Interesting news out of the 7th Congressional District today: Fred Gruber is now the party chairman, defeating Linwood Cobb.
Steve Albertson has the blow-by-blow.
But what does it mean?
As far as GOP politics goes, this is a pretty significant refutation of the status quo. Gruber, who has a propensity to speak first before thinking, by all counts, should have never defeated the well-respected Cobb.
Cobb had built the 7th into somewhat of a juggernaut. And, it’s obviously the home-base for Majority Leader Eric Cantor. So, today’s results have to leave some scratching (or hanging) their heads.
But is it really any surprise?
This has been at least two years in the making (if not longer).
Those tired of the status quo won seats on the GOP’s state committee two years ago, with a lot of help from then Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. They then changed the rules to have a convention instead of a primary to nominate state candidates in 2013. That convention gave us Cuccinelli/Jackson/ Obenshain – a truly conservative ticket. Then, in 2014, Curtis Colgate was elected chairman of the 2CD (this is still to be determined), Chris Stearns was re-elected in the 3CD, and Gruber in the 7CD – all facing strong headwinds from Young Guns Virginia PAC.
Why the success? Because what we’ve seen is an enthusiasm gap.
Except for early in the process in Virginia Beach and Richmond, liberty-minded conservatives in the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th, stood up to resist parliamentary maneuvering that was meant to limit their success.
After initially being caught napping, in each district, loyal and motivated supporters showed up when it mattered to hold Republican elected leadership accountable for straying from core Republican principles, such as fiscal responsibility and limited government.
However, there remains a schism among conservatives as to the best approach to advancing the cause: is it more effective and electorally successful to nominate candidates who prefer a steady and gradual change in our governance or is the GOP destined to have a more radical party where the nominees are prepared to overhaul government on behalf of those who can’t wait any longer?
If the past two years, and especially the last few weeks, are any indication, those with a revolutionary spirit remain alive and well within Virginia. And, if today’s win doesn’t get the attention of conservatives who want their party to move forward yard-by-yard instead of with a “Hail Mary” pass, nothing will.
The bottom-line: money and parliamentary procedures are not enough to win the heart and soul of the party. It takes heart and soul too.