In recent years Virginia has gone from being a reliably red state to becoming a purple state, to being on the verge of becoming a blue state. Many so called talking heads want to blame this entirely on Northern Virginia, and are fully and 100% convinced that this trend will likely continue, and that we must accept this fact. Virginia is on the verge of becoming a totally “blue state” which will only elect Democrats in statewide races and we conservatives must accept this fact. Daily Kos tells us how happy Virginia Democrats are.
Then please explain to me how in November of 2016 how Hilary Clinton won all 3 Presidential Electors in Vermont, yet on that same, day, Vermont also elected a Republican Governor (Phil Scott) and that Phil Scott won by nearly 9%. And of the 14 counties which comprise Vermont – now Governor Scott won 10 of these counties. In the same year which Hilary Clinton received 60% of the vote.
I have some very bad news for our “learned friends”, but elections are won by more than just good candidates who can clearly articulate a message to the average voter. They are won not by money (Trump proved this in 2016) but by volunteers who work on behalf of good candidates, and by local party leaders who can get information to volunteers on where and how to campaign. The Republican Party has allowed our voter database to atrophy since 2004, the last time we won a Presidential Election. And other than 2009, we have been shut out at the statewide level ever since 2004.
However there is hope in the form of great patriots like Scott Sayre, the current GOP Chairman for the 6th Congressional District. Scott (unlike many of the local party bosses who ran their committees like they were personal fiefdoms for their cronies) has taken the time to build up new and improved voter lists, ones with accurate voter data on them. Scott (and his management team of great Americans like Anne Fitzgerald, Al Tucker, Matt Tederick, Ken Adams, Doc Troxel, Sandy Gates, Steve Kurtz, Nate Boyer, Joe Sonsmith, and more than I can name here) have been meeting with grassroots activists and engaging in new and exciting get out the vote technology which (when used properly) helps local committees get out the vote. We are now compiling accurate voter lists for the first time in anyone’s memory. My Magisterial District was used as a test case by Team Sayre this previous November.
All of the local activists where I live have bought into this philosophy, and each of us has a job to do, we all know what our job is, and we do it to the best of our ability.
The end result? In 2012, Mitt Romney got 58.1% of the vote in the 6th Magisterial District of Shenandoah County. Congressman Bob Goodlatte got 62% against a schlub candidate. In 2016, Donald Trump got 65% of the vote, and Congressman Bob Goodlatte received 70.2% of the vote against a serious challenger. I would like to take credit for this, but all the credit goes to the volunteers and to the lessons that Team Sayre has taught us. Team Sayre has been tireless in teaching the concepts of how to canvass and his motto of “Think Local Win Bigger” to the entire 6th Congressional District. More election data here.
Team Sayre understands the concept of getting the base out to vote. And the best way to ensure ALL of the base comes out to vote is for both the local committees and the candidates to work together in sharing data, something that we as Republicans and Conservatives have not always done. Stephen Kurtz, the former Warren County GOP Chair, has had phenomenal success using the lessons taught by Team Sayre. Imagine what could occur if you took the great work that Warren County (Front Royal) has done and implemented it statewide? Or what we have done in the 6th Magisterial District of Shenandoah County.
All this was the result of learning proper precinct management and Scott’s motto of “Think Local Win Bigger” and making sure that all of the volunteers are TOMM (Trained Organized Motivated Mobilized). A mantra all of us are buying into here. It is this type of positive and forward thinking which will lead us to victories in Virginia for years to come. Does this guarantee us victories in the years to come? No quite frankly it does not. Northern Virginia and the Richmond/Petersburg area are hard nuts to crack. But if each of the localities is given accurate voter lists to canvass, and if we team together and work really hard, and with the right type of candidates – Virginia can once again be a proud member of the Red State Coalition.
A note to all unit GOP chairs – want to win? Make sure that your volunteers are TOMM – Trained Organized, Motivated Mobilized.
John Massoud is a Magisterial District Chair in the Shenandoah County GOP, is the head of the Freedom Caucus of the Shenandoah County GOP, and is a regional field director for Gillespie for Governor.