicans are really dissatisfied with what’s going on in Washington. I didn’t hear a lot of satisfaction from the three congressional candidates here tonight about what’s going on in Washington. And that’s shared by many, many of us in the rank and file.
I thought at a time when people are distrustful of Republicans in Washington, the last thing you want to do is ask for their loyalty in a written statement. as well as I thought it was unfair that it was, I thought, being very unfair to the candidates running in the presidential primary. When the Republican party, you sit on the scales one way or the other, it’s a real challenge because it’s an elephant sitting on the scales one way or the other. So, I wrote an op-ed.
I didn’t expect it, but a day or two later someone, a couple of people, approached me about running for state chairman. They said, “If you really believe that, you’re one of the few people that can stand up and make an argument like that. You should run for chairman.” I thought about it. I had run for state senate in the 12th district last year. These gentlemen can tell you it ain’t easy. It’s ain’t easy on the family. It takes a lot of commitment. So I thought about it for several days before deciding to do it because it’s you don’t do that with little thinking.
Crowd Member: The pay is great, too, right?
Vince Haley: What’s that?
Crowd Member: The pay is great, too, right? [Laughter]
Vince Haley: Yeah, the pay is great. That was $18,000 a year. This is no pay. This is volunteer pay.
So, I got in the race. That was January 15th. Two weeks later without any discussion, the loyalty pledge was rescinded by RPV in a vote by state central.
Vince Haley: At that point, I thought, “It’s going to be very difficult to continue this race because without a principle to run on it’s very difficult to take on a sitting chairman.” I thought there was something unhealthy about the loyalty pledge. I don’t know what it said about the party but I distrusted it. But they withdrew it. I thought things would be great. I withdrew from campaigning in the middle of February.
Then the events of March 22nd took place and I thought, “Am I the only one? This seems really strange.” I don’t think Ed Yensho, if he was state chair, can you imagine him getting involved in a local party race and taking money out and spending it against somebody he doesnâ€™t likeâ€¦whose temperament he doesnâ€™t like. My guess is he knows how to deal with lots of different people’s temperament.
And the Republican party at a state convention when you look around, what’s the temperament like there? Are we going to get along with everybody?
Nobody challenged this principle that was put out that the state chairman has the right to get involved in local party races. It ain’t illegal. It ain’t against the state party plan, but is it against your expectations? Is it against what you’d expect to have a party that’s fairly run, that takes good people and have them come in?
If the state chairman is going to be involved in local party races, can we expect good people to come to the party? Can we expect good people to come and say, “Oh, the state chairman may come and get involved. I need to check my temperament with the state chairman. I have to go kiss the chairman’s ring.”
In America, we don’t kiss rings. It ain’t going to happen. In monarchies they kiss rings, but not in Republics.
And in this Republic which we’re trying to save, we have a standard. It’s the Republican creed. It’s really the American Creed and the only way that we get back on track is to reassert our first principles and the only party that is the custodian of America’s first principles is our party. It’s the Republican party. And I don’t know how you do it if the most fundamental thing of trust is not there for a state chairman to call balls and strikes fairly.
Follow the money. This is a personal political fund. If you go today to Henrico County which received the funds for the pre-files, you find that it’s called the Virginia Victory Fund. The zip code, or the mailing address, of the treasurer is the RPV general counsel.
Seems to me, you’re going to have to ask yourself, seems to me they should have resigned. When the hand was in the cookie jar they didn’t say, “Oh, excuse me.” They said, “Yeah, what about it? What about it? I didn’t like the guy.”
So we have a question that’s on the table that I’m hoping that delegates at the state convention will answer. Now I got back in the race early this week, last Monday. Now they’re telling me I’m not qualified to run because I had said that I was going to withdraw from campaigning.
There’s nothing in the state party plan, there’s nothing in the call, that would prevent me from running except if they get away with it in the nominations committee and they reject it on the floor on Friday.
So it’s going to be up to the delegates to decide what kind of party we’re going to have.
Are we going to have a party where you can trust the state chairman to be like a good umpire, call it fairly, to have his executive director call it fairly, to have the general counsel call it fairly? You have to ask yourselves can we expect that now?
Can we expect that was the only instance of that, such help. Henrico County is, I believe, the only county, the only big county that had payments for pre-files. Most of the time it’s just a suggested fee or nothing at all.
Was it done elsewhere? We won’t know. He didn’t put out any press statements on something else, but we do know it in this instance. I think it’s a big enough deal that I decided to get back in the race.
A little bit about me, Ed mentioned I worked for Newt Gingrich. I’ve been working for Newt Gingrich since 2003. I went to law school down the road here, practiced law for a number of years, came back to the northern Virginia area where I was born and raised in Alexandria, a stone’s throw from Mount Vernon, youngest of 11 kids. My dad was a 1945 West Point grad. I have three kids of my own, five, four, and two almost, and I got one on the way. I have a lovely wife and I’ve already won.
I’m going to be going to the state convention on 29 April. I’m seeking support. I hope you will spread the word about what your opinion is about this situation. I’ve got VinceHaley.com as my Facebook page and website.
And I’m asking for your support because I think we need to have a party that plays it straight.
A party that plays it straight is going to draw more people to it, like the people who are running for congress because they trust the party. If we’re going to save this Republic, we’re going to need a healthy, functioning Republican party.
Thank you very much.