Virginia’s 21st Senatorial – Can Nancy Dye Save the Senate?

nancy dye

Last month, we looked at Glen Sturtevant’s chances to save the Virginia Senate in 2015, as the consensus Republican choice to keep John Watkin’s purple district in the hands of Republicans. However, there is also hope from our western neighbors in Virignia’s 21st Senatorial, as Republican Nominee Nancy Dye has a real shot to turn a long-blue seat Republican Red.

The 21st Senatorial has long been in a reliable win for the Democrats, with John Edwards having a choke-hold on the seat since 1996.  At 71 years old, Edwards is getting a bit long in the tooth and might have been vulnerable to a strong candidate, but Dye’s real chance comes from the recent trend in Roanoke’s Democratic Party to defect away from the party and run as independents.  While Edwards was too entrenched as the senior Democrat in the region to be successfully primaried, Roanoke liberal Don Caldwell has risen up as an Independent challenger and give Nancy Dye a real opportunity for victory.  Unlike some gadfly, no-chance independents we occasionally see, Caldwell’s challenge to Edwards is serious with real political strength.  Caldwell previously served as Chairman of the Roanoke City Democratic Party and is one of the longest tenured Commonwealth’s Attorneys in the Commonwealth.

Historically, the 21st Senatorial has been a safe haven for Edwards, with Edwards only being challenged twice since 1996. In 1999 he trounced former Delegate Bill Fralin 58% to 41% and in 2011 he easily defeated former Delegate Dave Nutter 55% to 43%.  Both Fralin and Nutter were well-funded, raising almost exactly as much as the incumbent Edwards.

The District shouldn’t be considered truly blue however. VPAP’s analysis of the 2011 redistricting shows the distrly to be slightly Republican, with McDonnell’s 2009 gubernatorial race showing the old district 51.5% McDonnell and the new district 51.7% McDonnell. While the geography of the district changed, the partisan make-up seems to have remained the same. During federal election cycles, the district is much more Democratic, however, with Warner defeating Gillespie 54% to 42% (Sarvis 3.6%) and Obama beating Romney 53% to 43%. The district went blue for MacAulliffe in 2013 as well, with McAuliffe defeating Cuccinelli 48% to 40%. In that race.  However, unlike in Gillespie’s loss, Sarvis pulled a full 9.94% in that race, showing that the district may have been turned off by the far-right Cuccinelli more than embracing McAuliffe.  It appears that moderate Republicans may do better in the 21st Senatorial District than far-right conservative.  This theory gains strength when one considers Obenshain only losing by 1% to Herring and Jackson being destroyed by Northam 58% to 41%.

If the 21st Senatorial is the bluish purple that it seems, and does in fact prefer more moderate candidates, that could prove very important to Nancy Dye’s chances. Nancy Dye’s campaign is focused on winning Republican issues of jobs, economy, low taxes, and fiscal responsibility. A retired surgeon, she can speak intelligently on the perils of Medicaid expansion, and as a small business owner she understands the economy.  More importantly, she seems to be avoiding the divisive social issues and running a generally positive campaign.

Further, the 21st Senatorial’s trend toward moderates will trend against Edwards this election. Caldwell is running to Edwards’s right, not his left.  Caldwell touts his support of the Second Amendment on his website and with pictures of himself hunting.  Honestly, his page looks more conservative than liberal. This leaves Edwards the least moderate candidate in the race.  Further, despite his website, Caldwell is a well-known Democrat and will surely take significantly more from the Edwards side than from Nancy Dye’s. This will give Dye a real shot to win this race, especially if she works to make certain that she gets the NRA endorsement and pulls Virginia Sportsman to her side rather than Caldwell’s.

With a strong, positive message – we see Dye as a strong candidate to pull a blue seat to the Red in the Senate and help keep the Virginia Senate safe in 2015.  But she can only do it with support and a strong campaign. As the incumbent, Edwards has currently out-raised her $224,149 to $179,486. As you look at where your Republican dollars can best be spent, look to Nancy Dye and Glen Sturtevant.


Trump This: Why Donald Trump is the Wrong Choice for America

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Blue Collar Americans on both sides of the aisle are looking for a politician who isn’t afraid of speaking like them.  Anyone who has knocked on doors during an election cycle knows the type of red-blooded, no holds barred rhetoric you will encounter while in the field.  One thing can be said for certain, it isn’t Politically Correct.

A very large segment of the voting population is struggling and recognizes political correctness as representative of an inability or unwillingness to help them.  Hoping to capitalize on this void, Donald Trump throws his name into the hat.

The issue?  Trump’s rhetoric fails to match his own donations or statements as written in his book.  It would seem as though Trump represents a brand of politician Americans hate – Flip Floppers.   Here are some examples:

  1. Trump has donated $584,850 to Democratic Candidates. Committes, and PACs over the last two decades.  These Candidates/Committees include the Democratic Party of Delaware (2010), Democratic Committee of New York City (2010), Charles “Chuck” Schumer (2010), Anthony Weiner (2010), John Kerry, Harry Reid (2009), Joe Biden, Charles “Charlie” Rangel, Hilary Clinton, and $25,000 to Terry McAuliffe.  You can find a full list of his Democratic donations HERE and HERE.
  2. Trump has done an about-face on issues central to principals consistent with core elements of the Republican Party.  Lets use his words to paint a picture:
    1. Healthcare:  Does this mean he wouldn’t oppose Obamacare?  “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on health… We must have universal healthcare.” Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.206-208 & 21
    2. Abortion: He is pro-choice, except for Partial Birth Abortion – not because of the Unborn Child – he isn’t comfortable with the procedure. “I support a woman’s right to choose, but I am uncomfortable with the procedures. When Tim Russert asked me on Meet the Press if I would ban partial-birth abortion, my pro-choice instincts led me to say no. After the show, I consulted two doctors I respect and, upon learning more about this procedure, I have concluded that I would support a ban.”  Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p. 31-32
    3. Gun Control: “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102
  3. His tax plan… Well lets just say it is varied.  First he supported taxing the rich, then he opposed it.  Trump’s latest plan isn’t even backed by math.
    1. In the 2000 Presidential race he proposed a one-time tax of 14.25% on the assets of anyone worth over $10 million.  Trump suggested the revenue could be used to pay off our National Debt within 10 years.  This tax plan is to the left of what Bernie Sanders has proposed.
    2. In regards to the Bush Tax Cuts, Trump opposed the expiration arguing they “[take] away a lot of incentives from a lot of people that produce a lot of taxes”
    3. In all fairness he did release a “Five Part Tax Plan” which can be read about in his book “Time to Get Tough”.  The plan details lowering income taxes but does not detail projected revenue or any of the mathematics.
  4. Trump is a protectionist, and a hypocrite.  Though he often speaks of placing extremely high tariffs (25%) on Mexican and Chinese goods – His own clothing line is being produced in Mexico.  Trump
  5. He can’t beat Hilary.  Seriously, after donating to Hilary we expect him to run against her?  According to the RCP Average, Trump is being beaten by 19% against Hilary.  When you compare that to the rest of the GOP field (Rubio-6.7%, Bush-5.4%, Paul-4.8%) you have to realize the guy simply is not liked by the people who would have to elect him.

The greatest indicator of an individuals intentions once in office is their record.  When an individual does not have a record, you turn to their words.  Unfortunately Trump has a history of supporting Democrats for office.  When the nomination was unattainable in 2000 he decided to leave the party; he said it was too “crazy”.

When asked by The Washington Post if he would support the eventual nominee Trump remarked, “So many people want me to run as an independent, so many people.. Everybody wants me to do it.” he then added that he is the “best chance of defeating the Democrats.”  This comes after he left the party in 2011 after not receiving the Republican Nomination.

Trump is back with an entirely new set of principles, and the same reality television attitude towards the world he has had all along.  I urge my fellow Conservatives to look beyond the rhetoric of a man who is among the top funders of the Democratic Party.

Donald Trump is the Wrong Choice for America.

Moving Forward Together: Making the Grand Compromise Successful

Moving Forward Together: Making the Grand Compromise Successful

By: Chip Muir and Dan Webb

Recently, the two of us have discussed the need to move together in the same direction. When we discussed that, we always meant the Republican Party of Virginia and the individuals who embody it. We didn’t think that togetherness would involve the extensive hospitalization of our respective fathers in the time surrounding the State Central meeting, but the personal background to the meeting reaffirmed our commitment to the need for positive and constructive political activity. As we talked in the days leading up to the meeting, and after the results of the vote were known, we discussed the importance of giving more people more wins, of translating hard work into results, and most importantly, maintaining our commitment to the compromise. This op-ed focuses on the work that Virginia Republicans can begin doing now so that we can win the Presidency and the Governor’s office. RPV’s big issues have been decided. The months of July and August serve as our window of opportunity to produce the results that will work towards a change in attitude in our party, to restore our faith and trust in each other, and, quite honestly, to get our swagger back.

What defines success for the rest of 2015?

A successful 2015 means two things: First, Republican majorities in the Senate and in the House of Delegates, and second, that the party functions better. Those are two broad and obvious goals, and so the real work is in the details.

Spiritually, we need to restore trust in our fellow Republicans. Over the weekend, people on either side of the nomination divide antagonized each other. When people work hard and strongly believe in their political causes (here, convention vs. primary), and fall just short of winning, there are hard feelings. We can accept that. But we can’t accept celebrations from the prevailing side that taunt and antagonize the other. We are Republicans, and we have to be better than that. The intention of the compromise has always been to take the issue off the table, and bridge the divide between the factions, and that doesn’t happen with antagonizing commentary. We need to all be bigger people. No one likes a compromise, much less loves one. Compromises are made out of necessity to accomplish a bigger goal, and we all need to focus on those bigger goals going forward.

We can do that by making the compromise a success. In the coming months, the Young Republicans will begin working with the Presidential campaigns to secure all candidates slots on the 2016 Primary ballot. The more candidates that qualify for the ballot, the more successful the primary will be. The more candidates, the larger the voter turnout; the larger the voter turnout, the more data collected in preparation for November 2016. And it really won’t take much work. Our local clubs do a great job of hosting local events. The Young Republicans will be encouraged to host these same events but with the added feature of gathering signatures for the ballot. Each Presidential candidate needs 5,000 signatures (6,500 to be safe), with at least 200 from each of the 11 Congressional districts. We want the YR clubs to put on events that will build their membership, draw crowds for our candidates up for election this year, and serve our Presidential contenders. We want the YR clubs to invite each Presidential campaign to a kickoff event, run by their membership, where they invite the general public (including non-partisan groups, like young professional groups), to sign petitions for candidates. The people that come will have contact information collected by our clubs. This idea makes it easier for our candidates to qualify for the ballot, builds our YR groups, and also engages Republicans in constructive work. This work will be used to complement our efforts in retaining and growing a Republican Majority in the Virginia Senate. Step one to a successful 2015 begins with quick and easy Presidential qualification.

We also need to make sure that the people coming to sign these petitions meet their General Assembly candidates. Winning the Senate for the GOP is absolutely essential for the health of Virginia’s budget, to continue marginalizing our current Governor, and making sure that good legislation passes through both chambers. If we win the Senate, we can continue blocking deficit-creating Medicaid expansion, pass through a Charter School Amendment, and, as we learned last year, just flat out have a smoothly run government. We can start bringing people into our General Assembly campaigns by getting them interested in the Presidential campaign, and that starts with petition signatures.

We (RPV) need to raise money, and we need to do it for two purposes. First, we need to continue the progress RPV has been making financially. The more RPV can reduce its debt burden, the more they can spend on building the infrastructure it will take to win in the next three Novembers. We need to “free up cap space” for the party to make the moves they need, and that means reducing, and then eliminating our debt. A financially-secure RPV will produce electoral victories in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Almost as importantly, we (the authors) are committed to the compromise. That means delivering on the 2017 portion of the compromise, the Gubernatorial convention. We (RPV) need to open the lockbox account, receive donations into it, and make sure that, in the spring of 2016, the current SCC can secure convention space for the 2017 convention. We can do this if the money is there, so we need to move forward with raising money for that purpose. We are confident that SCC will honor its commitment, but we would both feel much better if a financial commitment accompanied it. It is absolutely imperative that we honor our commitments, which will not only make RPV more effective, but improve the morale and change the culture associated with our Party.

Lastly, the sniping at each other and at RPV needs to stop. If we want to actually win elections in the coming months we need a healthy RPV, and taking cheap shots is certainly not helpful. We (party activists) need each other to win, and to that end, making personal attacks is absolutely counterproductive. We know that everyone on each side of the issue wants to see electoral success. Let’s keep that objective at the forefront of our minds when making decisions.

We (the authors) firmly believe that if we do the work on these matters over the next two months, that come Labor Day, Virginia Republicans will be in a much better position to win the race to 21 Senate seats. We will have reduced the infighting, raised money, collected more data, generated excitement for the Primary, helped our Presidential candidates in Virginia, and symbolically shown that the work of the Party is to work.

How can you help?

No matter your reason for involvement in Republican politics, you’re in a position to advance the Republican Party. Here are suggestions of how you can get involved and do productive work to advance your particular cause, while advancing the party as a whole.

If you’re interested in national politics and in winning the White House in 2016: lead the drive to gather petitions. Work with your local YR club, GOP committee, etc., to put together the centralized petition signing drive. Assemble a roster of groups to reach out to, plan attractions to drive attendees to the event, line up the volunteers (through the campaigns) to organize the signatures, and so on. You will have advanced the Party’s strength in Virginia by building a more robust primary, and be sure to invite Republican candidates for local office to these events.

If you’re interested in national politics, and in one specific Presidential candidate: Contact that Presidential campaign and find out how you can be involved. Collect signatures for that candidate. Go into areas where Republicans have not traditionally gone and make inroads. To win in 2016, we need as many Republicans to make as many contacts with as many individuals as we can. Do that for your favorite candidate, we really do not care which one, and start building a base of support for him or her.  Our proposal included a complete pro rata distribution of delegates. The more votes your candidate receives, the more Virginia delegates he or she receives to take to Cleveland. Get your petition signatures, get on the ballot, get your votes…and get your delegates.

If you’re a pro-convention person: Make sure we honor the 2017 convention portion of the compromise. Talk up the need to donate money to the special account that will be used for the convention. Get people interested in the convention. They will be our future delegates, our future organizers, our future volunteers. Yes, we have two election cycles to go until we get to 2017, but it’s never too early to begin working. Our goal is to pay for our convention entirely out of savings, with no debt incurred whatsoever, and to be able to keep substantial profits from enormous revenues. If your single most important RPV issue is to have conventions, start laying the groundwork for our most successful convention now.

When we advanced our idea for a compromise, we repeatedly touted the importance of focusing on winning. We did not mean having one side of the party win over the other side, and we cannot stress enough that we must move past that mentality. When we said winning, we meant winning November elections. There are 494 days (as of July 2) until the Presidential election, and it is never too early to start working to win. The Washington Post wrote that the Republicans won Round One of the Presidential election in Virginia. If we follow this plan, there will be more wins to come.

Chip Muir is the 3rd district Rep on Virginia’s Republican State Central Committee and is the Chairman of the Republican Committee of Richmond. Dan Webb is the Chairman of the Young Republican Federation of Virginia.

Op Ed : Mark Dudenhefer on to November



Winning the Republican nomination was a team effort and I am extremely humbled and appreciative of our dedicated supporters. In just a few months, our campaign knocked on over 3,500 doors and made over 4,000 phone calls. We had an aggressive outreach plan in both counties and it was clear that our hard work paid off as the returns came in. Winning Stafford County by 19 points and Prince William County by 13 points showed broad support for my message of improving our infrastructure, leaner, more efficient government, and improving education opportunities for our youth.


Thanks goes to Tim Ciampaglio for stepping into the public square. I know first hand how tough it can be on one’s family to be thrust into the public eye.  Moving forward, I wish Tim and his family the best. He has reached out to me with offers of support in the general election. I will need him and his supporters to win back the House District 2 Delegate seat.


Primary elections are never fun, and many times friends are drawn into opposing camps.  Now that the primary election is over, it is crucial that we unite together under the Republican banner and work towards victory in November.  John Whitbeck, RPV Chairman, recently addressed a crowd of young Republicans. His message was one of unity. He asked that we put our differences aside and work together.  I pledge my support to his efforts and ask others to follow his lead.


As many know, my passion for public service centers on addressing our region’s inadequate infrastructure. I have a proven track record of fixing our region’s transportation problems and, once back in Richmond, I will dedicate my efforts to this issue. While I was out of office millions of dollars were stripped from I-95 road improvements in this region.  I will not rest until these funds have been returned and our region receives the priority it deserves. .  It is crucial, for the sake of our families and for the Commonwealth’s economy, that we continue to invest in our infrastructure.


The government must operate as efficiently as possible.  Too many taxpayer dollars are being wasted. It is a dereliction of duty by the government to waste our money and then turnaround and ask us for more. I have proposed a “Lean Government Initiative” that is similar to those already in effect in other states and has saved them millions of dollars. It forces the government to run more like the private sector. Visit my website to learn more about this proposal.

Lastly, investing in our children must be a priority. My three children attended Stafford County Public Schools and three of my grandchildren are currently enrolled. The cost of education at all levels is skyrocketing and federal mandates are exacerbating the problem. I will do my best to make sure that the bureaucrats in Washington do not dictate a one-size-fits-all approach. Each school and county is different and the leaders in those communities know what works best for them. Big government should get out of the picture and adequate funding must be provided in order to give our teachers and students the tools they need to succeed.


Over the next couple months, I look forward to talking to families all across the district, and listening to the issues and concerns that voters in our region face.


If you wish to learn more about my candidacy, please visit my website or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.  I hope to see you soon on the campaign trail.




Mark Dudenhefer

Candidate for Virginia House District 02

The NOVA Battle Flag : Terrence J Boulden



As of late America has been going through a transition of social change, no one can deny it. The thing that obviously affects me is race relations and how people are reacting to it.

The outrage of the week is the Northern Virginia battle flag, otherwise known as The Confederate Flag. I of course have been asked by my conservative friends how I feel about the flag, clearly some were looking for a pass to praise the flag, and some were looking for someone else to spit on it. My answer is it’s a battle flag, and if a group or individual want to make it represent something more than that, that burden is on them..

It is important that some understand that the flag is a symbol of race in the south. Slavery, oppression, segregation, and police brutality. Why? Because that was black experience in the south. The flag is also seen by others as simply a representation of southern heritage. Southern people are prideful and use the flag as a representation of that pride and of the south. The debate that has erupted has done so not because one side is wrong, but because one side does not understand the others point of view, which of course is nothing new for the United States.

It all comes back however to one simple fact, it’s a flag and how you use that flag is what matters. I personally have two flags in my room, the American Flag and the French Republic Flag. Why do I have the French flag in my room? I appreciate French history, art, and literature, and it’s a bad ass flag. I would ask that we as Americans don’t be so quick to assume what something symbolizes, as it can represent different things to different people.

I’ll give you one more example in closing, a few years ago at the annual Shad Planking off in the distance I saw the hugest Confederate flag I had ever seen blowing in the wind. My curiosity drew me to it, not to cause trouble or to yell at the owners but out of mere curiosity of what else was there. When I got there, there were two older white gentlemen drinking beers and hanging out, no one else had come to them and I think the big flag had something to do with it. I introduced myself and shook their hands and they introduced themselves in kind, I asked what’s up with the big Confederate flag, and they explained they were members of the “Sons of the Confederacy”, we spoke for an hour or so about their organization and even spoke how they had many black members who were active and contributed.

These were two of the nicest guys I met that day and we had a great conversation, and I am grateful that day that I was not scared off by a flag. So I ask that when you take to social media and mock those who may be offended or mock those who are offended that others may be offended, take into account different experiences and different feeling, but all in all remember that it’s a flag.


Primaries are pro-law enforcement, pro-military, pro-family, pro-elderly, pro-rural, and pro-hard work.


There has been a lot of digital ink spilled on the idea that a convention disenfranchises certain voters.  Here is a listing of people who either cannot or will have significant obstacles in attending a convention, but could otherwise vote in a primary:

Who does a convention entirely disenfranchise under the Hatch Act?

  • Federal law enforcement, national security personnel, senior government workers, and political appointees in the DOJ or DOD. Hatch Act. “Further Restricted Employees” may not engage in political activity.  What is political activity? “A. For purposes of the these rules, political activity is defined as an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group. Examples of political activities include: volunteering for the campaign of a candidate for partisan political office, serving as an officer of a political party or club, serving as a delegate to a political convention, or distributing campaign literature for a candidate for partisan political office.”
  • This includes: all career Senior Executive Service (SES) employees; administrative law judges; employees in the Criminal Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Division; and criminal investigators and explosives enforcement officers in ATF. Further restricted employees may not campaign for or against candidates or otherwise engage in political activity in concert witha political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group.
    Considering the Department’s mission, the Attorney General has previously determined that, as a matter of Department policy, all political appointees will be subject to the rules that govern “further restricted” employees under the Hatch Act to ensure there is not an appearance that politics plays any part in the Department’s day to day operations.
  • The entire active-duty military. Here is the directive: 1.1.9. Attend partisan and nonpartisan political fundraising activities, meetings, rallies, debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator when not in uniform and when no inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement can reasonably be drawn.  Here is the regulation in full. Only attend as a spectator, not as a delegate.

Who does a convention partially disenfranchise due to difficulty in attending?

  • Families with small children. Regardless of child care given. Families should not be expected to leave their children with unfamiliar, untrained, uncertified people just to exercise their right to vote. Further the expenses and rigors of travel with small children will dissuade many from attending.
  • The elderly. Often on a fixed income and with health concerns, the costs and rigors of travel will dissuade many from attending.
  • Rural Virginians. Those who live in south-west Virginia, the Northern Neck, and other distant areas are heavily dissuaded due to the cost and length of travel.
  • Hard Working Virginians. Anyone who has to work over the weekend of the convention is disenfranchised.
  • Fixed or low-income Virginians. Travel is expensive. Even without an illegal mandatory fee, the cost of travel will prevent many Virginians on tight budgets from participating.

In sum, a convention is anti-law enforcement, anti-military, anti-family, anti-elderly, anti-rural, and anti-hard work. In contrast a primary is pro-law enforcement, pro-military, pro-family, pro-elderly, pro-rural, and pro-hard work. So a primary favors the Republican “grass-roots” or voter base and a convention is against it.  Seems simple to me.

Guest Post Chip Muir :“Together We Attack! : Why My Compromise Should Be Approved by State Central”

“Together We Attack!: Why My Compromise Should Be Approved by State Central”

I played college basketball, though play is a bit of an overstatement. The most accurate description of my college basketball career was “seldom-used guard;” and I wasn’t a point guard or shooting guard so much as I guarded the water cooler during games. I enjoyed time outs because it gave me a chance to stand up and stretch my legs during games. When our team broke the huddle after time outs, our coach had us put our hands together. He would say, “Together!” and we would respond by saying, “We attack!” Yes, this post is actually about politics.

We had a very good small college team during my sophomore year. We had great senior leadership from guys that were getting professional looks, and promising young talent that could give good minutes when called upon. We got out to a great start, and we were openly talking about the NCAA tournament. We ate lunch together, dinner together, and socialized together. But then something happened, and we started losing games, and we started pointing fingers, and then finger pointing became outright fistfights. The team broke into factions, and players on one side of the team actually wouldn’t pass the ball to players on the other faction. A team that looked poised to coast to the NCAA tournament fell apart before Christmas, and that talented group of younger players began quitting the team…and that’s the connection to politics, and it’s why SCC should pass my proposed compromise. When teams, or political parties, feud, fight, freeze each other out, they lose. They lose, and people start finding other things to do with their lives. When teams cultivate the talent, rely on experienced leadership, put in the hard work, and play their roles, they win. I have been on a few losing teams, and one hell of a lot of winning teams, and I can assure you that winning is a whole lot better than losing. Just take my word on this.

I have offered a compromise to nominate our Presidential candidates through a primary in 2016, and our Governor through a convention in 2017. That plan is receiving a considerable level of support, and these are the reasons why.

My compromise is ideologically neutral. We can litigate the merits and demerits of each process on Facebook all day and all night, and it won’t be resolved. We’ve won using both processes, but more recently we’ve lost using both. Elections are not won or lost based on process. They are won based on a combination of great candidates, with strong issues, who can attract more and more volunteers, and who can win over the public. That’s it. Stretching back into the last decade, both sides have tried to select nomination methods to get certain nominees. We need to stop doing that, and put our energy into making sure that the nominees that do emerge have the people in place they need to win. I set up my compromise for a primary and then convention for the reason that, in 2017, the convention winner is our nominee. In 2016 Virginia has no control over whether our winner will be the nominee, because forty-nine other states think their votes count, too. My compromise is not ideologically-driven at all. It is simply mired in political reality.

My compromise allows RPV to build an electoral infrastructure. Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. Well, RPV has some scarce resources. We have just over $20,000 cash on hand, and that’s offset by $188,000 in debt, plus continuing payroll obligations. We have creditors that need to be paid.  The pro-convention group says that the convention will be a financial windfall. I want to believe them, but the financing will not be there to put on a convention. We already owe money to other people (Westfields Marriott) that have hosted our events. Rather than putting our money into a convention, and rather than having RPV staff do convention planning, or RPV volunteers do convention planning, let’s deploy our resources better. Let’s have our volunteers focus on campaigning for our 2015 candidates and connecting with their preferred presidential candidates now. Let’s allow the RPV staff to start putting together the statewide infrastructure, so that whoever our eventual nominee is will be able to inherit a ready-made statewide election organization. Let’s allow the Party to put themselves in better financial standing by putting their money into fundraising efforts, paying down debts, etc. This compromise frees up resources, human and financial, and those resources are deployed at their highest value right now if RPV has a free hand to build their infrastructure and balance its balance sheet.

My compromise sends a message that RPV has prioritized winning over all else. The people on both sides of this debate are honest about their preferences for convention or primary. These folks have been party loyalists. They have given their time and their money to this party. Quite honestly, I’m tired of seeing the leaders of both camps getting torn down. The problem isn’t with them or their preferences, on either side. The problem is just that the debate has consumed all of the energy of the party. Debates over process have drained us of energy and bled off our volunteers, and our financial resources. (We just can’t deny the financial condition of the party.) My compromise ends that debate for two years. That’s two years of prioritizing winning elections over process debates. Winning cures a lot of ills. When you’re part of a winning team, you feel good, you build relationships, you see value in your time. Winning cures a lot of ills. (Repetition intentional.)

It’s not the debate over process, in the end, that is bleeding us. It’s the losing. People just don’t want to be part of losing teams and losing causes. They want to win. I want to win. Let’s just call a truce on the process debate for two years and see how far we can get as a party when elections become our top priority again. We owe it to our candidates to give them the environment they need to win elections. But more than that, we owe it to ourselves. Let’s call a truce on the fighting and see what we can become when we stop dividing ourselves over process, and start working together on winning.

My compromise brings resources off the sideline.  I will make two promises to you. First, if we select my compromise, RPV will see an influx in donations, especially from corporate donors. Businesses (and high-dollar individuals) invest money when they get a return, and in politics that return is winning. They aren’t shutting us out because of our process, and they aren’t shutting us out because of our candidates. They have shut us out because our infighting has been keeping our candidates from winning. Our fighting has created a difficult environment for our nominees to win. Businesses will donate if we pass my compromise because we will have shown we can make the big decision for the greater good of the party. Adopting my compromise will show that RPV has prioritized winning, and the first evidence we’ll have of that change is a substantial increase in giving to RPV directly. The proof will be there. I’m asking you to put your trust in me that the money will come, and come earlier in the calendar, if we do this.

My compromise has made people feel good about politics. If you’re reading this article, you likely can write a rebuttal to this article that lists every grievance you’ve had against a fellow Republican and why you could never give that person’s side a win. And this compromise does indeed give the other side a win. But it also gives your side a win, and if it works, in November 2016 and 2017 it will give every Republican in Virginia a win. We just have not had enough elections where we’ve had wins. Our meetings have polarized a lot of people, created hard feelings, and chased people out. Honestly, aren’t you just ready to turn away from that brand of politics? Aren’t you ready to constructively work with your fellow Republicans? Aren’t you ready to spend more time working to have your preferred candidate elected than spending your energy fighting over political process? I have had so many people e-mail me, and text, and call, just to say that they are ready to re-engage if my compromise goes through. They want to come back into the fold, on both sides, because they believe in small government and personal freedom so deeply. They just are tired of being beat up in these battles over other people’s fights for party control. We have two options: squeeze our fist tighter to get a stronger grip on party control, or open our hand and welcome people in. We’ve tried fist tightening, and we’ve lost elections. Let’s open our hands in fellowship and welcome people in.

Sports and politics make for great analogies. When you fight in practice, or fight in intra-party activities, you lose to your actual opponents. But when you win, you make deeper and deeper sacrifices to keep winning, because winning feels so good. The time has come for us to sacrifice our preferred processes for the chance to win. In November 2016, we’ll be meeting Hillary Clinton on the court, and we can win this game if “Together we attack!”


Chip Muir is the 3rd district Rep on Virginia’s Republican State Central Committee and is the Chairman of the Republican Committee of Richmond


Virginia’s 10th Senatorial – Can Glen Sturtevant save the Senate?


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Now that we are out of primary season, it is time to recognize that the biggest campaign in the country is happening in Central Virginia. In an off-year without a lot going on nationally, Virginia is the only place that really has important politics happening in 2015. We are still seven to eight months away from meaningful presidential politics, but there is a competitive race in Virginia’s 10th Senate District that has national implications. More than competitive, really… the 10th Senatorial is as purple as any in Virginia with a slight bluish tinge since redistricting.

The 10th district was once solidly conservative, but when redistricted in 2011estimates from VPAP indicate that the district became 7.6% more Democrat. Fortunately, we can still examine the district historically within its current borders through VPAP. In 2009, the district (as outlined today) as was strongly conservative as the Republicans swept the state with McDonnell and Cuccinelli both winning 59% of the vote, and Bill Bolling taking in 57%. Since then, the voting patterns in the 10th Senatorial have changed remarkably.  In 2013, Ken Cuccinelli lost the district (as outlined today) to Terry McAuliffe 42% to 46% with Sarvis taking 10.6%.  That same year, Mark Obeshain lost the 10th Senatorial 50.99% to 49.01% and E.W. Jackson was crushed in the district 59% to 40%. The only Republican to win in the district since 2009 is Senator Watkins. Watkins, a prodigious fundraiser, outspent his Democratic opponent in 2011 $1,200,723 to $505,032 and won the election handily 56% to 43%.

In federal years the district is even more blue. Obama won the district 51% to 47% in 2008 and 50% to 48% in 2012. Likewise, Warner crushed Gilmore 64% to 44% in 2008, while Kaine won 53% to 46% in 2012. In 2014, Warner defeated Gillespie 49.18% to 47.24% with Sarvis stealing 3.5% of the vote.

With a vacant seat, a bluish tinge, and the Virginia Senate, along with Terry McAuliffe’s “expand Medicaid” legacy, in the balance – the 10th Senatorial is ground zero politics in 2015. In fact, there are serious 2016 Presidential implications – if McAuliffe can turn the Senate blue by winning the 10th, that paints a road map for Hillary Clinton (with Terry as Veep?) to win in 2016. The Virginia 10th is that important. It is all-important. There will be millions of dollars from out of state, possibly out of country, pouring into the race. There will be SEIU thugs and other Democrat workers bussed in from New Jersey and other places to be boots-on-the ground.  The full McAuliffe-Clinton machine will be focused on taking this seat – and only one man is standing in their way.

Glen Sturtevant. Fortunately, Glen is running a masterful campaign thus far, and – if Republicans can unify behind him – he looks like he can win this thing.


Glen started very well early in the year, announcing for the Republican Primary early and quickly gaining important endorsements while assembling a strong ground game and a modern web presence. Glen ran such a solid primary pre-game that the other candidates dropped out and he won the Republican nomination by acclamation.

Since then Glen has been out in the community and knocking on doors with a message of limited government with focused services, transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. Glen has a good story and great background as a conservative on the Richmond School Board and a family man with three adopted children. More importantly, he is running a positive idea-based campaign that is getting the attention and appreciation of the voters in the 10th.  For example, when Glenn’s opponent won the Democratic primary, Glenn had the following message:

… Now, we enter the general election.

First, I do want to congratulate Dan Gecker on winning the Democratic nomination. We probably disagree on quite a bit about public policy. But I know how hard campaigns are. The time and energy they take. So I applaud Dan on his victory. And I also thank Emily Francis and Alex McMurtrie for entering the Democratic primary and advancing their ideas and visions. The willingness of men and women to choose public service is crucially important to the future of our Commonwealth and our country, and I sincerely appreciate the sacrifices of anyone who chooses that path.

The general election that begins tonight is about the future of the 10th District. I strongly believe:

  • We will make our future better by keeping taxes low and helping families, workers and small businesses keep more of what they earn.
  • We will make our future better by getting rid of excessive and burdensome government regulations that mean our small business owners spend more time filling out paperwork than they do growing their operations and hiring more employees.
  • We will make our future better by giving parents and students more choices and opportunities in public education, keeping more tax dollars in the classroom and out of bureaucracy and by rewarding our highly effective teachers for their success.

I believe in an effective, efficient state government that spends limited taxpayer dollars wisely, ensures every child has the opportunity to attend a great school, gets out of the way of the private sector to allow it to grow and create good paying jobs and doesn’t take a nickel more from the hardworking people of Chesterfield, Richmond and Powhatan than it absolutely needs to achieve its core functions.

I’ve been waiting for June 9th for quite a while.

I can’t wait to wage a spirited, optimistic campaign advancing our positive and new ideas. And you can count on this: I won’t slow down, I won’t let up and I will never be outworked…

This positive, focused message is exactly the kind of campaign we need to win this highly contested seat. It will take more than Glen alone, however. It will take a united effort of all Republicans to push Glen to victory and save the Senate from McAuliffe and Hilary – especially with the three opponents in the general election.

In addition to McAuliffe’s hand-picked candidate Dan Gecker, Carl Loser (no joke) from Powhatan entered the race as a Libertarian and former left-leaning Chesterfield Supervisor Marleen Dufree is running as an Independent. It is hard to predict whether Loser will pull more from the right than Dufree pulls from the left, but this added complication makes it all the more important that Sturtevant runs a clean, positive campaign that pulls voters from the middle of the spectrum as well as from the right.

This race is likely to go down to the wire and the future of the Virginia Senate will likely be decided in this race. So, my fellow Republicans, while it is important to support all of our candidates, if you have any extra time, energy, or money to focus this election cycle… Keep in mind that the 10th Senatorial is ground zero for both Virginia and national politics this fall. There is a great candidate running a great campaign, and he could use everyone’s help to keep the Senate red in 2015.

Guest Post from Virginia Hunter: There is a third option to either primary or convention (So why isn’t it being discussed?)

There has been a great many postings and comments on the blogs recently regarding the upcoming RPV State Central Committee (SCC) vote on what method Virginia should use to elect delegates to the 2016 Presidential Convention.  The methods being discussed have been either a state convention at some large venue or by having the Virginia Department of Elections conduct a primary for the Republican ballot only at a time picked by the SCC. The date for either will be influenced by the rules set forth by the Republican National Committee for when states can elect delegates.

Both election methods have engendered much discussion and passion. Sides for and against either method put forth reasonable arguments, especially to the advocates.  Virginia has used both methods in this century and it is very debatable if the chosen election method had an influence on the eventual general election results.  But rather than focus on the eventual election result, the SCC should focus on selecting a method that does the most to build the Party, not just for this election, but for elections to come.

My read on the discussions expressed so far show either method creating a great deal of divisiveness.  It does not seem appropriate to say that all New Conservatives favor a convention whereas all Established Conservatives favor a primary. It may be more appropriate to say (though it is not being said) that supporters of certain candidates favor one method or the other as they feel would benefit their candidate.  For instance, those likely to be able to raise large sums of money and currently better generally known would favor a primary whereas those candidates that are not as well-known generally but have a strong following of Party affiliated activists would prefer a convention.

Without knowing the likely outcome on June 27th, I think it’s fairly safe to predict that the losing side will proclaim that the SCC has doomed the Party to backwater status. So with such an outcome looming, why not investigate a third alternative for which less emotion is invested?

This other alternative is Party canvass, also known as a firehouse primary or caucus.  In short, this process involves a Party run operation from top to bottom.  Registered voters go to specified locations and cast votes and then leave, much like a primary. Unlike a primary, the Party picks the locations for voting, staffs the voting operation, is responsible for ballot security, counts the ballots and reports the results. And the Party pays for the whole thing, not the State(taxpayers). Like a primary and unlike a convention, every vote is weighed the same, “one man, one vote”.

This process has been implemented successfully in several unit wide and legislative district contests and therefore would work for a statewide effort as well.  Because, the state Party is simply an assembly of units (counties and cities) and there would be no need to divide up by Congressional District as all votes are weighted the same. All units would have their canvass the same day and time. The cost could be borne either by each unit (it is each their nomination process) or supplemented by the state Party.  As this will not be until the spring of 2016, the costs could be raised. Further the costs would not much different than what is already incurred to have a unit mass meeting/convention. In the existing mass meeting/convention, locations are secured that may cost money, voting lists are purchased (or supplied by RPV).  Advertisements would likewise reflect a mass meeting requirements.  Each unit would be responsible for staffing the polling places but they could call on auxiliary groups such as CR’s to assist.  Unlike a mass meeting, it would be prudent in most units to have more than one polling location to facilitate a more robust participation by the voters.  For instance, the larger units may have 4-6 (or more) locations.  Smaller units could make due with a couple.  The campaigns would largely handle getting the word out as to the polling locations as it would be in their interests to identify and encourage the voters to go vote.

Obviously a primary utilizes many more voting locations and the costs are courtesy of the taxpayers of Virginia.  It has always been my view that the Republicans should feel an obligation and strong desire to be the steward of our own process.  And also be the owner of all the voting data within our process, not subject to knowledge by Democrats or for that matter anyone. Despite the reduced number of polling locations from a primary, there would be many more in the aggregate than in a convention, as in fact the place to cast the final vote is the state convention itself. In the canvass, the final vote is at the local polling place like a primary.  The time commitment for a voter to participate would only be a few minutes more than for a primary (transportation time) and far less time and effort for any voter to attend a central state convention.

Some will say that an important aspect of a convention is that there can be multiple ballots to eliminate the lower polling candidate and allow the National delegates that are elected to better represent a consensus of those participating in the convention.  Like a primary, a canvass can have a run off date set a couple/few weeks later that would have a pre-prescribed date and time that each voter would know about. This process could then even allow new voters to participate in the second phase of the election that couldn’t participate in the first phase.

One argument that has been widely posted as a reason to use a primary is the matter of absentee ballots.  Absentee ballots do not work in a convention method. However, they could be utilized in a canvass process.  Each unit could have its own absentee ballot that would be available on-line. It would be printed and sent in much like a State process. Or it could be hand delivered by the voter (only like the State process) at a certain time and place before the official polling time (early voting). Likewise, RPV could have a generic absentee ballot with information about where to send it.

Ballots in a canvass would likely be paper as is mostly used in a convention. The staff would count them, decided on questionable ballots and report them into RPV who would aggregate the counts and report the statewide results.

It would not be expected that this discussion would by itself change the course of the SCC vote on the 27th. This process needs to be fully discussed and vetted. However, it should be seriously considered for the nominating election in both 2016 Presidential and 2017 Gubernatorial contests.  Therefore, the strong suggestion is that the SCC defer this decision until a date in July and that in the SCC appoint a committee to review this process and report as to its suitability for use in either year.  The decision is too important to leave to just the usual processes that immediately divide the Party.  Better to try a process that all can work together to make successful.  The only doubt I have is that this process will not be embraced by campaigns as they will not be able to predict which candidate would benefit more from this method.

In case you missed it the first time: Chip Muir’s Plan of compromise Convention/Primary


Last week I published an opinion editorial that called for the two factions within the State Central Committee to work together towards a compromise that would select a primary as the 2016 method of nomination for President, and a convention for the 2017 Gubernatorial method. I received quite a lot of feedback from the public. (I may need to upgrade my data plan as a result.) There were two themes to the feedback: first, I support/don’t support your plan, and second, asking the question, “What’s really in it for me?”

As to the first theme, supporting or not supporting my plan, I was very surprised. Though I was pleased by the overwhelming support of my plan (and before I forget, thank you to every one of you that wrote to me, and I’m sorry I haven’t been able to respond to each of you), it should be noted that I did not put forward a plan. With each e-mail, text, phone call, and Snapchat I received voicing support, I grew concerned with the fact that I had not actually put forward a plan to be supported. My first editorial represented a concept or vision, but not a detailed plan. It is very good policy for a Republican to never follow the lead of Nancy Pelosi, or put another way, I would never ask you to pass a bill just so we can find out what’s in it. None of my colleagues on SCC should sign on to a plan without knowing the details of the plan. So in this editorial, it is my pleasure to present to you the details of my compromise plan, with the added bonus that I will answer the question, “What’s really in it for you?” despite the fact that everyone reading this has some different priority than every other reader.

The overview of the plan is this: 2016 Presidential primary coupled with a 2017 Gubernatorial convention. The different groups that must know “what’s in it for me?” are the people whose first political priority is: 1) winning November elections, 2) nominating conventions, 3) nominating primaries, 4) stewardship of RPV resources, 5) specific candidate interests, and 6) the public at large. Now, let’s get to it.


Priority of goals: This plan has three goals. 1) Find 2,100,000 Virginia votes for the Republican candidate for President in November 2016. 2) Find 1,300,000 Virginia votes for the Republican candidate for Governor in November 2017. 3) Put RPV in a strong financial position, in the right order of time, without risk.

Understanding the process as it stands: This discussion is really about how RPV chooses to bind our 49 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016. The presumptive manner (simply following what we did last time) is that Virginia will hold a primary election on March 1, 2016. The primary results will bind 46 of the 49 delegates. The delegates are bound by apportionment in this way. Each of the 11 Congressional districts receives 3 delegates, for a total of 33. The candidate who wins the district receives all 3 delegates from that district. To win a district, a candidate simply must have the highest raw vote total from that district.  (The 3 district delegates are chosen by vote at the Congressional district convention.)

The RPV state quadrennial convention, where we elect the State Chairman, also casts ballots for 13 people to serve as delegates to the RNC. This is a vote on a candidate to serve as delegate, not for a presidential candidate. Those 13 at-large delegates are also bound based on the results of the primary held March 1, in this manner: 1) Compute percentages to 3 decimal places, that is, 50.000%. 2) The delegates are allocated to the presidential contenders as follows: a) If a candidate receives 50.001% or more of the vote, that candidate is allocated all 13 at-large delegates. B) If no candidate receives 50.001% or more of the vote, the 13 at-large delegates are allocated proportionally among those candidates receiving 15.000% or more of the vote. Rounding rules: Beginning with the candidate receiving the largest number of votes, round the fraction to the next whole number of delegates. Continue this process with the next highest vote getter and repeat until all the delegates are allocated.

We then have 3 unbound delegates: the RPV chair, our national committeeman, and our national committeewoman. That makes 49 delegates in total.

The Details of My Plan

2016 Presidential Primary

The Presidential Primary must be run by the party with the long-term goal of capturing 2.1 million November votes, rather than the success of the primary itself. The way to do that is to get as many campaigns to participate, and to vigorously compete for as many votes as possible. The more voter contacts made by Republican campaigns, the more the field has been prepared for the eventual nominee come summer 2016.

One Sentence Primary Plan: The primary apportions all 46 delegates based on a percentage of the statewide vote received, with 7.500% of the vote needed to qualify to receive delegates, and no winner-takes-all.

Guiding rules: The Rules of the Republican Party adopted in Tampa in 2012 provide the framework for the process. Rule 16(c)(2) says that any Presidential primary occurring before March 15 must bind delegates in a proportional manner. Since Virginia’s General Assembly set our primary date for March 1, we must have a proportional allocation.

My plan apportions delegates consistently with Rule 15(b) that calls for the broadest participation possible (more on this later). My preferred allocation method is a statewide allocation that is done on a pro rata basis by percentage of the statewide vote. My method sets a floor at which a nominee may receive delegates at 7.500%. Rule 16(c)(3)(i) puts the maximum floor at 20%, but the higher the floor, the more the process transforms towards winner-takes-all, favoring only the absolute top-tier of candidates. My 7.5% figure promotes significant competition amongst all candidates. The top-tier candidates have an incentive to find every vote possible for March 1, knowing that delegates will be spread thinner across the field, unless they are able to get so many votes that more candidates fall under the 7.5% line and are ineligible for delegates. Second-tier candidates, at this writing, frequently poll between 6% and 8%, which means a strong showing puts them within reach of earning delegates. This lower floor, coupled with Virginia’s early voting date, makes Virginia very attractive to candidates that want to gain momentum. Picking up delegates in Virginia allows these candidates to stay in the race longer, and, even if they ultimately fail to win the nomination, they can swing delegates to other candidates, making them relevant throughout the nomination process. Virginia will effectively have two races playing out simultaneously: a race to win the Commonwealth, and a race to 7.5%. These “two races” allow for multiple winners.

Getting to 2.1 million votes: This primary plan works toward the ultimate goal of 2.1 million votes. By shifting the proportion away from Congressional districts, it forces candidates to run a whole-state race. They will not be able to cherry pick delegates by locking in on one district, while underperforming everywhere else. They will have to put together a statewide infrastructure plan early in the campaign, which means whoever wins the nomination has the statewide ground game in place to win November electoral votes. This strategy also promotes early investments in high population density areas, the very areas Republicans have been losing by wide margins in statewide races. Because of the statewide move, performing well in Alexandria and Richmond will win more delegates to the candidate in March; and establishing a presence in those places late in 2015, and staying there through November 2016, will produce significantly better Republican margins in November. But this strategy will also draw more attention to rural Republican strongholds, because top-tier and second-tier candidates will need to turn out the high-likelihood Republican voters. This puts Republicans in a position to both recruit longstanding loyalists and enter new communities.

Election of delegates: There is a difference between voting for a presidential candidate and voting for the delegates to go to Cleveland to cast RNC votes. RPV can still choose to send 3 delegates from each Congressional district, voted on at district conventions, and still elect 13 delegates at the RPV Quadrennial Convention. My proposal concerns how we bind the delegates, not how we select the delegates, and I would like to keep the current plan in place because it is such an honor to be selected as an RNC delegate.

Summary: The advantages of this proposal are that it promotes a whole-state strategy; develops a campaign infrastructure early; promotes the most total Republican voter contacts across the state; incentivizes the strongest candidates to invest heavily in Virginia because 46 delegates can be obtained on March 1; incentivizes the second-tier of candidates to work in Virginia because of the low 7.5% threshold; and, finally, requires candidates to campaign in high-population cities because of the number of votes available, which will help narrow Democrat margins in November 2016.

What’s in it for me?

In this section I justify why you should want a primary under these rules, no matter what your top priority is in Republican politics.

  • If you prioritize November 2016 success: Our early primary will encourage campaigns to invest in Virginia early, and stay here. Having nine or ten campaigns vigorously competing for votes, knowing they can get delegates based on the low 7.5% number, will initiate more voter contacts, find more volunteers, and force the development of a solid Virginia infrastructure early. This will lead to a better ground game for the eventual winner of the nomination to outperform in the fall.
  • Pro-convention: One fear of the pro-convention crowd is that, using the old system, any one candidate could win all of the delegates with about 25% of the vote, based on nothing more than winning districts. With the statewide allocation, that fear is now completely unfounded. Further setting the floor at 7.5% for winning delegates means more candidates will earn delegates, and no one candidate will “run away with Virginia.” Additionally, more candidates will win delegates under this method, which will be brokered later, just like at a convention. These primary rules eliminate fears and set a convention-style atmosphere. Plus, for agreeing to this deal, you secure a convention, your preferred method of nomination, for 2017. And it starts to be funded now.
  • Pro-primary: You get your primary!
  • Pro-RPV: It is my belief that more money will be donated to RPV if we select a primary than a convention. That money can be used to hire more staff, pay down debt, fund the 2017 convention, and generally be put to its best use. A primary frees up our capital from restrictions based on having to fund a Presidential convention right now. In addition, unit chairs will have a lot of work taken off of them. With a primary, unit chairs can now focus on properly planning their mass meetings, rather than balancing the needs of convention planning along with a mass meeting.
  • You have a favorite candidate: The GOP is forming a great field, but you probably have one candidate you prefer over the others. Let’s say you prefer a candidate that has campaigned vigorously in the African-American community, and that candidate has found a lot of support from it. With a primary, they go to their precinct and cast a ballot for your candidate. In a convention, they have to file for a unit mass meeting, pay a filing fee, sign a loyalty oath pledging to support the Republican candidate (especially if they previously voted in a Democratic primary), and then show up for the state convention to vote. Which method is the better method to have your candidate’s supporters show up for you to cast their votes? The same is true in Hispanic communities. If your candidate is expanding his or her reach, you should want the nomination method that allows your candidate to most effectively get his or her support to the polls. Please note that this is consistent with Rule 15(b), which states, “The Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party or governing committee of each state shall take positive action to achieve the broadest possible participationby men and women, young people, minority and heritage groups, senior citizens, and all other citizens in the delegate election, selection, allocation, or binding process.” (emphasis added)
  • You consider the public: A primary is a very straightforward process: have your supporters show up at their precincts on March 1. If we select a convention, we will have to be very clear with the public that there will not be a Republican primary on March 1, and if they want any say in who the Republican nominee will be, they will have to follow the process of pre-filing, attending the mass meeting, and then attending the convention. Hundreds of thousands of Virginians participate in Republican Presidential primaries, even the low turnout ones like 2012. Those people will have to be informed of our decision.

The 2017 Gubernatorial Convention

A compromise involves both groups getting some of what they want, and this section will briefly lay out details on the convention part of the compromise.

The three most important parts of a successful convention are: 1) money to fund it, 2) capable people planning every detail, and 3) massive participation. I really like conventions, and I want the 2017 Gubernatorial convention to be our best one yet.

Money: Funding a convention, the lockbox, and profitability

Conventions are expensive, but they also have been profitable. Conventions require substantial upfront expenses, but usually recoup those expenses later through candidate filing fees, delegate filing fees, and other sources. A successful convention starts with raising the capital to fund those upfront expenses, and that is why this compromise will guarantee a successful convention in 2017.

Donations and the lockbox: This section addresses two points, how can we assure money will be donated for the convention, and how can we assure that money will be used for convention purposes only? The latter question underscores the lack of trust amongst the factions, and so my answer is grounded in that lack of trust, even though I personally feel like we are moving past that.

Conventions require upfront capital to reserve, and then pay for, convention space. That space should generally be leased about a year in advance. The likely date for the convention will be May 20, 2017, the weekend between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Thus, RPV should secure the space in May 2016, which is before the new SCC members take their seats. This date does a number of great things to assure the success of the plan. First, the current SCC, which would sign onto this plan, will be able to assure that the deal is honored. Honoring the deal means raising the money to pay for the convention, and then actually paying for it. When SCC makes the distribution to pay for the convention space, the 2017 convention is effectively secured. No subsequent SCC meeting would vote to forfeit the tens of thousands of dollars deposited to secure the convention space. The current membership that signs onto the deal is in the best position to assure the deal is honored.

To assure trust, my plan includes a lockbox that effectively operates as a trust. This special account should be set up with a bank with terms that restrict monetary inflows to those that are earmarked for the convention, and restrict withdrawals to expenses that go to paying for the convention. A banker can set the account up to have multiple signatures required for withdrawals, bank oversight of approval of withdrawals for pre-approved convention expenses, and other ways to assure the account is only used for the 2017 convention. In this way, donors can be confident that they are donating to the convention, and the committees set up to plan the convention will be assured of having the money there when they need it.

Profitability:  Conventions have been profitable for RPV. Profits are earned through more revenue coming in, and lower expenses going out. The earlier the convention can be funded (and 2015 is early for a 2017 convention), the more money RPV can accrue to pay for it. In addition, the more money we have to pay upfront, the better bargains we can drive for the appropriate convention space and other details. Driving harder bargains will make the convention less expensive, and therefore more profitable.

Planning: Conventions take a significant amount of planning. Selecting a convention at an earlier date allows for the planning to be done in earnest earlier. RPV will be able to appoint committees to: 1) find convention space, 2) get quotations from spaces, 3) find the best methods for vote tabulation to assure a faster and more transparent election process, 4) start talking to sponsors and vendors, and more. Reaching this compromise enables more than just funding of the convention, it enables the planning of it. A properly funded, well-planned convention can be an enormous boost to the party, the finances of RPV, and most importantly, to the candidates who emerge victorious.

Participation: The 2017 candidates will almost certainly be visible helping our 2016 candidates. They will be identifying voters in 2016, who can be their delegates in 2017. With the candidates knowing the method in 2017 this early, attendance and participation at a 2017 convention should be especially high.

Fairness to candidates: We do not know who is running for any of the three statewide offices in 2017. However, by selecting the 2017 method of nomination now, the candidates will know under what method they will be running. This allows them to start building their staffs, finding their key allies, and all of the other necessities of running for office earlier. We should have a better prepared candidate for November 2017 because they will be able to strategize starting at an earlier date.

Conclusion and a spiritual appeal

After my initial op-ed, I read a lot of responses that effectively said, “We shouldn’t compromise because the other side…” and then listed the offenses. I know that I cannot heal hurt feelings, and that both sides have endured harsh treatment from the other. Instead, I’d like to make a spiritual appeal, that rather than focusing on the misconduct of the past, we look towards building a better future.

It was December 4, 1988, and I was sitting in Hillcrest Presbyterian Church in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. It was the eighties. Reagan was President. People were proud, and proud to be proud. The minister delivered a sermon whose refrain was, “You’re a Presbyterian. You do it better. You do it God’s way.” No matter what situation we encountered, no matter who was on the other side, we were called to be better, to do it God’s way.

Each of us has done something ugly in politics, and each of us has been mistreated by an opponent. I’m sure we all have multiple offenses, and multiple abuses. But this compromise is our chance to hold ourselves to a higher standard. It is our chance to tell the other side that we will work with them to give them something they want, and that we trust them to give us something we want. When we begin to conduct ourselves like Republicans should, to treat each other with respect and cooperation, we will get the same back. And once we start treating each other that way, the public will take notice of what we’ve become. If we hold ourselves to a higher standard, we can expect the public to take notice and join with us.

My compromise plan will work. It will produce better results for Republicans. But if it does nothing else, it will prove to the public, and prove to ourselves, that we can do it better. We can do it the Republican way.


Chip Muir is the 3rd district Rep on Virginia’s Republican State Central Committee and is the Chairman of the Republican Commitee of Richmond