GOP LG nomination fight gets nasty early

Here we are at the beginning of the Christmas season – after a long and grueling presidential campaign that included a nomination fight – and one of the first salvos of the 2013 GOP nomination campaign is an attack on free speech and blogging.

Bearing Drift has learned that several news outlets were pitched by a Republican lieutenant governor campaign a story about a Stimpson staffer’s blog post during the presidential campaign about alleged homosexual activity and potential criminality by President Obama.

From what we can tell, only John Fredericks and Julian Walker chose to write, but it was enough to get our attention.

The Stimpson campaign spoke with Bearing Drift and is disappointed that another campaign would go negative so early.

“You have to wonder why a campaign would want to go after a blogger?” said Scott Hirons, Stimpson’s spokesman.

Jordan Labiosa is the blogger in question and also chairman of the Craig County GOP. He is a regional director for Stimpson.

According to Hirons, on Labiosa’s own accord, he removed the blog post about the president. The campaign did not request for him to do so said Hirons.

Labiosa, while in a position of responsibility, is still a kid. He’s 18 now and ran the blog post about the president when he was 17. That’s no excuse, but it does give context.

And other campaigns are also responding to the campaign going negative early.

“We don’t want to engage in a mudslinging campaign. The people of Virginia deserve a higher level of discourse focused on the candidates’ record of achievement and plan for the future,” said Cole Muzio, spokesperson for Jeannemarie Devolites Davis. “These kind of attacks would never be tolerated in the Davis campaign.”

Muzio went on to say that the focus should be on electing a Republican as our 21st vote in the Senate.

“Campaigns with this kind of discourse always hurt our eventual nominee, and, with a long way to go until May, we hope the focus shifts back to where it should be: nominating the candidate best prepared to win and most ready to lead.”

One campaign, which requested not to be identified, did state that another campaign in Virginia, was actively shopping this story about Labiosa’s blog post.


Considering we have two current members of the General Assembly running among the seven vying for the nomination, the following might make sense:

– Upcoming General Assembly Session. “It’s tough to campaign when you’re spending 46 days in Capitol Square” said one long-time Richmond observer

– Bolling dropped out. All signs pointed to one of the largest conventions in state history – now we’re going to be looking at something akin to 2009. This will still be big, but will it be big enough for some of these campaigns to gather enough delegates?

– Turf battle. Five of the candidates hail from northern Virginia. They are all trying to secure their delegates – particularly of the libertarian and Tea Party affiliation.

Bearing Drift is confident we have narrowed down who spread the story.

The reality is that this recent kerkuffle is a likely indicator of what is to come. What is most disappointing is that conservatives haven’t learned that the battle isn’t within, but it is with those who wish to destroy our philosophy.

And, what is more disappointing is that some conservatives are willing to tear each other down instead of doing what’s right for the people.

Negative campaigning and ‘gothca’ politics has no business in this nomination fight. But desperate campaigns appear to do desperate things.


From Kevin McNulty, Stewart spokesman:

“Our campaign had absolutely nothing to do with this story.
Corey made a pledge not to attack any of his opponents at the advance and he intends to honor that. I have heard him also reiterate that to our staff as well.”

  • Steven Thomas

    Here here Jim.

  • Well done Jim.

  • +1 JR

  • Interesting that the campaign that shopped this story had pursued him for a position with them, but he turned them down.

    • Whats more interesting is the spin put on a blog post discussing media bias that was posted by a 17 year old aspiring republican. Someone desperately tried to thrash this young man not because of the nature of the post but because of his position as a grassroots YR was a threat to an established candidate?

      So, did a campaign go after Mr. Labiosa or did someone on a campaign do this on their own? People volunteering across the state deserve to know. Someones head must roll for this.

  • “Clean political campaign” is an oxymoron.

    Let’s get real. If you’ve got somebody that’s 18 years old who’s a regional director of a campaign, it’s hard to be taken seriously even if he’s the chairman of the county’s Republican party (which is bizarre in its own way).

  • Chris Beer

    My guess would be the Martin campaign. You only need to go back to the 2000 race for Congress to see what he’s willing to do.

  • They’re going after Stimpson because she is the only one of the candidates who actually has walked the talk about small government and cutting taxes, which makes her extremely dangerous to those who make a perpetual career of talking small government then either being totally indifferent to it, or doing the opposite, once they gain office.

    • Oh come on.

      • OK big guy, which of the other candidates has actually shrunk government in some way at any level? Please be specific as to who, when, and how.

        • You made a dumb statement, Alexis, given the field. Two of the candidates have never held elective office. How exactly are they people who “make a perpetual career of talking small government then doing the opposite.” Two are sitting members of the General Assembly, and I don’t see anybody saying the size of Virginia’s government is too big – that’s a federal problem, not a Commonwealth problem, and Virginia has always lived within her means – we have to. Stimpson’s been on the job two years. Yes, she’s cut taxes, and I applaud her finding a way to get rid of BPOL, but considering that Stafford County has about as many residents as a supervisor’s district in Fairfax, and considering their budget is about $500 million – we spend $2.2 billion just on schools in Fairfax – it’s not as if the size of government in Stafford is somehow spiraling out of control. I give her credit for doing her job, but she wasn’t Hercules cleaning out the Augean stables either.

          You aren’t going to win any converts by trashing the other candidates. Talk about what Susan has done, but you don’t need to try to play this outsider vs. insider game or try to claim that the other candidates are closet liberals. This campaign has already gotten negative and it doesn’t need to be this way.

          • If you don’t see anyone saying Virginia’s government is too big you’re not listening to too many people. Government on ALL levels is too big and needs to be downsized in a big big way. The amount of debt heaped on the citizens of Virginia is unconscionable.

            I of course don’t expect you to agree, since your business is exploiting big government to the benefit of your employer. But you are a tiny and shrinking minority among Republicans in Virginia.

            The proper role of government is to protect the liberties of the people – full stop. Those who disagree find themselves at odds with the Declaration of Independence, a morally and legally indefensible position.

            Try having some principles sometime, you might find it actually makes you a better person.

          • What debt? Virginia has a balanced budget. The Commonwealth doesn’t put us into debt. Neither does my local government, just the Feds. This isn’t a federal race. Debt isn’t the issue.

            I have principles, they just aren’t the same as yours. And one of my key principles is to talk issues and solutions, not the same tired old rhetoric about liberties that nobody disagrees with. It just gets silly after a while.

            But that’s all folks like you do. If you really like Stimpson, you should probably just stop talking. You’re costing her more votes than your earning her.

          • NormLeahy

            The commonwealth has debt, Brian. The 2011 figures show total state debt at over $33 billion, with $21 billion of that not supported by taxes. And don’t get me started about its unfunded pension liabilities…

          • Norm, it’s not the kind of long-term unsustainable debt that the federal government is dumping on us. $33 billion is not significant, nor is it unsustainable. It’s all structured, long-term bonds and the like, not simply borrowing money and putting it on the credit card. It’s the kind of debt we like to have, because it’s cheaper in the long run than paying cash up front for something that will depreciate over time. You don’t pay cash for a house. Our debt isn’t a problem. We still have a AAA credit rating, and nobody has ever put Virginia on a poorly managed list. You’ve got a point about the pension liabilities, but that’s not an immediate threat.

            My point still stands – complaining about Virginia’s debt and the size of Virginia government when that’s not even close to being a legitimate problem is just empty rhetoric. Besides, what’s the LG supposed to do about it?

          • There is no justification for government debt, period. All government debt is, is the guarantee of future tax hikes – or a fraudulent intent to default. Government debt is simply a tool for the government to spend beyond the level that taxpayers are willing to pay. And it comes with a heavy price, both moral and financial. Great deal for lenders, horrible deal for citizens. Pony up your own money if you want those extra things that debt buys, don’t push your bills onto future generations which never got a chance to have a say in the matter.

          • You’ve gotta be trolling now. Otherwise, this is one of the most laughably ignorant things I’ve ever read.

          • Yes, Brian, we know fiscal conservatism, sound financial management, and moral decency does not compute with you, it comes out every time you state a policy or candidate preference. Thankfully the party is increasingly making clear that your kind is not welcome. We have a job to do in fixing this country and don’t need the dead weight of individuals who are dedicated to the demonstrably failed policies that have destroyed what was formerly the most prosperous economy in the world.

          • Geez, Alexis. That’s not very nice.

          • I’ve watched “nice” get us screwed for decades straight. After this latest “Boehner Purge” it’s clear that the gloves are off – conservatives must fight to regain control of the GOP from the liberals who have infested it and undermined its leadership and led us down the path of destruction, because that is the only way we will be represented at all.

            For the misleadership and its allies, the option to “lead” is now gone. The choices are now follow, get out of the way, or get steamrolled.

          • More inane rhetoric that’s not even remotely grounded in reality.

          • I look forward to the taste of your tears of unfathomable sadness when you finally do realize the jig is up on lawyer-lobbyists diverting the righteous intent of the GOP grassroots into avenues of personal profit.

          • I’ll settle for you joining the rest of us in reality for a little while.

          • I’m all for fiscal conservatism and sound financial management. I don’t know what your definition of moral decency is, but given your style, it’s probably something out of 19th century England, without the charm. If you think that it’s fiscally sound or even prudent to pay for capital improvements like buildings, roads, bridges and the like in cash without financing them, you are completely clueless about even the most rudimentary basics of “sound financial management.” You would be wasting taxpayer dollars all out of some ridiculous belief that all debt is bad when the reality is there are different kinds of debt and some debt is good. I could throw in a suggestion that you go look up what Alexander Hamilton did as Secretary of the Treasury that helped strengthen the union, but you’d probably just call him a fascist protp-RINO or something.

          • I reckon Alexis’ big tent doesn’t have room for “liberals” like myself. Although I may stay in the Party long enough to watch the libertarians and the SoCons tear each other apart in the next round of full-contact re-branding.

  • As I trust JR is accurate in identifying that this was shopped around to various press outlets, it is not possible that the mud-slinger will remain anonymous. Someone will disclose the source of the story.

    JR has already functionally ruled out CS and SM, SS probably didn’t do it herself, so we only have about 23 more candidates to weed out before we know who did it.

  • Jordan Labiosa is not being targeted because he’s a “grassroots young Republican.” He’s being targeted because he’s an idiot, and the kind of person that the GOP needs to get rid of.

    • Chris, I challenge you to walk it back man.. We do not need hurl insults towards young or old republicans who have done no wrong. Save the outrage for for the person who took a pot shot under the banner of a candidates campaign. Man up or ship out.

      • Parroting a ridiculous and conspiratorial story that does nothing but assassinate the character of the president is not doing “no wrong.”

        If Republicans could stop focusing on their hatred for anything related to the Democratic Party, they might be able to cure what ails their own party.

        • There is one problem with that statement Chris, It was a story about hipocratic media coverage.

  • TerryTom

    I remember seeing Labiosa and Greg Aldridge getting into it somewhere online – maybe it was E.W.’s camp?

  • I’m aware of who did this. Deeply disheartened (and a bit angry, truth be told).

    Poor form — extremely poor form.

    Hats are off to the campaigns that unequivocally condemned it, though.

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