Shenanigans in the 11th State Senate District

Guest Author Alexander Edwards

Alexander.Edwards77@gmail.com

 

Though we’re less than two weeks into February; things are already heating up in the 11th Senate District Primary. The 11th District covers parts of Chesterfield County, all of Amelia County and all of Colonial Heights City. Senator Steve Martin currently holds the seat. Senator Martin has drawn two primary challengers in the form of political activist Amanda Chase and businessman Barry Moore.

In the February 5th edition of the Amelia Bulletin Monitor (local news source in Amelia County), they featured an interview they conducted with challenger Amanda Chase. While the rest of the interview did a very good job describing Chase’s political activism and her family values, one thing caught my attention. At the end of the article is an editor’s note where the paper called Chase out for making a claim that is not factual.

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Chase claims that Senator Martin wrote a law that requires the 11th District to nominate its candidates by primary.

The law Chase is referring to is Virginia Code Section 24.2-509, which contains an exception that allows incumbents to determine the method of nomination as opposed to the party’s committee (unless the party has no incumbent). We are currently seeing a battle over this code section playing out in the 24th Senate District over the method of nomination for Senator Emmett Hanger’s re-election. This law has been in place for decades, long before Senator Martin was first elected to the Virginia Legislature, contrary to Chase’s claims.

 

To make a false public claim that your opponent (and current incumbent) wrote a law specifically to protect his elected position is a dishonest way to campaign. Voters today expect candidates to campaign on the merits of their own ideas for how to right our nation and commonwealth’s course. We also learned through the 7th District Republican Primary that voters are tired of false, personal attacks. It helped now Congressman Dave Brat win the nomination when then Majority Leader Eric Cantor began using the liberal college professor attack line.

Sources familiar with the most recent December meeting of the 11th Senate District Committee confirm that it was the committee, not Senator Martin, chose to use a primary as the method of nomination on a unanimous vote. Those sources also confirm that neither Chase, nor a representative of her campaign, attended the meeting after being notified several times via email of the meeting’s location and time.

Even after being called out by the Amelia Bulletin Monitor for her not factual claim, Chase took to Facebook and doubled down on her claim.

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I would recommend that Chase stick to the facts and talk about her plan for our commonwealth. These types of false, personal attacks are exactly what is wrong with today’s political climate and are exactly why the political process turns off many voters. Campaigns should be about voting records of incumbents and about ideas for growth.

 

OP-Ed by Jay McConville : Establishment Is Not A Four Letter Word

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Against my better judgment, and against my wife’s continued advice, I posted the following comment on Facebook this week. The post received a good bit of attention, and I’m pleased to be asked, in this my first blog post, to explain what I meant. Here is what I wrote:

“OK, I’m officially done with term “establishment” and “insider” when it comes to politics. We actually DO need people to work, serve on committees, and take leadership roles. Now some (who don’t do those things) think they are clever to label these active volunteers, who then run for office, as “establishment” or “insiders.” It’s a weak, pointless, empty, illogical criticism. If you can’t argue the issues, then I guess name-calling will just have to do. That is all.”

Having served in the military my start in politics was a little delayed. Once a civilian, I started doing little tasks to help the GOP here in Mt. Vernon. Then in 2008, dismayed with the direction that our country was going, I upped my game and ran for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 44th District. I lost, but I think I moved our shared Republican perspective a little down the field. Following that experience I wanted to be more involved, and frankly to pay back the many people who had helped me during my campaign, so I volunteered to serve two years as the Vice Chairman for Budget and Finance for the FCRC, working under the dedicated and talented Anthony Bedell. I was then honored to be elected as Chairman, and served two eventful years, being then succeeded by the able and admirable Matt Ames. It was a pretty quick move from outsider to part of the “establishment.”

During this time I met many elected officials, party officials and great volunteers, people who give their time, their talents, their money, their energy and their total dedication to trying to win in the never-ending argument that is politics. I did not agree with all of them on every issue, some I agreed with less, some more. The vast majority, however, cared about their country and their community, and they did the work that must be done if we are ever to correct our nation’s course.

And thus the reason for my post. I fear that the indiscriminate and thoughtless use of this term “establishment” or “insider” as an accusation against these good people hurts our party, making it more difficult to find volunteers, build a high-performing party team, leverage experienced people, and win elections.  I understand it may be fashionable, and it may even be an effective way to win a nomination. But it is not helpful.

Is someone “establishment” just because they’ve spent years working for the party? Or because they happen to know leaders in the party? Or because they understand the policies and procedures of the party? Or because they are able to garner endorsements, should they decide to run, from other people in the party who know and appreciate the work they have done? In a way I guess they are. But someone please explain to me why that is a bad thing.

We won’t win elections if people don’t lead, serve on committees, know the party processes, run for office and do the work. It should not be a badge of honor to have not done these things. It should not be a mark of dishonor to have done so.

It is great that we have a renewed activist spirit in our Republican Party. I was, and remain, inspired by that spirit. It is also great that we hold our leaders accountable for what they do once elected. I absolutely support party nomination processes as the way to get us the best candidates. Sometimes an incumbent will lose in this process, and honestly that is ok. But people should work to understand the process, and not, based on misinformation or ignorance of the procedures, attack anyone who has actually done the work as “establishment.”

There is a great deal of suspicion about back-room deals and “picking” of candidates and the like by people who are outside the party looking in. Those suspicions are unfounded. There is no reason to be outside looking in! For gosh sake, come on in!

There are well-defined and open processes for influencing the party, choosing candidates, and running the organizations that support our efforts. All you have to do is come on out, volunteer, do the work, understand the rules and procedures and participate. If you don’t like what you see, then run for Magisterial District Chair, State Central, or County Chair, or Congressional District Chair, or Congress or whatever. There is no guarantee that you will win, or that your opinions will prevail. But they might. That won’t make you “establishment” – it will make you a teammate.

If you don’t like a candidate, party official, or policy, that’s fine. Just say why, factually, respectfully, constructively. Yelling “establishment” is nothing but empty sloganeering. How can that possibly help?

So let us not use “establishment” or “insider” as an attack. Let us instead build, improve and expand the party, by making it honorable to serve in it. Let us then openly and respectfully discuss policy positions and candidate qualifications, select the best candidate for the job, and the time, in open and vibrant processes, and get to work winning elections and saving America.

That is all.

Jay McConville Former Chair of the Fairfax County Republican Committee 

Glen Sturtevant announces for Virginia’s 10th Senate race

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That didn’t take long.

Just the other day we asked if Republicans could do better than Bruce Tyler in Virginia’s 10th Senate District and already there’s another contender in the ring. Meet Glen Sturtevant:

In a district that’s fairly Chesterfield heavy there’s still room for more challengers south of the James River, but Sturtevant’s entry gives voters another experienced choice on the ballot without Bruce Tyler’s baggage. Stephen Thomas could make some noise, especially if he’s willing to self finance, but his resume is thin compared to Sturtevant and Tyler – and even the Democrat challengers in the race.

More may still enter, but this is already shaping up to be an interesting race.

UPDATE: Bearing Drift has a great interview with Glen Sturtevant here. From their post:

In our discussion, the 32-year-old talks about his already full background that includes growing up in Spotsylvania, graduating from George Mason, marrying his college sweetheart (who became a schoolteacher and helped him navigate through law school), and adopting three kids (5,2, and 1). He has also managed in a short period of time to bring fiscal sanity to Richmond Schools.

Sturtevant hopes to bring that same fiscal discipline to Richmond, complete with zero-base budgeting, an audit of every state agency, and the publishing of each government entity’s check registry. Now that’s transparency!

Crossposted at RedRVA

Answering Article V Convention Critics

You might expect that the birthplace of state’s rights would be leading the way. But ironically, Virginia is forfeiting its right to help reign in the federal government.

George Mason warned that the federal government would never self-limit its power. Mason and Madison would likely be speechless and shake their heads at the current Virginia Republican Party and some conservatives who perennially campaign against federal mischief.

Let’s consider three main arguments against participating in an Article V convention.

#1. We just need to elect more Republicans

Not surprisingly this is the incumbent and party answer, but electing Republicans, at best, has only slowed the Left’s agenda.

Instead of merely trusting politicians, Jefferson said, “let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Even prudent men and women can become infected by prolonged exposure to power. The vaccine is a constitutional network of durable legal firewalls that transcend election cycles.

#2. Runaway is inevitable

This concern is that nefarious groups with alleged Soros money will hijack and create a runaway convention, like a normal day in DC, which apparently we cannot win either.

First, this concern always fails to acknowledge the controls. An Article V convention has three multi-year hurdles:

  • 34 state legislatures must want to participate;
  • Legislature-selected delegates must pass amendments with a majority vote;
  • Then 38 state legislatures must ratify the amendments.

By design the entire process is state driven and Congress’s only role is to pick the date and time. Furthermore, states can simply disengage if the convention’s objective or their directives change.

Second, it is one thing to influence a large majority of DC-centric politicians who share the same big government mindset and quite another task to intimidate 38 right-leaning state legislatures.

Third, don’t worry about the Left. They are quite satisfied to effectively “amend” the Constitution every day using the unelected federal bureaucracy and courts.

Fourth, this is not like the Equal Rights Amendment fight in the 70’s. Our advantages today are:

  • This time we are defining the agenda and are on offense;
  • A healthy majority of state legislatures are center-right;
  • We can bypass the media narrative by using talk radio and social media;
  • Our younger generation, while currently obsessed with social issues, is beginning to realize that federal policies are standing between them and the American Dream;
  • The degree of usurpations and abuse of power by the federal government grows at an accelerating rate so evidence abounds, in case Republicans want to use it.

An Article V convention is the opposite of runaway. Runaway is the current process which has given us Obamacare, $18T debt, $100T+ unfunded liabilities, and a massive unaccountable bureaucracy passed by federal lawmakers who can’t write and won’t read a bill before voting on it.

#3. Article V has never succeeded, It just won’t work, Too messy, Too much work

The world also said that self-government and free enterprise was impossible. Maybe parties by nature will always oppose anything not under their control. Maybe a convention every 10 years would have prevented Our Mess.

Imagine a country where Marbury v. Madison had been cut down in its infancy. Or one where there was no 16th Amendment and the states funded the federal government. Or how about where commerce meant commerce. The Founders expected that future generations would amend the Constitution based on experience guided by common sense.

However, the Founders could not have foreseen the federal government becoming a National Business, technology’s benefits/threats, or that a people who once pushed back the greatest military power (with a little help from our friends) would devolve into politically uneducated, entertained-to-death, tax paying sheep that are afraid to voice an unpopular opinion. But we see what they could not. Now we are accountable.

Our Constitution is an intergenerational legally binding contract that embodies the People’s core wisdom. You and I are sworn to uphold it. It is not a piece of paper containing mere guidelines protected by argon gas stored under the National Archives to be routinely redefined by linguistic gymnastics played by Ivy League elitists. If times change then how we use the coercive power of government must also change. Which law then in our rapidly changing society deserves more frequent review than the Constitution?

A convention is not bad process. The real issue is that too many Americans have outsourced their citizen duty to self-anointed experts instead of practicing self-government. Too many incumbents claim to be constitutionalists but will not lift a finger to defend states’ rights. Even Republican controlled Congresses cannot report a constitutional amendment out of their committees.

We can trust the wisdom of 38+ freely collaborating diverse states that exist outside of DC-NY-LA District 9’s far more than our current crop of DC incumbents. A convention can yield tangible results in less time that it takes to fire a senator. It gives hope for those who yearn for the rule of law. It is the sovereign states exercising power over power – for a change.

Finally, a convention of the states is a unique opportunity to educate, focus energy and contrast us to the McAuliffe, Herring, Kaine and Warners. Let’s hope that the Marxist Iron Dome that extends from DC west to Route 15 and south to 234 has not permanently rendered Virginia irrelevant in the fight to restore constitutional government.

An Article V convention is not to be feared, it is the alternative when elections are not working. Use it while there is still time.

McAuliffe’s effort to stack Electoral Board with all Dems fails

 

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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.

Sen. Mark Obenshain summed up the biggest issue a few weeks ago:

“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.

Cross-posted at RedRVA

Virginia Steps Towards Statewide Election Run-Offs

The Virginia State Senate voted 22-16 yesterday to implement run-off elections for statewide offices where no candidate receives a majority of the vote.

The Washington Times article reporting on this gets the analogy wrong, however — it wouldn’t turn Virginia’s system into one like Louisiana’s since Louisiana holds a “jungle primary” on Election Day and runoffs are held about a month later. They do not have primary elections in Louisiana, which is why two Republicans split the vote for U.S. Senate there in November necessitating the December run-off. Instead, this bill would turn Virginia’s electoral system into one like that in Georgia where you first have a primary, then the general election and a runoff if there are more than two candidates on the ballot and no one gets a majority.

It makes sense for elected officials to be able to claim a majority of the vote when they seek to implement their agendas, so why not have a runoff in Virginia if no one gets 50% +1? It works in Georgia and it isn’t employed very often. It would also allow for voters to support third-party or write-in candidates, either out of conviction or protest, and in turn those third-parties could grow and flourish without serving as merely spoilers. Those same voters could then come back in the run-off and vote for their second-choice candidate or abstain from voting if they so choose.

Two years in a row Virginia has seen statewide offices won by individuals without a majority of the vote — in 2014 Mark Warner was reelected to the U.S. Senate with 49.15% and in 2013 Terry McAuliffe was elected governor with 47.75% and Mark Herring was elected Attorney General with 49.89% of the vote (the exact same percentage that his opponent Mark Obenshain had with the remaining 0.22% going to write-ins.) This would have also impacted the 2006 U.S. Senate race where Jim Webb received 49.59% and the 2005 Attorney General race won by Bob McDonnell with 49.96%. No other statewide race going back to at least 1997 would have resulted in a run-off.

By no means would a run-off election be a “gimme” for Republicans to have won all or any of those seats and the equation could just as easily tip the other way as can by seen by McDonnell’s ’05 victory. However, this is an idea whose time has come and one that should be embraced by both Republicans and Democrats. Republicans in the House of Delegates should vote to pass this measure and Gov. McAuliffe should sign it into law.

Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Virginia Republicans hold the slimmest of majorities in the State Senate but sometimes that’s in name only. Often Republicans are having to watch close votes fail because moderate members of their own party swing to the Democrats on the issues that really matter – like standing strong against the federal Medicaid expansion of stopping tax hikes. This year Republicans will have a unique opportunity not just to pick up seats but finally swing some of these more moderate seats to reliable conservative votes in the Senate with the retirement of Senators Walter Stosch and John Watkins.

The 12th District race looks to be a madhouse to replace Stosch with up to five candidates announced including some strong contenders like former Delegate Bill Janis and Stosch’s hand picked Siobhan Stolle-Dunnavant but the 10th District so far leaves a lot of people wanting for a real choice for a Republican nominee.

So far two have announced for State Senate – former Richmond City Councilman Bruce Tyler and State Central member Stephen Thomas. While Thomas’s resume looks impressive from a party politics perspective his lack of political experience could hurt in a field of solid Democratic challengers including Chesterfield Supervisor Daniel Gecker among others. Though his ability to self-fund, including a $50,000 initial infusion of cash could help.

The current alternative Bruce Tyler, on the other hand, is a risky bet for Republicans, in part because of a gorgeous but very expensive alley as detailed by Steve Thomas (no relation to Stephen Thomas we think) on Virginia Virtucon:

For those not familiar, Bruce Tyler was a Republican member of Richmond City Council (1st District) until he was beaten by conservative Democrat Jon Baliles, son for former Gov. Gerald Baliles (D). Tyler had positioned himself as the moderate in that race.

Why is this relevant?

Baliles beat Tyler, in part, because of the “$316,000 alley”.

You see, it seems that Tyler steered $316,000 to create a “green alley” in the one behind his house, while Richmond City roads suffered (as anyone who has driven in the City could attest to).

Quoeth Baliles:

“If you look at it, it looks like the Taj Mahal of alleys”

“I do support green alleys. I don’t support green alleys that cost [$316,000],”

That’s right, the Democrat was able to out-conservative the Republican because of cronyistic spending by the incumbent, who was bounced from office.

Tyler took a while to lose, fighting for absentee ballots and recounts for a while before eventually conceding the race.

But the self-serving and very expensive alley isn’t Tyler’s only problem.

Remember that economic downturn of 2008-2009 that we’re still trying to recover from? Right in the heart of that Bruce Tyler advocated for City Council members to receive a pay raise. At a time when families were being forced to scrimp and save, when budgets were being trimmed while families were losing their homes, Tyler wanted more money for elected officials.

Del. Manoli Loupassi said it was a terrible time to even discuss the issue and urged them to drop it.

Even after leaving office, Tyler has remained active in Richmond politics, advocating heavily for a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom, a divisive issue in the city and surrounded suburbs, but one made more interesting by the face that Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, a huge proponent of the stadium, is also the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, which owns property right in the heart of the proposed plan and would make quite a bit of money should the proposal go through. This ballpark debate is heated enough, but in one heated exchange, Tyler had a confrontation with Jon Baliles mother, leading Baliles to say:

[H]e hopes that going forward, constituents will bring their concerns directly to him: “If Mr. Tyler wants to tell me what he thinks then he should come to me rather than attack my mother.”

Woof.

So this leads to the question (and the title of the post): Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Stephen Thomas may be that guy, but there are other appealing options open to Republicans that we can hope may enter the race. Multiple media reports have mentioned Richmond School Board member Glen Sturtevant who would be an interesting addition to the race.

With the fate of the Senate in the balance, this is a must win race for Republicans. And it needs to be a Republican willing to stand up for Republican values. We need to make sure Watkins isn’t replaced by another Watkins kind of Republican – or a Democrat.

Who would you like to see run? Share your ideas in the comments!

(Crossposted to RedRVA)

The Washington Post plays the race card in the Medicaid debate and the Virginia House’s response is epic

Yesterday the Washington Post hit some new lows (shockingly, who thought there’d be new lows for that fishwrap) when it attacked Virginia House Republicans for standing up against Medicaid, equating it with “Massive Resistance” – the Democrat led effort to stop the integration of Virginia’s public schools in the 1960s:

SIXTY YEARS after Virginia waged a campaign of “massive resistance” against integrating its public schools, the state is once again insisting on a policy that targets its least advantaged citizens…

The driving intellectual and political force behind Massive Resistance in the 1950s was then-Sen. Harry F. Byrd Sr., who regarded excluding blacks from educational opportunity as a great and principled cause. Today the political heirs of the Byrd Organization, mainly rural and exurban Republicans, are led by Del. William J. Howell (R-Stafford), speaker of the House of Delegates in Richmond.

This argument is offensive on many levels but is a clear example of Alinsky tactics at work (See rules 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12). Bill Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates, is having none of is, delivering a forceful response on behalf of the majority:

“This editorial is patently offensive to not only me, but also to the many honorable men and women serving in the House of Delegates and the millions of hard-working taxpayers who share our deep public policy concerns about Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. To compare the legitimate and widely-acknowledged policy concerns we have with Medicaid expansion to the shameful and ignorant policy of massive resistance is not only outrageous, it is, frankly, indefensible.

A couple other money shots from the release:

- This is a complicated issue that should not be reduced to the repugnant and appalling rhetoric advanced by the Washington Post.

- the offensive and false claims like those advanced today undercut the Washington Post’s arguments for Medicaid expansion and damage its reputation in the process.”

That’s a one-two punch right in the face of the Progressive Media.

Cross-posted at RedRVA

Dr. Siobhan Stolle- Dunnavant announces her candidacy for the 12th Senate District

FROM NEW BLOGGER – Virginia Hunter

Dr. Siobhan Stolle-Dunnavant announced her candidacy for the 12th Senate District GOP nomination yesterday at the Henrico County Republican Committee monthly breakfast. Stolle- Dunnavant hails from the Tidewater area Stolle family political dynasty, and is the sister of Delegate Chris Stolle, and former state senator turned Va. Beach Sheriff, Ken Stolle, and Colin Stolle, Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney. Stolle-Dunnavant’s interest in running for the seat being vacated by retiring state senator Walter Stosch was rumored, but her impromptu announcement came as a total surprise to the members of the delegation in attendance at yesterday’s breakfast.

Stolle-Dunnavant, a highly regarded OB-GYN, resides in Henrico County with her four children and husband, Lloyd. She is a director on the Medical Society of Virginia PAC. Stolle Dunnavant has not had a visible presence in Henrico area politics until yesterday. She is not an active member of the HCRC, and is a relative unknown to the general membership. She has, however, earned immeasurable goodwill from the Henrico delegation who have all benefited from her instrumental role in PAC donations and other fundraising efforts on their behalf.

It has been rumored that the delegation, and retiring state senator Walter Stosch in particular, have wanted a plausible and credible candidate as an alternative to the Cantor/Ray Allen candidate, Bill Janis, and the Tea Party favorite, Vince Haley. They may have found this alternative in Stolle-Dunnavant, one of the few remaining un-elected Stolle’s in Virginia. As such, she wears no label and has no record to challenge. She has proven her ability to raise money, and will certainly benefit from the political organizations established by her brothers.

If Henrico voters aren’t turned off by the westward proliferation of the Stolle dynasty, or political family dynasties in general, and are able to overlook her paucity of experience, she may well prevail in June. The announcement is particularly bad news for Bill Janis who was relying upon support from the establishment GOP whose recent scars and bruises at the hand of the Tea Party activists made him the only logical choice against the presumptive Tea Party favorite, Vince Haley.

Henrico County, known for great political theater and drama, never fails to disappoint.

BIO - Dr. Dunnavant was the first woman to be Chairman of the OB-GYN department at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital 2005 to 2006. She was appointed to the Governor’s Board for Maternal and Fetal Medicine from 2000 through 2003. Dr. Dunnavant was appointed to the Board of Trustees for Henrico Doctor’s Hospital in 2009. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Medical Society of Virginia. Dr. Dunnavant is a member of the American Medical Association, Medical Society of Virginia, Richmond Academy of Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. Dr. Dunnavant serves on the Advisory Board for St Joseph’s Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor, she also volunteers there regularly with her family. She is involved in scouting as a Venture Crew advisor. She served on Saint Bridget Parish Council 2005 to 2008, where she and her family are active members. She volunteers at her children’s schools and supports their sports programs. Dr Dunnavant volunteers with Access Now a program designed to find specialist care for patients seen in free clinics. She sees patients who need gynecologic care, but can’t afford it, in her office free of charge.

CRFV Elects a New Board

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Congratulations to the new board of the College Republican Federation of Virginia

Kasha Nielsen (UVA) – Chairman
Devon Flynn (GMU) – First Vice Chair
Jake Lee (JMU) – Second Vice Chair
Nathan Ritchie (W&M) – Secretary
Kim Gibbons (VT) – Treasurer

Kasha herself won her election as Chairman  99-17. This team along with the Young Republicans are the future of the Republican Party, lets show them all the support we can.

Is “Boss” Herrity the New Tom Davis of Fairfax County?

Is Supervisor Pat Herrity trying to control Republican politics across Fairfax County and become the new Tom Davis? That’s exactly what’s happening according to Mason Conservative in this excellent piece available HERE.

<<<<<Cross posted at TheBullElephant>>>>

To Convene or not Convene.

That is the question.  Knowing obviously that an Article V Convention has never taken place…it is therefore impossible for anyone to know what would in fact “take place” post the come to order gavel.    I certainly respect the opinions of all those making the arguments for and against the Convention and there are smart and valid points as well as justifiable passions that run deep on both sides of the issue.

However, I think it would be wise to at least recognize the many perils of projecting ones’ desired outcomes onto a blank canvas…which is exactly the danger one engages in when talking about the idea of a possible Article V Convention.   I am reminded of the old military sayings…. “That no battle plan ever survived first contact with the enemy” or “if the enemy is in range…so are you”.

My point is that starting and trying to then control another Revolutionary fire surrounded by two hundred and thirty-nine years of dried “parchment” may not be the safest or best idea; especially when in my humble opinion the “parchment” and what is written on it is not the paramount problem.

The principal crisis at this moment in Americas’ story is dare I say…”we the people”.  It is the cancer of ignorance and apathy that has incapacitated many in the American electorate and as a consequence placed at risk Americas’ grand experiment, which of course was and is… the question of can “man” self-govern?   Benjamin Franklin famously offered this gem when responding to a citizen when that person asked him what type of government we would have… “It is a Republic, so long as you can keep it.”

This is not to say that there are not millions of educated and informed citizens that actively participate in the process and understand fully the responsibility of voting; of course there are those civic minded Americans. I would suggest that they’re the reason Republicans hold the majority of governorship’s as well as the majority of state legislatures.  And frankly that is because when one knows the issues, understands the applicable policies and applies commonsense the results are that conservative solutions work to the betterment of the peoples’ freedom and that liberal so called solutions work only for the betterment and the power of politicians.

What I’m saying is that I believe rebuilding America into a country our Founders would once again recognize does not require amending their original genius.  No, editing the parchment and reinforcing the framework; even if successful, will not stop the American that votes based on getting their news from Jon Stuart.  Nor will it change their understanding of an issue currently based on the loony wisdom they received from a vapid celebrity.   And it will not in any way better inform an individual that believes the information he or she finds on the internet is the same as what they’d find in the Encyclopedia Britannica.  And it will not help a person whom has been taught by radical professors that winning an argument is accomplished by making others acquiesce to manipulated emotions rather than be persuaded by facts.  No, I’m afraid it is the “constitution”, if you will, of these poor souls that must be amended if we are to have any hope of restoring Americas’ promise to all her citizens; be they liberal or conservative.  That kind of integrity and inspiration is the sole responsibility of genuine leaders; of which sadly, America is in very short supply.

WILLIE DEUTSCH ANNOUNCES BID FOR COLES DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

 

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WILLIE DEUTSCH ANNOUNCES BID FOR COLES DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

Bringing innovation, accountability and excellence to our school system.
Manassas, VA I February 2, 2015 – Today, Willie Deutsch announced his bid for school board in the Coles District.  With the recent announcement that Dr. Michael Otaigbe is not seeking reelection, it is important that we elect bold, innovative leadership in November to improve the Prince William County educational system.

“Currently, Prince William County has some of the lowest SOL and SAT scores as well as the most overcrowded schools in the Commonwealth. We continue to pursue expensive building projects instead of focusing resources on educating our children.  This equation is a recipe for failure, not the world-class education Prince William County students deserve.  Prince William County Schools needs innovative, accountable leadership that will bring transparency to the school board. We need people who will ask, of every new spending proposal, whether the expenditure is the best way to educate our students. When every dollar is accounted for and focused on serving the students of our county, we can be proud of our education system.”

“With almost 60% of property taxes going to education, every tax payer has a stake in the school system.  It is our responsibility as a county to protect our investment in the future.  County taxpayers deserve a good return on their investment; in the form of giving the future citizens of this county the tools they need to be successful civic, business, and family leaders. Above all, kids deserve the strongest possible value out of each dollar that is being spent on their behalf. It is our moral responsibility to give the children of this county the best education possible and be careful stewards of the citizens money.”

Over the coming months, Willie will continue meeting with county residents to hear their ideas for improving the school system, and lay out a plan for reform and greater fiscal accountability. He looks forward to working with every resident of Prince William County to create innovative solutions that increase educational opportunities for all.

Coles District stretches through the center of Prince William County, running from west of Manassas to Minnieville Road on the eastern edge.  The entire school board is on the ballot in November of 2015.

Willie and his wife live in Prince William County where they have been active in their community and their church.  Willie works as a communications professional with a history in data analysis.  He has over a decade of experience in the state and county Republican Party.

Are we still panicking about an Article V Convention?

In response to the esteemed Rob Kenyon’s response to my response to his argument against an Article V Convention, I posit the following:

1) My argument that the 38 State ratification requirement trumps concerns about the rules that would apply an Article V Convention still stands.

2) The make-up of the state legislatures make now the best time for conservatives to trigger an Article V Convention, one is ever to be triggered.

3) The fact that you disagree with the views of some who favor an Article V Convention is not a reason to panic and fear-monger about the possibility of such a convention.

Mr. Kenyon focuses, as many do, on the unknown in the world of Article V Conventions.  Many “scholars” on both sides of the debate claim to know how an Article V Convention would be formed, what rules would apply, how states will be represented, etc. The fact is we don’t know any of this, because there has never been an Article V Convention before and the Constitution is silent on the matter. What we do know is that the Convention must be called by Congress, without intervention from the Executive Branch.  Then we know that the Convention may, if agreement is reached, propose Constitutional Amendments.  Then we know that such proposals must be ratified by the legislatures of at least 38 States in order to be accepted. (For a great non-spin outline of the process as it stands, the National Archives spell it out fairly well).

In reality, the form and methods adopted by an Article V Convention likely mean little, and such a body is unlikely to propose any earth-shattering amendments. Why? Because anything earth-shattering would ever pass the 38 state test, and politicians simply don’t like to propose things that are doomed to never pass. (See the power of the Veto-Threat, for example). However, as I stated in my original response – and as was not countered by Mr. Kenyon – it just doesn’t’ matter. Even if the Convention were to “run away” with its mandate and propose silly things, only the most universally accepted ideas would possibly be ratified by the legislatures of 38 states.

Further, the make-up of state legislatures is now more conservative than any time in modern history, with Republicans holding 35 State Senates compared to Democrats holding only 14 and Republicans holding 33 State Houses while Democrats hold only 16. This means that, in the current political climate, any Constitutional Amendments that could potentially be ratified would have to be conservative in nature.  So, while it is unlikely that any vaguely controversial amendments would possibly be ratified by 38 States, any amendments that are ratified would tend to be conservative amendments.  In short, now is the time for Conservatives to push for an Article V Convention.

This leads to the arguments surrounding “who is in favor of an Article V Constitutional Convention” and why might that matter?  The truth is, some people on both ends of ideology favor the idea of amending the Constitution at various times.  Mr. Kenyon pushes the names of people he finds distasteful (or liberal) that support a Convention as a reason to be against it. This sort of ad hominem rhetorical device really has no place in this argument.  However, to counter such rhetoric, one need merely to look to the facts. Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly who are pushing for a Convention, and hard-right Virginia luminaries such as Ken Cuccenelli are pushing Virginia to opt-in.  It makes sense that the political right is currently pushing for a Convention as the political Right controls the ratification process. The fact that some leftists also push for a convention merely shows that people on both sides of the aisle realize that the system is not working well right now, and something has to give.

While Mr. Kenyon can continue to fear-monger, stating that it is “crunch-time” and “desperately important” that you contact your legislators, the reality is that it is unlikely any actual amendments would reach the 38 State ratification threshold. If some amendments did, they would be conservative or neutral in nature. Most probably, they would likely look something like this:

AMENDMENT XXVIII 

After one year from the ratification of this article, the congress may borrow money on the credit of the United States only by borrowing such money from a Citizen of the United States, except in time of war as declared pursuant to Section 8. of this Constitution. No Citizen of the United States may transfer such debt to a non-Citizen.

AMENDMENT XXIX

SECTION. 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the Senator more than twice. But this Article shall not apply to current or previous terms of any person holding the office of Senator as of the time that this Article was ratified by the States, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of Senator, or acting as Senator, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of Senator or acting as Senator during the remainder of such term.

SECTION. 2. No person shall be elected to the office of the Representative more than five times. But this Article shall not apply to current or previous terms of any person holding the office of Representative as of the time that this Article was ratified by the States, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of Representative, or acting as Representative, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of Representative or acting as Representative during the remainder of such term. 

The first would allow for the United States to acquire debt only by selling bonds or borrowing from U.S. Citizens, unless Congress declares war. The second would finally place Term Limits on Congress. Those are likely the only two concepts that have any potential to gain traction in 38 states. Would either Amendment be so bad?

The Virginia Conservative Network – What is it really about?

When Eric Cantor “returned” from Wall Street to headline the newly minted Virginia Conservative Network  speculation ran wild from Cantor wanting to teach Republicans “how to ‘win’,” to Cantor running for governor in 2017 to Cantor setting up to take his seat back from Dave Brat in 2016.  As time has moved on and people have spread the word, it appears that the true intention of the group is very much Cantor being Cantor and Ray Allen being Ray Allen.

It was reported that Ray Allen’s sour grapes in May of 2014 were so sour that he stated he intended to bankrupt the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV), to install his own people throughout all levels of RPV’s State Central Committee, and to rebuild the RPV with money from Eric Cantor’s donors. 

It appears that the Virginia Conservative Network is part of that plan.  According to a very reliable source, the Virginia Conservative Network is really just a defacto employment agency for Cantor operatives, Ray Allen’s consultancy, and Creative Direct. The source says, the true goals of the Virginia Conservative Network is to use the Cantor machine and money to retake the GOP State Central Committee and the Republican County Committees. With this The Virginia Conservative Network would control the nomination methods, party voice, and ultimately who is nominated for what offices. By controlling the nominees, the Virginia Conservative Network could require them to use their operatives, hire their people, use their consultants, and purchase certain amounts of mail and media from Creative Direct. This would re-establish the Ray Allen money machine and basically puts Cantor in control of the Virginia GOP at the State and County level without ever having to run for anything.

Essentially, this is the slating controversy all over again at a grander and more organized scale, with money flowing towards Cantor’s crew as a nice little side bonus.

Crunch Time In The Fight To Stop An Article V Convention Call In The Old Dominion

I ruffled some feathers when I opined a few weeks ago about the possibility of a Article V convention. Now that several bills have advanced to the floor of the General Assembly calling for an Article V convention, there seems to be a real chance of passage of such a thing for the first time since Speaker Howell and the General Assembly wisely revoked Virginia’s previous call for an Article V convention over ten years ago. Many good conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli support such an idea. Nevertheless, the more I learn about not just the concept itself, but those behind it, the worse an idea it seems.

The people, and the money, behind the push for an Article V convention, are, shall we say, suspect. Mark Meckler, the President of the Convention of States project, was, of all things, a distributor with Herbalife, the purveyor of dietary supplements that works through a Mary Kay/Amway-style pyramid scheme. Mr. Meckler apparently made quite a killing, being near the top of the Herbalife pyramid. Meckler had never shown any real inclination to be involved in politics. This changed when he suddenly jumped into politics, co-founding Tea Party Patriots (TPP) with Jenny Beth Martin. For brevity’s sake, I won’t rehash the issues with TPP becoming a cash cow for its leadership here, but Google will quickly turn up a number of references should readers require them. Oddly enough, TPP, like Herbalife, distributed what it took in (initially through membership fees, then later contracted a large fundraising firm which kept up to 70% of every dollar taken in for TPP) through a pyramid-like scheme. I don’t believe in that sort of coincidence. Mr. Meckler then left TPP for the Convention of States project. It’s unknown how much they pay their employees, of course, but it is VERY well-funded. Here in Virginia, it is allied to the Middle Resolution PAC, which is bankrolled by Bob Bailie, an establishment Republican megadonor. In the interests of brevity, I also won’t get into the longstanding issues with Middle Resolution and conservatives, but like with regard to TPP, Google will be your friend.
There is one last tidbit regarding Mr. Meckler. He recently joined up with Living Room Conversations, a group that, based on their site, is very left-leaning. Their other public representatives include a co-founder of MoveOn.org, a former organizer of the Coffee Party, and Van Jones (!). I am not making this up.

The advocates of the Convention of States project have still failed to demonstrate how an Article V convention could be limited once called, or how they could guarantee the “one state, one vote” structure they propose, or how they could guarantee that the delegates would be strict constructionist Constitutional conservatives. Their constitutional law expert, Robert Natelson, argues that state legislatures have such power. As it turns out, he’s wrong. Given the political makeup of Virginia, does anyone think that, even granting the CoS advocates that they could set up the convention exactly the way they propose, that our delegate would be a Ken Cuccinelli or Dave Brat? It’s far more likely that the General Assembly would select, if not a Howell or Norment themselves, someone like… oh, Frank Wagner or Barry Knight, or if we roll snake eyes, Bill Bolling. Consider that. Then consider the delegates that states like, say, New York might choose. If we are lucky, they’d send Michael Bloomberg. It is highly unlikely that an Article V convention would be led by conservatives, and extremely likely that it would yield exceedingly dangerous proposed amendments, which would then have considerable momentum for passage through the state legislatures, by the same Congress that constructed the convention in the first place. This is why the left is pushing for an Article V convention through Move To Amend and Wolf PAC. Some suggest that penalties could be imposed on delegates who exceed the instructions of a state which appointed them to an Article V convention, but there is no case law supporting that such a thing would stand. None. Once the convention is called, it’s anyone’s ballgame. Some CoS advocates even insist that an Article V convention is not a constitutional convention. Black’s Law Dictionary says otherwise. It’s also worth noting that at the 1787 convention, every delegate other than George Mason and Elbridge Gerry, and one other gentleman (whose name escapes me at the moment) wanted to leave the convention option out of Article V completely, yet these three threatened to leave the convention unless a convention to propose amendments was added, and ended up doing so anyhow because it didn’t go far enough to suit them (they wanted the convention model that CoS advocates, and didn’t get it). A convention simply wasn’t among the vehicles the framers had in mind to restrain an overarching federal leviathan. Tremendous and unnecessary danger awaits the republic if an Article V convention should come to pass.

To sum up, it is desperately important for the General Assembly to defeat HJ497 and HJ499 on the floor of the House of Delegates, and SJ252 and SJ269 on the floor of the Senate of Virginia this week. Delegate Bob Marshall and Senator Dick Black have been absolute heroes on this issue. They need YOUR help! Contact your legislators (politely and concisely) and let them know you oppose these bills, and any call for an Article V convention.

Why We Should Pay Attention to Carly Fiorina

As has been reported recently, it appears very likely that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will be launching a Presidential campaign sometime in the not-too-distant future, quite possibly as the only woman in the Republican field. Most of the analysis of her potential campaign has stated that she is likely really trying to set herself up for the Vice-Presidency (which, if she runs a strong campaign but falls short of the nomination, could be a possibility) or for a Cabinet position under a Republican President (this I have more trouble believing–she is qualified today for a Cabinet position under a Republican President, she does not need to run an unsuccessful campaign for President to prove that to anyone).

However, I think it’s a mistake to discount her chances of winning the Presidential nomination so quickly. She may well be a long-shot, but, in such a crowded race, pretty much everyone else is a long shot at this point as well. Watching her very well-received speech in Iowa a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me what I think her strategy is.

It goes beyond just being the only woman in the race (that strategy would not be likely to succeed in a Republican nomination race, our party is not generally into the idea of identity politics just for the simple sake of identity politics). However, she appears to be utilizing her gender to amplify her message in three ways:

#1. She is using it to help her further emphasize her non-traditional-for-a-Presidential-candidate background in a campaign in which a large percentage of Republican voters are likely to be searching for a candidate outside the traditional political circles.

#2: She is using it to be able to attack Hillary Clinton as aggressively as possible (but in substantive, policy-oriented ways rather than in shrill, personally insulting ways) without fear of any sort of phony “War on Women” charges.

#3 (and, while this seems to have gotten the least notice from media analysts, I think it may well be the most important part of her early strategy): She is using it to talk more about abortion than most of the other candidates (with the possible exception of retreads like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum).

While her business experience and economic issues appear likely to be the main thrust of her message, if she establishes herself as the most exciting and most electable candidate willing to talk about the abortion issue in a meaningful way rather than simply paying lip service to it like most of the other candidates will do, then watch out for her in Iowa, in which religious conservatives play a huge role in the caucuses.

If she manages to win a large percentage of the religious conservative vote in Iowa, coupled with at least some other support (maybe from Republican women and from some other activists who see her as a strong opponent for Hillary Clinton), then she has a real chance to either win the caucuses or at least finish in the top three. If she wins them, her momentum may be very difficult to stop. If she simply finishes second or third, then she will be a top-tier candidate with as much chance to win the nomination as any other top-tier candidate.

As I said, I think it is a mistake to view her candidacy in purely symbolic terms or as merely angling for a good consolation prize down the road. She may really be “in it to win it.”

 

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Austin Haynes releases his first round of endorsements for Clerk of the Court

Candidate Austin Haynes today released his first round of impressive endorsements in his quest to become Prince William Counties next Clerk of the Court :

29 Jan 2015

It is my great honor to announce my first set of endorsements in my quest to become Clerk of the Circuit Court for the 31st Judicial Circuit. After Mayor Hal Parrish endorsed me during his speech tonight at the Manassas Republican Committee Meeting, I had the pleasure to announce the following endorsements:

Mayor Hal Parrish
Council Member Marc Aveni
Council Member Ian Lovejoy
Council Member Jonathan Way
Council Member Sheryl Bass
Council Member Mark Wolfe

In addition I have the endorsement of Delegate Jackson Miller.

Plus I am very pleased to have been notified I have received the endorsement of Virginia Virtucon. I thank their editorial board for the honor. I will be announcing additional endorsements over the next couple of weeks.

Thank you

We are making great strides in our attempt to bring professional and fiscally responsible management to the Clerk’s office. With your help we will bring a new positive atmosphere to the office. Please vote on April 25th for Austin Haynes.

authorized by Friends of Austin Haynes and approved by the Candidate

 

haynes

 

Whitbeck Slams Stimpson Campaign

Earlier this week, Susan Stimpson’s campaign for House of Delegates against Speaker William Howell sent out an inflammatory  email accusing the Republican Party of Virginia of endorsing Howell in their Primary.

A response to Susan Stimpson:
Susan,

Yesterday you alleged that RPV staff acted to secretly support a candidate in a nominating process. These allegations are not true.

As you know, the RPV has not endorsed either candidate in your primary and I have said repeatedly that neither I nor the Party will pick sides in a nominating process during my tenure. I vehemently reject your assertion that donations to the Republican Party will go to support tax increases. I have said that the RPV must stand for something, and in this case, that “something” is the Virginia Republican Creed. Any donations from any source will be put towards that effort.

As you are aware, the RPV has sent out legislative district surveys for years. These surveys aren’t about getting anyone elected, they are about holding elected officials accountable. These mail pieces that ask constituents where they stand on issues. We want our GOP leaders to be responsive to their districts — that’s why we send them to Richmond. It may be easy for a legislator to ignore a phone call or email, but when RPV brings the opinions of several hundred constituents to a legislative office at one time (prior to the legislative session, no less) the impact is unmistakable.

I think your email should have contained the entire survey so I’ve attached the whole image below.

Not every legislator works with RPV on this project. The ones that do meet a strict standard. No mail is sent after the General Assembly Session convenes, and this particular mailing met that standard despite the post office delivering it several weeks late. The mailers contain no electioneering material, and they’re returned to RPV. That ensures that they will wind up in the hands of the legislators in question, and not be shunted off to some third party to harvest email addresses. Completed surveys are delivered during the General Assembly session for a reason — so our GOP members will have the thoughts and concerns of their voters in front of them when it matters most: while they’re casting votes.

While I disagree with your characterizations and the wrong information in your email, we will be revisiting existing standards for mail at our next Executive Committee meeting next week.

John Whitbeck, Chairman
Republican Party of Virginia

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Supervisor Ken Reid out…… Hollingshead In? UPDATED

Word around the lovely county of Loudoun is there is a push for former congressional candidate Stephen Hollingshead to run for Leesburg District Supervisor. The word on the street is there are several electeds who are putting the pressure on Mr Hollingshead, and you can add me to the list. I think he would be great for the people of Loudoun County and should jump into the arena.

We as always will keep you posted .

 

UPDATE: WE ARE TOLD MR. HOLLINGSHEAD IS UNFORTUNATELY NOT RUNNING FOR SUPERVISOR

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PWC In No Hurry To Get New Businesses Open

Prince William County is infamous for being a terrible place for new businesses to get started (unless you are a home builder with a treasury full of potential campaign contributions) as I have previously detailed here, here and here. Well, right next to the Sweet Frog frozen yogurt shop I wrote about in my post from 2013 there is a new Indian restaurant called Curry in a Hurry and it has suffered even greater regulatory delays at the hands of the county. In fact, it has become such a joke in my community that a topic was started on our HOA online forum called “Curry (not) in a Hurry.”

Posted Under Topic: Curry (not) in a Hurry
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Good news, Curry in a Hurry opened this week.  According to the owner they were ready to open eight months ago but were held up by the county.  That’s what I figured was happening.  Regardless, they are open now and I had some very tasty curried goat yesterday.

Whether you have a taste for curried goat or not (and I fall into the latter category myself), it is unconscionable that the county can delay the opening of a business for such an extended length of time on account of bureaucracy and regulatory red tape. These are small businesses that people have sunk their savings into starting, whether from scratch or by purchasing a franchise. How they can continue to survive financially without a source of income from their business can only be chalked up to being a testament to their determination to succeed.

In this case, they were paying rent on space for at least a year going back to when they first started to renovate it. I’m sure that they had no idea Prince William County would delay their opening by a period of time longer than it took to actually build out the space and ready it for opening. If their problems were anything akin to their next door neighbor Sweet Frog, the issues that kept them from opening were just downright stupid and would not have impacted the health or safety of employees or customers.

The regulatory climate in PWC is downright onerous and until someone does something about it, businesses will rightfully continue to pass it by for friendlier places such as Loudoun and Stafford counties.