2016 RPV Convention Takeaways
With more than a few conventions under my belt, I got my seat early on the floor on Friday. Typically the “gavel in” first day of convention is a boring affair but this deal was different due to the on again, off again RPV’s Chairman’s race. Here are some observations from the combined two day rodeo.
The RNC Committee Woman’s Race
With Vince Haley’s reemergence into the Chairman’s race, the perfect storm was created in the last few weeks which gave the campaign of Cynthia Dunbar as National Committeewoman just the push it needed to get over the finish line. It’s not my intention to take anything away from Cynthia however and her efforts to get her message out to Republican delegates. She was a traveler in the last months, visiting committees and other events where she was certainly well received. Haley’s campaign though engendered a cooperative effort between the most active, convention going Trump folks and the Cruz camp who made an all out push to delegates to show up at “gavel in” on Friday to ensure that the rules would include consideration of his candidacy. Most of these leaders were pro-Dunbar delegates to begin with and this translated to an enlarged group who did indeed show up along with many first time attendees, some of whom made their minds up while sitting just a few feet from me during the speeches.
The Trump/Cruz alliance culminated on Saturday with Cruz chair, Senator Bill Stanley and Virginia Trump chair, Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors walking onto the stage with signs for each of their candidates to endorse and announce Cynthia Dunbar. A crowd, anxious to see some light at the end of the tunnel for the November election pretty much went wild, at least on the floor where I sat and were equally appreciative of Dunbar’s words which took us back to the beginning of who, what and why our country was founded. Adding to the mix, was a third candidate Audrey Dutton who received 48 anti-establishment votes on the 1st ballot and withdrew before the second. I can tell you, those votes went to Dunbar on the next and final vote.
The Delegate Slate for RNC
This one kind of baffled me. Since Jeff has served on Nominations at previous conventions, the process is very familiar to me. From what I could gather, a group of both Trump and Cruz supporters wanted special rules made which would ensure that prospective delegates be forced to declare who they supported for president or say undeclared. Like many states, the delegates are bound to the primary winner on the first ballot and then to their choice on the second. Nothing new here. Also nothing new to how the nominations committee is chosen. They are chosen by each of the district chairs who themselves are elected by majority vote every two years by Republican voters. Nothing new here either. In 2012 for example, 150 plus people applied to be delegates, 30 were interviewed. This time 81 applied, 50 were interviewed so this was actually an expansion from previous years. The nominations committee itself was hugely diverse, with a wide variety of views from center right to way right.
After much debate, on the slate presented by nominations, there was a standing vote to accept or reject the slate by each committee and the slate passed. The results of which are the same as if it had never been debated. The delegates are bound to the primary winner on the 1st ballot and unbound on subsequent votes, like nearly every other delegate in the country to the RNC. While it has been reported that 10 were pro-Cruz and 3 were pro-Trump, this was a CONVENTION and the results are ALWAYS a wild card. This is not a place where hard work and faithful activism always pays off. Just as delegates changed their minds in Harrisonburg on Saturday, they are courted and minds are changed at the RNC Convention quite frequently. There are no guarantees in the animal called “convention.”
Jack Wilson from the 4th District is awesome as a convention chairman and has the patience of Jobe. Great conservatives worked many long hours to make sure we had a fair, interesting and safe process in Harrisonburg on Saturday, including Steve Albertson, Eric Herr, Curtis Colgate, Cathy McNickle, Greg Stone and many, many more. The speakers were vibrant and provided a great showcase of candidates we can be proud of for Virginia offices in 2017. A special shout out to Daniel Cortez for his super, attention getting, complete with music, speech about minority outreach. We need to hear it and do it.
Witnessing Ken Cuccinelli referred to as establishment
As I have been reporting for some time now, those new folks who were successful in 2012 at securing leadership positions during the Bolling/Cuccinelli war are now firmly entrenched as the establishment and are finding its not so easy to run these processes and enforce the rules. Every time a process does not work in a “grass roots activists” favor, its off with the new establishment’s heads now. Ken was indeed booed as reported by others, but it certainly was not by the majority and he displayed patience and leadership in attempting to explain the process. The most interesting aspect is that he is clearly and openly working for Cruz, no secrets, yet some seemed to think somehow he should not allowed to do so, but would be quite angry if this “right to support” was removed from them.
The labels of who is “establishment” and who is “grass roots” and who is “RHINO” and who is “Teahadist” need to take a permanent place in the past filed under “Kindergarten phase of the RPV “ or simply “Stupid” and we need to move on. The lines are more than blurred now and will continue to be as long as new people wake up every day and realize what their lack of involvement has done to their liberty and our country. For those of us still around, we have got to be patient and embracing. They are just as angry as we are and probably more. If you don’t take your time to dialog, a whole host of new “users” who seek political office for ambition’s sake only will grab them up. Its already happening. If you are not a Trump person, be kind even when they are not and thank God they are awake. Our survival as a country literally depends on it.