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Orndorff for Chairman

April 9, 2012 1 comment

By now, you’ve likely heard that I am seeking the Chairmanship of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee. I’m seeking the Chairmanship after a decade of political work and leadership on the committee. I wanted to lay out my platform below here for visitors to the blog, as I know that some have come here seeking more information. I’ve also uploaded a brochure that can be viewed here.

The brochure provides a great deal more information, and I feel my vision lays out some clear goals should I be elected chair, so I don’t feel the need for a lengthy post. Basically, I am seeking the chairmanship at this time, a time when our committee and our party is desperately in need of leadership to advance our shared values. This is not a public policy position, but I consider myself a strong conservative. Ultimately, we must recognize the fact that, although we may not agree on every single issue, we absolutely must work together or else risk allowing those who are diametrically opposed to our values to prevail. As Ronald Reagan said, “My eighty percent friend is not my twenty percent enemy.” We need a chairman who will work with all sides and will encourage people to always be civil and to recognize the need for unity. We have alot of work to do, but I feel up to the challenge and have the experience to prove I can lead this committee to victory. Again, check out my brochure, and if you’re interested, please attend your local precinct mass meeting (locations here) at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, April 12th so you can be a delegate at the Monday, April 23rd convention, at 7:30 pm at Central High School in Woodstock. I hope that between now and then I can earn your support!

OPENNESS

  • Ensuring all party calls are written clearly and to legal requirements
  • Publicizing party procedures to all interested participants
  • Providing rosters and state and local party plans to all committee members
  • Holding regular meetings and conferences with executive board members
  • Actively recruiting volunteers through regular social events
  • Regular website updates and e-newsletters
  • Conducting all party business by parliamentary procedure and party rules

UNITY

  • Open door policy to address concerns of committee members and officeholders
  • Believes the position of chair is one of a fair and unbiased arbiter of the process
  • As chairman, Craig will seek no other party or public office
  • Having frank and open discussions about our nominating processes

ACTION

  • Establishing clear fundraising and campaign plans every year
  • Making media outreach strategies a planning priority
  • Writing and approving a budget each year
  • Working with candidates for victory across the board
  • Establishing new databases of supporters and voters
  • Making sure that we start each year with clear contact goals and timeliness
  • Providing political education for precinct and district leadership (manuals/training sessions)

2012 Shenandoah County Reagan Day Dinner

March 23, 2012 1 comment

Update: Jamie Radtke, candidate for U.S. Senate, has been added to the line-up. Tix are still available, so get yours today!

The Shenandoah County Republican Committee is proud to announce its

2012 RONALD REAGAN DINNER

April 7, 2012

Yellow Barn – Shenandoah Caverns, VA

Featuring:

U.S. Senate Candidates:

Former Governor & U.S. Senator George Allen

Delegate Bob Marshall

Jamie Radtke

6th Congressional District Candidates:

Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Karen Kwiatkowski

Our Legislative Representatives in Richmond:

Senator Mark Obenshain

Delegate Todd Gilbert

The Dinner, catered by Shaffer’s, starts at 6:15 pm

Private Reception for Sponsors and Dignitaries at 5:30 pm

Silent Auction benefitting the Republican Women of Shenandoah County at 5:30 pm

Standard Tickets: $25

Sponsorship Opportunities

Included with a Sponsorship: Dinner & Private Reception, with a chance to meet, and take pictures with, our distinguished guests; A chance to sit at a table, during dinner, with one of our distinguished guests; and recognition in our Event Program.  At dinner, Sponsors will be seated in the order of their sponsorship; within each level, seats will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.

Levels of Sponsorship

Event Host: $75 per ticket.  In addition to the aforementioned sponsorship perks, Event Hosts will be recognized for their generosity at the greeter’s table.

Event Sponsor: $50 per ticket.

Event Patron: $35 per ticket.

Program Advertising: $50 for Business card size; $100 for half page; $200 for full page.

Contact information:

Jeremy McCleary, SCRC Chairman, or Blake Philips, SCRC Events Chair

(540)459-2444 or (540)459-3727; mcclearylaw@gmail.com; P.O. Box 389 – Woodstock, VA 22664

Call to 2012 Shenandoah County, Virginia Republican Precinct Mass Meetings and Convention

March 19, 2012 1 comment

Below, for the purposes of public information, is the complete call to Shenandoah County’s Precinct Mass Meetings and County Convention. All of the legal information necessary is below. However, for newbies, here is a basic guide to the process. On Thursday, April 12th at 7:30 pm precinct mass meetings will be held at the locations listed below to elect delegates who will then represent their precinct at the County Convention on Monday, April 23rd at 7:30 p.m. at Central High School in Woodstock. That convention will then a county party chairman and other members of the committee. It will also elect delegates to the Sixth District Convention, which will elect a district chair, three vice-chairmen, three members of the state central committee, one presidential elector and three delegates and three alternates to the Republican National Convention. The County Convention will also elect delegates to the State Convention, which will elect a state chairman, two members of the Republican National Committee, two at-large presidential electors, and thirteen delegates and thirteen alternates to the Republican National Convention. Information on these further up conventions is below, but feel free to ask any questions you may have about the process. I have further news to blog about regarding both the LFSWCD and the County GOP Committee, but for now I wanted to be sure this info gets out there for all interested Republicans.

Note: The voluntary registration fee for the 6th Congressional District Convention is actually $20. However, this is not a required part of the below call and was included for informative purposes only. Also, as these events are technically part of the nominating process for the public office of President, all fees are strictly voluntary.

CALL TO SHENANDOAH COUNTY, VIRGINIA
REPUBLICAN PARTY PRECINCT MASS MEETINGS
AND COUNTY CONVENTION

As Chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, pursuant to the Plan of Organization of the Republican Party of Virginia, and as recommended and directed by the Shenandoah County Republican Committee at its regular meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2012, I, Jeremy D. McCleary, do hereby issue this Call for Precinct Mass Meetings and a County Convention to be held as follows:
Precinct mass meetings will be held in the sixteen precincts of Shenandoah County at the following locations on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 7:30 PM:

Orkney Springs – Fire/Rescue Building
New Market – Fire Department
Conicville – Fire Hall
Mt. Jackson – Town Hall
Edinburg – Fire Hall
St. Luke – Parish Hall
Woodstock – Circuit Courtroom
Fort Valley – Fire Hall
Cedar Creek – Community Center
Toms Brook – Fire Hall
Lebanon Church – Community Center
Strasburg – Town Hall

The purpose of the precinct mass meetings is to elect delegates and alternate delegates to the Shenandoah County Republican Convention to convene at Central High School in Woodstock, Virginia, or its alternate site on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 7:30 PM

The purposes of the convention are:
1. To elect a Unit Chairman, members of the Unit Committee, and six (6) District Chairmen of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, in accordance with the Plan of Organization of the Republican Party of Shenandoah County, Virginia, and for the transaction of such other business as may properly come before the Convention; and
2. To elect up to 85 delegates and an equal number of alternate delegates to the Republican Party of Virginia State Convention, to be held on June 16th at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, beginning at 10:00 a.m. for the purposes of electing a State Party Chairman, RNC National Committeeman, RNC National Committeewoman, 13 At-Large Delegates and 13 At-Large Alternate Delegates to the RNC Convention, and two (2) At-Large Presidential Electors. Each unit is entitled to one (1) delegate vote per 250 Republican votes for Governor and President at their last election, so that Shenandoah County is entitled to 85 Delegate Votes; and
3. To elect up to 85 delegates and an equal number of alternate delegates to represent Shenandoah County at the Sixth Congressional District Convention of the Republican Party of Virginia to be held at Rockbridge County High School 143 Greenhouse Road, Lexington, Virginia 24450, or its alternate site, starting at 10:00 a.m. local time on May 5, 2012. The purposes of the Sixth Congressional District Convention of the Republican Party of Virginia are as follows: (1) Elect three (3) delegates and three (3) alternate delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention to be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, beginning on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. The purpose of the Republican National Convention is to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States; (2) Nominate one (1) presidential Elector for the election on November 6, 2012; Elect a District Chairman of the Republican Party; (3) Elect three (3) members of the State Central Committee; (4) Elect three (3) regional vice-chairmen to the Sixth District Committee; and (4) the transaction of any other such business as may properly come before the convention. Each unit is entitled to one (1) delegate vote per 250 Republican votes for
Governor and President at their last election, so that Shenandoah County is entitled to 85 Delegate Votes; and

Voluntary Registration Fee

A voluntary registration fee of $1 is requested of each delegate and alternate delegate to the County Convention, but it is not required to participate in the convention. A voluntary registration fee of $35.00 is requested of each delegate and alternate delegate to the Sixth District Convention, to be paid when the certification is filed with the District Chairman. A voluntary registration fee of $35.00 is requested by the Republican Party of Virginia per delegate or alternate elected to the State Convention. All fees are subject to the limits and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act and are not tax-deductible.

Allotment of Delegate Votes

The convention shall be composed of delegates and alternate delegates from the respective precincts they represent. Representation shall be based on a percentage of the total number of Republican votes cast in each precinct in the last Presidential and Gubernatorial elections combined. Each precinct will be allowed one (1) delegate vote and one (1) alternate vote for each seventy-five (75) Republican votes cast, or a major fraction thereof. Each precinct shall be entitled to at least one (1) delegate vote. Up to five (5) delegates may be elected for each delegate vote, but no delegate shall have less than one-fifth (1/5) of a vote. Pursuant to Section H (3) of the Plan of Organization of the Republican Party of Virginia, each precinct delegation shall vote full vote at the convention unless otherwise designated by the electing members of the precinct at its mass meeting. Precincts shall be entitled to vote as follows:

Orkney Springs – 13 Delegate Votes and 13 Alternate Votes
New Market – 34 Delegate Votes and 34 Alternate Votes
Conicville – 24 Delegate Votes and 24 Alternate Votes
Mt. Jackson – 19 Delegate Votes and 19 Alternate Votes
Edinburg – 21 Delegate Votes and 21 Alternate Votes
St. Luke – 22 Delegate Votes and 22 Alternate Votes
Woodstock – 40 Delegate Votes and 40 Alternate Votes
Fort Valley – 12 Delegate Votes and 12 Alternate Votes
Cedar Creek – 2 Delegate Votes and 2 Alternate Votes
Toms Brook – 28 Delegate Votes and 28 Alternate Votes
Lebanon Church – 19 Delegate Votes and 19 Alternate Votes
Strasburg – 31 Delegate Votes and 31 Alternate Votes
Vote Total: 265 Delegate Votes and 265 Alternate Votes
Delegate Total: 1325 Delegates and 1325 Alternate Delegates

Candidacy Filing Requirements

Candidates for the election for the position of Shenandoah County Unit Chairman shall file a written declaration of candidacy by mail or in person to Mr. Jeremy D. McCleary, Chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee by Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm to Jeremy D. McCleary, Chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, 147 N. Main Street Woodstock, Virginia 22664. Postmarks shall not be considered. Only those who so file may stand for election at this Convention. Should only one person file for chairman under these requirements then he/she shall automatically be declared elected as chairman. No nominations shall be accepted from the floor of the County Convention, unless no candidate files for the position.

Qualifications for Participation

All legal and qualified voters of Shenandoah County, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested to express in open meeting, either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in the Convention. All individuals desiring to participate in the Convention may be required to present some form of identification such as a voter registration card, driver’s license, or other positive identification.

Call for Sixth Congressional District Convention

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

EDIT: A previous version of this post accidentally showed Roanoke City’s allotment twice and left out Shenandoah. This has been fixed. Sorry for the confusion.

Below you will find the official call for the 2012 Sixth Congressional District Convention. This document lays out the time and date for each meeting, as well as the delegate allotment for each county in the Sixth. What it does not lay out, however, is how to become a delegate—that is because it is up to each county committee to decide how and when delegates are selected. Each county will be issuing their own call for an event to select delegates for both the Sixth District and State Convention. As of this writing, a call has not been issued for Shenandoah County. I will provide that as soon as it is available.

The nomination for Congress on the Republican side will not be decided at this convention but rather by the June 12th primary. Incumbent Congressman Bob Goodlatte and liberty activist Karen Kwiatkowski are the only announced individuals seeking the nod. The filing deadline is March 29th.

Even though the nod is not up at the Convention, I still strongly encourage activists to attend. The Convention will select our District Chair, District Representatives to the State Central Committee (the Republican Party of Virginia’s governing body), the district vice-chairs,  and three delegates to the National Convention. These delegate slots could prove particularly crucial should it look like we will be headed to multiple ballots at the convention, as delegates are free to vote their conscience after the first ballot. As towards the leadership positions, we need principled conservatives who also understand the political process and how to win elections as well as how to deal with inevitable conflicts that arise in party politics. Read all about the convention below, and if you are interested in running for a position, the form can be found here.

__________________________________________________________________________

OFFICIAL CALL

District Convention

Of the Sixth Congressional District

Of the Republican Party of Virginia

May 5, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Local Time

As Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District of the Republican Party of Virginia and pursuant to the Plan of Organization, and as recommended and directed by the District Committee, I, Wendell Walker, do hereby issue this Call for a District Convention to be held at the Rockbridge County High School, 143 Greenhouse Road, Lexington, Virginia 24450, or its alternate site, starting at 10:00 a.m. local time on May 5, 2012.

PURPOSES

  1. Elect three (3) delegates and three (3) alternate delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention to be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, beginning on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. The purpose of the Republican National Convention is to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States.
  2. Nominate one (1) presidential Elector for the election on November 6, 2012.
  3. Elect a District Chairman of the Republican Party.
  4. Elect three (3) members of the State Central Committee.
  5. Elect three (3) regional vice-chairmen to the Sixth District Committee.
  6. The transaction of any other such business as may properly come before the convention.

QUALIFICATION FOR PARTICIPATION

All legal and qualified voters of the Sixth Congressional District under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, nation origin, or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as a member of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.

REGISTRATION

Convention registration shall begin at 8:30 a.m. and shall end at 10:30 a.m.  The Convention shall be called to order at 10:00 a.m. Every person elected as a delegate or alternate to the Sixth District Convention will be asked to pay a voluntary $20.00 fee. This fee will be paid to the unit represented, and the unit will forward it to the Sixth District Convention.

BALLOTTING

All contests shall be by majority vote. Upon completion of the first ballot, if the contest has not been decided by majority vote, another ballot shall be held to decide the remaining contest, and the candidate who has received the lowest vote will be dropped after each ballot. Subsequent ballots shall be so conducted until the contest has been decided by majority vote. Balloting shall not begin before 10:30 a.m.

COMPOSITION OF THE CONVENTION

The District Convention shall be composed of delegates and alternate delegates of the respective units they represent. Each Unit shall have one delegate vote per 250 votes of “Republican Voting Strength” as defined in the Republican State Party Plan of Organization (“the Plan”). The delegates and alternates shall be elected in county and city mass meetings, party canvasses or conventions called for this purpose by each unit committee in conformity with the Plan. The number of delegates and delegate votes of each Unit shall be as follows:

UNIT VOTING STRENGTH MAX. NO. DELEGATES
Amherst 58 290
Augusta 155 775
Bath 8 40
Bedford 80 400
Botetourt 77 385
Buena Vista 8 40
Harrisonburg 39 195
Highland 6 30
Lexington 6 30
Lynchburg 121 605
Page 45 225
Roanoke City 101 505
Roanoke County 154 770
Rockbridge 39 195
Rockingham 156 780
Shenandoah 85 425
Staunton 36 180
Warren 58 290
Waynesboro 33 165

CERTIFICATION OF DELEGATES

The delegates present in a given delegation shall designate which alternate delegates shall vote in the place of an absent delegate except where the electing body electing the delegates has determined another method of alternate delegate selection.
Convention delegates so elected shall be certified in writing with their respective names and addresses including zip codes over the signatures of the permanent chairman and permanent secretary of the unit mass meeting or convention, or of the unit chairman of the unit committee which may have conducted a party canvass to select the delegates and alternate delegates.
ALL CERTIFICATIONS, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF LOCAL MASS MEETING, PARTY CANVASS OR CONVENTION MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER APRIL 26, 2012. After the filing deadline of the certification, no change may be made except a certified alternate delegate may be made a delegate. A copy of the published call of the convention, mass meeting or party canvass called for the purpose of selecting delegates and alternate delegates to said convention, must accompany the certification with the date of publication included. Certification should be mailed or delivered as follows: Original – District Chairman and Wendell Walker, 2421 Old Forest Road, Lynchburg VA 24501
Second Copy – District Secretary and Sandy Gates, 2847 Country Club Road, Troutville, VA 24175
Third Copy – Unit records
A delegate or alternate delegate is not certified until his or her name, address, and phone number have been provided on the certification form.

CANDIDACY FILING REQUIREMENTS

Any person seeking election to the offices listed above under “Purposes” must file a written declaration of candidacy and a filing fee with the Sixth Congressional District Secretary, Sandy Gates, 2847 Country Club Road, Troutville, Virginia 24175, to be received by 5:00 p.m., March 31, 2012.  Postmarks shall not be considered. Required filing forms can be obtained via the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia website at http://www.sixthdistrictgop.org/  or at the Republican Party of Virginia website at www.rpv.org.
Paid for and authorized by the Sixth District Congressional District of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Newt “Hollywood” Gingrich

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m not a trained historian, at least in the sense of one current presidential candidate. I do not hold a PhD or even a Masters in the subject. But I do consider myself something of an amateur historian and do possess some historical training and experience, as a former schoolteacher and museum employee. I read quite a bit on a number of historical topics. One particular interest of mine is the Cold War era. I particularly enjoy viewing this through the contemporary media and pop culture of the period.

In the 1980s there were a number of films that considered the after-effects or on-set of a nuclear exchange between the superpowers. Some were primarily focused on the aftermath: Threads and The Day After are two infamous films that look at the toll on society and individuals that would ensue after such an exchange. These films also looked at the conditions that might lead to such an exchange. They tended to have a largely anti-nuclear, left-leaning message.

One film focused more on the lead-up and did so in a fascinating way. The 1984 Canadian produced Countdown to Looking Glass, which originally aired on HBO on October 14th of that year, considers the scenario of an economic collapse leading to Soviet puppet states springing up in the Middle East, particularly Oman. The U.S. sends troops to Saudi Arabia and Oman responds with a blockcade in the Strait of Hormuz. Soviets deploy submarines in the region as shots are exchanged on a variety of fronts. Things come to a head when the Omanis and the US exchange fire, resulting in the loss of an Omani gunboat. A Soviet sub is tracked under the Nimitz, and eventually nukes are exchanged. We’re left with the President and his closest advisors boarding the Looking Glass, an airborne command center and the very real possibility of an all-out strategic nuclear exchange.

What makes the film so compelling is that the events are portrayed through a mock newscast. The producers purposely added dramatic scenes and used compressed time (i.e. several days of events presented over the 1 hour 26 minutes of the film), but the newscast aspect lends a great deal of authenticity and really captures the paranoia and anxiety of the era. They also used real pundits and politicians, such as Eric Sevareid and Senator Eugene McCarthy. It does a fairly good job of staying somewhat neutral while still capturing the immensity of the potential situation.

Also appearing in the film is a young, telegenic Congressman from the state of Georgia. At the time he was a right-wing back-bench bomb thrower who was quickly making a name for himself. A committed Cold Warrior, he makes numerous references to past history and hails Winston Churchill.

You might know him. It’s former Speaker and current GOP Presidential candidate Newton Leroy Gingrich.

It’s been a while since I viewed the film, but I believe Newt appears twice from what I remember He appears at around 6:20 in this clip from the first third:

And at about 6:42 in this clip from the last third:

Newt isn’t exactly a Hollywood star like, say, former Senator Fred Thompson. But he has appeared in a variety of films, mostly documentaries. But in 1995 he did have a cameo appearance in an episode of Murphy Brown. Check out the former Speaker’s full Hollywood credits here.

As an aside, I strongly suggest you check out Countdown to Looking Glass. It may not have the power it once did, but it still pulls up a whole lot of emotions.

Reagan on Newt, Romney

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

In last night’s CNN debate in South Carolina, Mitt Romney made mention that both Newt Gingrich and George Romney, Mitt’s father, were mentioned in The Reagan Diaries and claimed that Newt was mentioned only once and that Reagan thought he had a bad idea. Welp, I happen to have a copy of the Diaries, so here for you to judge for yourself is both the entry on Newt from 1983:

Monday, January 3rd
[Staff and NSC meetings; calls from congressional leadership.]
A tough budget meeting & how to announce the deficits we’ll have–they are horrendous and yet the Dems. in Cong. are saying there is no room for budgett cuts. Met with a group of young Repub. Congressmen. Newt Gingrich has a proposal for freezing the budget at the 1983 level. It’s a tempting idea except that it would cripple our defense program. And if we make an exception on that every special interest group will be asking for the same.

And actually TWO mentions on George Romney in 1984:

Friday, June 22
…..
In the Rose Garden after lunch I met with representatives of the Internation Youth Year Commission. Then a meeting with Sec. Schultz, mainly on the Soviet situation. No break through but further evidence that they aren’t quite sure which way they want to go. George Romney came by, he is heading up a part of our Pvt. Sector Initiative called “Volunteer.” He’s interested in possibly a special medal for outstanding volunteers. I’m rather inclined to think maybe they should be formally included in the presentation of Medals of Freedom. Did a portrait session with mike Evans & then off to  Camp David. Got there in time for a swim.

And on June 1986, there’s a mention that Reagan attended a luncheon for volunteer action group led by George Romney. Note that I only own the abridged edition edited by Douglas Brinkley–the Reagan Library sells the unabridged edition. There’s likely more on Romney there. In this edition, Ron Paul was not mentioned, nor was Rick Santorum, naturally, as Santorum was not elected to Congress until 1990, after the end of Reagan’s term.

I’m not going to go now and track down everything Ronald Reagan ever said about these four, if anything. Just wanted to clarify the historical record to the best of my ability.

As Goes Virginia…..

December 27, 2011 1 comment

UPDATE: Via Bearing Drift, it has been learned that Rick Perry has launched his own legal challenge. Actually, it’s beyond launched–the suit has already been filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Their argument seems to be that the requirement that voters be registered to vote or eligible to register in Virginia unconstitutionally restricted his ability to recruit signature gatherers. (Focus on seems to be–I’m not a lawyer) They cite a number of other cases in which registration requirements were struck down. We seem to finally have a number for Perry–6k signatures. This isn’t even close to the 10,000 valid required. We’ll see how this pans out–he may get relief from the court, but I imagine the jeers will be even louder from the blogosphere than they were before. Also, one correction–any legislative fix will require 80 delegates, not 60 as I wrote earlier. That means they’ll need 13 Dems to cross over (12 if Putney votes with the GOP).

This is a Virginia-centric blog, so of course, one would expect me to view the entire political landscape through the prism of the Old Dominion. And sometimes, that can be a rather jaundiced view. However, a funny thing happened over the weekend….Virginia became kinda important. Or at least we think we did, or maybe we became less important….at any rate, people were talking about us.

That came when, in the early hours of Christmas Eve, it became known that the ballot for the March 6th Republican Presidential Primary would feature only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Volunteers at RPV’s Obenshain Center had been working since the morning of December 23rd. Paul and Romney got through easily, but on that evening it was discovered that Texas Governor Rick Perry wouldn’t make it. That pretty much left Gingrich for those who don’t much care for either candidate, and the supporters of those two to root for Gingrich to fail. Facebook and Twitter lit up with conversation rivaling election night itself. Granted, some of this was likely due to the fact that “Ron Paul” is something of a fighting word for both Ron Paul detractors and supporters, but it was still pretty amazing for the night before Christmas Eve. Ultimately, around 3 a.m., word came out that Gingrich had indeed fallen short. Huzzahs rang out from those who don’t much care for Gingrich, while everyone else who doesn’t much care for Romney or Paul found themselves rather disgruntled. To add tragedy to all of this, one volunteer died in an automobile accident after a day of working to verify signatures.

So what now? Well, let’s first look at this close to home. The very first reaction to this was the first thing that comes to the mind of any loser (or to the mind of any candidate too lazy/principled to fill out paperwork *cough*AlAsbury*cough*): Write-in Time! However, despite the fact that it is discussed every time a primary comes up, write-ins are not allowed in Virginia primaries. Newt Gingrinch, a Virginia voter, was out of the loop on this, along with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who suggested such a thing in his post-Christmas newsletter. What’s left for Gingrich? Well, there could be a legal challenge, but the Washington Post talked to observers who suggest this as unlikely. The other possibility would be an emergency change in election law that would allow write-ins. But the RTD notes this too is a problem: the GA doesn’t convene until Jan 11th, and ballots must be printed by Jan 21st. Emergency legislation requires a supermajority of (updated) four fifths–32 Senators, and 60 80 Delegates. Those are high barriers, and with a very slim Republican majority based solely on the fact we hold the LG’s chair, very unlikely to be reached.

Read more…

Books and the Ballotbox (Poll Included)

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Ah, the joys of campaigning. There’s many things to love about it….meeting new people, the rush of contacting voters, putting up signs and handing out bumperstickers. There’s one thing, though, I’ve never really loved: the quaddrenial rush of books from presidential contenders. There’s a few reasons I’ve come to loathe this. Largely, I feel bad for not reading them, even though most of them are just filled with ghostwritten pablum that differs little from the candidate’s stump speeches. I don’t read as quick as I used to, but with all these candidates, even if you are a fast reader, that’s still alot of time. Then there’s the whole thing of actually shelling out $30 if you want to read them before their author is little more than an afterthought in the race…..(I’m not on the Kindle train yet)

Apparently, somebody reads them, though. There was much ballyhooing about Cain’s book a little bit ago, how it appeared his campaign was more book tour than campaign. Now, the New York Times notes the same thing about Newt:

Even as he widens his lead in the polls, Newt Gingrich spends substantial time on an activity that raised questions about his ultimate motive when he was a back-of-the-pack candidate: selling and signing $25 copies of his books.

As his primary foe, Mitt Romney, and the White House intensify their efforts to negatively define Mr. Gingrich, his sole public event on Friday is at a bookstore in Washington. On Saturday he flies to Des Moines for a Republican debate but plans to squeeze in an afternoon book-signing.

Experienced campaign strategists cannot recall a top-tier contender devoting so much time to pitching products while seeking the White House. Mitt Romney, who also has a book out, has never sold it while stumping, his campaign said. President Obama, a best-selling author in 2007, did not incorporate sales events into campaign appearances, according to a spokesman for his re-election committee.

Mr. Gingrich’s devotion to book-selling, Republican strategists said, raises questions about the propriety of a candidate who is generating personal income while seeking the White House, as well as whether he is making the optimum use of limited campaign time.

There’s certainly plenty to talk about here, but let’s face it–Newt has spent the last twelve years or so as a political entrprenuer, starting organizations here, shilling a book there, appearing on this or that news network. I’m sure its a hard habit to break. And of course, Newt has always been a prolific writer (or the one whose name is on the jacket, at least), having written 21 some odd books throughout his career (some of which one intrepid New York Times Magazine author dared to read).

But what about candidates that are new to the writing game? Well, not so hot for Michele Bachmann (h/t Political Wire):

Michele Bachmann’s weak poll numbers may be showing up in slow sales of her memoir, Core of Conviction. In the two weeks since the book was released, it’s sold just 3,000 copies despite a media blitz and numerous book-signing events by Bachmann.

Those numbers come from Nielsen BookScan, which gets the information directly from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and most other retailers. The company estimates its sales numbers capture 75 percent of the book market although it currently does not get information from discount retailers Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club.

As of 5 PM ET on Wednesday, the book ranked 4,200 on Amazon’s bestseller list, although it ranked 62 on the site’s political bestseller list.

Ouch. It’s hard to judge how well her book is doing–sooooo many books are published in America that the average per book is around 500 copies (keep in mind that we’re talking about a really wide range of numbers here, so the average isn’t all that great of a statistic). But the fact that its not even intriguing readers of political books indicates that Bachmann’s book is not breaking through.

Honestly, not only is it not that important (trot out old “x’s don’t vote” trope here), but its not all that uncommon. If you really want to read any of these books after their shelf-life, I suggest in about nine months you head down to the Green Valley Book Fair, where they’ll be available for about $5/pound (ok, so they don’t sell them by the pound, but on average you’ll be paying about $3-5 per title)

Basically, there’s five kinds of political books

  • The reporting/history book–usually written by a third party shortly after or around the time of the events in question (“What It Takes”). A subset of these books may fall more in line with the history genre (The Last Campaign, about either the 1948 Election or RFK’s 1968 campaign, depending on which one of these same titled books you pick up) but still are plenty interesting for politicos
  • The kiss-off/tell all–written by an ex-administration official or someone who played a pivotal role in the events in question–you know, your Scott McCllellans of the world. Some my be polite, like Christie Todd Whitman, but even she had a critique in there
  • The campaign book–written by people who are actively running for office or considering it. Most are ghostwritten (see above)
  • The policy book–closely related to the campaign book, but written by someone who may not be seeking higher office in the near future but is trying to build support for their policies (Think “Young Guns” here)
  • The memoir–written by former officeholders. Usually written by the subject, but likely polished by a professional author (“Decision Points”, “My Life”)

Again, very few of these books have a very long shelf life. Probably the ones that last the longest are the memoirs and the history books, because they’ll be of interest long after the fact. The others, however, don’t tend to lend too much to either political professionals or historians, so don’t be surprised if they don’t see additional print runs.

So what say you, dear readers? Add categories in the comments, and chime in with the polls below about your political reading habits.

Mullins more than Mulling

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I broke it–well, insinuated at the possibility by reading in to something, anyways–first, but Bearing Drift confirms: RPV Pat Mullins will be seeking re-election at next June’s State Convention. The State Convention will likely be lightly attended compared to 2008 and 2009, as no nominations for federal office will be at hand (well, other than the nominations for Republican at-large presidential electors). However, the Chairman is still an important position as RPV heads into 2012 and 2013.

Over the past few days I have started calling folks to let them know that I intend to seek re-election as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia at the 2012 State Convention and to serve a full 4 year term. I hope to talk to you directly in the next few days or chat with you at the Advance about this decision.

When you first elected me Chairman in the spring of 2009 our party was deeply divided and reeling, as we had just come off our worse electoral defeat in a generation. Barack Obama had just won our electoral votes, the Democrats had just taken a 6-5 Congressional delegation majority, they held the Governor’s mansion, a state Senate majority, and both of our U.S. Senate seats.

I believe that because of this adversity, we all came together and worked together to change the direction of not only our party, but the Commonwealth of Virginia. We did it together.

In 2009, with your help and those of thousands of other grassroots activists, we elected Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Ken Cuccinelli and added six seats to our majority in the House of Delegates.

In 2010 we defeated three incumbent Democratic Members of Congress and came within a few hundred votes of defeating a fourth. We flipped the Democrat’s 6-5 Congressional majority to an 8-3 Republican majority which helped elect Congressman Eric Cantor as U.S. Majority Leader.

In 2011 we added seven additional seats to our majority in the House of Delegates and defeated two incumbent Democratic state Senators to gain control of the Virginia Senate.

And while the past three years have been some of the most successful our party has had, we cannot rest on our laurels. The elections of 2012, 2013, 2014 and beyond are critical for our party and our nation.

I am seeking to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia for another four years to keep the momentum going and to continue to elect Republicans who will stand strong for our shared principles.

Mullins has done a fantastic job as chairman. He’s one of the best judges of political horseflesh we have out there (and why not–the man’s occupation is insuring horses!), and it shows. RPV has one of the best professional teams its has had in years, and the proof is in the pudding–the Governorship, both lower constitutional offices, control of the GA, and a majority of the state’s congressional delegation. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but RPV is in very good shape right now. No major gaffes on Mullins’ part, and the man is a true workhorse (if not exactly a dynamo) on the trail.

Is RPV perfect? No. I think there’s still a great deal of work to be done. I personally would like to see more engagement with local units–not just providing resources but helping to create a culture of campaigning, with every single member of every single unit viewing their job not just as a sinecure that shows their “dedication” but taking an active role in every campaign, in whatever way they can or are best able to. RPV also has some work to do with winning the data war, as there seems to be a feeling that Voter Vault is not at all what it could be.

However, I think Mullins is the man to continue this battle, particularly as someone who has put in the time as a county chair. RPV has also done fairly solid work with helping party units on procedural matters. The only real issue that one could take with Mullins is on the perrenial “convention v. primary” battle–but even there, Mullins is not the one to “blame.” That’s a decision made by the State Central Committee writ large, some of whom are elected directly at the District Conventions, some who hold the position by virtue of election to head an auxillary organization, some by elected office, and others elected by the District Committees, which consists of unit chairs. If you prefer a convention system, this is the year to hold the individuals you elect to party office accountable on this issue. To punish Mullins for a decision reached by a whole swath of people directly and indirectly elected by party activists would be to take away a steady hand at the wheel, the one keeping everybody together.

Unless something happens on the road to the convention or a much, much more compelling figure arises (and they’re going to have to have a heck of a record), Mullins is my prohibitive pick for Chairman next June.

Wherein I agree with Jon Huntsman

November 30, 2011 1 comment

From the LA Times: Jon Huntsman: Herman Cain a distraction in GOP race

Speaking with the Boston Globe, the former Utah governor said he was again disappointed to see Monday night that a fresh report about Cain — the latest alleges an extramarital affair; it follows accusations of sexual harassment earlier in the month — was getting more attention than the major issues.

“What about a [financial] downgrade that is being anticipated? What about Europe? What about so many other issues out there that we ought to be talking about and that people ought to understand where candidates come down on those issues?” Huntsman said.

“Every time another accusation comes up, it diminishes our ability to stay focused on the issues that really do matter for the American people. And I think that’s a disservice to the voters,” he added.

Now, dear readers, before you think I’ve gone soft on you, let’s make a few things clear. I do NOT think Herman Cain should get out of the race. I do NOT favor Jon Huntsman for the nomination (he’s not even on my top five list…..). And I DO think that this is not a high minded appeal by Huntsman for the media to be more civilized but rather pure jockeying on his part to become “the thinker” in this race.

Here’s what I DO agree with Huntsman on: the media spends far too much time on the personal part of the campaign and not the policy part. Honestly, this is nothing new (look to the 1800 campaign when both candidates were labeled as godless heathens, depending on if you were reading a Federalist or Democratic-Republican leaning newspaper), nor something limited to national politics (there’s nothing more the local political media loves to cover than a “debate over debates”). The fact of the matter, though, is when it comes to politics, the hierarchy of reporting goes personal information, campaign tactics and strategy, and somewhere in the basement, policy talk. It’s what we really WANT the system to be about: voters choosing the candidate who will put into place the policies they want, a debate over the direction of our community and nation.

But that’s never how it plays out. And honestly, its not all the media’s fault. To quote Megadeath, “Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying?” It used to be all about sold the most papers–nowadays, its more about who gets the most clicks. But it all comes down to the same thing–public interest, which under most media schemes, leads to revenues. Even with bloggers in the mix now who aren’t operating on a revenue based schema, they’re still interested in getting people interested, because that leads to clicks, and that leads to access, and that leads to more clicks. Of course, with many bloggers now hosting advertisements or pursuing lucrative mainstream media careers, the distinction is ever more blurred–if it ever really existed at all….but that’s a book for another time.

Ultimately, though, people are interested in this sort of thing. There’s an undeniable strain of prurient interest in the human race. Also, schadenfruede and jealousy play a role as well……there are some people who just love to see the “big guys” taken out, even if they weren’t always the big ones. And moral issues ARE important….the problem lies in how important they are to each individual, to say nothing of the fact that some things are clearly moral to some and clearly immoral to others. Or maybe ethics is the word I want to use…..see how I turned that around? That’s the problem–in elections at the national level, you’re trying to appeal to the worldview of some 100 million odd people. A good chunk will always choose you, another chunk will never choose you, and the battle lies in the middle. But all of those are individuals….each with their own thinking on all of the issues a presidents faces and their own views on how a president should act.

So my point? Yes, I do think that America faces some big, big problems right now and THAT’s what we need to be talking about. We can sort this all out about Herman Cain, and if it is true, well…..it would certainly give me pause about him. But the great irony is that Cain would not be in this position were it not for the fact that he was a candidate that electrified the conservative base with a clear, appealing message: the now infamous “9-9-9″ tax plan. Once he got to the podium, to the surprise of the media’s wagging tounges, they just HAD to know who he was….and so did a certain chunk of the electorate. Now we know more about him, and there’s lots of questions, justified questions….but we’re completely away from the very thing that brought him to us in the first place, the issues.

There needs to be balance. That much I know–unfortunately, the best I can do is encourage voters to consider everything equally and not be drawn into the horserace. I just don’t have an answer to how change how elections are covered–and as a student of politics, I’m not sure anyone ever will.

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