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This is Not a Purge

A lot has been said in recent days about the vote that will take place on Saturday, April 4 on whether or not to remove Del. Jeff Frederick as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

I am frustrated at the portrayal of this upcoming vote by supporters of Del. Frederick as ideological in nature, a move designed to thwart the will of the grassroots, or simply a move by a small group of angry people.  All of these portrayals are simply untrue.

I write this not as a member of a mythical “Old Guard” of the RPV; I am a first-term district chairman.  Nor do I write this as one divorced from the grassroots.  I have spent years working in grassroots activities, making calls, knocking doors, doing the things that the campaigns needed us to do.  I continue to knock doors and stuff envelopes for our campaigns.  I have devoted enormous amounts of time to our campaigns over the last year.  It is what I love to do.

The underlying reason this action is necessary is that we need to get the RPV back on track and position the party to actually be able to help our candidates win this November.
Most of the State Central Committee members were elected by the grassroots in conventions all across the Commonwealth last May.  Some, like me, are new to the Party leadership, but have been active for a long time in local grassroots activities.  Others have labored in the trenches for many years.  But all of us share the goal of electing principled men and women to public office.

I am not aware of a single member of the State Central Committee who does not hold the decision made by our state convention last May in high regard.  I was at the convention, like many of you.  Some of us supported Del. Frederick while others supported Lt. Gov. John Hager.  I remained publicly neutral and did not endorse either candidate.  But once the convention made its decision, we pulled together and committed ourselves to work as a team.

It is precisely because we have high regard for the convention’s decision that we have tried so many times to make things work without reaching this point.  However, time after time, party leaders at every level have been shut out of the Party’s decision-making process to the point that members of the State Central Committee have been unable to speak on important issues before the Committee.  This fact, coupled with media stories generated by the actions or statements of our chairman that have shaken public confidence in our party, led 58 members of the State Central Committee to conclude that we have to take action, and take it now.

Our governing by-laws rightly set a very high bar for removal of a State Chairman – a    three-quarters vote.  It is not easy to even begin the process of removing a chairman.  Although it is not proper to discuss publicly all of the issues being considered, the fact that three-quarters State Central Committee members signed the document that began the removal process indicates the seriousness of these issues.

If Del. Frederick is removed on April 4, we will then be faced with electing a new State Chairman.  There is already a consensus that our new chairman must be a philosophical conservative – and one who is identifiably so – who has the skills and experience to lead an organization like ours and – most importantly – has as a priority the election of the candidates we nominate in May and June.

Despite what some may say, this truly is a grassroots movement that began within the State Central Committee.  It is not surprising that many elected officials have expressed their feelings on the issue.  Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it is not their call but ours.

This is not where any of us wanted to be, and it gives me no joy to write this.  This is one of the hardest choices a member of the State Central Committee will ever have to make.  Nevertheless, it is one that has to be made, for the good of our party and our nominees for office.  And I believe my ultimate obligation is to do what is in the best interests of the Party.  It is my sincere hope that we can move forward after April 4 and devote our efforts to electing Bob McDonnell and the rest of our statewide and local candidates.

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