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5th GOP District Plans Meeting This Saturday to Pick Nominee for Garrett Seat – UPDATED

Wasting no time, the Fifth Congressional Republican District Committee plans to meet this Saturday, June 2, at Nelson County High School on Route 29, to choose a congressional nominee. The 10:00 a.m. meeting will be open to the public and press.

The meeting comes just five days after incumbent Tom Garrett unexpectedly announced that he would not seek reelection [1] in November. Too late for a primary or convention, the decision is left to the district committee to quickly tap a nominee to face Democratic nominee Leslie Cockburn (pronounced Coe-burn).

As candidates have scrambled to get in line for consideration, there is widespread speculation as to what such a quick decision by the Fifth District Committee means to the candidates who have declared, and those who are considering.

This is not a congressional race in the usual sense of asking voters for their support. This is angling simply at the three dozen members of the 5th district committee, made up of unit chairs and district officers, to capture their votes. The person selected will be the GOP nominee and will hit the ground running for the general election in November.

In the populist atmosphere of the 5th District, it is difficult to know if the committee will pick an elected official, or go with someone who has no governing experience. We have rolled over yesterday’s list [2] into what we know as of Wednesday morning. This list will be updated throughout the day.

DECLARED CANDIDATES — Those who have officially thrown their hats in the ring for consideration as candidates:

State Senator Bill Stanley

Joe Whited – military background; U.S. House Armed Services Committee (announcement here [3])

Jim McKelvey – Bedford County developer (announced on Facebook)

Denver Riggleman – Nelson County distillery owner (announcement here [4])

Martha Boneta – lawyer and farmer (announced on Fredericks radio show)

Dale Woodsoncitizen candidate [5] (announcement here [6])

Delegate Michael Webert (announcement here [7])


State Senator Jill Vogel

Delegate Rob Bell

State Senator Bryce Reeves

The 5th Congressional District [8] is the largest in the Commonwealth and runs from Washington’s western suburbs to Virginia’s border with North Carolina, taking in Charlottesville, Danville, Rocky Mount, South Boston, and South Hill.

It also includes all of the counties of Albemarle, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charlotte, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Franklin, Greene, Halifax, Lunenburg, Madison, Mecklenburg, Nelson, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, and Rappahannock, as well as portions of Bedford, Fauquier, and Henry counties.

UPDATE x1: A statement from 5th District Committee Chairman Melvin Adams about Saturday’s proceedings….

Last night, Tuesday, commencing at 8:07 P.M., the Fifth District Committee held it’s second in a series of conference calls to gain further understanding of the task presented to them by state election law and the Republican State Party Plan in selecting a replacement nominee for this fall’s Congressional election. The call was attended by 35 of the 37 voting members; during the 2 ½ hour call, two people eventually dropped off.

The first order of business addressed was reporting on answers received regarding legal requirements raised in Monday night’s conference call. Satisfied with an understanding of these requirements, the Committee proceeded to develop a strategy and process for the meeting to select our nominee.

The second topic, lasting some 70 minutes, centered on adopting a set of proposed rules for conducting the meeting, which were graciously developed during the day by three volunteers from the Committee. Please note these are proposed rules and must be adopted by the full body at the eventual meeting.

Next the Committee discussed the date and timeline for the meeting. On a 19-14 vote, the Committee chose to have the meeting this Saturday, June 2nd. The time and location to be determined. As legal requirements prohibit the issuance of instructions to candidates, which could violate members voting rights, the Committee adopted a position of requesting potential candidates to notify the Chairman of their intend to seek the nomination by 8:00 p.m. Thursday evening (May 31); failure to meet this requirement does not preclude someone from seeking the nomination. Volunteers were tasked with securing a venue and establishing a starting time by Wednesday, May 30th.

The last order of business was a general discussion of the momentous task thrust upon the Committee by the withdrawal of our nominee, Congressman Garrett. The Committee did not ask for this responsibility, it was thrust upon us; and in true fashion the Committee will rise to the challenge and present an equitable process and meeting. All understand the gravity of selecting the nominee to represent some 700,000 citizens, and do not take it lightly. The members also agreed that once a candidate contacted the Chairman with their intent to seek the nomination, the Chairman would forward a contact list to the said candidate of all the voting members of the Committee.

I will release more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE x2: Please note the Fifth District Committee voted to hold the meeting Saturday, June 2, but noted in the above statement that time and location have not been determined.

UPDATE x3: Senator Bryce Reeves withdrew his name from consideration with a Facebook message [9] Thrusday:

I have been honored and truly humbled by the countless conservative, grassroots activists across the Commonwealth and in the 5th District who reached out and encouraged me to run for Congress. Like them, I am deeply committed to finding – and helping to elect – the best possible candidate to continue Tom Garrett’s service.

My work in the Senate of Virginia is not done. The state budget that just passed makes it clear to me that my focus and enthusiasm is on the laws coming out of Richmond.

Now is the time to lead, and I am going to continue to lead in the Senate and in the 17th – it is imperative and a personal priority to do my part in maintaining the Republican majority in the Senate and to continue championing ideas which makes Virginians’ lives easier, safer and better.

As such, I respectfully ask my supporters on the 5th Congressional District Committee to not put my name in nomination to succeed Tom Garrett. There are dozens of amazing Virginians and remarkable grassroots leaders in the 5th who fought by my side in the Lt. Governor race, and I will stand with them now as they elect a new member of Congress.

Anne and I will continue to pray for ways to serve. And we will continue to always put service above ourselves.

UPDATE x4: Bearing Drift’s Rollin Reisinger has information that Cynthia Dunbar, who ran for the 6th District congressional seat on May 19 and lost, may be seriously considering entering the 5th District congressional race.

UPDATE x5: Larry Sabato  tweets that State Senator Bill Stanley is IN, and could be the front-runner. He adds that Stanley could be a formidable nominee, already vetted, best-known candidate in the race.

UPDATE x6: It’s official that Senator Bill Stanley is in. Here is his announcement [10].

UPDATE x7: From the 5th District chairman:

I want to give this update with information relative to the upcoming Fifth Congressional District Committee meeting to select a replacement nominee for the November Congressional election, current as of this morning, Thursday, May 31st.

Last night, the Executive Committee, which is composed of our officers, State Central members, and 3 at-large members, met via a 2 hour and 45 minute conference call. The discussion was wide ranging to address the myriad of details pertinent to conducting a successful meeting to be held on Saturday, June 2nd, commencing at 10:00 a.m. The location for the meeting will be the auditorium of the Nelson County High School, 6919 Thomas Nelson Hwy. (US 29 south bound side), Lovingston, VA 22949.

I want to stress that this is an open, public meeting and the press is encouraged to attend. However, I point out that this is not a convention. The only people that will be permitted to speak are members of the Fifth Congressional District Committee or their proxies, candidates present for nomination at this meeting, appointed officials to conduct the meeting, or individuals recognized by the Chairman during the course of the meeting.

The Executive Committee approved a budget and developed a “Call to Meeting”, which will be reviewed this morning and released this evening.

The proposed Rules were tweaked after extensive review from the RPV General Counsel and upon receiving new information pertinent to conducting a special meeting to select a replacement nominee.

At present, I have received inquiry or declaration from the following individuals, listed in no particular order: Joe Whited, Denver Riggleman, Martha Boneta, Michael Del Rosso, Michael Webert, Bryce Reeves, Dale Woodson, and Jim McKelvey.

I will release more information as it becomes available.

Melvin Adams, Chairman

UPDATE x8: Official 5th District list of candidates:

As of May 31th 9:00 pm

In no particular order.  These are the ones who have communicated with me.

1.   Joe Whited
2.   Denver Riggleman
3.   Martha Boneta
4.   Michael Del Rosso
5.   Michael Webert
6.   Dale Woodson
7.   Jim McKelvey – Apparently McKelvey dropped out and endorsed Riggleman.
8.    Bill Stanley
9.    Paul R. Gwaz
10.  Harold R. Gielow

UPDATE x9: Cynthia Dunbar is not on the list of 10 candidates but she the understanding is that she can be nominated from the floor at Saturday’s meeting.

UPDATE x10: A press release from Denver Riggleman says he would join the House Freedom Caucus if elected:

“Today, I am pledging that I will join the House Freedom Caucus. The House Freedom Caucus is not about opportunism, or manipulating people and process for a specific end. The House Freedom Caucus is about always supporting liberty, transparency, and resisting any control measures foisted on constituents by outside actors.

“I am running for Congress to represent the 5th District. I will listen to the people of the 5th District. If the 5th District and I differ on an issue, unless it violates my core principles of freedom and transparency, I will yield to the will of the 5th District… because that is the next Congressman’s job. I am not going up there to join “the team.”

“Will all contenders make the same pledge?”

UPDATE x11: Special Rules of Order for the Fifth District Republican Committee meeting on June 2:

1. This meeting shall, to the extent applicable, be governed by and conducted in accordance with the following (giving precedence as listed): the State Party Plan, the Fifth District Republican Committee Bylaws, these rules, and in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

2. Any person may attend the meeting, but only members of the Fifth District Republican Committee or their approved proxies shall have the privileges of the floor unless specially recognized by the Chair.

3. Committee members shall sit in the front of the auditorium. Non-members must sit in the rear of the auditorium.

4. Signs shall be prohibited on the premise.

5. Elections for the Fifth District Republican Congressional nomination shall require a majority of the Fifth District Republican Committee vote by secret ballot.

6. The top four candidates with the most votes in the first round shall advance to the second round of voting unless a candidate receives a majority vote. All other candidates who finish outside the top four shall not advance to the second round.

7. After the first round of voting, the candidate with the least amount of votes shall be eliminated in each round until a candidate receives a majority.

8. In the event of a tie for last place, balloting will go to a runoff. The candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated. In the event of a further tie for last place, the names of the candidates will be placed in identical canisters and drawn from a bucket by the chair or by a member appointed by the chair. The name not drawn shall be eliminated from further rounds.

9. Abstention votes will not be counted; and they will also not be included in the total votes cast on that round of voting, from which the majority is determined.

10. No voter may change their vote after it has been collected or recorded by the Chair or a teller appointed by the chair.

11. Each Candidate may appoint one representative to observe vote tabulations, but observers may not access any electronic devices including cell phones within the balloting area. Failure to obey this will result in immediate removal from the balloting area, will no longer be an observer, and the candidate will no longer have the privilege of appointing another observer.

12. The order of business shall be as set forth in the call, provided, however, that the Chair may interrupt the order as he may deem appropriate.

a. Appoint Parliamentarian, Time Keeper, Sergeant-at-Arms and Vote Counters.

b. Appoint Temporary Committee (Proxy and Rules)

c. Proxy Committee Report

d. Adopting the Special Rules of Order

e. Nomination of Candidates – Nominations shall be accepted from the floor. Candidates must be properly moved and seconded to be considered and must be present for the meeting.

f. Speeches by Congressional Candidates – The order of speakers shall be determined by drawing from a bucket by the chair. Each candidate has five minutes for speeches.

UPDATE x12: From the Fifth Congressional District Chairman:

I want to give this update with information relative to the upcoming Fifth Congressional District Committee meeting to select a replacement nominee for the November Congressional election, current as of this evening, Thursday, May 31st.

The Fifth Congressional District Committee is the geographical size of New Jersey and is composed of 23 county and/or city local committees, officers, State Central members, and three representatives of affiliated groups (YR, VFRW, and CR). By Federal and State Board of Election Law, the Committee is tasked with selecting the replacement nominee. Because this is a Federal race, Virginia law allows any registered voter over the age of 25 to qualify as a candidate. Additionally, there are no specific filing requirements. Any candidate will have to be nominated and seconded by a voting member of the Committee to be considered for balloting. The winner will be determined by a majority vote.

At present, I have received inquiry or declaration from the following individuals, listed in no particular order: Joe Whited, Denver Riggleman, Martha Boneta, Michael Del Rosso, Michael Webert, Dale Woodson, Jim McKelvey, Bill Stanley, Paul R. Gwaz, and Harold R. Gielow.

UPDATE x13: From the 5th District chair:

Mr. Moonaw,

Thank you for your question: “What’s the reasoning for having a vote by secret ballot?”

We are taking every effort to be open and transparent at every level of this process. However, when the committee was discussing the method of voting, the decision for secret ballot was reach unanimously based on the following reasons:

1. Several of the candidates are personal friends with many, if not all of the members of the committee. It is important that we keep those friendships.

2. At the end of the day, we don’t want to be thinking about who voted for whom. We want to be entirely focused on support of our new nominee.

We have a tremendous responsibility with this vote to represent the entire district, and as much as possible, every Republican in it. Together, we intend to do what is best for the district, and we intend to leave the meeting united and working together for a sweeping victory in November.

Melvin Adams, Chairman

On Jun 1, 2018, at 11:54 AM, Moomaw, Graham <[email protected]> wrote:

What’s the reasoning for having a vote by secret ballot?