As thousands of Virginia GOP activist return home from a weekend of politics and parties in Roanoke, it is worth considering what we accomplished. Assessments of key metrics and understanding their meaning is important to inform future Republican Party of Virginia strategies and action plans.
Outcome: The most important metric in any nomination process is outcome. On Saturday afternoon 2,687 delegates from across the commonwealth selected Ed Gillespie as our nominee for United States Senate. Shak Hill’s motion to unite the Party behind Ed received a thunderous round of applause and cheers. Any Democrat observing in the convention hall surely felt a cold shiver as they witness the GOP unity and energy displayed at that moment. A unified GOP strikes fear into the hearts of Democrats—that is why their media hacks constantly lead with stories about fragmentation and division within our party. Outcome Grade: A+
Accountability: Ed Gillespie has a solid conservative background, but many delegates supported Shak Hill because they feared Ed would move toward the center or left after election—those voices were heard loud and clear in Roanoke. Ed beat Shak in fundraising by a ratio of roughly 100-to-1! But Shak still managed to pull approximately 40% of the delegate vote in Roanoke. Mr. Gillespie will certainly spend a lot of time reaching out to “Shak’s people” to reassure them and bring them onboard. Ed knows the people who supported Shak are vital to a successful ground game this fall. He also knows his voting record will be the deciding factor at his next Senate nominating convention in 2020. Accountability Grade: A+
Fiscal Responsibility: Ed potentially saved millions of dollars by securing his nomination in a convention victory instead of a costly state-run open primary—that money is now available to target President Obama’s representative in the U.S. Senate, Mark Warner. Another multi-million dollar expense was taken off the backs of Virginia taxpayers because many localities will not need to run primaries on June 10th—that money will help grow Virginia’s economy. Finally, the Republican Party of Virginia raised over $200,000 dollars that will be used to help win races across the commonwealth this November: Fiscal Responsibility Grade: A+
Execution: Jeb Wilkinson, more than any other person, deserves credit for the success we witnessed this weekend. Chairman Pat Mullins selected Jeb as the point man for all aspect of planning and execution and Jeb delivered in every aspect of his charge. In contrast to our last convention, Jeb and Pat relied on talent inside the Party instead of hiring outsiders to run the show. We saved over 80% on production cost and completely avoided last year’s $30,000 bill to count ballots and tabulate results. Jeb pulled off a professional and enjoyable convention that was ahead of schedule and under budget. Execution Grade: A+
Some may think I am a “Santa Claus” grader, but contrast is always a factor in assessments. My experience in Roanoke yesterday was head and shoulders above last year’s memories of slow voting, poor sound quality, and general delegate dissatisfaction in Richmond. In my view, every GOP volunteer, our gracious hosts in the city of Roanoke, and the GOP leaders and staff that made this weekend a success earned spots on this year’s Dean’s List.
[…] establishment and rabidly backs the exclusive, destructive nominating method. In a post on The Bull Elephant, he grades Saturday’s convention very generously. Let’s break down some of his […]
@stephen_spiker:disqus and @markjaworowski:disqus It was not even necessary to pay the $35 registration fee, all one had to do was fill out the filing form and file it with the local Unit. I commend the organizers for a smooth registration process, and a more efficient balloting process (which as pointed out, did not cost RPV a penny). The fiscal aspect (the RPV once again MADE money) takes away that argument against conventions. It proves at least that conventions are more cost effective to the Party, thus leaving more funds for the battle.
If Shak Hill had won, we would’ve had a general election candidate who was unable to raise $30,000 in six months.
Now that Gillespie has won, he will have all the money he needs.
The few thousand dollars the RPV raised is absolutely immaterial to our ability to win or lose. Sure, it’s a nice fundraising event. Let’s keep having conventions, then. We just not choose our nominees at them.
Your fiscal responsibility argument is one of the most important components with conventions. We don’t waste millions on choosing the nominee, but actually make money to help our nominee win in November.
What she said. According to RPV ED Shaun Kenney we have $ in the bank for November and the party is growing. This was an insiders convention and was run by the best cross section of people in Virginia. All of us. You and me. This is how we set ourselves up for landslides folks.. You are witnessing #RPV14 history being made.
The Republican Party of Virginia, 2,800 people strong! Big enough to almost fill a high school gymnasium!
distance to Roanoke may have affected turnout too. Roanoke is a hike from VB & NoVA. not everyone can afford the gas or the hotel. Some “activists” I know that can be counted on to put up signs, work the polls in the sleet, door knock, etc–alot of these people don’t want to travel somewhere, sit in a cramped seat in a convention hall, waste an entire day & pay for the pleasure.
Well, Kelley, then those people aren’t true conservatives, are they? For shame.
Anybody ever think about those in the rest of the state traveling? This is why we have conventions, so that the herds do not have to move en masse.
Think about this – those of us from Roanoke have to “hike” to other parts of the state for absolutely everything that goes on in GOP politics. Conventions, dinner, fundraisers, meetings, etc. We always have to pay for gas and hotels. It is about time Roanoke was the host. And I must say, we did it VERY well.
2012 was a Presidential election year. This number is not due to the fact that is was a “SENATE race” year.
Fine. 2.3 Million people voted in 2006 (the last non-Presidential Senate race in Virginia). 1/1000th of that showed up in Roanoke.
How many voted in the last senate primary? The last presidential primary? Not a very good libertarian playing so fast and loose with public dough.
Thanks Eric, great comments.
@ Stephen Spiker – EVERY registered voter in VA had the opportunity to register for the convention, pay the registration fee, travel to the convention, and vote. Please get your facts straight. Only 2,687 delegates took advantage of the opportunity that everyone else had. Compared to last year’s mess in Richmond. This was a solid improvement.
Gee, it’s shocking that so few people choose to PAY for the “opportunity” to vote.
Less than half the people that showed up in Richmond in 2013 showed up in 2014. Let’s all pretend it means we’re even better off heading into the general election!
Location, location, location. Richmond is far more accessible to the majority of the population, which accounts for the high voter turnout, and I think people are naturally more interested in gubernatorial elections than Senate contests. Let’s see what type of campaign Ed G runs before pooh poohing what I thought was an otherwise swell convention.
Richmond drew 10,000. It has nothing to do with location, and everything to do with making the process so needlessly difficult that most people don’t or can’t.
I’m looking for making process difficult for specific individuals, any suggestions?
Insert the “Voter ID laws” joke here.
Richmond drew that many because the people wanted to vote for GOV, LT GOV and AG. A lot don’t care about “just” a senate race. Shame. Roanoke rocked it.
I’ll probably end up attending as many as I’m physically able to, but so far, anywhere but Richmond has been better.
Haven’t we learned anything from the Hunger Games and Capital City???
Correction, Mark: the registration fee was optional.
3.8 Million people voted in Virginia’s 2012 Senate race. Only 2,687 delegates had the opportunity to vote for the Republican nominee in 2014.
And even worse yet, that is NOT a “by-product” of conventions. That is an explicity-stated REASON for them.
Therefore, the entire weekend earns a giant F.
Having Democrats vote to decide who the Republican candidate should be is a piss-poor option.
“Having military members, people who work on Saturdays, people who take care of elderly family members, and people who have young families be involved in our party is a piss-poor option.”
Please don’t be so obtuse to believe the minimal amount of Democrats who show up on primary day is anything close to “deciding” the Republican candidate.
Steve, nobody buys that you care about those people any further than it plays into your dislike of conventions. When it comes to the policies that these people must live under, you’re positively indifferent.
You’re acting as if primaries always result in non-conservative candidates, which is just flatly untrue.
And the reason I didn’t go to Roanoke (the first convention I’ve missed in five years) is because I have a 5-month-old child. So screw you for questioning my motivation, as if proudly admitting that you don’t care about the people excluded from the process (as you do) is somehow better.
So the whining about conventions is because you are unhappy that the majority of the party disagrees? Bringing the carrier covered with Shak stickers might have helped with your intended result. How would you compare the GOP conventions to your libertarian ones?
Dude, I supported Gillespie. I don’t even think you know what you’re talking about anymore.
BTW, I vote in Dem primaries for the candidate I believe is least likely to beat the Republican candidate. Since there can be no stats, your statement cannot hold. Adding invective just weakens your statement.
Neat. I’m sure you do. I’m sure there are Democrats who vote in Republican primaries. I didn’t ask you if anyone ever crossed over. I asked it if was ever meaningful. When did Democrats choose a nominee for us?
1996: John Warner.
So, your major concern is that military and diplomats serving out of the district or busy people on a Saturday are disenfranchised by anything other than a primary?
And rather than accommodating these folks by representation or other means in the process, the only acceptable is open primaries?
No, my major concern is that conventions help shrink the party, and primaries help grow the party.
Conventions allow the risk of an unprepared candidate becoming our nominee and embarrassing us, where primaries at least give some reassurance that the nominee knows how to compete.
Don’t worry about it, it’s a Republican thing. You may get involved in the GOP, or you may vote for the nominee we present. Or you can go do your libertarian thing.
Um, I’m a member of the Prince William County Republican Committee. I’m the former chairman of the PWC Young Republicans. I’ve volunteered for Republican candidates in every election cycle since 2006. I’ve worked on a half-dozen Republican campaigns in northern Virginia, and I have a career as a Republican consultant.
I’m more involved in the GOP than you are, junior.
Okayyyy, So the primary stuff is making more sense. As one of the consulting class, you make a living from ginning up discord between contestants for nominations. Of course you go for that which jacks up the costs.
Which half-dozen? Any party contests?
(Psssst, here’s a secret, the rank and file are onto the ‘cram expensive daily mailers,’ Go with the fluffy social media retainer, nothing but pure gravy there.)
Why knock on the “consulting class”? Sure, some of them are bad seeds, and many of them are part of an established network. The rest of us are activists who volunteered on campaigns then went to work for campaigns and decided to work for ourselves to continue to help conservatives get elected.
A trip to VPAP, first-hand experience of what hath consultants wrought, and meeting the kinds of folks who can go through a closed-door without opening it.
In politics, you meet the very, very good, and the very, very bad. The bad tend to be the parasitical consultants.
If you’re one of the good eggs, more power to you, but it certainly doesn’t come through in your posts.
Which half-dozen races, how’d you do victory-wise?
Not too bloody well! It’s tough to win in Fairfax County, especially if you’re not working for one of the incumbents. I chose managing an uphill race over being a field director for a guy I’d knew would win by 15 points.
I bet you would have won in a convention 😉
I seriously question your analysis here. The truth is quite the opposite.
Please, do tell.
You know, this really isn’t that difficult. The parties select the nominees, the voters select the representative. Go to a mass meeting, tell a delegate who to vote for, become part of the process instead of waiting for the taxpayers to pay for you to like or dislike somebody twice.
Or start your own party, or write-in Stephen Spiker, or give money to the Koch djinn, or whine about how you want to pick the nominee but can’t because… Wait a minute, never mind.
Shocking that the Republican Party is having trouble attracting new people with this attitude.
Steve, the fundamental purpose of political parties is to achieve particular ends. You can’t just demand to discard that essential purpose behind the party’s existence and whine when nobody else thinks that’s a terribly good idea.
It’s not merely about winning elections, although that is a big part of it. Ultimately it’s about achieving goals, and since winning elections alone (we had unified control for three House sessions in a row and it was a disaster) didn’t get us there, we need to put different people in those positions.
Are you high? Tons of people think primaries are a good idea. Beyond just the party activists who support primaries, compare the number of people who showed up in Roanoke to the last turnout of a Virginia statewide primary.
The problems of the Bush-era Republican Party cannot be laid at the feet of the fact that we had primaries. However, the problems that the Republican Party in the Obama-era has in WINNING can be placed at the feet of those who want to exclude as many people from the process as possible.
All I want is to grow the party. What’s your major objection to that?
Are you offering?
You are acting like conventions never nominate non-conservative candidates, which yesterday’s events proved patently untrue.
The only question is who decides.
Ultimately the people who are actually active in the party decide what the party stands for. It is the choice of those people – not that of big Wall Street political donors – where the balance is to be struck between adhering to principle and making concessions to the will of the electorate.
At this point in time, the pendulum has swung too far into the realm of pandering to the popular position of the day. The people we elect routinely act at cross purposes to the party’s platform. This lack of adherence to any standard has so demoralized the base that it turned what should have been a +10 GOP state under these conditions (unpopular President, depression economy) into a -2.
If a candidate is not willing to act in concert with the goals of the party we need a new candidate. Big money interferes with primary outcomes too much and dissuades many good candidates from running, while giving out-of-state interests the truly determining choices.
See, this is why there’s a fundamental disconnect between you and I (and others who are pro-convention):
I don’t view the process as a way to “ensure” a certain type of ideology.
You do. You want a convention to prevent “moderates” from winning. Or “insiders”. Or “Establishment”. Or whatever. You feel that a convention allows someone who does NOT have statewide name ID, does NOT have a fundraising network, and does NOT have any political capital to be competitive. And you’re right! And that’s why you support conventions.
I don’t support primaries to get a more moderate nominee, or to squash the grassroots, or whatever nonsense people throw around. I love conservative nominees. I just want a conservative nominee that’s IN A POSITION TO WIN and get elected and do good.
So how do we do that? How about, instead of having a voting process that includes only 2800 people, we have one that involves a hundred thousand.
Instead of making things easier for a candidate who can’t raise $30,000–and therefore cannot possibly compete in a general election–we use a process that requires a certain minimum of fundraising skills.
Instead of limiting the pool of voters to a list so small five people with a handful of go phones can call the entire list in an afternoon, how about we use a process that REWARDS somebody who is able to build a genuine grassroots network. Certainly that might come in handy in November, no?
Instead of giving the impression that Republicans are an insiders-only, old, white, male party who makes decisions behind closed doors and you’re not welcome, how about we invite people to our local committee meeting, or barbecue, or 4th of July parade, or meet & greet, and if you like what the candidate has to say, you have a way to support them in June.
Instead of telling parents of young kids that they have to prioritize the Republican Party over their children, you make them feel like they still have a say. And not only that, but you WANT them to have a say, rather than “If you didn’t bother to come to Roanoke, then clearly you don’t care enough about conservatism”.
I want a process that sets the party up for success, to win elections, and to bring in new people. And those are three things that no convention, no matter how efficiently run, can ever succeed at.
The reason why there’s a fundamental disconnect between us is that you simply don’t share our values – life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and others, like national sovereignty, limited government and free markets.
The party is growing, Stephen, and it’s growing away from the statism that you represent. The liberty movement is bringing in millions of voters to the side of a Republican Party that stands up for liberty. They won’t show up for anyone else, and no amount of bribery or cajoling can get them to do so.
So you can hop on board with the wave of the future, or get washed away… really shouldn’t be a hard choice if you really want to see the GOP win.
Wow, it didn’t take very long at all for you to attack me and falsely accuse me.
Is that you’re usual m.o.? Because it’ll save us a lot of time in the future if you just let me know now that, if you don’t like what I have to say, you’ll just resort to making shit up about me instead of replying to my points.
It is my usual M.O. to get right to the heart of the matter, yes.
I’m really not into playing games with you, Stephen. You exhibit extreme disrespect with everyone you disagree with – shall I pull up your progressive talking point screeds from yesterday? – and then when someone calls your bluff you whine and scream for your momma.
Run home to your momma then, little man – this is the party of grownups now.
Ah, more attacks. Classy.
My “progressivist” talking point was my support for gay marriage, which is a pretty common stance for limited government libertarians to take. I’m sorry you disagree with me when it comes to treating gays as second-class citizens, but me not wanting to use the government to stand in the way of other people’s happiness isn’t really “statism”. You know that, right?
Either way, none of this has anything to do with what I wrote to you about why primaries are much more preferable than conservative. I take it from your inability to respond that you have no counter?
This is what I mean by disrespect, Stephen.
“My “progressivist” talking point was my support for gay marriage, which is a pretty common stance for limited government libertarians to take.”
You and I both know you’re in no way a limited government libertarian, so why do you insult me by offering this deliberate deception? As an actual limited government libertarian, I find I have to fight you all of the way on every issue. That doesn’t happen with actual libertarians, or any other type of conservative, either.
There are things that I disagree with Steve, and Jeanine, and Jamie, and with many of the guest bloggers on, but for a solid majority of issues there is broad agreement – an agreement so closely resembling the party platform of the Republican Party of Virginia that we may as well discuss the platform itself.
If you are in constant disagreement with people who are faithfully representing the the party platform, then the problem here is you. This may simply not be the right party for you. Statistically, we do know that a certain percentage of people can never be won to the cause of liberty. That is fine with us because a majority is well within our reach, regardless – a majority that will be won by being reliable and dependable executors of the will of the people, rather than the will of a relatively small group of large campaign donors.
For you, I think the Democratic Party is a solid policy, ethical, and behavioral fit. Good day sir.
The funny thing is I haven’t offered an opinion on any issue other than gay marriage. You don’t know me, you’ve never met me, and you have no idea what my ideology is. So don’t try and guess; you’re terrible at it.
Well-nigh 200 posts you’ve made on The Bull Elephant, you’ve expressed a clear policy preference on exactly one issue, and taken a position opposed to the party platform.
Everything else you’ve posted here has been baiting people and using deceptive language to pretend you are not completely opposed to the party platform. You are far and away the rudest person who comments here.
I ought to publish “The Collected Works of Stephen Spiker in The Bull Elephant Comment Section”. It’s actually quite revealing when you read them all at once.
Well, let’s see. You have me on record:
–Supporting primaries as a way to grow the Republican Party.
–Strongly supporting Barbara Comstock for VA-10
–Supporting conservative activists voting for the GOP nominee in November
–Supporting Ken Cuccinelli
–Supporting the Executive Director of the RPV, Shaun Kenny
Weirdly enough, those things are contentious points with other so-called conservatives that post here.
You also have me on record as “live and let live”. I’m not sure which part of that you disagree with.
I’ll also point out that Bull Elephant doesn’t really do a lot of posts espousing pure policy points, nor should they, because its not interesting to say things we all agree on. And even if this blog did, I probably wouldn’t comment on them… because its not interesting to say things we all agree on.
Since, though, you couldn’t pick me out of a line-up of two, let me tell you what I believe:
— Life begins at conception, and should be protected. Abortion is not a constitutional right;
— Free trade is the most important geo-political development of the past 100 years, and free markets empowers individuals;
— Without the 2nd Amendment, the rest of the Constitution doesn’t matter much;
— We could easily cut about 50% of the defense budget and at least 30% of the federal budget with almost no impact (other than the loss of government jobs). We could then cut more over a not-so-long period of time.
— Government has no business in our bedrooms;
— The judicial system needs to be overhauled from top to bottom;
In another world, you and I might be allies. But apparently my support for gay marriage is something you can’t get past. So, okay.
Stephen, you need another hobby. The only person you are fooling here is yourself.
I assume this is how it will continue to go for the foreseeable future: you post things that are wrong, I correct you, then you attack me or ignore it.
You can try crying for momma again. At least that had the advantage of being highly amusing.
I’m sorry if I’m confused by this, but… are you my mother in this scenario?
Jeez, you’re a libertarian? No wonder you like Primaries, your self-interest desires to select party nominees without working. The free market has determined your ilk irrelevant.
Is there a mod I can report this comment to? Just asking.
Why? There is nothing wrong with you just asking.
Stephen, the people who participate in a convention are not just those who cast the vote at the convention.
It seems that one of your arguments is that only an open primary is the vehicle that can best determine viability in the General.
The 10th selected the best nominee for Congress by Firehouse Primary, the Roanoke convention picked the best nominee for Senate. These are the most viable nominees for the general. They are also the best people for the job, and the best representatives VA and the 10th can get.
The magic of many many people electing a nominee is not innately better than many electing many to go somewhere to elect a nominee.
The process of how to select the nominee belongs to the party charged with offering the best candidate to the public for their ultimate choice.
You are absolutely correct that there are good candidates that can come from conventions, and bad candidates that can come from primaries.
Moreover, there are conservative candidates that can (and have) won primaries, and moderate candidates that can (and have) won conventions.
However, when it comes to building the party and winning elections, there is simply no reason not to use a primary, and no reason to use a convention.
Your points don’t follow. Conventions/primaries win/lose elections, but only primaries build a party???
You simply have to learn how things work and get involved, or do whatever you libertarians do (other than spoil elections favoring democrats)
Unless you’re upset that GOP party processes prevent non-party people from selecting nominees… Wait a minute. Oh, now I get it. But then you’d have to actually do something with the tea party.
Oh you’re a concern troll. I get it now.
I’m so confused. The pro-convention Alexis thinks I’m not libertarian enough to participate in conventions, and the pro-convention Rocinante thinks I’m too libertarian to participate.
Check it out. A domain in your name is free. You wouldn’t want someone else to take out that domain, I’m sure. What a perfect place for you to put up your own blog, install Google Analytics, and get a chance to see firsthand precisely how many people care about your opinion.
If I wanted to blog, I’d just go back to Bearing Drift. It’s not like your standalone blog would fare much better; Steve has built a great site here, and you’re just piggy-backing off of it.
I’m confused what your goal is: do you want me to stop commenting? Then why keep replying to me— or why reply to me at all if you have no interest in actually having a conversation with me?
Do you want me to leave the Republican Party? Sister, you’d have to do a lot more than that to shake me of my liberty-minded ideology.
Are you trying to make me feel bad? It might have worked, if you hadn’t already completely ceded the high ground by making up lies about me and ignoring my points when I’ve taken the time to respond to you.
Mostly, you’re just kind of flailing about, which intrigues me.
I’m torn between inviting you to take a hike and enjoying the traffic stat boost that your furious, obsessive page refreshing is providing us.
Let me get right to the point and issue you a warning right now: if you do not get a lot less rude to other commenters here in very short order, you will find that our patience is not infinite.
Regardless of your opinion, your persistently offensive and uncivil behavior is not up to TBE commenting standards. If you wish to be able to continue to post here, you’ll want to put down that keyboard right about now and have a long hard think about how much value the constant stream of insults you spew at everyone you come into contact with might have to us here.
The record is eye-opening and I’ll be happy to provide it to you – all 8+ pages of it – if you need a reminder.
Is it equal to or shorter than the list of your insults aimed at me?
You’re telling me!
But your confusion is easily rectified by self-education. Basic civics, then political parties, then you need to choose a party or choose no party. Then your whinings may have a better foundation and perhaps audience. But thanks for sharing concern.
We’re not having trouble attracting new people, take a look around. Our problem is the other side is getting more (usually by hook or by crook.)
There is an advantage to a deliberative selective process, conventions the most.
Hmmm. We haven’t won a U.S. Senate election since 2002. We haven’t carried the state for a Republican since 2004. We just got swept for the statewide offices.
Yep! All is great!
We had primaries, we didn’t win generals, same with conventions, your point?
The point (as it always has been) is let’s use a process that helps us grow the party and nominate conservative candidates who are able to win.
I believe we carried the state for republicans across the board in 2009. And in 2013, Ken barely lost (2.5%) and Mark O lost by 900 votes. Those are basically statistical ties. Had any number of things that went wrong for us during that campaign not happened, we would have probably swept the 3 seats statewide.
If more of us were focusing our efforts on winning and not backed down, the R’s would have at least won a governor and AG seat.
Actually, many tens of thousands “had the opportunity to vote for the Republican nominee in 2014.” They simply chose not to.
Right. And in your opinion, those people who could not, for whatever reason, aren’t deserving of a say.
Thank you so much for enlightening me as to what my opinion is. The burden of possessing such insights must be overwhelming.
Or you’re just a pretentious horse’s a**.
[…] and also supervised the counting of the votes and tabulation of the results. He has offered his “Convention Report Card” here. I agree completely with Eric’s observations, but what he couldn’t say himself is that a […]