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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Goodlatte’

Although a small city in western Virginia, Buena Vista plays host to an important political event every Labor Day.  Earlier today, politicians, their campaigns, and throngs of grassroots activists descended upon the community to participate in their annual Labor Day parade.  This year, attendees included: Senator Mark Warner, former Governor and Democratic Senate hopeful Tim Kaine, former Governor and Republican Senate hopeful George Allen, former Representative and Constitution Party Presidential candidate Virgil Goode, Representative Bob Goodlatte, and his Democratic challenger Andy Schmookler.

The event had the one of the greatest concentrations of yard signs anywhere; from Interstate 81, the road into Buena Vista was lined.  Along the parade route, signage was even thicker, forming a virtual fence between the spectators and those walking in the procession in many places.  But which campaign was best represented in this aspect?  Of all of the candidates, Tim Kaine easily won the sign war; his total number of signs more than doubled his next closest competitor, George Allen, while Bob Goodlatte placed third.  Curiously, there were relatively few Mitt Romney signs and close to zero for President Barack Obama.  This trend could lead one to think that no one had much of an interest in the race at the top of the ticket.

Unlike previous years where I promoted either a candidate or the GOP, today I walked in the parade on behalf of We rVirginia, a conservative grassroots organization based outside of Richmond.  Although our group was considerably smaller than either the masses of Democratic and Republican volunteers, our folks were quite efficient, carrying our banner down the streets of Buena Vista while distributing hundreds of leaflets explaining both the purpose of the organization and comparing the stances of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

As the Buena Vista Labor Day continues to grow in attendance and importance, it is becoming a virtual can’t miss event for those seeking office in either the 6th Congressional district or statewide in Virginia.  Surprisingly, neither Lt. Governor Bill Bolling nor Ken Cuccinelli attended the gathering this year, but it is all but certain that whichever of these two men captures the GOP nod for Governor will have a huge showing in Buena Vista 2013 along with whoever wins the Democrats nominatation for Governor, as well as the various candidates for Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

See you again in Buena Vista on September 2, 2013!

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For many Americans, the Fourth of July is a day filled with cookouts and family gatherings capped off by a night filled with a colorful fireworks display.  However, given that the date serves as the commemoration for the birth of the nation, it is also steeped in politics.

On Wednesday afternoon, the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia held its annual parade to celebrate the day.  The weather was quite hot and sunny, a marked difference from last year when a virtual monsoon threatened to cancel the affair.

The parade boasted the usual assortment of floats and vehicles: musicians, fire and rescue teams, antique cars, and, of course, political groups.  This year, there were four different sets of folks who entered: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Tea Party, and Abe Shearer for City Council.

Overall, the candidate who could claim the largest number of visible supporters in the parade had to be Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6).  There was a veritable sea of matching blue Goodlatte shirts among the Republicans.  Other Republican candidates were promoted as well including: Mitt Romney, George Allen, Mark Obenshain, and the various City Council hopefuls.

The Democratic Party had an impressive showing as well.  They waved signs in favor of Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, Andy Schmookler, and two City Council candidates. I spoke with Deb Fitzgerald, one of the Democratic candidates running, to ask if the Democratic Party only fielded two folks for the three seats up in November.  I discovered that although Kai Degner is running for re-election, he apparently had no signs printed to be used in the parade.

Running as an independent for City Council, Abe Shearer also made his presence known.  Even though some might be tempted to disregard independents, recent elections have shown that they offer beat the two party candidates for this particular office.  The outcome for this race will hinge heavily upon the battle between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the top of the ticket and the strength of the campaigns of each of the council candidates.

During the trip down Main Street, I walked alongside the Tea Party float handing out copies of the Constitution.  In general, the crowd was very receptive and so I ran out of materials a good distance from the end of the route.

Given that the Fourth is now five days passed, you might find it odd that it has taken me so long to write about it here.  Well, I’m afraid that I didn’t feel much like writing on the evening of the event.  On the drive back to the parking lot, I decided to catch a ride on the Tea Party float.  As we turned onto a side street, the mast holding the tea party sign struck a low-hanging branch and came loose.  Unfortunately, I happened to be in the path of the heavy wooden board as it fell to the ground.  Although it was only a glancing blow, the plank did graze the side of my head and collided with my shoulder.  At the time, I was worried about the severity of the injury, and, as a result of the pain, did very little for the rest of that evening.  However, I’m pleased to say that several days later, only a yellowish bruise and a bit of residual soreness seem to be the only lingering effects.

I suppose that one could see a bit of irony in the idea of a person who opposes the idea of government-run health insurance and also does not presently have health insurance due to the tremendous cost involved, becoming injured himself and possibly in need of assistance.  Nevertheless, if a person does find him or herself in such a state of need, should one demand that the government redress this problem?  Although freely given charity is laudable, the idea of a person compelling his or her neighbors to care for his or her needs through either force or coercion seems to completely reject the basic political tenets of liberty and freedom under which this country was supposedly founded.

Anyway, to sum up, except for the surprise accident at the end, I would say that the parade was a rousing success for all of the parties who choose to participate.  Speaking specifically of the tea party, I hope that I’ll see a few new faces at our meeting later this month.

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Karen Kwiatkowski at the Keister Precinct in Harrisonburg

Well, nearly a week has come and gone since Virginia’s Tuesday primary.  I suppose that the end result did not yield any great surprises.  Across the Commonwealth each incumbent House of Representatives candidate emerged victorious.  In the Senate contest the virtual incumbent, former Senator George Allen, also won.

According to the Virginia State Board of Elections, with all precincts but one reporting, George Allen captured the GOP nomination with 65.45% of the vote.  Tea Party favorite Jamie Radtke finished second with 23.05%.  Delegate Bob Marshall and Bishop E. W. Jackson finished a distant third and fourth with 6.76% and 4.72% respectively.

George Allen polled relatively well throughout Virginia.  He only lost two cities and counties; Jamie Radtke won a plurality in Charles City County and Bob Marshall did likewise in Manassas Park.  Other notable results showed very close contests between Radtke and Allen in Amelia, Hanover, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Northampton, and Powhatan Counties.  Although Radtke captured a clear second overall, E. W. Jackson took runner up in Albemarle and Botetourt Counties while Marshall boasted second in and around his House of Delegates district, Prince William and Manassas.

Although Jamie Radtke attempted to secure the title of the conservative alternative to George Allen, the fact that both Jackson and Marshall were competing had to hurt both her fundraising and numbers at the polls.  However, given his monetary and virtual 100% name recognition, it still would have been a monumental hurdle for Radtke to defeat Allen one-on-one.  Now that the dust has settled, one important question to ask though is, given their low vote totals, why were Jackson and Marshall in the race?

Except during the final months of the campaign, it did not appear that Jackson was actually trying to win the nomination.  He had a pretty small campaign staff and I’ve heard that he made a number of speeches where he didn’t actually reference his candidacy for Senate.  One popular theory is that he was trying to build name ID in order to establish himself for a future political run.

As for Delegate Marshall, it is clear that he entered the race far too late.  If you will recall, he didn’t make an official announcement of his candidacy until late January or early February of 2012.  By comparison, by that point, the Radtke campaign had already been in full swing for more than a year.   Although I cannot comment on the rest of the state, the fact that Marshall spent very little time or effort campaigning in the Shenandoah Valley made his poor showing here a virtual inevitability.

Moving on to the 6th district House of Representatives race, incumbent Bob Goodlatte turned back a conservative/libertarian challenge from retired Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski.  With 100% of the vote counted, Goodlatte captured 66.49% of the vote as compared to Kwiatkowski’s 33.5%.

With her campaign headquarters based in Harrisonburg, Kwiatkowski won my hometown with 50.57% of the vote.  She also did quite well in Rockingham County, losing by 240 votes and in Page County where Goodlatte won with 13 votes.  However, Goodlatte finished very strong in most of the higher population centers, winning Roanoke County with 76.95%, Lynchburg City with 75.65%, and Roanoke City with 70.93%.

The burning question here is what will happen in 2014?  First, what will Bob Goodlatte do?  After all, Tuesday marked his first Republican primary challenger in twenty years.  Will he move in a more conservative direction, repudiating his earlier efforts to expand the size and scope of government through SOPA/CISPA, federal prohibitions curtailing online gambling, and liberty-weakening measures like the Patriot Act?  And, if he does not, will Kwiatkowski, as she hinted earlier, challenge him again?  Or will a new challenger emerge?

Here are my predictions for November.  Given past trends, the race for the House was more or less decided last week.  The 6th district is far too conservative and Bob Goodlatte has a massive campaign war chest, so he should roll over his colorful Democratic challenger, Andy Schmookler.  However, polls have shown the Senate race to be a tight affair.  Although the outcome of the presidential contest will certainly influence all down ticket races, at this point, I believe Tim Kaine will be our next Senator.  George Allen still has a number of fences to mend on the right and conservatives do not share the great fear for Kaine as they do for Obama. As for the Obama vs. Romney fight, I think the race is too close to call.  Virginia is a toss-up between the two.  However, I cannot envision a path to victory for Romney that does not involve him capturing the Commonwealth.  Obama, on the other hand, doesn’t require a Virginia victory to gain four more years.  For that reason and several others, I would give a slight edge to Obama…at least at this point.

Let me end by thanking all of the candidates who ran, the activists who volunteered, and the citizens who voted on Tuesday.  As we saw, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the most conservative candidates don’t always win.  However, if we remain true to our principles and remain organized and active, we will prevail in the long run.  We must continue to fight because it is good for our party, good for Virginia, good for our nation, good for our children, and good for their children.  The sake of the present and the future demands no less of us.

The primaries are over.  Onward to victory!

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A view from the Cross Keys precinct

In about two and a half hours, polls across the Commonwealth of Virginia will be closed.  At that time, we shall discover the 2012 Republican nominee for Senate as well as the various Republican and Democratic nominees for the eleven House of Representatives districts.

During the late morning and afternoon hours, I visited eleven precincts in the city of Harrisonburg and southern Rockingham County.  My purpose in doing so was to gauge campaign supply levels for the Kwiatkowski and Radtke campaigns and measure the level of turnout.  While doing so, I discovered a couple of surprising facts.

First, I noticed that the race for House of Representatives in the 6th district seems to have drawn considerable more interest and enthusiasm than the Senate race.  All eleven precincts had a pretty high number of Kwiatkowski and Goodlatte signs.  In addition, about half of the precincts had volunteers who were handing out materials specifically on behalf of one of these two candidates.

By comparison, there were far fewer Senate signs.  Jamie Radtke and George Allen had about the same number of yard signs at the polls, Bob Marshall had but a handful, and I have not seen yet seen my first E.W. Jackson sign today.  When considering campaign workers, Bob Marshall had a dedicated volunteer handing out materials at one of the precincts in the city, but, surprisingly, I have not found any volunteers specifically working for George Allen, Jamie Radtke, or E. W. Jackson in my travels.

Second, turnout seems to be higher than I expected.  I assumed that we would see about a 5-6% turnout rate on average at the end of the day, which was the result for the March 6th Republican presidential primary.  In addition, it was fairly hot and humid with periods of heavy rain on and off during the day, which would decrease participation.  However, many precincts have already exceeded their March total.  For example, the tiny precinct of Cross Keys, although only reporting 51 votes as of 3:24 PM, had a turnout rate of 8.9% thus far.  An hour and a half prior, Montezuma, another precinct in Rockingham County, reported 7.2%.

So what does this information reflect?  Why are the Senate candidates underrepresented at the polls?  And do these Harrisonburg and Rockingham numbers reflect a general trend that voters taking a greater interest in the outcome of these races?  Does the increased turnout favor the incumbents with their higher level of voter ID?  Or have voters come out today to roundly reject what some perceive as establishment Republicans?  Without exit polling it is difficult to answer any of these questions right now.  However, keep an eye on the totals; either way, it should be interesting.

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Picture from thehollywoodgossip.com

Last week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky announced on the Sean Hannity show that he was endorsing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for president in the 2012 Republican nomination.  The typical response from a number of my Facebook friends was quite hostile.  As the argument went, how could Rand Paul endorse a liberal like Mitt Romney when the champion of liberty and Senator Paul’s father Ron Paul is still in the race?

I would wager that quite a few people who are upset with Rand are fairly new to the political game and therefore don’t understand how the endorsement game works.

For example, closer to home, State Senator Mark Obenshain (VA-26) recently sent out an email encouraging citizens to vote for Representative Bob Goodlatte and George Allen in the Virginia Republican primary on Tuesday.  Now, as you may recall, I have endorsed both Karen Kwiatkowski and Jamie Radtke; obviously I do not agree with Obenshain on this matter.  But, when it comes to his votes in the General Assembly, I maintain that Senator Obenshain is one of the best members of that body.  Should this one simple issue of endorsement outweigh a multitude of good votes and legislation?  Conversely, if a poor candidate or politician endorses a liberty-minded candidate, should that announcement erase a long slate of bad positions?

As I wrote many years ago, Virginians for Life sent out an email about then State Senator Ken Cuccinelli back in 2008.  They compared him unfavorably to the biblical Judas due to his endorsement of Representative Frank Wolf.  I would not have endorsed Wolf as he and I disagree over the underlying philosophy of proper governance.  However, if we all reacted by condemning Cuccinelli over this rather trivial matter, what would be the end result?  Would we still have a spirited attorney general that is willing to fight against Obamacare and other overreaches of the federal government?

Be it for better or worse, endorsements are one way elected officials pay back favors and reward loyalty.  After all, here in the 6th district, both Bob Goodlatte and George Allen have helped a number of our current politicians gain their office and thus many of those folks feel that they need to repay that debt now.  Moving back to the national level, the theory goes that it is the duty of every good Republican politician (who wishes to remain relevant to the party) to offer some measure of support for the party’s presidential candidate.

But let’s return to the first question.  How can Rand Paul endorse Mitt Romney while Ron Paul is still in the race?  The response is quite simple, but not an answer that most Ron Paul supporters will either accept or want to hear.  I hate to say it, but short of a major miracle or divine intervention, Mitt Romney is and will be the Republican nominee for President.

Although it is true, as repeatedly pointed out these last few days, Rand Paul is not Ron Paul, the simple fact remains that Senator Paul is one of the few liberty-minded legislators in the United States Senate.  In one fairly recent example, while most Senators were either apathetic, or downright hostile in the case of Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Graham (R-SC), about defending our civil liberties during the debate regarding the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial, Senator Paul remained firm in his efforts to try to derail this effort.

Regardless of this minor endorsement issue in the grand scheme of things, as long as Rand Paul continues to embrace the key principles of liberty and the Constitution, I am proud to support and defend the Senator from Kentucky.  And yes, if you are wondering, these thoughts do come from a former Ron Paul staffer who actively volunteered for his former boss in this election cycle.  I just hope that the rest of my like-minded brethren will realize that Rand Paul is a great senator and, endorsement or not, we need to support and elect more men and women like him.

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On June 12th, Valley voters will have the opportunity to participate in something unusual, an event we haven’t seen in twenty years.  Next month, there will be a Republican primary where voters will be able to choose between our current representative, Bob Goodlatte, and his challenger, Karen Kwiatkowski.

As we approach this primary, one important question we must ask ourselves, is Bob Goodlatte still the leader we need in Washington?  After all, we live in an age where the power of the federal government grows more or less unchecked, the debt spirals out of control, and the prices of many of the goods we need to survive continue to inflate.   All the while, so many of our legislators seek more power and become less responsive to the desires of our communities and less concerned with the limitations of the Constitution.

Although we hear a lot of good rhetoric about our representative, the simple fact is that Bob Goodlatte has adopted many troubling positions over the years.  He’s marched us toward a police state by supporting the Patriot Act, both at its inception and ever since, which has given the government the power to spy upon the citizens without warrants through roving wiretaps, reading our emails, and placing tracking devices on our vehicles, all done without our consent.  He supports heavy-handed censorship and control of internet, the supposed last bastion of freedom, through SOPA and CISPA.  And what about those horror stories of the elderly and young children molested at our airports by federal TSA agents?  Regrettably, Bob Goodlatte continues to vote for legislation which worsens this mess, legislation which erodes our constitutional protections supposedly guaranteed by the First and Fourth amendments.

Despite protests from his constituents, he has repeatedly voted to raise the federal debt ceiling, thus unfairly burdening not only our generation, but also mortgaging the future of our children and our grandchildren with a debt that they have had no hand in creating.  To survive as a solvent nation, spending must be drastically curtailed and it must be done now.

When running for re-election in 2010, Bob Goodlatte refused to debate his opponents.  Rather than promoting his principles and working to enhance political dialogue, which should be a goal of any good public servant, he instead chose to stifle discussion.  Unfortunately, two years later, he continues to rebuff any attempt to engage in meaningful debate with Karen Kwiatkowski.

Growing up in the Shenandoah Valley, I learned a healthy skepticism of government, especially the federal government.  After all, who knows more about the problems of the local communities and how to correct them than the ordinary men and women from those very areas?  However, when government action is needed, should you put more trust in local and state legislators who live in our neighborhoods or should we rely on a legion of bureaucrats who have never set foot in Elkton, Briery Branch, or Broadway?

Unlike previous elections, this year we will have a primary.  So whom should we send across the Potomac?  Should we vote for Bob Goodlatte again in the hope that he will become the liberty-minded champion we need?  Or should we look elsewhere?  My choice for representative is Karen Kwiatkowski, a former Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force who now works as a cattle farmer in Shenandoah County.  She shares my conservative values and the values of many of my friends and family here in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  She promises to help restore our lost constitutional liberties, make desperately needed cuts in federal spending, and has proved willing and able to discuss the important political debates of the day.

Although Bob Goodlatte certainly has done some good during his decades in Washington, for which I thank him, isn’t it obvious that it’s time for someone new?  I have no doubt that Karen Kwiatkowski will be an excellent leader and will work tirelessly to promote our principles.  All citizens of the Shenandoah Valley should vote for Karen Kwiatkowski in the Republican primary on June 12th!

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Yesterday, former Virginia Governor and current Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen spoke on the grounds of the courthouse in downtown Harrisonburg.  It was one of several speaking engagements he had planned in the Shenandoah Valley that day.

All in all, approximately thirty-five people attended the event.  A little over half of this number were elected officials, press, and political staffers including: Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Delegate Tony Wilt (R-26), Delegate Ben Cline (R-24), Rockingham County Commonwealth Attorney Marsha Garst, Board of Supervisors member Pablo Cuevas, Commissioner of the Revenue Lowell Barb, Treasurer L. Todd Garber, Clerk of Court Chaz Evans-Haywood, Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson, and City Council member Ted Byrd.

Besides Mr. Allen, the handful of speakers implored the crowd to select George Allen as the Republican nominee for Senate.  However, they also reminded the audience to support Representative Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nomination as he seeks his eleventh term.

After the ceremony at the court house, George Allen and Bill Bolling, along with a couple of staff members, went over to Jess’ Quick Lunch to enjoy a couple of hot dogs.  Since my earliest days in politics in the mid 90s, both the courthouse and Jess’ have served as traditional political landmarks in Harrisonburg.

As Mr. Allen was leaving the restaurant, I finally saw the opportunity to ask him the question that I had been posing to his campaign staff for the last several months.  One of his staffers tried to hurry him away, but I was able to ask my question anyway regarding his position on the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act.  Although he seemed to be pretty annoyed by my inquiry, George Allen stated that he opposed detaining American citizens without legal recourse and supported Senator Paul’s efforts to curb this abuse.  Although he indicated that he has made his position clear on this matter, if that was the case, why wasn’t I able to find it on his website and why did his staff not answer my repeated inquires?  Nevertheless, if he wins both the GOP nomination in June and the general election in November, I do hope he stands by this position.

One last issue I’d like to discuss is the relatively poor turnout at yesterday’s event.  After all, there were far more George Allen signs there than people.  Although it is easy to make the claim that George Allen’s candidacy hasn’t really fired up the base of conservative voters, I believe that the problem runs far deeper still.  After all, Mitt Romney has not yet captured the hearts and minds of the Republican base.  Nor have George Allen or Bob Goodlatte electrified voters will bold new proposals to finally solve our debt crisis and get the federal government under control.  Rather than offering exciting candidates that inspire on their own merits, instead the establishment drives us through terror, terror of what may happen with four more years of an Obama presidency.  I believe that it is exceedingly difficult to win an election based upon mere fear alone.  That is one strong reason why I am not supporting either Allen or Goodlatte for the GOP nomination.  After all, what demographic will they bring to the polls in droves that the other lukewarm candidates will not?  Will we see the social conservatives?  What about the fiscal conservatives?  Or maybe the liberty-minded?

I don’t want to see either Barack Obama or Tim Kaine in office in 2013, but if we nominate a bunch of weak-kneed Republican politicians, then don’t be surprised if 2012 morphs into the year of the donkey.

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Although I’ve likely been to more tea party meetings that most people who read this article, all of these meetings have taken place within the Shenandoah Valley.  Last week, however, I had the opportunity to meet with two groups outside the region.

The Montross Tea Party

The first gathering took place in the town of Montross, Virginia on May 15th.  For those unfamiliar with Virginia geography, Montross is in the Northern Neck, the northern most peninsula of the state.  As you might imagine, it is a pretty rural area.  This tea party mainly draws from the citizens of Westmoreland County, a county comprised of 17,454 people as of the 2010 census.  Despite this relatively small population base, the tea party still boasted a turnout of 25 people.

The Mechanicsville Tea Party

The second meeting was the Mechanicsville Tea Party on May 17th.  49 people attended this assembly.  Mechanicsville, for those who don’t know, is an unincorporated community of 34,648 folks in Hanover County, a few miles north of the city of Richmond.  Apparently, there are a whole host of tea party organizations in and around the city of Richmond including several in Hanover County itself.

Parke West of We rVirginia

The featured speaker at these two events was Parke West of We rVirginia.  We rVirginia is a relatively new group; their purpose is to educate, activate, and inspire conservatives throughout the Commonwealth in order to elect likeminded legislators in the 2012 election cycle.  Part of their technology includes the rVotes system, a database and program similar to the Republican Party’s Voter Vault.

One common thread I noticed between the two tea parties was the high level of support for Jamie Radtke for Senate.  Although Jamie Radtke won the most recent straw poll in the Harrisonburg and Staunton Tea Parties, apparently, she has an even stronger following in other regions of the state.  For example, approximately one out of every three of members of both the Montross and Mechanicsville Tea Party meetings self-identified as an active volunteer with the Radtke campaign. How will the efforts of this multitude of volunteers impact the June 12th Republican Senate primary?

Another interesting tidbit to note was the complete lack of Cantor materials at the Mechanicsville Tea Party.  Although I would argue that Karen Kwiatkowski is the tea party favorite in the June 12th Republican primary for the 6th district, Representative Bob Goodlatte still makes an attempt to reach out to the Shenandoah Valley Tea Parties.  However, at the Mechanicsville meeting, there were neither Cantor campaign signs nor his literature.  By contrast, I could easily find brochures for his opponent, Floyd Bayne.  I have to wonder, is this situation an anomaly?  Do many of the grassroots organization in the 7th congressional district oppose majority leader Eric Cantor?  Or has his campaign simply chosen to ignore tea party groups like Mechanicsville?

Although it is easy to assume that all tea party groups are the same given that each presumably adhere to the Constitution and the ideals of limited government, it is also true each are comprised of a variety members who each hold a multitude of beliefs, have differing levels of political experience, and view the world through their own personal lenses.  I look forward to learning about other tea party organizations as we strive to promote our shared principles in 2012 and beyond.

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This most recent Saturday, delegates from throughout the 6th congressional district in Virginia gathered at the Rockbridge County High School in Lexington for a GOP convention.  The purpose of this regional convention was to elect delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, select three new members of the State Central Committee (the governing board of the Republican Party of Virginia), pick regional vice chairmen for the district, elect a person to cast the region’s electoral vote in November should the GOP win, and install a chairman of the 6th district Republican Party.

The event kicked off shortly after 10 AM and ran until about 3 PM or so.  Needless to say, it was a long day.  A seemingly never-ending supply of speeches dominated a majority of the time.  Not only did each of the candidates that were to be voted upon at the convention have a chance to speak, but  so did the 2012 House and Senate primary candidates, the 2013 statewide candidates, and the national committeeman and national committeewoman.  Personally, I would have cut out the 2013 candidates and the national committee people, not because they aren’t important, but just for the simple fact that there were more pressing matters and the convention ran long enough without them.

Certainly the most interesting element to the whole affair had to be the outcome of the voting.  Surprisingly (or perhaps not), a lot of new, liberty-minded candidates emerged victorious over the old guard.  Hinting at this trend, prior to voting, some activists passed out cards with either the Ron Paul logo or the Gadsden Flag encouraging delegates to vote for a slate of candidates.  Can you guess what happened?  Every single one of these listed candidates won.  Some notable losses were: Wendell Walker, the 6th district chairman, who did not claim a spot as a national delegate.  Neither did Suzanne Curran, a long-time activist after whom the RPV names one of their annual events.  And Trixie Averill, a former chairwoman of the 6th district, lost her bid to return to the state central committee.

Although I haven’t seen any news outlets reporting it, the Ron Paul delegation did exceeding well.  Yes, each of the three 6th district national delegates are bound to vote for Mitt Romney on the first ballot at the national convention due to the fact that Romney won the district in the March 6th primary.  However, Ron Paul will sweep the district should the national convention go to a second ballot given the stated principles of the winning delegates.

If the audience reaction was any indication, Karen Kwiatkowski seemed to enjoy a greater level of support from the attendees than the incumbent, Representative Bob Goodlatte.  In an unexpected move, Mike McHugh, a candidate for the regional vice chair position in the northern part of the district, removed his outer clothing at the end of his time on stage revealing a bright red shirt proclaiming his desire to “fire Bob” Goodlatte.

Given the apparent inability of the establishment to succeed at the convention, I was a bit surprised that no one challenged Mr. Walker for the position of district chairman.  Yes, his name appeared on the card above, but was it listed there only because he faced no opposition?  After all, although listed for chairman, he was not listed as a delegate.  I do have to wonder that if he did face an opponent with the same principles of many of the other winning candidates at the convention, would he too have been replaced?

Nevertheless, Republicans who wish to push the party back toward the principles of a limited, constitutional government ought to be generally pleased with Saturday’s outcome.  Are Valley conservatives once again “Republican for a reason”?  However, a huge question that still needs to be answered is can they translate this success into nominating and electing conservatives candidates who share these values?  It is difficult to say for certain, but the Republican primary on June 12th will be the next great test.

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Well ladies and gentlemen, the time for the 2012 Tax Day Rally has come and gone.

On April 14th, the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party held their annual event in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.  The event boasted an impressive list of speakers including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.  Even if you missed the gathering, you can still either read about it on examiner.com or watch a slideshow video on youtube.

Enjoy and make certain to attend in 2013!

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