Virginia politics, policy and entertainment from the Greater Richmond-Washington Metro Area perspective.

Fauquier County GOP “Chairman” Attempts To Astroturf Appeal of His Election to RPV

After losing an appeal to the First Congressional District Republican Committee which ruled that the party canvass held to select the Fauquier County GOP Chairman was “not conducted in accordance with the Republican Party of Virginia Plan of Organization” because the victorious party had knowingly enlisted Democrats and other non-Republicans who had no intention of otherwise supporting the party or its candidates to come out and vote for him in the party election and run for seats on the committee, Scott Russell is now attempting to astroturf the State Central Committee’s meeting this weekend:

Friends,

The State Central Committee will take up or appeal this Saturday, August 16th at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will take place at the Hilton Hotel at Short Pump, 12042 West Broad St., Richmond. To make sure that we are victorious on Saturday, I need you to do the following:

1. I know it is a lot to ask, but if you can come to the meeting and show support for our cause, it will help our efforts immensely. If you can come, please let me know and we can arrange a ride for you.
2. E-mail and call Republican Party of Virginia chairman Pat Mullins and voice your support for our cause! He can be e-mailed at pmullins–@—.— and phoned at 804-780—– [email and phone redacted by VV] . all e-mails should state that:

1. The Fauquier Canvass was held according to the rules outlined the the State Party Plan;
2. Both sides agreed to the canvass call, rules, and procedures before the canvass happened;
3. The total number of identified Democrats was so small that, even if they were removed, the election results would not have changed.
4. The RPV should uphold the original canvass;
5. The RPV cannot punish the individuals who won their races according to the established procedures and rules after the fact;
6. The RPV should reinstate the results of the March 22nd Canvass so the FCRC can focus on re-electing Congressman Wittman and Hurt, and electing Ed Gillespie to the U.S. Senate.

Please remain positive in all correspondence, any negativity will be to our detriment. I know it is a hassle but please send me your e-mails before they go off, so I can take a final look.

Thank you for all of your support.

Onward to victory!

Scott Russell

That is but the latest in his astroturf campaign. Witness the email sent out by the Fifth Congressional District GOP Chairman who conveniently disregards the findings of the First Congressional District Committee that adjudicated the matter and echos many of Russell’s talking points:

 

To: Pat Mullins, Chairman RPV and Fellow Members of the State Central Committee

From: Jon Berkley, Chairman Fifth District Republican Committee

Re: First District’s Ruling on Fauquier Co. Party Canvass

As Chairman of the Fifth District, I would like to share my sentiments regarding an appeal on which this Committee will rule. The Committee’s ruling will either strengthen our party, or it will further cripple our party and diminish support for our candidates.

I will not review all the history leading up to this appeal here, but I will share my humble analysis: One party lost a race, and now they are attempting to recoup this loss by undermining the Party Plan, through brazen might. Unfortunately, the protesting party was successful with the First District Committee. It is my hope that this Committee will observe the constitution of our party and reverse the First District’s June 28 ruling to overturn the FCRC Party Canvass.

The First District’s ruling has disenfranchised the 1,206 voters who participated in the FCRC Canvass. A committee of 16 (16-8) silenced the voices of 1,206. The foundation of this protest and the District’s ruling rests on the belief that too many democrats participated in this Canvass. I find this to be an absurd argument for two reasons: (i) a plain reading of Article I of the Party Plan defines who may participate in party activities, (ii) Virginia does not register by party affiliation, (again see Article I). How do you prove the claim?

For those of you unaware, Fauquier is the northern-most county in the Fifth District, having a total of 21 precincts, 17 of which are in the Fifth District, the remaining 4 being part of the First District. Fauquier County republicans are effective grassroots activists, who deliver strong returns for our republican candidates. In 2012, Fauquier delivered Congressman Hurt and Governor Romney over 58% of the vote; in 2013 our gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli enjoyed almost 60%. The Fauquier County Republican Committee is capable of delivering overwhelming victories for our republican candidates; they are a well-organized committee that is committed to and successful in getting republicans elected, yet today they are stifled by individuals unsatisfied with the results of a fair and legal election. You can understand why I am upset that a strong unit in my district is not able to contribute to this cycle’s efforts because another district committee has effectively tied their hands.

Folks, the only reason the Republican Party of Virginia, the Fifth District Republican Committee, or the FCRC exists is to elect republicans. November 4 is less than 90 days away, we need to focus on getting Ed Gillespie elected to the U.S. Senate and our respective congressional candidates elected to the House, nothing else. Let me be clear, I find the First District’s ruling to be not only erroneous, but also dangerous for our party. If this is allowed to stand, a precedent will be set, which basically says sour grapes overrule the Party Plan. Please uphold the Party Plan, and allow the FCRC to get back to winning elections.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter; I look forward to seeing you in Richmond.

Jon Berkley
Chairman, Fifth District Republican Committee

Is it any wonder that he “will not review all the history leading up to this appeal here, but I will share my humble analysis” — more like feeble and contrived analysis that was spoon fed to him.

Let me be clear on a few things, Mr. Berkley.

First of all, it is “Republicans,” not “republicans” that the FCRC exists to elect — one denotes members of a political party as designated by the capital letter while the other represents those who ascribe to the republican form of government — you made that stunning error multiple times and did so with the word “Democrats” as well.

Second, anyone not suspicious of 1,206 voters coming out solely to vote for a county party chairman in a county the size of Fauquier is naive to the point where they should never again be entrusted with governing powers within the Republican Party.

Third, despite not registering by party in Virginia, there are ways to tell who is a Democrat — records of who has voted in primaries, people who have run for office under a party banner, those who have joined a party, public records of political donations, etc. It is quite easy for anyone to ascertain this using just a little intelligence and common sense. Those who cannot are either a dullard or a hack who doesn’t want to know the truth.

Finally, on a point with which I do agree with you, we should be focused on the November elections. So why has Mr. Russell shut down the local party meetings pending the outcome of this appeal? Then again, that is exactly what many of Mr. Russell’s supporters, who are not supporters of the Republican Party or its candidates, would like to see happen in such a strongly Republican county.

It is quite clear that there were shenaningans in the Fauquier County GOP chairman election. The First District GOP Committee, after its review, found this to be the case. RPV’s State Central Committee should uphold that finding this weekend.

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8 Responses to “Fauquier County GOP “Chairman” Attempts To Astroturf Appeal of His Election to RPV”

  1. No IRS Audit

    Riley,

    I think you have several key facts wrong.

    First, Astroturfing is the practice of creating false support for a cause. It doesn’t look like that is the case here, the guy just is calling his supporters to action.

    Second, Russell is not the chairman of the Fauquier GOP, according to the RPV it is Huntley Thorpe, the chairman before the canvass was overturned.

    Finally, Russell has no authority to cancel meetings, only Thorpe does.

    Should we wait for corrections and apologies? I am guessing not…

    • Riley

      Did you not notice that I wrote “Chairman” as I did in quotes?

      And his supporters are not exactly grassroots Republicans, either, which is why astroturf was appropriate here.

  2. Fauquier Moral Majority

    Of course no apologies or corrections. Why let a little thing like facts get in the way. Jones and his supporters always behave this way. All Virginians should take note of the laughing stock that Fauquier has become due to their little group of fearmongering chicken littles. Let the appeal be upheld; it doesn’t matter. Jones will never muster the support to win. Better to send him packing twice, maybe the lesson will stick the second time. What a bunch of fools.

  3. Long Time Fauquier Observer

    Fear mongering Chicken Littles?

    Perhaps you or “No IRS” would like to address the question I asked on TBE about the emails that were sent out to recruit Democrats to come out and vote against Jones. I received several from various sources.

    “No IRS” did not seem to want to talk about that.

    I’m sure you will still be able to recruit plenty of Democrats who are willing to lie or do what ever is required to vote. At least this time they might be on record, and later on they can officially be excluded from future elections.

    Perhaps you could answer just one question honestly; What is it that you people hate about Jones? Why were you so determined to make sure he didn’t win that you had to recruit Democrats to defeat him?

    I will repeat the statement I made on TBE.

    As a life-long Republican, I am appalled at how low those in the Fauquier Committee will stoop to win a Party election. That is why I left the FCRC years ago.

  4. No@audit.com

    Riley –

    So, being from Prince William, you know all of his supporters in Fauquier? Then you would know that of the grassroots activists that staffed the County Fair Booth, about 90% were Russell supporters and only 10% were Jones supporters. your accusation does not compute.

    Also – if Russell is not “chairman” how does he have the authority to cancel meetings? I guess yo undecided not to answer that question…

    Long Time –

    I don’t think people should have sent emails out encouraging anyone but Republicans to vote. The reality is that there were only 3-4 emails and only about 50 or so Democrats voted. The 1st District has the voter rolls, don’t you think they would have overturned the election based on Democrat turnout if there were enough to affect the election? But they didn’t, they overturned it because there was no loyalty oath (which is not required by the Party Plan.

    Now will you answer my question? If only about 50 or so Democrats voted, and you can prove they all voted for Russell, why should an election where Jones lost by 206 votes be overturned?

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