Lynn Mitchell is at it again. This time standing up for disgraced 5th District GOP Chairman Jon Berkley.
Let’s run through her arguments methodically, to be fair.
- Berkley was a good Chairman.
- Berkley did nothing to deserve his removal.
- Berkley had “overwhelming support” within his committee.
All three arguments are intellectually dishonest on their face- and Ms. Mitchell should know better. Let’s review.
- “Berkley was a good Chairman.”
Mitchell’s two arguments seem to be that Robert Hurt won his district in 2014, and that he raised $10,000 for the 5th CD Committee.
Well, first off, 2014 was the biggest Republican wave election of our lifetimes- literally. If you were a Republican candidate and could not win in 2014, something was wrong with you. Further, the 5th is a gerrymandered district that bifurcates the state- taking in Pittsylvania and Brunswick in the south, part of the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas, Charlottesville, and stretching all the way up to Loudoun. It encompasses nearly all of U.S. Rt. 29 in Virginia. Clearly drawn to favor a Republican, it would have been a real shock if Robert Hurt had not been able to win convincingly in that district, in that year.
Secondly, a key part of any unit Chairman’s job is fundraising. To that extent, Berkley deserves some credit- until you drill down into where he got the money. You see, of the money the 5th District Committee raised in 2014, nearly all of it (except filing fees from Mark Lloyd and Berkley himself) came from the Congressman himself (which is usual for Virginia, it would have been a surprise if not), or from the individual units that make up the Committee. The dues paid by the units made up over 2/3 of the money “raised” by Berkley. Further, it stands to reason that there should have been no money in the kitty as Berkley took over, since they had just held a Convention for which the previous Chairman, Sen. Bill Stanley, and his 5th CD Committee had to pay. So no, Berkley apparently did little to raise money, and had to start from the same place nearly every district committee must start.
- “Berkley did nothing to deserve his removal”
Summing up, what is public knowledge is that Berkley illegally deprived the 5th district’s 5 State Central members of a vote on the 5th, then proceeded with a temporary majority to stuff the officer’s positions with his cronies.
What is also reported is that Berkley had a history of hysterically shouting down and using physical force to remove members of his own committee during meetings. He arbitrarily denied committee members the right to vote and abused parliamentary authority to create a hostile and uncooperative atmosphere. His own boorish behavior most directly led to his downfall; sources on SCC and the 5th CD committee say that he was approached several times by SCC members concerned about the reports coming out of the 5th, and those warnings were shunned and ignored. The person responsible for Jon Berkley’s removal is Jon Berkley, alone.
- “Berkley had “overwhelming support” within his committee.”
Mitchell lists 10 members of the 5th District Committee as supporting Berkley. She was apparently unaware there are almost two dozen members of that Committee, as well as the fact that a few of the people she listed are some of the cronies snuck into leadership positions after Berkley disenfranchised the 5th CD SCC members of their votes. Sorry, but 40% of the Committee does not constitute “overwhelming support”, no matter how you cut it.
Bottom line, Berkley’s repeated behavior was totally unacceptable. He proved himself incapable of running a meeting or meeting even the most basic functions of a CD Chairman. Alienating over half the units in his district, denying members their right to vote, encouraging slating and other divisive tactics, and showing gross disrespect for members of his own Committee showed Berkley to be incompetent and nonfunctional as a Chairman. It is little wonder this cancer was removed; now perhaps a compromise Chairman may be chosen, the Committee may reconstitute and some level of healing from the Berkley fiasco may begin. Hopefully the intraparty anti-conservative propaganda spewing from Ms. Mitchell’s blog can ease up, in the best interests of everyone involved.