Jim Gilmore

Virginia GOP: Time to Abolish Nominating Conventions

Today is the Virginia primary. Candidly, it is also the first time I have voted in the Republican primary since 2005. (I voted for Amit Singh, but if I lived a few blocks over, the Gerry Connolly-Leslie Byrne food fight for the Dem nod in VA-11 looks pretty tempting.)

More often than not in Virginia, the GOP primary is meaningless. Many high-profile races, like the Jim Gilmore squeaker over relative unknown Bob Marshall for the Senate, are decided by nominating conventions.

Virginia also does not have party registration. The only way they know who you are is which party's primary you voted in. Because I have availed myself of the opportunity to select the opposition's nominee and have not voted in the (meaningless) GOP primary while living at my current address, I only get Democratic mail and door knocks.

RPV Convention: Gilmore Narrowly Wins, Hager Loses Chairmanship

The Republican Party of Virginia convention was today, and at a 30,000 foot level one has to say that the level of grassroots ferment in the Old Dominion is very high.

Jim Gilmore only narrowly won the Senate nomination over conservative Del. Bob Marshall by a vote of 5,222.73 to 5,156.97. Marshall hadn't been given much of a shot.

The election for party chairman wasn't as close. Del. Jeff Frederick defeated John Hager (Jenna Bush's father-in-law) comfortably. Hager appeared on stage to nominate Frederick by acclamation before a full tally could be released.

See live blogging at Bearing Drift and wrapups from Next Right bloggers (and Marshall supporters) frashure and GeorgeFitchRepublican.


2008 RPV Convention: Grassroots conservatives vs. Establishment Republicans

[For a play-by-play report of the convention, I suggest you head over to BearingDrift.com and check out their live blogging.]

It's over. Virginia's Republican Party has simply handed over John Warner's senate seat to liberal Mark Warner.

After twenty-thousand 2nd's to Jim Gilmore's nomination, Bob Marshall's crew was finally allotted time on the state. What happened? Grassroots came to life. The convention roared in support of a true conservative. After Marshall's nomination speeches, I asked those Gilmore supporters around me: How can you vote against someone who can energize people like that?

But it's not about how loud you are, it's how many numbers you have and, quite unfortunately (and to the future demise of the party) the majority of the votes went to the Establishment Republican. Jim Gilmore is tried and tested, and he failed that test. His supporters argue that he has the name recognition that Marshall lacks. If that's true and Jim Gilmore has any shot at defeating Mark Warner in November, why is it that he only won the nomination by 65.76 of 10,379 votes?

Instead of energinzing their grassroots conservative base and marching to Washington on the mantra of true conservatism, the Republican Party of Virginia will be struggling to keep its footing and not to lose another Republican seat.

However, a man who has run his entire campaign on energizing the grassroots force within the party, Prince William Delegate Jeff Frederick, had much better success today. After the ballots were cast for Party Chairman but before there had been a tally of all districts, Chairman John Hager rolled out onto stage with a motion to declare Frederick the winner by acclimation. After a second of that motion, Jeff Frederick was declared the new Party chairman.

Come November, when Mark warner takes over the vacant seat, I will surely be there to say "I told you so."

Mark Warner Just Won Virginia

Just minutes ago, Mark Warner just won the Senate race in Virginia. The difficult task facing Republicans of preventing a filibuster proof Democratic majority in the Senate just became a little bit more difficult as the Old Dominion, a state that has not voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate since 1964, is now about to elect two Democratic Senators in back to back election cycles.

The voting hasn't even started yet for the November election, but today's Republican convention in Virginia nominated by the narrowest of margins former Governor Jim Gilmore over Delegate Bob Marshall. And by narrowest, I mean 5,222.3 votes to 5,156.97.

As I outlined in my first post, Governor Jim Gilmore was the last Republican to occupy the Governor's Mansion in Richmond. He was elected over the liberal Volvo-cars salesman Don Beyer in 1997 based largely on an economically conservative message of cutting taxes. Once in office, he allowed out of control spending to position Democratic Party Chairman Mark Warner to run as a "fiscal conservative" and a "businessman" who would fix Virginia's budget.

Candidate Mark Warner promised not to raise taxes; Governor Mark Warner raised taxes. The lack of Republican credibility on budgetary issues, largely created by Governor Gilmore, is what allowed this to take place. Today, Virginia's Republicans nominated the same man who created the mess that first swept Warner into office to try to stop him from bringing his tax-raising liberalism to Washington.

It didn't have to be this way. There was another candidate: Delegate Bob Marshall.

First, Delegate Marshall is a 100% pro-life Republican who would have been able to stand up to the activist judges that recently struck down Virginia's partial-birth abortion law.

Second, has has taken a strong stance in opposition to illegal immigration in a state that is already suffering from an increase in crime perpetuated by gangs linked to illegal immigrants.

Third, he is a fiscal conservative who opposes taxation and regulation of the Internet, the economic engine of the 21st Century. Delegate Marshall has NEVER voted for a tax increase. He opposes No Child Left Behind and he opposes fiscal smoke and mirror to "balance the budget" by borrowing from Social Security.

It is my hope that Delegate Bob Marshall will continue to seek higher office, particularly with an eye to taking on Jim Webb in 2012. He represents the traditional small government conservatism that has worked in Virginia and the rest of the country.

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