By Edmund A. Matricardi III
Some thoughts after Tuesday’s election day results.…
I rarely comment about politics these days but having served more than three years as Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia (1999-2002) when Republicans won all five statewide offices (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and both U.S. Senate seats), held eight out of 11 congressional seats, and took control of the oldest democratic institution in the western hemisphere for the first time in history (with 64 out of 100 seats in the House of Delegates, and 24 out of 40 State Senate seats), last night’s Virginia election results are especially painful for me. I take these losses personally.
Virginia Republicans now hold zero statewide offices, four out of 11 congressional seats, 51 out of 100 seats in the House of Delegates, and 21 out of 40 State Senate seats. The worst part is that we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Although Virginia’s changing demographics and the growth in NOVA haven’t helped, I’m convinced that Virginia Republicans are losing because we spend more time attacking/fighting each other than we do opposing the Democrats and promoting a unified agenda. Virginia Republicans have now spent the better part of the past 15 years fighting with one another and Virginia Democrats have been the primary beneficiary.
If Virginia Republicans do not stop sniping at each other, I predict the General Assembly will flip on us next year. Who will stand with me and pledge to stop this nonsense by uniting the party against the Democrats? Who will agree with me to abide by Reagan’s 11th Commandment and let go of ancient grievances that have divided our party for far too long?
We all have an axe to grind over some prior slight, vote, or campaign. The establishment wing of the party does. The activist wing of the party does. We all do. However, we all need to let it go and move forward united together if Virginia Republicans want to win future elections and turn around our party’s fortunes.
I was lucky to have a unified party with both wings working together towards a common goal, and we achieved historic results.
Who wants to make that happen again? If you do, it starts with ending the circular firing squad and remembering another Reagan truism: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”