Tonight and tomorrow night GOP mass meetings throughout Virginia’s First District will select delegates to the District convention on November 10.
I have a favor to ask of you good people. As you go through the stresses of these meetings, being held right after a general election where some people you know got the short end of the vote, I ask you to remember my late mother’s advice whenever I went to visit someone: “Be nice, and follow the rules”.
I say this as early reports from Caroline County make it seem like some folks may be ignoring both these concepts…consider, for instance, this report:
“…[former] Delegate Dick Black…informed us about the shocking shenanigans that are going on in the First Congressional District. The problems are coming up in the secretive and often difficult process that is being used in selecting the delegates for the convention.
On November 3rd, Del. Black attended one in Caroline County. It was at an unmarked location down a gravel road in the woods. A steel gate marked with “No Trespassing” signs blocked the road. The meeting was scheduled for 9:00 am, but they secretly held it an hour early and you couldn’t enter the meeting without violating the Virginia Code on criminal trespass.
They elected nine delegates for Del. Rob Whitman, who avoided the meeting even though it was in his own district.
It gets even stranger: when Paul Jost, another candidate, showed up and asked why the meeting was held early, a woman helping to run the meeting apparently yelled at him using profanities and she had to be restrained!”
There has been no mention of these events in the press, likely because of the recently held general election. But let’s just suppose it’s true, or even partially true. We will even put aside the thought that if this the type of thing that did happen, then the results of this meeting can be thrown out. Instead, let’s consider that this is the kind of stupid politics that makes conventions tinder boxes for electoral disaster because of the way it can turn off the party faithful and cost a campaign volunteers, financial support, and general good will.
Consider two recent scenarios:
1) Two candidates, hard fought nominating campaign for a House of Delegates nomination. No chicanery, no fancy footwork on the meeting notice or site. Room packed with folks. Candidate A has more bodies, but Candidate B has more bodies in the right jurisdiction and narrowly wins nomination.
2) Two candidates, hard fought nominating campaign for a House of Delegates nomination. Questionable conduct and fancy footwork on the meeting notice and site by a chairman on the payroll of Candidate A. Room packed with folks. Candidate A has more bodies, but Candidate B has questions about are they properly qualified. Candidate A wins with the help of Chairman, who then disallows Candidate B’s appeals. Candidate A wins nomination.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Door #1 is Virginia HOD 50, where Jackson Miller defeated Carroll Weimer for the nomination in 2006, and defeated democrat Jeanette Rishell in the 2006 special election (and again in the 2007 regular election). GOP Seat held
Door #2 is Virginia HOD 51, where Faisal Gill defeated Julie Lucas in circumstances so poisonous that the repercussions not only severely damaged Gill (who lost his election, and with it a GOP held seat) but also apparently contributed to losing Jay O’Brien’s senate seat. GOP Seat(s) Lost
Mass Meetings are a way to make sure the nomination is not impacted by crossover voting and effectively keeps democrats out of the GOP nominating process. However, improper machinations can both keep out democrats and disenfranchise GOP voters who want to participate-and that’s even before the meeting begins and matters like slating kick in!
Everyone is tired after the Tuesday elections, and everyone in the GOP is unhappy with the results…but the road back starts with electing a Republican to succeed Jo Ann Davis, and that requires a united party unriven by internal bickering. More than that, the body politic needs to find a road back to a higher level of discourse and behavior.
The road to both begin with the Va-1 special election and nominating process…so please, as you go through the mass meetings and convention, choose the conduct found behind Door #1. Or, as my mother said:
“Be Nice, and Follow the Rules”