This fight has been quietly simmering for a few weeks but it looks like the Republicans have finally won.
In January, Governor Terry McAuliffe nominated three new board members to the State Board of Elections. State law requires the governor give one seat to the opposing party, so McAuliffe was to appoint two Democrats and a Republican to the seat.
McAuliffe nominated Matthew Gray, State Director of the Human Society and former director of development for RPV. But that stint at RPV, and most of Gray’s Republican credentials, are from 2008 and before. Since then, Gray has voted in Democratic Primaries in 2009, 2013 and 2014 – participation that Gray declined to discuss with the Washington Post despite being more than happy to highlight his time as a Republican seven years ago.
Gray has now withdrawn his name from the process after protest from Republicans in Richmond.
“I’ve seen his résumé and actually visited with the secretary of [the] Commonwealth this morning to talk about the appointment and was told candidly that he has little or no experience in elections or election law,” Obenshain said.
“It would concern me greatly for a designee to be put on a board like this to represent a political party that wasn’t consulted. And to the degree that he really is not qualified for the position, it kind of negates the whole purpose of representation.”
McAuliffe tried to stack the deck with a token “Republican” among two Democrat political operatives ready to steamroll on the Governor’s behalf. Now Republicans have an opportunity to suggest a solid replacement – hopefully they’ll get someone in there who will stand up to Democrat shenanigans.