Several things make me very uncomfortable about the prospect of Ms. Kristi Way as the 1st Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV). Part of it is her actions and part of it is her associations.
Her supporters talk about her political experience, but they minimize the impact of her current job. They gloss over the fact that she has been completely absent from RPV activities for the past 5 years. Until she decided (or was coached) to run for RPV 1st Vice Chair, she wasn’t even a member of a local GOP committee. As a result, she knows nothing of the current RPV. If anything, she has demonstrated a supreme lack of interest in the RPV for the past half-decade.
Too, her supporters gloss over the fact that she is working full-time for a powerful lobbyist in Washington D.C. Yet, this saddles her with an inherent conflict of interest in almost every issue before the RPV. Will the RPV members ever be able to not wonder which client she is representing inside the RPV? And, is Kristi willing to sacrifice her professional lobbying time in order to devote the time the 1st Vice Chair position will require – working side-by-side with our full time Chairman and taking an equal share of the workload?
Equally troubling are Ms. Ways’ connections and the beliefs that they imply. Her office (Moelis and company, search opensecrests.org) is not that big – yet, it accounts for hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Democratic National Committee and tens of thousands for Joe Biden and other Democrat candidates inimical to Republican beliefs. Even if she were to support our President, will we ever be able to not wonder whose causes she advocates inside our party? She is likely very highly paid for her work. Would she be willing to push back against her employer if pressured and risk her job for the RPV?
Ms. Way chose to announce her candidacy for the RPV 1st Vice Chair on the Bearing Drift opinion blog website. Why there? Bearing Drift advertises itself as Virginia’s Conservative Voice. Yet, two of Bearing Drift’s senior correspondents, Andrea Epps and Donald “DJ” McGuire, are on the leadership team of the Lincoln Project, whose mission was to ensure, “that President Trump is defeated in November.” For her part, Kristi’s letter, published at the height of the 2020 campaign, made absolutely no mention of re-electing President Trump. Those facts communicate a strong message.
Bearing Drift is clearly entitled to espouse whatever causes they chose. But, Kristi’s choice of Bearing Drift as her opinion blog of choice strongly implies that she agrees with their positions. Is this the sort of influence we need at the highest levels of the RPV? Do we really want as the number 2 person in the RPV a person who undercuts a sitting Republican President and works to usher a liberal Democrat into the White House? Such a position may be trendy in the offices of Washington DC lobbyists, but they are completely out of step with the membership of the RPV. Too, their success ignores the practical realities we now must face in dealing with Democrat control of the White House.
For all of these reasons, it is clear that Kristi is completely out of step with the mainstream of the RPV and is not ready to be the number two person in the RPV. She should rejoin her local committee, spend some time working there and re-acquaint herself with the party. After a year or two of current experience, she will be much more able to decide how best to help the RPV.