Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rumble in Richmond

I like many others who attended the VA Republican Convention this past weekend went there to back specific candidates. The grassroots efforts of the attendees was quite something to see. All was not peaches & cream however and fairness did not seem to be present in some areas. In the RPV Chairman race for instance their were several oddities with what occured. Most everyone who was a registered delegate to the convention got a plastic bag with campaign stickers, candidate information, Richmond area information, a small flag, and even a break away key chain from the good folks at AARP. Strangely missing from the bag was anything about Delegate Jeff Frederick of Prince William; candidate for RPV Chairman. Now it's entirely possible the Delegate Frederick simple dropped the ball and never gave them anything to place in the bags. It's also possible the Delegate Frederick was not aware that if his campaign provided items to RPV that they would go into the bags or perhaps he knew and just forgot to ask if he could have items placed in the bags.

Well here is the problem with all of those theories;
First, The items in question were provided to RPV.
Second, The requests were made to have those items placed into the convention delegate bags.
Oh and here is the good part; an RPV volunteer told a Frederick campaign staffer that when they were filling the bags asked "Aren't we gonna put Frederick stuff in the bags also?" and was told no and that no Frederick material would go in the bags. In all fairness I can't furnish a name of either the RPV volunteer or the person who told her not to put Frederick items in the bags, but I find this strangely coincidental.

When the information came to Frederick campaign as to speeches and such it was originally stated that Chairman Hagar would receive 20 minutes for him and his endorsers, yet Delegate Frederick would only receive 15 to do the same. I did not have a timer on this matter so I don't know if Chairman Hagar actually used 20 minutes. Delegate Frederick wanted to use a multimedia display during his speech which RPV (at the time under the direction of Chairman Hagar) continually changed conditions under which this would be permissible and ultimately said No. This video can be watched here:

When I spoke with convention delegates about who they wanted to support for RPV Chair I asked them why they were supporting whomever they came to support? I heard many reasons for support of Delegate Frederick such as 2 times winner in a deeply democrat part of VA, that he raised nearly as much money in one county as what Chairman Hagar had raised in the entire state, and that he realized that the system is broken and that it needs to be fixed. The one thing that I heard from nearly every person I spoke with, which is that grassroots is not just something you do two month before an election and they believed that Delegate Frederick would energize the party and gets us on an even field with the Democrats on the use of the internet and technology overall.

When I spoke with Chairman Hagars supporters I did not get nearly the same substance in fact most of the Chairman Hagar supports told me things like: "I've know John a long time and he is a really nice guy", or "he put his time in and it's his turn. I have no question that (then) Chairman Hagar has some devout supporters, however none of them were able to bring up specific reason that he should be re-elected to his position and many would look the other way when I brought up the losses under his leadership, or his fund raising, or the many people who paid and showed for the VP Gala with Dick Cheney and who were turned away. These things are all the responsibility of the RPV Chairman. I agreed with many I spoke with that John Hagar was and is a well intentioned man and a distinguished gentleman, however as I told many people we are voting for a leader not a nice guy.

When the convention was told that the votes for the chairman's race had been collected and that they were now counting them everyone in the room waiting nervously. When we heard that if would be about 10 more minutes and then saw Chairman Hagar come to the microphone moments later we did not know what to think. Chairman Hagar then announced that it was his intention to concede the race via acclimation to Delegate Frederick due to it being numerically infeasible for him to catch up or win based on the count at that time.

Delegate and now Chairman Jeff Frederick had a clear mandate for his vision and an equally clear message through victory that the old methods were done and that grass roots had come to stay.
I as many other hope the Chairman Frederick will keep Mr. Hagar in the loop, although we may not agree with some of policies, his experience in VA politics in considerable and will be useful in many ways in the future.

This victory sends a clear message to bully politicians and anyone else who thinks that a Richmond knows best. The hard working members of the grassroots movement have chosen a new General and are ready will and able to report for duty and not just for 2 months.


Spank That Donkey said...

Nice to see another Conservative Blogger on board!

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Welcome, Jason! Another SWAC blogger to stand against the dems ... woo-hoo! Good to have you with us. ~Lynn

cafe de emporia said...

I can look forward to some real interesting discussions around the water cooler! ......