Before proceeding with this post, I would like to repost my endorsements which I posted on facebook on April 7th.
I will be voting for John Scott, Richard McCarty, and Adam Cassandra at the 2013 YRFV Statewide Convention.
John Scott has been a solid vote on SCC and a hardworking chairman. Phill Bell is a great guy, but from what I have seen, John has done a great job and deserves to continue as chairman.
Richard McCarty is one of the hardest working activists in Northern Virginia. He has worked on almost every competitive race in the area. Every campaign knows that he and the friends he brings to help are a valuable asset. The YRFV will greatly helped with an activist as hard working as Richard on the list.
Adam Cassandra recently took the time to start one of the new clubs in the federation, and has made it a pretty active club in a short space of time. As someone running for a position responsible for helping start new clubs, He is uniquely positioned for the job. His recent experience means he understands what the position requires.
Both Richard and Adam are also willing to speak out about the importance of protecting traditional marriage and the rights of the unborn. At a time when the party is becoming ashamed to talk about these issues, it is important that we elect people who are willing to take heat for accurately articulating these important truths.
While he is running uncontested, it is an honor to be able to vote for James Christophersen. I have known him since high school and he is a smart, classy, caring, and hardworking man who will go far in the party and be an incredible asset.
I am not changing any of my endorsements.
I’ve been involved in the Virginia Republican party for almost a decade now. I started out doing simple volunteer work making voter contacts. In 2004, I was calling for President Bush the night Rathergate broke, my siblings and I made most of the calls for the GOP ticket in Roanoke City in 2005, and in the summer of 2006 I helped pass out material for George Allen at a Heritage Festival in downtown Roanoke, talk about a way to get a lot of f-bombs and middle fingers.
From 2007-2009 I became much more involved in the inner workings of the party. I became involved in College Republicans and the Republican Party at the unit, district, and state levels. What I quickly came to notice was that there were people in power who seemed more concerned with holding onto power than creating a fair and transparent party process. It was people like this that I worked tirelessly to defeat. In my mind, supporting a fair and transparent process while advocating for conservatives is what it means to be a grassroots conservative.
Now that I have graduated from college and settled down, I decided to get involved in the Young Republicans. This Saturday I will be attending my first YRFV state convention. Currently it is an organization run by Ron Paulers and grassroots conservatives. In light of this, a month ago I was looking forward to a fair, transparent, and well run convention. However, over the last month I have noticed a disturbing trend in terms of how the convention is being run. Is it establishment tactics, inexperience, something else, or am I overreacting? Let me know what you think afterwards.
1.) In late February/early March Phil Bell made a request of the YRFV board that he receive the YRFV roster. The board denied his request citing among other things concerns with “releasing sensitive information.” This would be a very helpful list which presumably John Scott and his ticket had access to from the beginning. When I asked John about this recently he said that the Bell, McCarty, and Cassandra had the list from the previous YRFV chairman so it was a non issue. 12 month lists are a tad dated in politics these days.
2.) The rules committee which will set the rules for the convention is comprised of 2 candidates on John Scott’s slate. The committee is chaired by Matthew Hurtt, and Eric Bagwell and Adam Kidd are the two other members. Matthew Hurtt and Eric Bagwell are probably great guys, but they are also candidates for the 8th and 6th district rep spots respectively. How common for candidates for an office to be on the rules committee setting the rules for their own election?
3.) In addition to the questions about the Rules committee, there are no supporters of Phil Bell on any convention committee. While you expect a chairman to put a majority of his supporters on a committee, not putting any supporters of your opponent on the committees really does beg the question of transparency.
4.) It was recently disclosed that John Scott will name Chris Stearns Chairman at the convention. Chris Stearns is a great guy. You should join me in encouraging him to run for state senate and donating to him if he decides to run. However, Stearns is also the leader of the most powerful faction on the board (he’s lead the Ron Paul effort to take over the board), and is a strong supporter/promoter of multiple people on John Scott’s ticket. I don’t know anyone questioning Stearn’s fairness, but most well run conventions I have attended are run by someone who has worked to stay neutral in the involved races. People I have talked to have compared Stearns chairing the YRFV convention to Karl Rove or Ben Ginsberg chairing the Republican National Convention. While the comparisons may be a bit of a stretch, if anything sketchy happens on Saturday to insure John Scott’s slate wins, the impression by the losers will be that John Scott put the head of the Ron Paulers in charge of the convention to make sure he was reelected. This could easily be avoided by asking one of numerous party leaders or elected officials in Northern Virginia to chair the meeting instead.
5.) Anyone who read the rules, who wasn’t involved in their creation assumed that if you were a YRFV candidate and wanted signs in the convention, you would need to help sponsor the convention.
Section 25 of the rules states:
No YRFV campaign signs shall be posted in the Convention hall. Candidates and individuals who have sponsored the Convention may post signs.
This week Adam Cassandra, who sponsored the convention at an appropriate level to get signs, asked for clarification on the type of signs he could put up. He was told he was not allowed any campaign signs, since this section of the rules clearly means that only candidates for LG/AG and other state offices can put up signs. Note, nowhere do the rules distinguish between types of candidates. There is an implied identical meaning of the word “candidates” throughout the convention rules.
Maybe the rules committee meant for there to be a certain interpretation of this rule, but didn’t write what they meant. I had to point out a couple discrepancies in the rules when it was first released. It also seems odd that candidates would be required to pay between $100.00 and $350.00 to file and can pay more to be a sponsor, but getting nothing besides ballot access for this money.
6.) The list of convention delegates with contact information was only released to the candidates three days before the convention. Normally convention candidates receive this information much earlier so they can actually communicate to the delegates. While the YRFV didn’t get the delegate lists from the local clubs till Saturday night, the list could have easily been compiled and sent out within two hours on Sunday. If there had been quick turnaround on the list, candidates could have called through it this week, something that candidates try to do for every convention. Now with the delay, all candidates can do is send out one or two quick emails.
7.) Crucial details like when check in will happen were only just released to delegates this week, and there are very big concerns about the ability of the facility to hold the 380 registered delegates plus campaign staff and onlookers.
If I were challenging a District Chair or Unit Chair for reelection, and he did similar things to what I listed above, I would be crying foul as loud as I could. I’ve cried foul about similar things before. It seems very odd to me that a coalition of Ron Paulers and grassroots conservatives would sit by and allow this to be the voting process for an important convention for which there have been months to plan. I would think they would protest quite loudly if similar things were done to them.
Are the things I have listed above, the result of lack of experience with conducting a convention instead of being intentional efforts to hurt those running against you? Maybe so. There very well may be other explanations as well.
John Scott is a law student right in the middle of final season. All my friends in law school right now are swamped enough with school, we should probably cut John Scott a good bit of slack for having to conduct a convention and study for finals at the same time.
However, as grassroots conservatives we have a duty to run election processes that are fair, transparent, and above board. If we don’t, we are no different than those in the establishment we oppose. Here’s to hoping for a smooth Saturday, and that every effort will be made to make next year’s convention much more transparent and open.