Better Know a (State Senate) District: the 17th

17th State Senate District Lean

2014: Gillespie 53%/Warner 44%/Sarvis 3%

2013: Cuccinelli 49% / McAuliffe 44% / Sarvis 7%

2012: Romney 50% / Obama 49%

2012: Kaine 50%/Allen 49%

VV calculation: R+2; Tossup district with R lean in non-presidential years

The 2011 redistricting changed this district dramatically, from a 61% McDonnell district to one Obama had actually won in 2008. The inclusion of large parts of heavily Democrat Albemarle County made the difference; in his victorious 2011 campaign, Sen. Reeves only lost the City of Fredericksburg and Albemarle County. Those two alone were enough to make the race close.

Unit makeup

Spotsylvania County       37.36%

Orange County                 17.14%

Albemarle County           13.62%

Louisa County                    11.91%

Fredericksburg City         10.76%

Culpeper County              9.20%

The population center of this district is Spotsylvania County, with significant portions from five other localities.


Incumbent: Republican Whip Bryce Reeves (R) is running for re-election. He has raised over $425,000 per the last VPAP filing.

Rumored or declared Democrat candidates

Traci Dippert: Dippert is the Chair of the Culpeper County Democrat Committee and a local school teacher. She lost in a House of Delegates run against Del. Ed Scott (R), garnering only 35.5%. She has raised $7,300 for the Senate effort. Rumors are that the Dem Senate leadership is not impressed and is looking for a better candidate. Her campaign manager stated:  “This seat may very well be the hinge upon which the balance of power swings,” he said. “This is going to shape up as the race of 2015 and right now we are the only show in town. We expect national attention.” (

Dr. Chris Lillis: Lillis is a New York native who lives in Fredericksburg. According to his Facebook page, he is apparently a big fan of Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D).

Hap Connors: Connors is a former Chairman of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors who lost his seat in 2011. He is a lobbyist who is a former head of the South Carolina Democratic Party and Clinton appointee; his fundraising prowess and connections in the region run deep and he would be a formidable candidate. While not declared, scuttlebutt is that Gov. McAuliffe is heavily recruiting his longtime friend Connors to move to Fredericksburg and run for this seat. Last year, he appointed Connors to the Fredericksburg area seat on the Commonwealth Transportation Board, over a candidate favored by the elected officials from the area. Connors was a major supporter of McAuliffe in each of his gubernatorial runs.

Rumored or declared Republican candidates

No Republican challengers to Reeves have been rumored.

Reeves had this to say about the race: “We are planning a campaign kickoff for after Christmas.  We are poised to run for election again.  Since our last election, we have been working to secure our place, through a lot of hard work and great constituent services.

Our legislative record is one that I am proud of because we have tackled some hard issues and had some very positive results.  Everything from offshore drilling, to protecting women’s rights in sexual assault cases, to multiple veteran’s issues, to fostering job growth in the district, all while maintaining our conservative values. Values that matter to working families in the Commonwealth. 

I have been recognized by my peers and selected as a Majority Whip.  No small feat for a freshman senator. 

We will continue to press the hard issues to get results that will allow our constituency the opportunity to live, work, and play in the 17th district.

We have knocked 22k doors for ID already and have our campaign manager starting next week.”


While the lean of this district looks like a tossup or a bellweather, Reeves has maintained a high profile, raised money proficiently, and looks strong. In 2011, his early hard work laid the groundwork for a narrow defeat of Sen. Edd Houck (D), a rare red-district Dem in the Senate. The Democrat bench in the area has been decimated and is extremely thin (the writer of this analysis is proud to have had something to do with that!). So far, the announced Dem candidates read more like a laughingstock than a fearsome roster, though that would change if Hap Connors entered the race. Gov. McAuliffe has loads of cash ready to dump, so while Reeves looks to be very very strong, he cannot rest on his laurels at this point.

Rating: Safe Republican

Better Know a (State Senate) District: 29th

29th State Senate District

2013: Cuccinelli 39% / McAuliffe 57% / Sarvis 4%

2012: Romney 35% / Obama 63%

(source: VPAP)

VV calculation: D+9; Safe Dem

The 2011 redistricting really did a number on this district; where McDonnell carried the old district with 55% (it was basically a tossup district, a bellweather for the state), Mitt Romney managed only 35% here- in a year where he got 48% statewide. This district is now a safe D seat.

Unit makeup

Prince William: 74.7%

Manassas: 19.2%

Manassas Park: 6.1%

The population center of this district is now the Woodbridge area along Rt. 1, as well as the heavily-Hispanic Manassas area. The Woodbridge area is strong Democrat, the Manassas area swings.

Incumbent candidate

Chuck Colgan (D) is not running for re-election. He had $40,500 in his campaign account per the last VPAP filing.

Rumored or declared Democrat candidates

Jeremy McPike ( will contest for the Democrat nod, after nearly knocking off Republican Delegate Scott Lingamfelter.

Del. Michael Futrell (D-2nd): Giving up his Delegate seat to run for State Senate. He has $10.939 in his Delegate campaign account (

Atif Qarni: Reported to open a candidate account by VPAP with no money in it.

Rumored or declared Republican candidates

Ian Lovejoy: Reported to open a candidate account by VPAP with no money in it. Rumored to no longer be interested in running.

Hal Parrish: Longtime moderate fixture in PWC politics is rumored to give it a run.

Tom Gordy: 2011 Republican nominee in this district came closer to Colgan than anyone suspected, losing 55-45. Rumored to be interested in another run.


While historically a GOP-leaning district, the 2011 redistricting and Prince William’s ongoing realignment mean that this district should be in safe Democrat hands. It would take a combination of favorable environment, bad Democrat candidate, good Republican candidate, and lots of money to flip this seat. Rating: Safe Dem

Next up: the 17th.

It’s time to re-examine our laws to increase police accountability

I do not wish to re-litigate Ferguson here; there is a tremendous amount of political and racial tribalism that colors who people view that situation, and it really is open to interpretation.

The situation in New York, where a New York cop brutally choked Eric Garner for selling loose cigarettes, is another matter altogether.

For one, that incident was caught on camera. The officer who killed Garner? Not indicted. The guy and his wife who filmed the incident? Indicted. Garner? Dead. Choked.

If my friends on the right wonder why there is so much anger and suspicion on the part of the black community at the police, incidents like this are a big part.

One of the issues that came out about the Ferguson case is that the laws in Missouri are extremely favorable to police- meaning, it is extremely difficult to hold a cop accountable for misdeeds in a court of law. Apparently, the law in New York is similar.

Judge Andrew Napolitano also wonders if we are becoming a virtual police state, where any cop can get away with use of deadly force with impunity.

What is to be done? I would recommend liberty as the answer.

This issue runs deep for Americans; remember, the Boston Massacre was an issue of law enforcement overreach that was artfully used by patriots agitating against the British.

I am not against the police. I salute their service. It’s a tough job. But any reasonable person knows there are good and bad cops, just as there are good and bad people. We have all met overzealous or unfair cops, and wondered what can be done to hold those individuals to account.

Part of the issue is, we have too many damn laws. In New Jersey, it is still against the law to slurp soup! When a cop can stop a citizen for doing almost anything, it creates a bad situation for all involved. So laws have to be looked at to maximize individual liberty.

The other part of it is to make sure that cops can be held to account for their actions. They are humans, like everyone else; they need to be held to account like everyone else. No agent of the government should be able to act with impunity to punish the citizenry without recourse. It’s unconstitutional.

Cop cameras are a good step. But the laws need to allow for normal accountability.

In case of a death, a special prosecutor should be named (to prevent collusion by normal DAs who must work with cops), and no abnormal deference should be shown to police in the course of their duties. Bernard Kerik added that community policing prevents these kind of situations; police should return to being the constables of the peace they started out as, not an internal army.

Shooting or killing a citizen should not be the default; it should be extraordinary.

Now, tell me if those things were followed, people would not feel a lot more faith in the system than they currently do. And that is ultimately the goal here- better safety for everyone.

No, Jeb Bush is NOT a conservative.

Much talk lately about “whither Jeb Bush” for President in 2016- but more specifically, if he is a conservative.

Liberals in the Republican Party here in Virginia are big fans. They cite Bill Bolling as another local Republican who is “misunderstood”.

There are several problems here.

The biggest one is, it really is a different time period than the last time Jeb faced the voters. In 1998, when Bush was first elected governor of Florida, Bill Clinton was being impeached by Congress. In 2002, the last election he competed in, we were in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the effects of NCLB were not yet known. His brother had just been elected President, and passed a big tax cut to boot.

Not so in 2014.

In 2014, we’ve had six years of a far leftist President Obama, who has given us a HUGE tax hike, Obamacare, an unprecedented expansion of Federal government power and size, and more new job-killing (and freedom-restricting) regulations than anyone really thought possible.

The priority at this point, as the Republic passes the $18 trillion mark in Federal debt, is on not just slowing the growth of government- but actively and quickly rolling it back.

That means rolling back Obamacare. Rolling back spending of all kinds. Rolling back innumerable regulations. Appointing judges who will respect a less active role for the leviathan central government in the Capitol.

So ask yourself: why would you nominate a person whose only policy calling card in the last 10 years is the expansion of Federal control in education, something which even liberals agree is best governed on a local level?

Common Core is a HUGE issue in 2014. Not only are states opting out and suing the Feds over it, but 2/3 of adults (likely the ones with school-age children) disapprove of Common Core and want it done away.

This is a big issue that favors a small government approach and is very popular among parents of all political persuasions.

But wait, there’s more.

Another big issue being raised on both sides of the aisle is cronyism- crony capitalism on the right, crony government on the left.

The main proponents of Common Core? The Chamber of Commerce and Public School Administrators. FAIL.

Why would we nominate someone on the wrong side of the biggest single issue of our time facing families? An issue that so clearly demonstrates why small government approaches are better than centralized ones?

Then there is immigration…. where Bush is at odds with 80% of his party’s faithful, and at odds with 60% of the country as a whole.

Times change. It was great that Bush cut taxes while Florida Governor. But in the decade since, he made his bones on the wrong side of a very important size-of-government issue.

There are too many other talented, good options this time around. This isn’t England; time to let the Bush dynasty go.

Announcing the VV 2015 State Senate Race Preview Series

Next year, the close State Senate races will be the ones to watch, as the GOP tries to defend their slim one-vote majority against the marauding money of Gov. McAuliffe and the Democrats. Which races will be close? Which will be noncompetitive? Where will we see hot nominating contests? Will any incumbents fall?

If you are planning to run for a State Senate seat in 2015 and would like your candidacy or comments to be included in the writeup of your race, please contact VV here. We will begin the series next week, with the 29th State Senate District race.

A Conservitarian postmortem of the Virginia race that is not yet ended

The ink is not yet dry on this year’s elections, with a possible recount in VA and a runoff in Louisiana and several races undeclared across the country.

But that does not stop the postmortems from coming out. The curious case of Virginia is the topic of many already this year.

Ed Gillespie, left for dead with double-digit deficits in polling before the election, nearly pulled off the upset against incumbent Sen. Warner.

This sets off several questions worthy of consideration.

1. How?

This is a question with several answers.

-Warner ran a lackluster campaign. He took Gillespie lightly, not really laying a glove on him for all of the liberal kvetching over Gillespie’s Enron connections and other past resume fodder. The polls showed a strong win, so why chance raising Gillespie’s name ID the way Cantor did to Brat? Normally Warner’s strong approval rating would carry him.

-The Wave. Look at results across the country. Republicans typically polled between 3 and 9 points behind where they finished on Election Day. Even where there were bad Republican candidates (NC and Kansas were two examples), Republicans took all the late deciders as the nation delivered a message to President Obama. Even Thom Tillis, one of the worst Republican candidates of this or any cycle, overperformed to win despite being outspent 3-1. A Republican won in Maryland for governor for God’s sake! The Wave was massive and washed away and Dem in its path. Gillespie clearly benefitted from that.

-Establishment strategy. In most cycles, you actually have to tell people what you would do with the power you seek. Not this time. The Establishment strategy of keeping your head down and telling people what percentage of the time your opponent supported President Obama was effective this time because this electorate is reviled by Obama and his policies and incompetence. Gillespie ran low on substance (which is a problem when you need to govern or seek re-election), but this time it kept the focus off him and on Warner. I don’t think this strategy works in most cycles (see Cuccinelli, Ken; Allen, George; Thompson, Tommy; etc). But this time, it provided the Democrats fewer targets to hit, while allowing the natural anti-Obama environment to fill the room.

-The hard work of Republican activists all over Virginia, some of whom did not like Gillespie as the nominee but remained good Republicans and supported him anyway.

-The late bribery charges against Warner, which while they did not stick, did catch traction because of the corruption conviction of former Gov. Bob McDonnell. Virginians are tired of corruption among their political class and that weariness showed.

Overall, while lackluster, Gillespie ran a mistake-free campaign.

2. What happened on Election Day?

This is a tricky question.

Gillespie performed as a Republican needs to in most places. There was no special overperformance in Southwest Virginia; strength in Central Virginia. He won Loudoun, which McCain and Romney could not. He did not perform well in Fairfax, with only 40%; nor in Arlington or Alexandria (under 30% in each). Ideally you’d like to see a Republican with closer to 45% in Fairfax and 34% in the People’s Republic. Losing Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park is crushing; a Republican cannot win statewide without them. Even McCain took Manassas and MP.

The Richmond area was also a big problem. Gillespie lost Henrico by 12. Henrico used to be the center of the Marcus-Allen Republican machine; regardless of the rise of Democrat Eastern Henrico, a Republican MUST win Henrico to win statewide. Performance in Hanover is also not what you would ideally like it to be; Chesterfield was right on target however.

Hampton Roads was mildly disappointing. Chesapeake was a close win; Virginia Beach was strong but needed to be stronger, granted weakness in Henrico and elsewhere. Norfolk was disappointing. It would appear that African-American voters heard the President’s pleas to come out and save Warner’s backside.

Nelson and Caroline counties are usually good indicators of how the state goes; if they go Republican, the Republican usually wins. They went for Warner this time.

Libertarian Robert Sarvis scored 50,000 votes and 3%. Some have cursed his voters, but history has shown with Sarvis that his voters are very rarely Republican; most likely they would have stayed home. Issues like the Patriot Act, Drug War and others would have put them crossways with both Warner and Gillespie. Ultimately, a candidate’s votes are earned. If you didn’t earn them, they don’t belong to you anyway.

3. What does it all mean?

Ahh, a very tricky question.

For Warner, it means the end of his presidential aspirations. If the investigation for corruption yields an indictment, he is done- and may have to resign. His aura of invincibility is shattered. This may hurt Tim Kaine as well, who is well known for being Warner’s lap dog.

For Gillespie, tough to say. A close loss is still a loss, just ask George Allen, who lost by a closer margin than Gillespie did in 2006 and never recovered, losing again in 2012. A Republican who cannot pull it out during a cycle like this one or 2010, probably never will. It is not very frequent that you get a situation where the wind is THIS much at the Republican’s back; most cycles, a Republican will need to run a stronger campaign to win in Virginia- take more positions, raise more money.

This is not to say others could have done better, necessarily. What ifs are common in close losses but rarely useful. Write-ins were no more a factor in this election than any other (ie, their numbers were comparable to past elections). Warner is still the most popular politician in Virginia, and that is no small thing.

Some in the Washington Times and different bloggers here in VA have been floating Gillespie already for Governor for 2017- something that was rumored to be his goal all along.

History has not been kind to retreads in Virginia however. George Allen lost in 2006 by less than Gillespie did; that loss was still the end of his political career. Virginia moved on without him. Jim Gilmore last won in 1997, his 2008 loss to Warner was a blowout. Bob Marshall barely lost to Jim Gilmore in the 2008 convention and has never been close in any Federal office run since. And you always run the risk of being labelled the “perennial candidate”. Fundamentally, there is never the guarantee the dynamics behind one election will be there for any others.

We in Virginia are hard on newcomers; we tend to embrace the comfortable known rather than give a new guy (or gal) a chance. The Virginia Republican bench is deep and getting deeper. 2017 and 2018 are a long way off, and the Virginia GOP is riding a 6-race statewide losing streak. We have had a number of close losses there; it’s time to open the field of ideas, stand for something (lower taxes?), and do as Margaret Thatcher advised:

“First you win the argument; THEN you win the election.”

Op/Ed: What the heck are Republicans doing to each other in VA?

Friday night, I received a disturbing email from Tom Gear. My first question was, “Who the hell is Tom Gear and why is he sending me spam?” He titled it “To the Woodshed”, because apparently he hopes to take various elements of the Republican Party that he doesn’t like for a good spanking.

The target of his ire on that day was the new 7th District Chairman, Fred Gruber, whose personal life is apparently open for scrutiny now.
Gear made various accusations about Gruber’s personal life. Now, I don’t know if they are true or not. Personally, I don’t care- it’s a party position, not an elective one, and nearly everyone has some sort of baggage if you’ve lived at all.

The thing that concerns me most is, why the heck is this in my inbox, why should I care, and why is Tom Gear perusing porn sites to make these tawdry claims against a man he’s never met? Does he hope to take Fred Gruber “to the woodshed” for a good spanking?

And this brings me to my larger point: The Republican Party in Virginia is in a world of trouble.

But it’s not trouble from bad leadership. It’s trouble from one faction who would rather destroy the party completely so that they could pick through the ruins, than share power with anyone else.

Now, if you’ve read my articles before, you know I see the party as a coalition of about 9 different factions, and without all of them we have no real chance of winning. So any attempt to “drive out” any faction is a self-defeating exercise.

What is the point of a party? It is a group of people of like goals and principles who come together to advance candidates and policies that they agree on. Persuant to this, there may be contested races for nominations from time to time. That is part of the process. But once there is a nominee- we are bound to support that nominee.

That, or don’t bother participating in the process!

Look around us now. We have supporters of a losing candidate in the 7th district evacuating all the money from that district rather than letting the winning Chairman have a say in its distribution. That is flat out being a sore loser- and is destructive to the party.

The people involved are smarter than this- they know the optics, they know that everyone sees it for what it is. Their lame attempts to justify this action only drew the attention of the Washington Post, who was all too happy to write about the self-immolation of the party.

We also have a shadowy un-transparent “” group launching ad hominem attacks against Republicans. Thankfully most of these end up in the spam box, where they belong.

We have supporters of other candidates in the 10th district withholding support for the GOP nominee there too. Why? Did you not participate in the process? Does that not bind you to the same party principles I outlined above?

The attempts at personal destruction of Fred Gruber are most disturbing. Personal attacks, people don’t forget- or forgive. Attempts to besmirch reputations, people don’t forget. That is the kind of thing that destroys a party.

I know there are a relatively few losing consultants and bad actors responsible for the turmoil we now see. I know who this bad behavior is coming from- and that they don’t care if they destroy the party, alienate our base, lose key elections like the 7th and the 10th and the Senate seat with this nonsense.

I have no doubt that this blog will cause these bad actors to target me with personal attacks too, so let me save you the trouble: I have worked as a consultant, I have been through a painful divorce, and I have been unhappy with this brewing civil war since 2012. But I also own a 17-5 record in races I have run, and have been calling for an end to these kind of dirty pool tactics against fellow Republicans for a LONG time.

So Tom Gear, I will ask you to cease your woodshed spankings. I will ask the 7th District Committee to respect the will of the activists in the 7th district and give its duly elected Chairman a fair shot. And I will ask the personal and vituperative attacks against party faithful and candidates to stop.

Everyone who participates in this garbage at this point is only weakening the party. Some of you are looking to do that. But for those who want something different, including candidates and party leaders, it’s time to police our own and take out the trash.

The problems with the 7th CD GOP Committee’s appropriation are not resolved

Anyone who looks at the state of the Virginia Republican Party right now has got to be in shock…. I know I am.

Sooooo…. why do political parties exist?

Political parties exist so that people of like goals and principles can join together to elect politicians who will advance those goals and principles.

An essential part of this process, is that we have contested nomination fights where people who share the party’s goals and principles choose a candidate to stand for them in an election.

Sometimes those fights are tough- as they should be.

But once we have a duly elected nominee, that’s it. The party gets behind that nominee. That’s the point of a party.

Shak Hill gave a thunderous speech to get behind the U.S. Senate nominee, Ed Gillespie, as “one team” to defeat Mark Warner. 

Eric Cantor publicly stated last week that he would vote for Dave Brat, even though his loss had to be personally painful. 

Classy, right?

What happened at the 7th CD committee this week is not that.

Nancy Russell, Chair of the Hanover Republican Committee, released a statement that claims that the $300,000 appropriated to the RNC and NRCC will be spent on Virginia candidates.

Wonderful if true, right?

Except, the vote was taken with no assurance or commitment whatsoever by those groups to do that. The question was asked at that meeting and the answer given was that no such commitment existed, according to multiple attendees at that meeting. 

Now, someone did ask, why not give it to RPV… so we could guarantee that the funds could be spent in Virginia to elect Virginia Republicans. 

According to Linwood Cobb, former Chair of the 7th District Committee, the money could not be appropriated to RPV because “RPV is so dysfunctional”. 

More dysfunctional than appropriating 4/5 of the Committee’s money against the wishes of its newly elected Chairman and the nominee they are supposed to elect?

Ultimately, this comes down to egos and hurt feelings and a lot of things that have no place in a political party. Can’t give it to RPV because some have a personal beef with RPV. Can’t let it stay with the committee because the Chair we didn’t vote for is the bogeyman, and because it was raised by the candidate we liked who was just defeated. 

Sour grapes, basically.

If the RNC and NRCC have made such a commitment to spend that money on Virginia, let them publicly say so. Then this decision would make a lot more sense.

Otherwise, this decision should be revisited- and the members of the committee (many of which are friends of mine) should remember what it means to be in a political party in the first place.

Where Card Went Wrong

I know Bill Card.

I have worked with Bill Card many times before as a unit chair. I know how dedicated he is, how tough of a job he has in Prince William.

But I know that, in his Op/Ed on Bearing Drift, he is dead wrong.

It wasn’t a very coherent piece, but if I may summarize:

The TEA Party isn’t welcome, if they are to be Republicans they must become more like other Republicans who were there before, and conservative candidates have no right to run against those ordained by establishment folks.

Well, that doesn’t sound like the Bill Card I know. But then, it didn’t sound like the Bill Card I know either when I heard he was disrespectfully leading boos of Shak Hill during the candidate’s speech at the Roanoke Convention.

He thinks the TEA Party and the conservatives must become more like the Establishment? He thinks they need to give way to Establishment candidates?

If that’s what he thinks, he could not be more wrong.

1. Without the TEA Party, without conservatives, Republicans stand no chance of winning.

Dick Morris once observed that the Democrats are a coalition of identity politic groups; single women + Blacks + Hispanics +white liberals + others. In contrast, Republicans are ideological; we take conservatives from any group. This is very relevant here. We have many factions that make up our coalition, and they are ideological ones.

Social conservatives. Libertarians. Foreign policy conservatives. Neocons. TEA Party. Chamber of Commerce. Moderates. Fiscal conservatives. There are others as well, but here is the major point:

Republicans cannot win without every single one of them.

Every oar in this boat must be rowing in the same direction for us to win. If any faction deserts, we lose.

So we cannot afford to go antagonizing any part of the coalition. Which is why Card’s juvenile actions at the Convention, and his “nah nah nah” Op/Ed, make no sense and are counterproductive.

You backed Gillespie, fine. But know that Ed has no chance, ZERO, without Shak Hill’s conservative supporters. None. Ed knows this- and so does Shak. That is why Shak magnanimously called for unity with Ed- because otherwise there is no chance of unseating Warner.

And what does Bill Card do? He goes out of his way to offend Shak and his supporters.

I saw no end of complaining by Eric Cantor’s supporters after the primary in the 7th that Brat’s supporters were rubbing it in. Dave’s supporters needed cooler heads to prevail- because without Eric’s supporters, Dave cannot win the general. And winning a nomination fight without winning the general is pointless.

Ed now needs cooler heads to prevail and to police classless behavior like Card’s. Every time someone says something like Card did, meant to offend and discount entire segments of the Republican coalition, it lessens the chance his own candidate will win the election.

Not smart, when anyone does it. If you can’t respect and value the other parts of the coalition at least to some degree, you do not deserve to be a leader in the party.

2. Conservative candidates do not need to kneel before anointed Establishment candidates.

First of all, this is a Republic where the people are sovereign. Not any person or party- the people.

We as a party of the people should not be anointing anyone. We are not Whigs. Anyone who makes the difficult decision to sacrifice and run for office, God bless them- they should be offered praise, not scorn.

But there is a bigger dynamic at work that Card, Ray Allen and others are clearly missing here:

People are angry!

They are angry at big government socialist Democrats.
They are angry at big government corporatist Republicans.

They think power is all that matters to both parties and they are disgusted with it, and with politics in general. That anger is manifested on the right by the populist TEA Party.

Mainly, they just want to be left alone. They are rightly concerned about government spending and debt. And they don’t want rhetoric- they want results, and have gotten none.

They should be mad!

People on the left are angry, people in the middle are angry, people on the right are angry- and too often, politicians are caught bring in politics for power’s sake and not to actually move the needle in a productive direction.

If you don’t understand that anger, you are likely to get swept up in it. The mood of the country is frustrated. If our party does not acknowledge this, and actually make meaningful efforts to address it beyond rhetoric, we will lose- but more importantly, we will deserve to lose.

Our future is in being defenders of liberty, defenders of freedom. If our party will not do this in a meaningful way, we will be consigned to the trash heap of history. And deservedly so.

Card’s efforts to dismiss and discount the anger Americans feel right now toward their government and toward politicians is dangerous coming from someone in a position of leadership. I have never known Bill Card to be someone who does not rise to the challenges of leadership. It is time for him to take a good look around him, take notice of the mood of the country- and lead accordingly.

Ultimately, we need the Bill Cards of the world on our side- and we need them to be leaders. But being a leader means not demeaning or discouraging enormous segments of our coalition. Some look like they get this. Let’s hope the rest do too.

2011: When I met Dave Brat, as an opponent

The year was 2011. I was the hotshot Spotsylvania Republican Committee Chairman, fighting to elect a Republican board and a Republican state senator from that county.

That was a redistricting year. In that year, the 56th House of Delegates district was redrawn to take in just 1 ½ precincts in Spotsylvania… including my (then) house.

My new Delegate, Bill Janis, was very friendly and outgoing in reaching out and assuring me Spotsy would be important to him. I was looking forward to electing him.

Then, 2 weeks before the nomination was to be confirmed in August, a bombshell: he was resigning from the House of Delegates to run for Commonwealth’s Attorney.

That set off a 2-week scramble to have a Republican nominee for the 56th HoD district. It would be decided by the unit chairs of the Republican Committees of the four counties (Henrico, Louisa, Goochland, and Spotsylvania) at a public meeting August 23.

I declared, as did five other good men: Graven Craig, Surya Dhakar, Dave Brat, Peter Farrell, and Jack Manzari. I remain friends with all of them to this day; they are all good people.

Immediately, the Establishment began attacking me; they were trying to force me out to make room for Peter Farrell, who is the son of Tom Farrell of Dominion Resources, a large GOP donor. Understandable- although Peter had his own accomplishments, including starting his own business and being 1st Vice Chair of the unruly Henrico Republican Committee.

Nonetheless, I forged ahead, gaining endorsements and traversing the state to gain support for my bid. Among the first people to call me, however, was Dave Brat. He invited me to meet him at the Bulls and Bears Club in Richmond to talk.

I accepted, not knowing Dave or what to expect. But I am so glad I went.

We sat down in some sofas and ordered some wine and just talked. He told me he was a conservative Catholic, a conservative, a former seminarian, a man passionate about his family and a man of principle. He is a very decent man, a man of God, a man anyone would want to be friends with.

Over the 1 ½ hour conversation I found all those things to be true. I was blown away by how good a guy Dave was- how genuine- and how if I didn’t win, I wanted him to.

He had also gotten pressure to bow out to the Establishment wishes. Neither of us would be cowed so easily.

Other than the job I could have done, I felt he could have done the second best. And I told the other unit chairs as much.

We parted better for the conversation, and as new friends. Ultimately, neither of us won the office; on the day of the Mineral Earthquake, Peter was chosen as the Republican nominee, and he has done a very good job as Delegate.

But I never forgot the genuine conversation Dave and I had that day. Ultimately, he won the endorsement of the Richmond TEA Party and I won the endorsement of the Fredericksburg Patriots TEA Party. We were eye to eye since then.

I returned to Spotsylvania to help retake our Board of Supervisors for the second time since Reconstruction, as well as help defeat a 28-year Dem incumbent to retake the State Senate.

And now Dave will be a Member of Congress representing the 7th District of Virginia.

And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

God has different plans for all of us, and now we know he had a special plan for Dave.

Sometimes, nice guys do finish first.


YES WE CAN! (a rebuttal of Jeanine Martin)

Jeanine Martin in the Bull Elephant ( admitted that Shak is a real contender to win the convention in Roanoke. Unfortunately, that’s the last truthful thing she says in her article. Allow me to cut through the emotional cacophony of factless assertions to reveal the real state of play.

1. Shak CAN beat Mark Warner

Jeanine asserts that Shak Hill can’t beat Mark Warner. Of course it would make sense that Shak couldn’t raise what Ed Gillespie did for the nomination; Ed is a seasoned fundraiser for decades and has relationships with big Republican donors. That is why Shak decided to self-fund his nomination fight; he has poured about $200,000 of his own money in, which is part of the reason why it is competitive. Sen. Ron Johnson did the same thing, faced with similar circumstances, in Wisconsin in 2010.

But that doesn’t mean that, once Shak is the nominee, that money can’t be raised. Most Republican donors are happy to max out to any reasonable nominee. Some will go further because Shak actually stands for what they believe in. Some will not. And I am in a position to make that claim, being that I sat in on hundreds of such phone calls with Shak, which Jeanine has not.

But there is a reason why outside groups such as Gun Owners of America, National Association for Gun Rights, National Defense PAC, Special Operations Speaks PAC, and several others have backed Shak; additional conservative organizations (whose endorsed candidates have taken a beating this year) have already been contacted and will jump on board with Shak as the nominee. They would never have backed Gillespie.

Bottom line, neither Ed nor Shak would out-raise Warner, but Shak will have the resources to get his message out- and he won’t be playing defense with his money like Ed would with his. Which brings me to point #2…

2. Ed has been vetted but Shak has not?

You have got to be kidding me.

The arguments Shak has been making about Ed have to do with policy, and there are some differences there. TARP bailouts, HB3202 (unconstitutional tax hike), amnesty, compulsory mandatory insurance, and other policy items give conservatives and the liberty-minded cause enough to doubt that Ed is one of them.

What Shak has NOT hit Ed on is what Warner HAS- and it is potentially much more damning in a general election. Lobbying for Enron? Lobbying to exempt Tysons Foods from immigration requirements? Running the campaign of former Governor McDonnell, now on trial for corruption? Being besties with Karl Rove (also detailed in Gillespie’s book)? Expect to see this and much, much worse if Ed wins. Ed will need to spend $10 million just to play defense on his background- and that is a target-rich environment.

With all of Ed’s money, do you honestly think Shak has not been vetted? If he had ANYTHING even remotely untoward, you’d see Jeanine or Justin Higgins spreading around the muck as fast as they could get it. Fact is, he’s a hero- a military hero, a hero for Life, a family hero, and presents a MUCH more compelling story than Gillespie OR Warner. Oh, AND he’s a bona fide, unquestioned, conservative.

3. The death of conventions?

Melodrama anyone?

You know who else was nominated at a convention? George Allen, 1993. He won.

Jim Gilmore, 2008. He lost.

Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, 2009. All won.

Ken Cuccinelli, EW Jackson, Mark Obenshain, 2013. All lost.

See a pattern? Me neither. Sure, people with an agenda will try to draw patterns, but those patterns simply don’t exist. That’s why electability is a tough aspect to rank with conventions.

Everyone knows Warner is a tough mark (no pun intended) anyway, especially in a race where Libertarian Robert Sarvis is also on the ballot. With Sarvis on the ballot, it makes it all the more imperative to nominate a candidate libertarians can rally behind. Shak Hill is the only person running that fits that bill. With Gillespie as our standard bearer, Sarvis might reach 10% of the vote- meaning Warner could be re-elected with as little as 45%.


Shak Hill will aggressively hold Warner to account on his record, setting Republicans up well for a comeback in the Old Dominion. And a comeback based on principle- instead of selling out our principles- is worth it. So stop believing what the Washington Post says about Republicans Jeanine, because it doesn’t stand up to the light of day.

YES, WE CAN. And yes, we will!

The hubbub about Kenney misses the point

I am a conservative.

I have always been a conservative. I led my high school’s pro-life group. As Spotsylvania GOP Chairman, I campaigned for (and eventually won) the county’s first property tax cut in 36 years. I want to roll back restrictions on gun rights and other bad regulations on the books. And I was the first candidate ever endorsed by the Fredericksburg Patriots TEA Party.

I fight for my principles every day, in big ways and small ways.

I also want to engage other groups to convince them to join forces to empower those same principles.

As Spotsylvania GOP Chair, one of my best working relationships was with the local NAACP. We sure didn’t agree on everything, but we agreed to work together where our principles allowed. This took the level of distrust down a notch and formed some good friendships. I was also a regular fixture at School Board meetings, talking with teachers and parents who didn’t necessarily agree with me but who were grateful a Republican Chairman was interested enough in schools to attend.

At heart, that’s what Shaun was doing last weekend.

Now, I don’t necessarily agree with his specific views on this issue (though notably he does NOT support amnesty, and nor do I). And I think SEIU is a repugnant, regressive organization- filming the conversation certainly casts doubt on their motives. But that is less relevant here than the fact that Shaun was willing to have a conversation with those on the other side.

I learned in leadership the value of dialogue. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we have to be enemies. I want the party to keep reaching out to convince folks about conservative ideals- so we can win elections and enact those ideals.

The late, great Baroness Margaret Thatcher once said “First, you win the argument. Then, you win the election.”

That convincing starts with a conversation. I also learned you can’t make everyone happy all the time- and learned it the hard way. And certainly all Republicans and conservatives don’t agree on all things. We value independent thinking- and EVERY faction of the party needs to have a seat at the table because of that.

But having a conversation with those you disagree with wins their respect. It’s a hard thing to do but there is certainly no harm in talking. We can be people of principle while not locking the doors.

Roanoke College Polls US Senate Race

…and the most accurate Virginia off-year pollster has this to say:

In a very early test of a possible November match-up, Senator Mark Warner leads Republican Ed Gillespie by almost 30 points (50%-21%)

Ouch. But there is a bit more interesting here:

 President Barack Obama’s favorable rating is 47 percent (43% unfavorable), which is slightly lower than in the October 30, 2013 Roanoke College Poll. Former Governor Bob McDonnell finished his term at 43 percent, up 3 percent from October 30, while Terry McAuliffe begins his term as Governor with a 36 percent favorable rating (22% unfavorable). Senator Mark Warner has a favorable rating of 47 percent, down 10 percent from September, and Senator Tim Kaine sits at 40 percent, a decline of 8 points since September. Ed Gillespie, former Republican National Committee Chair and potential Senate candidate, has only a 6 percent favorable rating, with 13 percent unfavorable, but three-fourths (75%) of Virginians do not know enough about him to have an opinion.

So, Warner is slipping and is vulnerable, but Gillespie (6% approval rating) would do roughly the same as Jim Gilmore did in 2008 against him. And Kaine better thank his lucky stars he doesn’t face the voters soon.

Puts the electability argument in a different perspective.

Those who don’t know history…

Are we doomed to repeat?


All of a sudden, folks are talking about the GOP nod for the U.S. Senate race. That is not a bad thing.


Mark Warner, Mr. “Radical Centrist”, has been 5% centrist and 95% radical in his voting record:


-He has voted with Harry Reid over 95% of the time.

-He voted for Obamacare.

-He voted for corporate bailouts.

-He hiked taxes as Governor.


From his time as a Congressional intern to the millions he made off of sensitive government information, Mark Warner has certainly been a creature of Washington and has hastened the decline of the US economy and US power in general.


The question is: who do we send up to face him?


Warner will have the Fairfax liberals no matter what. No matter how “centrist” the candidate we nominate, Republicans will NEVER win that bloc.


So let’s nominate someone who is actually conservative to face him and make it a war of ideas. That will bring conservatives out to vote in November, something that eluded both Romney and Cuccinelli.


The two declared candidates, Shak Hill and Howie Lind, are solid, proven conservatives. They would both provide a significant contrast with Warner.


Ed Gillespie, who is reportedly considering a run for the nomination, does bring some heft behind him. And some baggage.


Unfortunately, we’ve seen this act before. And it doesn’t win.


Remember in 2012, when we were told all about Mitt Romney’s epic fundraising prowess?


Or about how electable he was?


They said the fact that he enacted Romneycare (precursor to Obamacare) in Massachusetts wouldn’t hurt. They were wrong.


They said the fact that he raised taxes wouldn’t hurt. They were wrong.


Romney wasn’t a bad guy, just like Gillespie isn’t a bad guy. It’s not personal. But Republicans don’t win when they don’t nominate conservatives.


Problem here is, Ed is no conservative.


In 2006, in his Gillespie wrote in his book “Winning Right” that “every emancipated adult” should be “capable of providing for his or her health care” and one “way to accomplish this is to use the tax code to gain compliance.”


Sound like the individual mandate in Obamacare?


In 2007, he was so on board with raising taxes as a part of the HB 3202 unconstitutional transportation bill, that he reportedly strongarmed conservative challengers out of primaries to state senate Republicans who backed the bill.


Tax hikes and hostility to conservatives in one fell swoop. Does that sound “conservative” to you?


There is more- including very vocal support for amnesty, TARP bailouts, and a long history of lobbying for government goodies for one special interest group or another. And if I could find that from one Google search, you better believe Mark Warner can.


If you are a conservative planning on going to the convention, just ask yourself: Does this sound like a record YOU would want to defend against Mark Warner, or do you think we can do better- with a candidate without baggage who can make Warner’s broken record the focus?


Me too.

Dem/WaPo attacks on Jackson dishonest, unbecoming, and wrong

In any election year, you get dirty pool and negative attacks. It’s not right, and it turns people off from politics in general, but this is what we have to deal with.

EW Jackson’s amazing win at the RPV Convention on Saturday was inspired, and he has strived for two years to unite and expand the party behind core liberty principles.

It took the Virginia Dems all of about 3 minutes to show us what THEY are all about. Keep in mind, this is supposedly the party of civil rights and who talk a good game to black folks when it’s election time.

First, State Sen. Ralph Northam:

“I know it’s hard to believe that’s even possible. E.W. Jaickson (sic) is the most extreme tea party candidate to ever run on a major party ticket for statewide office in Virginia.”

“The Cuccinelli/Jackson ticket would prevent Medicaid expansion and enforce the medically irrelevant TRAP regulations that will shut down women’s health clinics across the Commonwealth.”

(note here that Northam couldn’t even be bothered to spell EW’s last name correctly. And that he apparently wants abortion clinics to be unsanitary, unregulated, and to basically to give monsters like Kermit Gosnell a free pass.)

Then, Aneesh Chopra:

“Jackson was selected after 5 rounds of voting by some 8,000 convention attendees. The fact that so few people attended the convention says a lot about how inviting the Republican Party in Virginia is right now. I know that come November, the voters of Virginia will reject Jackson and his extreme agenda.”

(Aneesh also couldn’t be bothered to get his facts right; there were four rounds of voting, not five. More on him later)

The aptly named Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax):

Saslaw decried the past “crazy” statements that Jackson has made says and a laundry list of past troublesome financial deals will cause the nominee to withdraw. “The media will be following him around and all this will come out,” Saslaw said. “He called Planned Parenthood a bigger affront to the African American Community than the KKK, as one example [of bizarre statements].”

(again, more “crazy” focus on divisive social issues from the Dems. Apparently they really want more Kermit Gosnells in VA. Plus, how would an old white guy from Fairfax know anything about threats from the African American community?)

The Fairfax Democrat Party Apparatchik:

“We cannot allow these fanatics to take office,” Cesar del Aguila, who heads the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, said in a statement Sunday. He said Cuccinelli and the others hew to the “extreme right” on gun control, health care, immigration and women’s rights.”

(no one who supports Obama and Obamacare has any right to call anyone else a “fanatic”. You lost that right, sorry.)

Then, the inspiring and uplifting EW Jackson responded in his characteristic fashion:

“I think people always try to put that in the context of being hateful and it’s not,” he said. “It’s a particular worldview that every Christian for the most part who goes to church across this commonwealth shares: that marriage should be between one man and one woman. And anything else is an attempt to redefine an institution that really can’t be redefined. But I also like to let gay folks know that that same religious faith requires that you care about everybody, regardless. . . . It’s about religious principles, but never, ever about hatred or bigotry.”

Why is this happening?

For party hacks like the WaPo, Saslaw and Northam, the usual “extreme” labels fly. They flew at McDonnell, Bolling, and Cuccinelli in 2009 too. They didn’t stick for two reasons: 1. The ticket was not extreme, and most Virginians share their views; and 2. The Democrat ticket, and their allies in DC, were far more extreme.

Now, Aneesh Chopra is not a party hack, and I have never known him to be a negative person. He should however disavow the mean spirited, borderline racist advice of his consultants and pledge to run a clean campaign- which would accentuate his strengths and provide a real contrast with Northam’s slimy tactics.

How will this affect the general election?

You may remember in the opening days of the Obama Recession in 2009, when families were hurting like never before, how Dem nominee Creigh Deeds wanted to focus on…. Abortion? As if families could eat and be housed by abortions. He earned scorn and ridicule for that, and lost by historic margins.

Get ready for round 2.

The Dem candidates for LG and their apparatchiks in the Democrat Party of Virginia are taking the same tact again. They focus on abortion, they focus on gay rights, they focus on divisive social issues. Meanwhile, the Republican ticket focuses on jobs, liberty, and competitiveness.

Since when did liberty become so “extreme”? Since Obama and the Dems abandoned liberty at the altar of the disastrous Obamacare in 2010.

They got their holy grail, and it has destroyed the economy ever since.

EW Jackson is a man for liberty. He is uniquely strong on linking the Dem candidates to their staunch support for Obamacare.

I did not support EW on the first ballot- I backed Jeannemarie Davis. But EW has the makings of a great one, someone who can use the office to coalesce opposition to Obamacare and help free businesses to hire again. That is what liberty can do for jobs- and why I proudly back him now.

Why it is important to nominate a woman candidate for LG

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: “Chopra for Virginia” <>

Date: May 16, 2013 11:50 AM

Subject: Standing with women


Vote June 11th

Dear Steve,

As Election Day approaches, we wanted to share with you more information about where Aneesh Chopra stands on the issues that are critical to Virginia’s future. One of the top issues for Aneesh is working to make Virginia a better place for women.
Aneesh will take a proactive approach for women as Lt. Governor. Read More »
Aneesh is committed to working hard to ensure that women in Virginia are respected and empowered. The success of our Commonwealth is tied to the success of women — and we must do better.
During his tenure as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology and then as Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Aneesh has always looked for new and innovative ways to empower women. He launched a program that connected expectant mothers in the Shenandoah Valley with doctors at the University of Virginia — and the result was a 25% decrease in pre-term births.
At the White House, Aneesh worked with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to close the wage gap and ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. He also worked with Vice President Joe Biden and others to prevent and reduce domestic violence and sexual assault.
As Lt. Governor, Aneesh will stand with the women of Virginia and push back against Republican attempts to limit women’s reproductive healthcare choices. Additionally, though, Aneesh will look for ways to leverage innovation and collaboration to ensure Virginia is a state that welcomes and respects women.
Team Chopra
Paid for by Chopra for Virginia
Chopra for Virginia PO Box 100459 Arlington, VA 22210

Why I support Jeannemarie Davis

As with Riley, this post is not a reflection of Virginia Virtucon as a whole, but rather of myself as an individual.

Everyone likes to talk about the Constitution these days, don’t they?

We all throw out adherence to the Constitution, especially as Barack Obama seems so intent on flaunting his disregard for it.

But under the Virginia Constitution, the Lt. Governor only has two duties.


The first is to break ties in the Senate, and preside over the Senate. And to this point, let me assure you all seven of the excellent candidates for LG on the Republican side would break ties in favor of the Republicans.

But who can actually use the rules of the Senate to advantage the Republicans? Who can make sure that our Senate majority is preserved, even in the face of an obstinate 20 member Democrat bloc?

Only two LG candidates have ever been in the Senate and know the rules to help us here: Jeannemarie and Steve Martin.

But there is a second Constitutional duty of the LG. And that is to become Governor if something happens to the Governor.

Someone will, in a time of rapid change, need to make sure the departments run properly, the trains run on time, and that conservative principles are actually applied on a daily basis in ways that matter.

Only Jeannemarie has served in the executive branch, in Gov. McDonnell’s cabinet. As Washington Liason, she took a leading role in fighting Obama’s job-killing policies, and she sat in on cabinet meetings and reported to the Governor on a regular basis. She knows what the departments and agencies are doing, and is uniquely prepared to become governor should the need arise.

So, as far as the Constitutional duties of the LG, Jeannemarie stands tall, with experience and accomplishments no one else can boast.

That’s not all, however. We as Republicans need our LG candidate to do one more thing.

Our LG candidate needs to help elect Ken Cuccinelli governor and help elect our outstanding AG candidate as well.

Here is where Jeannemarie really shines.

Last year, we were all terribly disappointed to see Barack Obama re-elected. Many of us worked very hard to prevent that, but we could not overcome the deficiencies in our Republican coalition.

Translation: If we don’t do better among minority communities and single women, we will always be a minority party, never winning the “big ones”.

That means a Federal and State government that becomes more and more like a leviathan through policies enacted by the people’s representatives.

We need to speak our principles to communities who do not normally hear them- in their language, in ways they understand. And this, Jeannemarie has been doing for decades.

It’s easy for someone who has never stood for public office to make proclamations about what everyone else is doing wrong. But Jeannemarie was elected four times from a 57% Obama district- a district that votes similarly to Massachusetts.

Friends, for a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-business woman candidate, that is no small feat.

Jeannemarie will help Cuccinelli and our AG candidate talk to single women and minority voters to peel them off from the Obama coalition. Those voters will prove crucial in November as we are withstanding the brunt of all of Terry McAuliffe’s “Mississippi Money”.

THAT is the addition to the ticket that will pay dividends in November. The addition that will provide balance to the ticket and help us get the 45% in Northern VA we need to win statewide.

We need Jeannemarie.

I urge you to stop by her ice cream social hospitality suite on Friday night, and to vote for her this Saturday at the Convention in Richmond.

Yours in victory,


Jeannemarie Davis staying in LG race, backs Cuccinelli

Within 24 hours of Bill Bolling’s announcement Jeannemarie sent out an email to tens of thousands of Republicans on supporting Cuccinelli as governor.  Jeannemarie is not running for Governor, she backs Cuccinelli and that has not changed.

As we look forward to meeting with many Virginia Republicans at the Advance this weekend, we were all surprised by Lt. Governor Bolling’s decision not to run for Governor.

I want to thank Lt. Governor Bolling for his service as Lt. Governor for the past seven years. The reason that I and several other candidates are seeking the Lt. Governor nomination this year is to continue to ensure that we can break any 20-20 ties in the Senate with votes to stop excessive regulations, taxes and infringements on our Constitutional Rights as well as protecting our conservative values.  I also want to thank Lt. Governor Bolling for twice putting the party first and stepping aside to allow both Bob McDonnell and now Ken Cuccinelli to focus on beating the Democrats rather than have to go through a drawn out intraparty battle like we had in the Presidential race this year.

While I do agree with Lt. Governor Bolling that there are some advantages to primaries, I do also believe there are advantages to conventions that will help the eventual nominees for Lt. Governor and Attorney General give Ken Cuccinelli the best chance to become the next Governor of Virginia.

As I toured Virginia in recent months, I saw too many hard-working grassroots activists who were frustrated they could not do more to help.  While certainly raising the money to communicate our message is important – and I will continue to raise the money needed to win if I am the nominee – in too many cases the party has ignored the ability grassroots activists have to win over their communities throughout the Commonwealth.  While many of us can laugh at President Obama being a “community organizer,” the fact is that for all his faults he understands the importance of grassroots and a Republican convention is a great way to get together and rebuild the Republican grassroots army to win in 2013 and beyond.

I look forward to working with you in the months ahead, and please do not hesitate to call my campaign at (703) 798-6622, or go to our website at for more information.

Jeannemarie Davis

OK, here’s the deal. Postmortem.

A few observations for my fellow soul-searching conservatives today.

1. America is an idea, not a country. As long as that idea lives, America will live on. We have a shot.

2. This wound up being a 2 point national race, wherein Romney lost every swing state by a very close margin. So clearly calls to disband the GOP are overreaction (sorry, DJ!).

3. The real lesson from this election: it’s not just the message, it’s not just that the other candidate sucks. It’s that the quality of your candidate matters! This is the biggest lesson the TEA Party must learn. They have been cozying up to every looney tune who claims to be a conservative, without actually considering if that person could articulate conservative principles to a broader audience effectively. Consider the graveyard of TEA party candidates who have been amateurish and caused the American people to associate the term “TEA Party” with “low-quality candidate”: O’Donnell, Miller, Mack, Angle, Akin, Mourdock, McMahon, Mandel, Berg, Rehberg, Buck, etc etc etc. Those 11 races that were thrown away would result in a resounding Senate majority right now if conservatives had nominated better quality candidates. It’s not enough that you want a more conservative candidate. You have to also want a GOOD candidate. And recruitment for 2014 starts NOW. Romney didn’t define himself nor detail his plans for what he would do better. This was a tragic mistake.

4. Sandy killed us here. A friend of mine said that Obama’s shtick is that his whole career, he has been living by ungodly luck. I believe this. 2 weeks ago, Romney wins this going away, by 5 points. Sandy allowed him to stop Romney’s momentum and appear presidential. Now he has to clean up the mess of course, but the timing was ideal for him. Enough to sway maybe 3% of the voting public, which might have been enough.

5. Local GOP leadership matters! We are so far behind on grassroots and turnout operations, it’s not even funny. And then you had messy, internal party squabbles that turned people off. Nevada and Ohio were the worst ones, but not the only ones. Good local GOP leaders were targeted here in VA this year, and replaced in many cases by well-meaning but incompetent newcomers who slowed down the actual grassroots operations to make a point. Congratulations, you made your point- we lost, and you didn’t help.

Case in point: Spotsylvania. GW Bush pulled 64% of Spotsy in 2004. This year, Romney pulled a pedestrian 55%, while there was buffoonery aplenty and amateur hour with two precincts invalidating hundreds of votes and disenfranchising hundreds more because they couldn’t get their act in order. Where was the local GOP leadership? Incompetent, ignorant, timid, absent. When hundreds of voters were turned away while the precincts got their act together, the local GOP should have petitioned the court to allow the polls to stay open an extra hour or two in those two precincts. Yet they did not. Local party leadership matters, and it matters in tangible, real ways for which those people must be held accountable.

And to the Ron Paul folks- I’m not singling you out per se. I’m saying, it’s not enough just to want the positions for philosophical reasons. You actually have to perform in them in competent ways, and if you do not, you should not be in them. That goes for everyone.

6. Here in the Commonwealth, the only area of the state that overperformed compared to 2008 was coal country, SW VA. Those people know their jobs and livelihoods are on the line. Maybe we can re-annex West Virginia?

7. If you are a Republican or conservative candidate, and anyone ever asks you about what you think of rape, for the love of God, the only acceptible response is, “Rape is deplorable and I condemn it, and sympathize with its victims”. Anything else, and we will shoot you. Seriously. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, it is entirely possible you cost Mitt Romney this election!

8. I am going to petition Obama for the government to give out Saganaki and Rodidas, because if we are going to become Greece then I at least want to enjoy the cuisine!

Obamacare: Don’t get mad. Get even in November.

Friends, America isn’t like France or Germany.

France was created by the French. Germany is the country for the German people.

But America was founded on an ideal. That ideal was liberty, particularly individual liberty.

Today America lost a bit of that liberty. And with it, we lost a bit of what makes us America.

Now, to be clear: I am very disappointed with this ruling and in particular with Justice Roberts, who must have trouble standing up straight without the aid of a discernable spine.

But in a sense, what he said to us was this: Obamacare was a legislative problem, and it must be fixed with a legislative solution.

It now falls to us, our generation, to elect the people who will fix this Socialist abomination.

And those people are Mitt Romney for President, George Allen for Senate, and your GOP congressional candidate (mine is Eric Cantor).

It is now ONLY through electing these men that we can save our country, the country we love, the country founded on the ideals of liberty, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

It’s our time now- and let’s go take it. Come to a local GOP meeting, stop by your local Victory office, make some phone calls and give some money to Romney, Allen, and your GOP congressional candidates.

Why I abstained on SCC

Friday’s State Central Committee vote to change the 2013 primary to a convention was contentious, closely-watched and ended in a lop-sided vote. Knowing beforehand that it would be lopsided, one would have been tempted to make a politically-expedient vote, one that would have been ill-remembered.

I chose not to.

I abstained.

But make no mistake, it was not an abdication of duty or an act of indecision. It was a principled act of protest.

Protest of what? A protest of the way this debate and issue unfolded.

Allow me to explain. I wanted to be on State Central, not to be a pawn in some interminable war between different factions of the party, but to strengthen the party.

My local party in Spotsy used to be rife with unhealthy conflict and division. I was able to unite them and focus on the important thing: beating the big-government liberals that were hijacking my county. And beat them we did: we planted a flag for our beliefs, aggressively fought for them, and won: a 15-3 record over two years (with two of those losses coming by a combined 82 votes).

Along the way, it wasn’t easy. The liberal special interests poured close to $3 million into Spotsy, by far a record for an off-year election. The FLS was brutal to us, endorsing only our opponents and calling us “government-hating nutzies” along the way. I personally got anonymous threats by the liberals, causing me and my family to take precautionary safety measures.

We stood on principle in the face of heated opposition and won. And I am NOT opposed to standing for freedom when the going is tough- that description defined my last two years.

But in this SCC debate, I could not have been more frustrated and disappointed, with both sides. Now to be clear, I am a big supporter of everyone in that room- I would run through a wall for any of them. To me, it is NOT personal.

But between the sides, it was personal. The turning point to me was when one side, in lobbying me, called the other an “enemy” and said that I would be too if I didn’t join them.

Me. The guy who led turning Spotsy red, who took threats for standing up for our principles. Apparently I was the enemy?

This was emblematic of how the whole debate divided us, distracted us and cast a black eye on the party. If we are supposed to be stewards of the party, not a faction, I have to say we did not do a good job collectively over the last month.

As I stated before, both options have serious structural deficiences that need to be addressed. I will propose these in a series of reforms over the coming weeks. I do not want to see this same destructive, circular argument again- we can improve both options to make them less unpalatable.

Then there was the fact that the whole thing took our eye off the ball. Barack Obama is the most existential threat to the American Republic since the British army wore red. He is on the ballot this November, along with his hand-puppet, Tim Kaine. And for the last month, the 80 biggest activists in the Commonwealth were not working to beat them. Instead, they were beating on each other.

We cannot beat an organized and united left (they outnumber us in field offices right now, 16-9, and both Obama and Kaine lead in the polls) by taking our eye off the ball like this.

So, in protest, I refused to join a battle I did not start. This is not a decision on the merits of the question- I have my preferences there. But what happened spurred mocking media attention and divided the party for weeks. Instead of focusing on beating the forces of Socialism, we beat up on each other.

I hope we can be united going forward, and appreciated the comments of several SCC members after. But on the vote, I voted my conscience. At the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask, and I am content with it.