With Donald Trump’s definitive nomination, the vast majority of Republicans are rallying around the nominee, willing to give this unconventional candidate a shot at implementing unconventional solutions to a whole host of problems which, despite all our best efforts and rhetoric, Republicans have yet to solve.
Leading the effort to elect Donald Trump President is a collection of young, up and coming activists, paid operatives and selfless volunteers, aggressively registering thousands of new voters brought to the table by Donald Trump. Team Virginia, RPV’s victory campaign, has been working around the clock since March building out a support structure for the eventual nominee. Virginia’s own Governor Jim Gilmore has served as the head of Team Virginia, imparting his vast experience and knowledge to Virginia’s future leaders.
The RNC, in response to President Obama and the DNC’s successful efforts in 2008 and 2012, has copied the Democrat’s get-out-the-vote model. Unlike previous years where operatives from the RNC pour into Virginia from across the country to register voters and collect data, only to retire the day after the election, Team Virginia doesn’t disappear after Donald Trump is elected the next President of the United States. Team Virginia stays in place, using its powerful organization and seasoned field operatives to immediately go on the offensive on behalf of our eventual Gubernatorial Nominee.
This fact has raised eyebrows, as Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign chair, Corey Stewart, has joined Team Virginia as Co-Chair. As you know, Corey Stewart is running for Governor. This means that Corey Stewart has direct access to the Republican Party of Virginia’s victory program long before he becomes the Gubernatorial nominee. Corey Stewart has placed himself in an enormously powerful position to develop relationships with every precinct caption, local committee, door knocker, and volunteer in the Commonwealth – an opportunity that has not be afforded to Ed Gillespie or Congressman Rob Wittman by the Republican Party of Virginia.
Has RPV already decided that Corey Stewart is the one? Or has Stewart simply played his hand as Chairman of the eventual Republican Presidential Nominee brilliantly, outsmarting the politically savoy Ed Gillespie?
Stewart’s brilliant cornering of the RPV’s campaign structure gives him an enormous advantage over his competitors coming out of the gate in November. So I am surprised there have not been more questions raised by supporters of Ed Gillespie and Rob Wittman. We’ve already seen what Team Virginia can do when activists and politicians fail to get on board with the program. RPV is no longer living in the stone age of mere mailers and print advertisements. RPV Chairman John Whitbeck has developed a team of savoy social media operatives, capable of reaching tens of thousands of interested Republican voters via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The days of RPV lacking teeth are behind us.
The bad blood which boiled over after Virginia’s State Convention between Corey Stewart and Ken Cuccinelli came to a decisive end across social media over the last 72 hours. Cuccinelli was eviscerated across twitter and dozens of Virginia-based facebook pages (including his own) led by RPV operatives working directly under Stewart’s guidance. Coincidence? I think not.
The real question is whether or not Virginia’s victory program will be used to target Congressman Rob Wittman and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie next. I have received assurances that Corey Stewart absolutely will not use Team Virginia to target his opponents (and I trust every last operative and volunteer I’ve met from this outstanding program). However, the mere opportunity for Stewart to use RPV to gain an advantage over his opponents is utterly unethical and in bad taste. Either no Gubernatorial candidates should be allowed to run their eventual victory program or all of them should be brought in and given access to the same advantages. Fair is fair.
I could think of no one better to lead Team Virginia to victory in November were Corey Stewart not running for governor. Mr. Stewart should step down as Co-Chair of Team Virginia, if only to help solidify every Republicans faith in our program, regardless of which gubernatorial candidate they support.