You may have heard about the State Central Meeting this past weekend. I have alot of thoughts about this meeting, most I will not go into. Certain persons on both sides of the Primary vs. Convention debate would be better off toning down the dyspepsia and getting back to work. However, I want each of you to know how I voted and why.
I support a convention here in 2021. I will not bad mouth or weigh in on the motives of those who support a primary. Many of them have only the best of intentions. However, my job is twofold. One is to do what I think is in the best interests of the Republican Party of Virginia, and 2nd is to protect the integrity of the voters of the 6th Congressional District. And it is for these 2 reasons that I wholeheartedly support a convention as our nomination process in 2021.
A primary can easily be bought by a candidate who has deep pockets and can either self-finance or has the backing of powerful special interests in Richmond (McGuire Woods, Dominion, Gambling Lobby etc). Money becomes the number one determining factor. A grassroots based candidate or a candidate who has a great message but little opportunity to raise money in a nomination contest is pretty much shut out of contention in a primary.
Maybe, more importantly, to win a primary, a candidate need only advertise in NOVA, Richmond, and the Tidewater, and the Southside, Central Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley are pretty much left out. I’ve been working on campaigns and been a delegate dozens of times over the years and seen this happen many times over the years in primary contests. A convention will ensure that a candidate will show up in each Congressional District to get your vote. This has happened repeatedly in recent years. It is my job to protect the rights of the voters of CD 6. And the voters of CD 6 will be best represented in the nomination process by having a convention where the candidates have to take your concerns more seriously. Each candidate must have an organization in each Congressional District in a convention. CD 6 has had multiple statewide candidates visit multiple times to earn your vote. Everyone from Kirk Cox to Amanda Chase to Lance Allen to Glenn Davis to Puneet Aliuwalia to Chuck Smith has been to CD 6 multiple times. This likely would not have occurred if the nomination method was a primary. Yes, candidates would come out to CD 6 if the nomination method was a primary. But not with the current gusto they are showing now.
Why We Can Not Go Back Now
In addition – another reason that the entire State Central Committee must support a convention now is a matter of logistics. The fact is to get on the ballot (according to Virginia law) a candidate needs to get 10,000 verified signatures. And they must get a certain number of these from each Congressional District. Given that the Board of Elections routinely tosses 30+% of the gathered signatures out, a candidate thus needs over 13,000 signatures statewide just to get on the ballot. The date for getting these signatures is sometime near the end of March 2021. Think about this logistically – given the pandemic and the fact we are currently unable to gather indoors in groups of larger than 10 – how is any candidate going to get 13,000 signatures to get on the ballot in 2 months? It is a virtual impossibility. Especially when the normal ways that candidates get signatures (Unit meetings, fundraisers, other GOP events) are all currently closed down thanks to Governor Northam. And even if the State Board of Elections was to reduce that signature number from 10,000 to 3,000 (as they did in 2020), ask 2020 Senate candidate Omari Faulkner how easy it was to get 3,000 signatures during a pandemic. He was unable to do so after receiving special permission from the Board of Elections to only get 3,000 signatures. The only reason that Alyssa Baldwin, Daniel Gade, and Thomas Speciale were able to get on the ballot was they had most of their work done in January and early February 2020, before the pandemic really struck. And there is no guarantee that the State Board of Elections will reduce the signature requirement or strike it completely this year.
Once the convention was passed 2x on December 5, there was no way to reverse this decision. A process was started which cannot easily reverse itself. Myself and other District Chairs are already putting together convention teams. To try and reverse this decision now would only give us a real possibility that we won’t have any statewide nominees – for the reason I stated above.
Those who still support a primary are not taking this simple fact into account. And quite honestly, I can not explain why those who are supporting a primary are discounting this. Facts do matter.
Some have stated that violence will occur at a convention. I have been attacked 3 times working the polls on Election Day in my life (once in June 2013, and then again in June 2014, and once back in November 1999) by leftist activists. One of these attacks left me a deep facial wound. Some people can be stupid no matter where they are. They don’t need a convention to do so.
To those who say that an unassembled convention won’t occur because of the virus – we had an unassembled statewide convention last year during the pandemic. As we proved last year, we can run an unassembled statewide convention and get it done!
To those of you in CD 6 and elsewhere who support a primary, I get that you believe that honestly, and I appreciate your opinion here. If you have a good argument as to why a primary is necessary, please feel free to call me at 703 869 7945, or email me at 6thDistrictChair@gmail.com – remember to be respectful, give me your opinion in a positive manner, and I’ll be more than glad to have this discussion with you. I ask that you be respectful (can’t overstate this enough) and explain your opinion in a positive manner. I want to hear what you have to say. And if you can show me where what I’ve said above is wrong, I’ll seriously consider changing my vote to a primary. Calling me to insult another Republican will not be tolerated under any circumstances. I also don’t do Facebook drama – so calling me out on social media won’t get you much of a response.
I also want to publicly thank each of you who called, texted, or emailed me regarding the meeting on Saturday. Your comments and good wishes were very much appreciated. It is quite obvious from your emails/calls/texts etc that there is a majority of people in Virginia (both in and out of CD 6) who either want a convention or understand that while they supported a primary originally, a convention must now occur, and thus we need to work together to get this done. Part of the problem this party has is that too many of us honestly think that if we insult someone else, that makes us more principled than someone else. Doing so does nothing else other than exacerbate the already deep divisions in this Party. It may come across as funny to some on social media – but right now we need calm and cool heads to prevail.
I hope this helps each of you understand my thinking and why a convention is the best and now only way to go in 2021. Now let’s get to work together to turn Virginia a bright shade of red again!