By Mike Desjadon
I have never run for any office so with two months under my belt it’s safe to say I’m new to the game, but that is a large part of the reason I chose to run in the first place. Like so many of you, I’m sick of the game. I’m tired of being pandered to by those who think they know better than I do what’s good for me, done with the hollow clichés and buzzwords, inaction, and exhausted by people who treat Congress as a career destination.
Five of my fellow candidates recently released a statement accusing the 6th District Committee of using its power to prevent openness in the election process by approving procedures limiting the number of delegates and then withholding the submitted lists of those delegates, severely limiting candidates’ time to reach them.
I didn’t sign the letter, not because I don’t agree with the call for an open process (I do), but because I can’t personally substantiate the accusations leveled against those named so can’t presume to know their motivations. I would rather make my case directly to you and am confident that you too will see this all for what it is and join me in saying “enough.”
We’ve grown used to saying one thing and doing the other and our election results are showing that people aren’t buying it anymore. The party says it needs to expand its message to reach new voters but when it comes time to act keeps it small, plays favorites and uses procedural contrivances (like requiring delegates to file in February for a May convention) to keep people out. Who’s surprised?
Fellow Republicans say they believe in individual rights, limited government and fiscal responsibility but vote for gun control, Medicaid expansion, and budgets that push us further into debt. If we want to win, and we want a strong and vibrant party poised to lead well into the future we better start living up to our own ideals.
The party is playing with fire by focusing inward and forgetting that we could have a competitive race on our hands this time. We just saw in PA-18 that there’s another party out there not content with losing and they’re pumping millions of dollars into previously safe races. Pro gun, pro life Conor Lamb has shown us that Democrats are to be able to put their individual philosophical differences aside and unite in ways we Republicans seem increasingly unable to. We should take notice.
We thank Bob Goodlatte for his years of service but he is leaving and the safety of this seat is leaving with him. We need a candidate armed with a fresh message and a mandate behind them to win. Our district of more than 600,000 souls deserves better than letting a small minority choose our candidate. I, and other non-politicians like me, don’t have established network alliances to rely on so are reaching new would-be voters every day, new Republicans we WANT in the party. The enthusiasm to participate from all reaches of the district is inspiring but I’m tired of repeating, “Sorry, you can’t, the deadline is passed.”
I’m writing to ask for your help. Our convention on May 19th is the first time since 1993 where we have the opportunity to select a new candidate.
Let’s push to include the voices of as many Republicans as want to participate and allow new delegates to file across the district until May 9th and give the units 10 days to approve their lists. If that’s too radical than why not just release the lists? These are people who have raised their hands to participate in the process of nominating their representative, so let’s let them! We thank Rockingham County for leading the charge. Who’s next? What are we all so afraid of?
Mike Desjadon, 36, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 6th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Managing director at the Advisory Board Company, a national healthcare research and consulting company, he graduated from Colgate University in 2003 with a degree in Political Science. Desjadon and his fiancé currently reside in Augusta County.