Shaun steps down

So the stories are true…Shaun Kenney is stepping down as executive director of the RPV.

This, no doubt, will lead to much delight in certain corners of Virginia politics. Democrats are happy, though the DPVA is hardly a model for a party executive to follow. And there are others, a rather…interesting…bunch that believes success in politics is achieved not through addition, but subtraction. Lots and lots of subtraction.

They should be the happiest of all. Another perceived impediment to their ultimate victory is removed and with it, surely, only good times are ahead.

The old saying about being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it, comes into play. My sense is the party is about to return to the way things were during the Jeff Frederick era.

Perhaps that was always the intended course, and the Pat Mullins interlude, with its relative stability, was the real aberration.

But one thing is clear: this is now Ken Cuccinelli’s party. It’s not exactly the prize he sought, and it comes with substantial pitfalls — not the least of which is trying to keep the whole thing from evolving into a kind of French Directory.

Good luck with that. And here’s hoping the would-be field of 2017 statewide candidates has a strategy for dealing with the consequences.

As for Shaun…he took a position after much cajoling, did what he could, and was savaged for it. But at least he learned, beyond doubt, who his real friends were. Now it’s back to private life, and back to writing regularly on this page. I genuinely look forward to that.

  • Loudoun GOPer

    You know, the first I saw of this was on the Bull Elephant, where the post was gracious and praising of Shaun’s work on behalf of the party. Then I come over hear to BD and see this mean-spirited, sour grapes shot at all the “tea-party” boogey-men who the author fears will drag the party into the dark ages.

    And you wonder why the Post writes stories about infighting in the Republican Party.

    • Max Shapiro

      Maybe that’s because some people in the Tea Party are learning the value of competence over ideological purity?

      One can only hope.

      • Loudoun GOPer

        Or, over at TBE they are showing class and not kicking a man when he’s down, while over here at BD they don’t seem to know what the word means.

        Kinda like your little dig.

        • Max Shapiro

          Jeanine Martin doesn’t know what class is. If you regularly read her posts, you would know that. Everything I read from her gets said aloud in my head in a sarcastic tone of voice.

          • Loudoun GOPer

            Keep snarking. You all just keep proving my point.

          • Max Shapiro

            That’s fine. I’m happy to keep proving your point. Jeanine Martin already proved mine.

          • Reinhardt Reganbacker lll

            Jeanine does one hell of a good job running TBE.

        • Loudoun GOPer

          “You’re joking, right? I read the post too”

          Maybe your blinders made you miss this part:

          “Knowing the financial problems the party has faced, Shaun has been working for less pay than he what he could be earning elsewhere. He can’t make a sacrifice like that forever with a wife and 7 children to support. Shaun has excellent managerial skills and as someone close to RPV operations said “he made the trains run on time”, he made the organization work as it should, something sorely needed at headquarters. We thank him for the sacrifices he has made for our party and wish him well in his new ventures.”

          • Loudoun GOPer

            “Hmm…that’s a different, or edited, from the original post”

            That’s the only version I have seen.

      • Eric McGrane

        Was it competence that led Shaun to attack conservatives as “Nativists”?

        I like how Shaun rolls a grenade into the room and its the fault of the people with shrapnel wounds.

        Bizarro world is bizarro.

    • ameri…canwork

      The Full of Bull Elephant ?

  • Flash Man

    Ken Cuccinelli’s party? Huh?

    • Eric McGrane

      You know…Ken is hiding in your closets and stealin’ yer wimmens.

      Irrational hate rage is irrational and hateful.

      • ameri…canwork

        C’mon Ken Cuccinelli’s Party. Ain’t much of a party then.
        Previous Republican Attorney General and ” Tea Party darling Ken Cucvcinelli.
        Is the enemy of free enterprise and the Virginia working Man.
        He used his previous power to combat the Obama agenda.
        He did not enforce the Statutes 54.1-1100 and the Virginia employment Compensation Properly much less professionally.
        While Ken was researching Star Scientific online , high schools students were cross referencing state data.
        Why did VEC Commissioner Broadway under The Attorneys Generals watch illegally classify unlicensed contractors / illegal aliens, child molesters and MS-13 gang Members as ” Bona- fide ” independent contractors ?
        If his intellect in Law and his power as AG can allow him to change the hallway widths of Abortion clinics , causing some to close ,probably cutting the abortion rate , How come he does not have the intellect to have had Commissioner of DOLI and VEC forward all detection of illegal commerce to the Dept. of Commerce and DPOR for a ” PROPER ADJUCTION PROCESS ” ?
        Ken Cuccinelli and Bob McDonnell made Virginia and Aslyum State , they cohesively administratively deregulated Statutes 54.1-1100 and the Va. Employment Compensation Act.
        We are given our Freedom by G_ D , as a free people { some Christian } we write laws a civilized society . When Elect Officials willfully do not enforce those laws are they Christian ? Are they the sinning part of Christianity? Or are they Uncivilized ?
        Many men volunteer to Kill, Die while defending America and her Laws it is REPULSIVE to not have elected officials uphold those Laws , whether you are Obama or Cuccinelli.
        MR McGrane how come McDonnell and Cuccinelli were ” complicit ” and withheld this Data from the JLARC Commission on Employee Misclassifisation ?
        If you guys want to make Ken your leader please tell him to stop ” Treading on the Law abiding Employer “.
        I do not believe that The American with Disabilities Act covers laziness or complicity.

  • Greg Letiecq

    Kenney is a fine man who just fell under a mountain of hate? Really? Who made the decision to badly overspend RPV’s federal account and deeply go into debt? Who gave the new Chairman a statement to issue that was full of outright lies that he’d most certainly get caught on? A little intellectual honesty could go a long way here – Kenney did this to himself. No one forced him to make bad decisions, and no one else is responsible for what he decided on his own to do.

    • Greg, I hear what you’re saying, but that responsibility lies not with Shaun, but with Shaun’s boss. Not many people know this, but Shaun made a lot of sacrifices to keep RPV working, including by voluntarily taking pay cuts to make sure other obligations and staff were taken care of first.

      • Greg Letiecq

        Actually I believe you were mislead on this point to some degree. Kenney got a raise during his short tenure with RPV. According to FEC reports, he got a 21% raise in 2015. Granted his salary wasn’t outlandishly generous, but the notion he was sacrificing for the sake of RPV isn’t supported by any evidence.

        • Greg, I don’t know how the situation is reflected on FEC reports, but I do know what actually happened. You can disagree with him on immigration or other issues (as I have), but you can’t say this guy hasn’t bled for the Party. I’ve seen it up close.

          • Greg Letiecq

            All that I see, which admittedly is a fairly limited view of the data available, is that immediately upon becoming ED we launched into controversy and started accumulating debt at a rapid pace. His tenure completed with the party out of money and an unresolved controversy about having the party get involved in contested primaries. If anything is bleeding at this point it is RPV, and not in a laudable way.

        • Max Shapiro

          There’s FEC and there’s SBE. I’ve always wondered how RPV handled payroll for Federal vs State activities. My guess is that for 2014 Shaun was working Federal mainly so he was allowed to get a chunk of his pay from the Federal account and not the State. That’s why it looked like a raise, but I bet if you examined the SBE reports it would be a wash.

  • mezurak

    So the Cooch is going to be the next ED? The new life of the party? The last man standing?

    But I thought the adults of the party were back in charge. Oh, THAT;S what the Cantor thing was all about. A failed coup?

    So the incumbent protection team took their money and went home. Let the peon ingrates suffer in poverty until they realize who’s really in charge. Got it. I suppose the next thing that will happen will be the incorporation of a new, improved republican party in Virginia? With a much smaller tent than the last one? Will there be a means test in the Creed?

  • Chris

    If would be neat if VA became the first state to have a really viable third statewide party…but that seems unlikely.

  • Jerel C. Wilmore

    I’m curious, do you have a source to support your claim that Democrats are happy Shaun Kenney is leaving? I haven’t seen a single statement by an elected Democratic official, party office holder, or paid DPVA staff to suggest that they are even aware of Mr. Kenney’s departure, let alone concerned about it.

    If it’s any consolation to Mr. Kenney, ED of a state party of either party doesn’t seem to be a long term employment option, so it’s probably no reflection on him.

    You are correct though that Democrats are concerned about our own situation. There seems to be remarkably little focus at DPVA days from either our state chair or our ED. But most of our EDs don’t last long enough for Richmond locals to explain to them the difference between the East End, the Near West End, the West End, and Short Pump. Perhaps things will change for 2016, but with no Virginia statewide Democrat on the ballot (other than the presidency), there may not be the typical level of focus that occurs when a statewide incumbent demands that DPVA fall in line with their campaign. Perhaps Hillary Clinton will be a sense of focus back.

    Far from being happy about Mr. Kenney’s departure, a lot of Democrats are probably more envious of RPV’s opportunity to rebuild and reorganize while there is time for it to make a difference. RPV hasn’t won a single statewide race since the state sweep of 2009, but that could change if RPV reorganizes while DPVA continues in a rut.

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  • Tyler Pieron

    I look forward to seeing more of Shaun’s post here at BD, and he is to be commended for his work in these challenging times. That said, I agree that the extreme right wing has won control of the party – (Need not look any further than the 7th District Chairman for that…and his attempts to bankroll his ‘Victory Fund”). As a close friend said “The inmates have taken over the asylum, lets see how well they run it.”. I’m afraid that while the boisterous voices have succeeded in taking control, their inability to raise funds, manage and support campaigns and otherwise do the work that needs to be done will doom conservative principles and candidates.

    • mezurak

      Yes of course, it’s the inmates fault. I’ve got news for you. The inmates have been leaving the party in droves. Because they are tired of being called ‘inmates’ or any other derogatory name that comes to mind. Because they are tired of electing party principals who claim to be for the people at election time, and then having those principals not just forget the people after election, but do anything possible to screw them over every chance they get.

      • kelley

        i think you have the wrong inmates. those that the far right wing call the “Establishment” are tired of explaining that a big tent would logically get more people involved & raise more money & gasp, win elections.

  • mc

    IF a man or woman who will state his or her principles of governance, and these happen to align with the Republican creed of Virginia, and that person will vote by the principles espoused, I think we could all support that person and the great divide would disappear.

    However, if once in office, the person started voting in a way to gain power, position, or money just to get along, I think we would be in the same boat we have been in for a long time. If the person will simply represent the principles that got him elected, and if everyone did this, we could begin to make the required changes, locally, regionally, statewide, and nationally. Call it truth in governance, principle before self, or honor above all.

  • Downstater

    As one of those whom Shaun wished to subtract from the party for not following the Dems. lead on rolling out the red carpet to illegal immigrants, count me as “Delighted”. Yee-haa!!

    • ameri…canwork

      I agree ,
      The Previous Republican AG and Governor , by not enforcing State Law they were committing
      an ” Administrative Obstruction of Justice “.
      Why were these elected officials ” complicit ” of STATE LAW not being enforced.
      When the working class family in Southwest Va. finds out that Ken and Bob allowed illegal aliens to work as unlicensed contractors , Southwest Va. will go Red.
      Republicans will blow hot air and talk of ” job creation ” to get elected .
      Today Va. State history shows citizens that they did not even enforce Professional , Occupational and employment laws that are on the books to protect employees from labor exploitation or law abiding business and employer from ” Illegal Commerce “.

  • Is Shaun going to speak directly on this issue?

  • Antoninus

    I love reading establishment Republicans condemning constitutional fidelity and upholding the rule of law as extremist positions. Bless your hearts.

    • Eric McGrane

      They are just flailing and knashing teeth over seeing the end of party pillage. Of the end of the status quo.

    • kelley

      no, that’s not so. as you are aware, constitutional fidelity includes stare decisis. otherwise,why would court render decisions except for the parties before them?

      • Antoninus

        Look, another establishment stooge pissing on my back and trying to tell me it’s raining.

        • ameri…canwork

          Good stuff !!!!

  • Eric McGrane

    Sorry to see you post this tripe Norm.

  • David Obermark

    First off, I am a Blue Dog Democrat who is not completely happy with the Democratic Party. I try to find Republicans I can vote for. Leadership from Republicans like Shaun would apt to make me more inclined to vote for Republicans, not less. I, as do a majority of Americans, disagree with him about giving illegal immigrants amnesty, however.

    But if the Republican Party of Virginia becomes the Tea Party of Virginia not a single Republican will get my vote. I was an Independent until the Tea Party portion of the Republican Party took over, and it was only after all the nonsense started that I declared Democrat. If I was going to be forced to vote Democrat almost always, might as well describe myself as being one, albeit Blue Dog Democrat.

    If in reaction to recent election losses the Republican Party of Virginia shifts further right I think they are less likely to win elections. I could be wrong about that but I can say with certainty Republicans are less likely to get my vote. It was not always that way… I loved John Warner.

    • Lillian Vogl

      ^^ Whether anyone here likes to hear it or not, David sounds like 80% of the folks who open the door and tell me why they’re not voting Republican anymore when I go canvassing in Fairfax County.

      • Reinhardt Reganbacker lll

        Welcome Lillian.

        I guess that she is not from your District?

        But, do you support candidates like Stimpson? Or, do you support the continuation of the Speaker Howell type political machine? What about those that you canvass? Do they want more Howell/Norment, or prefer change?

        Could you give the number of any bill that Republican’s in the Virginia House or Senate have introduced that help the middle-class economically? Job creation bills they have introduced?


      • ameri…canwork

        I agree with David .
        I voted for McAuliffe because of Cuccinelli and his lack of leadership on the issues as I described in my post.
        They way I see it as I am a Va. State Licensed Class A Builder and Employer ; by Cuccinellis remarks about a percentage of Virginians on unemployment and failure to intellectually detect this illegal commerce / illegal employment , how many Virginian families did he cause to be on unemployment ?
        Terry won’t cut unemployment { for which do not qualify , I am a S-Corp. } but Ken Cucchinelli will put Va. Families on it , then blame them for it.
        At lest with Gillespie he often spoke of the ” dignity of work ” .
        Please put forth candidates that understand Employee Misclassification , Hell the Governor has a Task Force in place , Va. Legislators have to write legislation in 2017 as commanded by GOA and the IRS.
        I bet Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe understands that licensed building contractors are
        ” conspiring ” with unlicensed contractors / illegal aliens in the delivery contracting services , this is in clear violation of Statutes 54.1-1100 and the unlicensed contractor / illegal alien which has no Fed. ID number or previous or current VEC account for him to be compliant with The Virginia Employment Compensation Act.
        I do not want to come off nasty but it is time to lead in Virginia , not to use our elected seats solely to combat Obama.

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  • Paddycakes

    Whatever happened to Shaun’s account of massive voter fraud in NoVa.?

  • Gretchen Moran Laskas

    As a Dem, I’m sorry to see Shaun go, as I consider him a thoughtful human being, but let’s face it, executive directors in both parties come and go, and rarely appreciated. And as a citizen, I thank him for his time.

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