Norfolk GOP Proposes Ban on Campaign, Political Staff From Leadership

Norfolk GOP Chair Tom Cherry, in an apparent attempt to ban campaign workers and others connected to politicians from running against him for Chairman, has proposed the following rule regarding the upcoming elections (I’ll include the spelling errors, as the proposed amendment is as poorly written as it is outrageous). The proposed change will be in bold:

Article III, Section B-Election and Terms of Office

1) Chairman. The Chairman shall be elected by Mass Meeting, Party Canvass, or Convention called for electing Delegates to the Biennial District Convention and hereinafter referred to as the Biennial election. The Chairman’s term of office shall be for two (2) years from the date of the election or until a successor is elected, unless sooner removed or resigned. No current or within six months paid members of campaign staffs, consultants, lobbyist, or the paid staff of the Republican Party of Virginia shall be eligible to hold to offices of Chairman or Vice-Chairman.

As a former campaign staffer, I find Mr. Cherry’s proposal to be simply absurd.

To begin with, nobody knows the local political terrain better than someone who actually works on campaigns in a designated area, town, or region. It is quite literally your job when you’re in the line of work that countless other friends of mine are in.

It appears foolish and shortsighted for the Norfolk GOP, whose steadily decreasing membership isn’t exactly getting any younger, to bar knowledgeable individuals, especially the younger generation who work campaigns, from running for Chairman of their unit. Even more repugnant is the fact that the proposal reportedly was drafted in secrecy and presented to the membership out of left field at the most recent Norfolk GOP meeting.

I call on Chairman Cherry to immediately withdraw his proposal and let the race be run cleanly and fairly. Indeed, if he can’t win without stacking the deck so ridiculously in his own favor, he should even go so far as to consider resignation.

Cole Trower, a YR (Young Republican) who plans to run for the chair position, has spent much of his time working on campaigns and would be banned under the proposed change. He will be a guest on the John Fredericks Radio Show Friday morning at 7:00 to discuss the issue.

This kind of nonsense is what turns people off to politics. In a place like Norfolk, where the Republican Party is virtually extinct, the last thing the local unit needs to do is further alienate itself. The ball is in the Chairman’s court.