By Craig Storrs
To the Sixth District Committee, Sixth District Candidates, and any other interested party:
Some members of the Sixth District Committee recently circulated a letter  defending some actions taken on “behalf” of the Sixth District Committee and requested that the various members sign on to it. I refused because it was riddled with half-truths and hypocrisy. I feel compelled, given the gravity of the upcoming Sixth District Convention, to shed light and refute the claims presented in that letter.
Claim 1: Convention Location and Date
This claim is patently false. No campaign has complained about the location. The date was intentionally chosen, by the admission of the Vice Chairman of the Committee (who ironically also happened to be high-level campaign staffer for one of the affected Congressional candidates), to squash specific Republican voters that had endorsed other candidates from potentially influencing delegates at the Convention. This was admitted by the Vice Chairman to two different individuals.
Claim 2: Endeavoring to keep the Republican electorate unaware of this process
This is a red herring. The only people who are complaining about it are simply unfamiliar with the convention nominating process. The people circulating the Sixth District Committee response are simply utilizing it as a red herring and a head fake to distract from the actual issues at hand.
This specific issue was brought up on January 6th at the district committee meeting specifically because it was known that only giving candidates five (5) weeks to alert voters prior to the opening of the window to file delegates would cause problems with voters who found out about the convention after their filing deadline had passed. That’s specifically why a delegate filing window from March 15 – April 15 was proposed. That would have allowed additional time for voters to be made aware of their ability to help choose their next Congressman instead of potentially finding out after the fact and being left out of the process. This was also one of the arguments for a later convention date, which would have allowed as many people as possible the opportunity to participate in the process and to become active in our party.
Claim 3: Five Candidates Allege ‘Rigging’ by Committee Approving Plurality Vote
This claim is hypocritical. Many of the circulators of the original Sixth District Committee letter won their seats on the Sixth District Committee by campaigning on a pro-convention platform. These circulators answered concerns about length of the process on Convention day that anyone who is truly committed to pick a nominee for public office would have no problem sticking around until the end of the Convention.
Further evidence that their claims of making people stick around are also proven false due to the fact that they voted down a ranked-choice option that would have required only one round of balloting and allowed people to rank their candidates in the order that they preferred them. In short, the real issue that they are concerned about is not the length of time but rather denying people the opportunity to make a second choice if their initial preference does not garner the votes to win. As conservatives, we make the argument that government is best when it allows people more choices on how to best govern their own decisions. The Party should function the same way.
When these circulators stated that the Committee did consider a claim by one member about different campaigns allegedly colluding, they are really referring to the Vice Chairman, Matt Tederick, who also happened to serve as senior-staff to the Cynthia Dunbar campaign and made the original motion that these individuals all voted for regarding plurality and the date of the Convention. I would, in turn, note that the only way you get 17 people to vote in lock-step for something entirely unprecedented is to have collusion on that vote beforehand.
This is one of the most dishonest claims by some members of the District Committee in an attempt to defend itself. I believe the reason for the intentional half-truths here are because people would be outraged if they knew the entirety of the situation.
The 2016 Convention did have a plurality rules package. However, what you are not being told is that only party offices were up for elections — not public offices. No one at the January 6th Committee meeting had a problem with this year’s party offices being determined by plurality. What the issue is over is trying to determine public office nominations by plurality instead of by majority – as has always been done by the Party, and is expected in any Convention rules package.
There is no convention for nomination to public office by the Republican Party that anyone can think of that was done by plurality – it has always been majority. The folks who are trying to compare the 2016 Convention to the 2018 Convention refuse to admit the fact that there were no nominations for public office in 2016 to be decided at the Convention – as a result, their claim that the Convention rules are identical are not only incorrect, but are intentionally misleading. The Republican Party should seek to strengthen itself through consensual addition instead of forced division.
Claim 4: Five Candidates Allege Unfair Bias to One Campaign by Committee Releasing All Lists on April 7th
I will first note the half-truth in this claim. The Committee will be holding a vote on April 7th to determine whether or not they will release the delegate lists on April 9th. This is no guarantee and my request by email to the entire Committee requesting such guarantee has fallen on deaf ears. In fact, the Chairman of the Warren County Republican Committee has openly suggested that he might insist on not releasing the Warren County delegate list at all. This is outrageous.To the idea that one candidate has gotten delegate lists over the others: I find it hard to believe otherwise.
Matt Tederick, Vice-Chairman and staffer for Cynthia Dunbar, has previously noted access to delegate information. He also chaired the Warren County Mass Meeting, in which he had access to those delegate forms. Additionally, the Call for the Convention states that all delegate information will be sent to Scott Sayre, as Chairman of the Sixth District Committee. Scott, himself, is a candidate for reelection and now has access to delegate information that his opponent (Jennifer Brown) does not have.
Below is an excerpt from the Call for the Convention – emphasis is added:
V. Certification of Delegates
A. The said Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the District Convention so elected shall be certified in writing with their respective names, addresses (including zip codes), phone numbers and, if provided, email addresses, over the signatures of the permanent Chairman and permanent Secretary of the Unit Mass Meeting or Convention, or of the Chairman of the Unit Committee which may have conducted a Party Canvass to select the Delegates and Alternate Delegates. Units are required to submit all information provided on the Pre-file form.
B. All certifications, regardless of the date of the Unit Mass Meeting, Party Canvass, or Convention must be postmarked no later than the seventh day after the adjournment of the Unit Mass Meeting, Party Canvass, or Convention, or delivered in person to Chairman Scott Sayre by appointment at 43 Natural Bridge School Rd, Natural Bridge Station, VA 24579, no later than 6:00 p.m., on the tenth day after the adjournment of the Unit Mass Meeting, Party Canvass, or Convention, but no later than April 9, 2018.
With all that being said, Scott Sayre now has access to delegate lists from: Augusta County, Bath County, Harrisonburg City, Page County, Roanoke City, Staunton City, Waynesboro City, and Warren County (which had Matt Tederick as Chairman, so I find it hard to believe that the Cynthia Dunbar Campaign does not have that list).
If Members of the Sixth District Committee want to contest that their actions are not for the benefit of some instead of all, they can simply stop playing games with delegates and convention rules, and return to the generally accepted and universally expected guidelines for how Conventions are run and delegates are released. The District Committee needs to be about the business of building trust as opposed with having to deal with claims of favoritism and corruption. Additionally, no one who calls for fairness, openness, and transparency should ever be marginalized or criticized in the Republican Party.
Furthermore, it is not helpful when instead of fostering a fair and transparent Convention process – a high ranking member of the Committee, with a conflict of interest for a candidate, alleges that multiple other candidates are not serious and merely part of a conspiratorial plot to take down that high-ranking member of the District Committee’s candidate.
No one wants a positive and energized Convention more than I do. I have become concerned over the past several months about the objectivity and impartiality of several members of the Sixth District Committee in this election. I call on the Sixth District Committee to return to the universally accepted methods and processes of Convention nominations for public office.
Craig Storrs, Jr. is Central Regional Vice Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District Committee.