On December 5, the Republican Party of Virginia met to discuss several issues, chief among them the new party officers for the upcoming 2 years, and the method of nominations for 2021. Before I forget, a congratulations to the new RPV Officers
1st Vice Chair Kristi Way
Secretary Jill Cook
Treasurer John Selph
Eastern Regional Vice Chairman Mark Kelly
Eastern Regional Vice Chairwoman Amanda Batten
Western Regional Vice Chairman Dan Webb
Western Regional Vice Chairwoman Nancy Dye
Now onto the most controversial and misunderstood part of Saturday’s meeting – the method of nomination for our 2021 candidates. First off, let me say that I tend to believe that most people support what they support for altruistic reasons. Maybe not everyone, but most SCC Members do. And like many other SCC Members, I supported an unassembled convention as our nominating process in 2021. While some people are saying that a convention disenfranchises voters, I’d suggest the exact opposite – that the unassembled convention we are going to have will make it easier for voters choices to actually matter. Let me explain.
1st off, in a primary, a lobbyist like McGuireWoods, or Altria, or Dominion, or the gambling lobby, or whoever, can basically buy the candidate of their choice a nomination. Big money is not as important in a convention as it is in a primary. To win a convention, a gubernatorial candidate or Lt. Gov/AG candidate must have superior organizational skills – not big money (See EW Jackson in 2013).
2nd – and still speaking of organization – to win a primary, a candidate must only have a good organization in one or two areas, and then the rest of the state is out of luck. To win a convention, a candidate must have a superior organization in each of the 11 Congressional Districts, not just have an overwhelming organization in one or two of the 11 Congressional Districts.
3rd – given the COVID scare, and the possibility of more extended shutdowns, an unassembled convention would create the least amount of danger for the delegates.
4th – Each convention delegate – because of the nature of how conventions work, will get to actually hear from and get personal contact with the candidates running for Gov/Lt. Gov/AG. In a primary,unless you belong to a local Committee or can donate – most primary voters never get to meet and get actual face to face time with the candidates. However in conventions, because of the way that conventions work, each delegate will get personal contact from Governor/Lt. Governor/AG candidates in a way that they’d not get if the nomination method was a primary. In a primary, candidates are trying to reach people via mass media – where the personal touch works best during a convention.
5th – Primaries are great for the consultant class – as candidates must raise millions upon millions of dollars to do direct mail and pay for the consultants. This is not the case during a convention, where the costs are much lowered, more volunteer based – saving valuable campaign funds for the general election.
6th – It is just as easy to register to be a delegate at an unassembled convention as it is to vote in a primary. You fill out some paperwork, and then drive into your regional convention voting location and choose who your ranked choices for each office are. It’s that simple. No one is being disenfranchised. And given the fact that it’s likely that the convention will be split into Congressional Districts – the drive won’t be too long for most delegates.
There are other reasons, but for time’s sake, I won’t go into them.
Regarding Amanda Chase, to be perfectly honest, she is making a mistake by foregoing the convention – where she has a lot of support among the grassroots, and instead running as an independent. Senator Chase’s support among the grassroots would be perfect for a convention, where her vote counters/whips can know who the delegates are, who will show up and who won’t, determine which candidates each individual delegate prefers, and then win the nomination for Chase. I hope she reconsiders. As Amanda would not be likely to get the support of the big money donors who run Richmond politics – her talk of abandoning the party seems strange.
Many of you will start receiving emails from groups calling anyone who supports a convention an “Establishment hack” or other. Those emails and in some case robo-calls are being paid for by the donor class, who fear the concept of actual voters being in charge of the nomination process and not the donor class.
I hope this explains things a little bit better, as there is a lot of misinformation out there about what happened on the 5th and why. One thing that everyone should know is this: Like it or not, Members of the Conservative Fellowship of State Central and more “moderate” State Central Members came together to iron out a solution which was favorable to 40 of the 74 voting Members of the Committee. This shows that the two sides can work together to accomplish something. It also shows the skills of our new Chairman, Rich Anderson, who kept a rather contentious meeting on focus for the most part.
Oh and before I forget, in case anyone tells you that I left the meeting early, and thus shirked my duty to each of you, the fact is that not only am I a Member of the State Central Committee, but am also a Member of the Strasburg Town Council as well. The State Central meeting started at 10 am, and I left sometime after 5 pm (the meeting had been scheduled to end between 3 and 4 PM). Reason being is I had a Strasburg Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony to attend. I take all of my duties seriously, and sometimes things overlap. Here is a Facebook Live video of the Strasburg Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Councilwoman Doreen Ricard and myself come up at the 5:05 mark of the video: https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverStrasburg/videos/311701973295323 I trust that most people are ok with lighting the Town Christmas tree – given that this year has been so depressing, a bit of Christmas cheer is good for everyone right about now.
As per usual, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or call me at 703 869 7945 if you have any questions.