A group of Virginia Republicans, stung by the loss of the governorship after voters this month rejected Attorney General and Tea Party leader Ken Cuccinelli, are readying what would be one of the toughest intra-party revolts yet against the anti-tax movement.
Former U.S. Representative Tom Davis, who from 1998 to 2002 led House Republicans’ campaign committee, is among those working to create an organization to advocate statewide candidates who he says will be less extreme on such issues as abortion rights and more electable.
They also want to pressure the Virginia Republican Party to return to using a primary to select nominees, rather than a party convention, which mostly attracts core activists. That process guaranteed Cuccinelli’s nomination and undercut the more centrist candidate, Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.
“I call them Republicans who can win,” Davis said of the pro-business candidates he says voters will embrace more than those backed by the small-government movement. “If these other guys were winning, I don’t think there would be this type of discussion.”
In short, Tom Davis, Bobbie Kilberg, Wyatt Durrette & Co. have picked a fight.
What could possibly go wrong?
A reader reminds me that Mr. Davis’ remarks run smack into his, and his wife’s, early and ardent endorsement of that most tea party of candidates, E.W. Jackson. Jeannemarie, famously, endorsed Jackson right after she had been knocked out in the first round of balloting in the 2013 GOP convention.
An uncharitable reading of this change of heart would be “craven.” A less harsh view would say they got behind the party nominees and did what they could for them. Now Mr. Davis, at least, is simply going back to his roots.
But if I’m E.W. Jackson, I’m left to wonder why there’s a knife in my back this morning.
And then there’s this…