It's that time in Virginia's political cycle when Republicans reorganize their local units and elect new officers. I attended Floyd County's re-organizational meeting a few nights ago. It went well, it was very well attended and ran smoothly. Long time Chairman Gene Bishop retained his position in the face of strong up-and-comer Lauren Yoder.
Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Some of you may remember Tazewell County a couple of years ago. There the incumbent chairman actually locked the doors, keeping those who did not support her out of what is supposed to be a public, open meeting. That same year there was a kerfuffle in the northern end of the 5th district. Something about not keeping the pre-filing forms secure, if I remember correctly. And who can forget the mess that came out of Augusta County that year?
The fact is, under the system now in place, the incumbent chairman pretty much controls the entire process up to the minute the re-organizational meeting begins. Too many chairmen use that fact as a way to "game" the process in their favor. What I mean by this is that a chairman has such tight control over the process in his own unit that he can follow very close to the edges of the rules in order to assure his re-election. Sometimes, like the examples above, he may even stray across those edges. As long as no one is aware enough to catch it, he can pretty much get away with it. Here in Henry County, our previous chairman had become expert at riding those edges and keeping folks in the dark enough to actually cross the edge if he needed to.
Until this year. This year the previous chairman knew he was being watched very closely. He knew he was a weak and ineffective chairman who had very little real support. He knew that anyone who could bring a couple dozen votes into the re-organizational meeting would take his seat.
So, what did he do? He called an executive committee meeting the weekend before the re-organizational meeting and essentially dismantled the local unit. He asked for the resignation of all executive members, got resignations from all but one, and then resigned himself. Before he dismantled the unit, he asked for and got a vote to transfer the treasury to a neighboring unit. Party officials are working on getting the finances straightened out. (At this time there is no real need to name him or his primary accomplice in the scheme.)
All that to save himself the indignity of losing a fair, open election. That's a pretty embarrassing way to prevent embarrassing yourself, but it was the way he chose to do it.
Now, he's further embarrassing himself. He refuses to relinquish control of the domain name, "HenryCountyGOP.com
" and, until recently, was using it to promote a PAC he claims to have founded. He was actively soliciting donations to that PAC using a website named "HenryCountyGOP.com
". He has no PAC registered
with the SBE, however.
A few days ago he changed the front page of the "HenryCountyGOP.com
" website to reflect the sour grapes and childish attitude he clings to.
The front page now reads, in big, bold red letters on a blue background, "Lost to Tea Party / Socialist Take over! Warning! You may have Socialist [sic] embedded in your unit committee !
" Hey, nobody ever said he was a literary giant.
(Click images for full size.)
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