Last night the 7th District Republican Committee met for the first time since Fred Gruber was elected chairman in April.
The District Committee voted to appropriate its funds, divvying up the pot among candidates and organizations and leaving itself nearly $85,000 cash on hand, an amount still far exceeding any other Republican Congressional Committee in the Commonwealth.
The disbursements which were approved by a vote of 13-6:
– $150,000 to the Republican National Committee
– $150,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee
– $25,000 to Ben Chafin for State Senate
– $12,000 to the Republican Party of Virginia for i360 voter data licenses
– $5,000 to Ed Gillespie for Senate
– $5,000 to Dave Brat for Congress
– $85,000 cash on hand
As Justin Higgins reports, Fred Gruber supporters are seeing the move as “retaliation” and some of his critics have allegedly conceded that they wouldn’t trust Gruber to spend the money wisely. It remains to be seen what the 7th District will do with the remaining funds and how well Gruber’s future fundraising efforts pay off. But while the 7th District remains ahead of it’s counterparts across Virginia, it’s clearly a new day for the committee.
UPDATE: The RNC and RNCC funds are reported for the training of field representatives in Virginia by both organizations to help toward Victory efforts.
6/27/14 UPDATE: Via Lynn Mitchell, Hanover County Chairman Nancy Russell has put out a statement concerning the 7th District disbursements, explaining her reasoning for why the money was spent in certain areas. Of note, she addresses the Gruber proposal that would have created long term Victory program in the district, saying the program “did not make sense” given that it’d duplicate efforts already in place by RNC, RPV, Brat and Gillespie but also create long term commitments that the District couldn’t guarantee the ability to afford over time.
The full letter is available below:
I know there are a whole host of comments circulating the web regarding last Night’s 7th District meeting regarding the disposition of funds in 7th District Accounts. I have been a member of the committee since 2011 and have voted on disbursements each year. The 7th District has always had a large amount of money available due to the success of fund raising efforts to the Cantor Victory Fund. The large majority of the donations made to this fund were in the $10,000 range from donors outside of the 7th District.
In the past this money has been spent on direct contributions to candidates along with other “Victory” efforts of the party to support all of our nominees both in and out of this district.
Last night we voted to give every Republican candidate in every Virginia district $5,000, which is the maximum allowable donation. Further, we voted to give Ben Chaffin $25,000 to support his bid to win the recently vacated State Senate seat of Phil Puckett. This is a special election and the balance of power in the State Senate depends on a win for our nominee.
Further, we voted to send $12,866 to RPV to cover all costs and entry fees for the ability to participate in the new I-360 list management system. This system will help us identify our voters more accurately than other systems we have used in the past. RPV believes this system will give us an edge in this year’s general election.
The remaining money is to go to the Republican National Committee and the Republican National Congressional Committee. The RNC is the primary funder of the “Victory” operation and therefore, the ground game in Virginia working in support of Dave Brat and Ed Gillespie and all of our other Republican nominees. By supporting the RNC I believe we demonstrate support of all Republican nominees and know that our dollars will be used wisely by our umbrella organization.
The RNCC is investing heavily in Virginia this year and a donation to them made perfect sense to me. We are defending two open seats (here with Dave Brat and in Northern Virginia with Barbara Comstock). The Democrats have named Barbara’s race one of their Top 5 national target races as a pick up for them. We don’t want them to succeed. Please remember that our local gifts to our Congressional candidates are the maximum allowable so this is the only way to get more of these funds to them.
Our expenditures last night still leave $85,000 in the 7th District treasury. This is more money than any of the other district committees have in their treasuries. We are far from being bankrupt! I also anticipate additional fund raising and I encourage all of you to support the 7th District fund that Fred Gruber has recently set up.
There was a counter proposal made for the funds we sent to the RNC and RNCC. The proposal outlined an effort to set up our own perpetual Victory offices including staff, travel, meals, phone, Internet and equipment with the purpose of generating mailings and making phone calls. This did not make sense to me for two reasons. First, this is a duplication of effort. The RNC, the RPV, the Dave Brat campaign and the Ed Gillespie campaign will have a coordinated effort to do these same things. I saw the addition of another operation as working at cross-purposes and creating the potential of annoying voters due to duplication of activity. Secondly, this action creates an ongoing financial commitment by the 7th District that we may or may not be able to fund in subsequent years.
We know that the donations to the RNC and the RNCC will be spent on Republican candidates now! We know that they have the capacity to raise money each and every year to keep their operation going. I appreciate the importance of having “boots on the ground” all year. I just don’t think we have the professional know how to successfully run that on a local level. The RNC is actively raising funds for this purpose and once again I encourage you to donate to that initiative.
After reading this I hope you agree with my decision making process. I realize you may not. We all don’t agree all the time. I ask that you appreciate that my decision is based on the concept of supporting Republican candidates in the most effective manner. I know our party consists of citizens with varying ideas of “Republican”. Please think about what unites us – our shared opposition to bad healthcare policy, bad foreign policy, government overreach and failure to adhere to the Constitution to name a few. We are fighting an unaccountable Administration. We need to send a message to the Democrats that we can win elections because voters are seeing things our way. I believe that the spending plan last night is consistent with that goal.
Please feel free to email me back with any thoughts or requests for clarification.
Nancy Russell Chair