United Republicans of Shenandoah County: John Massoud, Reinvented

By United Republicans of Shenandoah County

John Massoud, twice failed pro-choice candidate for House of Delegates in Arlington, moved to Shenandoah County roughly a decade ago. Massoud reinvented himself as a right-wing firebrand on the Shenandoah County Republican Committee (SCRC).

Massoud’s first order of business, according to him, was chasing out “the powers that be” in the Strasburg Republican Committee precinct.

The actual story is that, when reorganization occurred, the Strasburg Precinct elected then-Republican Supervisor Dr. Conrad Helsley, as District Chair, but owing to the principle of one-man, one-vote, the Precinct was advised that they needed to elect someone else, as Dr. Helsley had a seat already due to being an elected official.

Disregarding these facts, Massoud’s narrative was that he had slayed the mighty RINO. Dr. Helsley, for his part, considered himself cast out, never attending another SCRC meeting again, and ultimately he ran for re-election to the Board of Supervisors in 2015 as an independent. The Republican nominee in that 2015 Supervisor race was Massoud himself, who was defeated in a four way race in November.

Defeated then and defeated for Chair of the Committee in 2016, Massoud contented himself with building a “veritable grassroots machine” in District Six, and eventually snagged a town council seat in 2018. All the while he plotted with others obsessed with power and purity to take over the county Committee with Chairman Randy Gilbert at the helm in 2018. Massoud was awarded Vice-Chairman for his trouble.

But politics is a game of results. What does the County Committee have to show for themselves when it comes to candidate recruitment and support? 

Supporters of the current SCRC will claim the Commonwealth’s Attorney becoming a Republican as a win, but Amanda Wiseley was running as Independent and backed by many of those now in power in SCRC. Their sole victorious candidate in 2019 was Brad Pollack. Mr. Pollack ran against an Independent local businessman and barely won his race, where Republicans have a 70 percent majority in most races in the district.

The current SCRC didn’t even run a candidate in District Six (primarily Strasburg proper, with a few outlying homes in Deer Rapids), where now-candidate for Sixth Congressional District Chair John Massoud claims to have built a grassroots machine.

Then there was the utter and spectacular failure of Rich Walker, who ran a low energy campaign on an issue that Walker wouldn’t even have a say on as Treasurer (the defeated Meals Tax referendum) and was rewarded with 30 percent of the vote, meaning that more than 40 percent of our voters rejected his candidacy. SCRC squandered political capital and good will on a candidate who was so stingy and duplicitous that it is said that SCRC spent more than $4,000 on signs linking Walker with a “No” vote on the Meals Tax while Walker himself raised and spent almost nothing.

We get fiscal conservatism, but there is an expectation in politics that candidates spend money to make things happen. We can’t afford to be a candidate’s committee lock, stock, and barrel. 

Speaking of failure, in this May’s town elections, Massoud managed to not unite around any candidates for town council and mayor in his own backyard of Strasburg. While we believe that party labels don’t belong in town elections, there is still something to be said for activists to seek out and promote candidates at that level. Massoud did neither, content with his own seat at the table.

Massoud’s inaction led to the election of a Democrat as Mayor and another “Bernie Bro” (the kind of progressive John so likes to mention he can work with) to the town council.

The current SCRC did get involved in a School Board race directly endorsing a candidate, bucking the norms that these races should be fought on the issues and not the injection of national politics. Again, we see the need to recruit commonsense conservatives to the School Board, but not at the expense of turning our educational system into a battlefront in the proxy war of blue v red. 

Meanwhile, we have a party that is falling apart. Scores of members have resigned, some with twenty or thirty years of experience. Can we really afford to promote two individuals who failed such at home, despite their lofty claims?

We need strategic thinkers in party office, people who consider factors that candidates bring to the table when they seek party office. Don’t believe the hype when it comes to Massoud and Randy Gilbert. 

The United Republicans of Shenandoah County represent volunteers and activists with more than 100 years of combined experience working for Republican and conservative causes, both in the grassroots and as paid professionals. 

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