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Beauchamp Implodes

By Greg L | 29 April 2007 | Prince William County | 24 Comments

The Washington Post published it’s article today regarding now-independent candidate for Clerk Of The Court Lucy Beauchamp, and essentially has thrown away any opportunity to have her grievances given serious consideration. I’ve rarely ever seen something so badly mismanaged as this campaign announcement, which comes across in the article as whiny and pathetic. Given that there’s been some recent controversy regarding the process of establishing conventions in Prince William County, there was a good opportunity to broaden this discussion and permit some serious reconsideration as to how candidates should be selected in the county. Instead, Beauchamp has pretty much ended those discussions.

Complaining that Chairman Tom Kopko hasn’t given fair consideration to having candidates selected by primary rather than convention is a loser of an argument. Under the bylaws, the method of nomination is entirely up to the chairman unless the incumbent happened to previously been selected by primary in the previous contest for the nomination. He can be “fair”, if that’s what it is, to have a primary, or “unfair” and choose another method, and it’s entirely at his discretion. In the article Kopko gives a pretty solid basis for his decisions, and since he’s at least been entirely consistent in those decisions claiming that him selecting a convention over a primary is unfair to a candidate is on it’s face absurd.

That’s not to say there isn’t potential for argument on this, but that argument would have to be based on discussions between the candidates and the chairman about the method of nomination and how that decision might have actually been made. Beauchamp hasn’t talked about process at all, only the result of the process, and that isn’t only a weak argument, but it looks whiny. To then go pick up your ball and go home as a result hardly looks like the kind of leadership that a candidate would want to demonstrate. Lesson for future candidates: don’t complain about the result of a process when that result isn’t what you wanted, talk about the process itself, and how that process may have been flawed, leading to a flawed result. If Beauchamp hasn’t figured this out yet, she doesn’t deserve to be in politics.

When Michele McQuigg was contacted by the Post, her immediate response was to laugh. That’s probably going to be the reaction of most Republicans, not only for how this has all ended up looking, but for how Beauchamp just threw away the only real opportunity she had to inspire any meaningful discussion regarding her concerns.

UPDATE: Charles has transcribed much of the Post article and has his in-depth analysis posted here.

UPDATE 2: James Young wonders in his latest post what will happen with Beauchamp’s endorsers.  This is a good question, and I’m looking for a lot of candidates and elected officials to seriously consider the implications of allowing their endorsements to remain while Beauchamp abandons her avowed principles and leaves the Republican party.  The fallout from this will be considerable, and the blogosphere hasn’t really begun to consider what that might be.

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  1. CONVA said on 29 Apr 2007 at 6:32 pm:
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    I don’t think you understand how many republicans are disturbed with Kopko his methods in sundry issues. The membership has dwindled from the day he was elected and will continue to go down. Granted Lucy may have erred in her approach because she was probably aware how the entire scenario was orchestrated. She should have come out as an independent at the start and stayed away from the Kopko cabal.

  2. James Young said on 29 Apr 2007 at 10:22 pm:
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    Membership numbers are no different now than they have been at comparable times. Kopko can legitimately be criticized for overpromising on membership numbers, but not for “dwindling.”

  3. James Young said on 29 Apr 2007 at 10:25 pm:
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    And Greg, I think you may be mistaken on the method of nomination. I’m pretty sure that power is vested in the Committee, though in this case, it may for all practical purposes be vested in Tom, as Chairman of the majority unit in a multi-unit jurisdiction.

  4. NoVA Scout said on 30 Apr 2007 at 7:08 am:
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    From a distance, it sounds like Beauchamp, who has a strong track record of successful, county-wide GOP campaigns, lost confidence in the fairness and regularity of the nominating process. It’s a fair argument as to whether and at what point of the process she should have thrown in the towel, but there’s plenty of reason to believe the gyrations in PW on process and procedure are enough to make any candidate tear his/her hair out unless one happens to be in the favor of the small inner circle of the committee. The difficulty with having a small group running the nominating process in a way that causes confusion or disadvantage to one candidate as opposed to another is that it will force candidates with great popularity county-wide (like Beauchamp) away from the party. It’s the Scott York syndrome moved east. Beauchamp will still be a Republican, but it sounds like she has made a decision that the party process in her county is working against her public service ambitions. You hate to see solid candidates reach that conclusion, even if they’ve misinterpreted events. A strong process will always appear objectively well-organized and scrupulously fair. This committee has its favorites (pre-nomination) and wears that favoritism on its sleeve for everyone to see.

  5. Anonymous said on 30 Apr 2007 at 7:26 am:
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    Can someone please explain what Kopko was doing with McQuigg at the County Registar’s Office all afternoon on the 13th of April?

    If you look into what really happened and look at al lof the facts you will see a disturbing pattern emerging here. Tom is another corrupt politician and we need to replace him before it gets worse.

  6. Austin said on 30 Apr 2007 at 9:56 am:
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    From a political standpoint, Lucy may be better off as an independant. She has been a very popular figure in PW, through her social and government involvement. She will recieve a lot of Democrat and moderate Republican support. She probably could not win a convention against Michelle, especially one held in the heart of Michelle’s district, but she will be very tough in the General Election.

    This campaign will be a battle and I predict it will get ugly!

  7. James Young said on 30 Apr 2007 at 11:25 am:
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    “She will recieve a lot of Democrat and moderate Republican support.”

    Demonstrating that “moderate Republicans” are not real Republicans.

    And Austin merely repeats Lucy’s whines: “She probably could not win a convention against Michelle, especially one held in the heart of Michelle’s district.” Pray tell, how does that compute with the notion that “She has been a very popular figure in PW”? A “very popular figure in PW” should be able to win a convention anywhere in the County.

    Beauchamp has maintained her position because of her far Left support (teachers unions) coupled with the ability to con enough of the ill-informed to believe that she actually does anything.

  8. Andy H said on 30 Apr 2007 at 11:33 am:
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    So what’s the acid test James? What makes someone a “real” republican? Taxes? Since all nearby localities instituted rate increases should all those who voted for them hand over their membership cards?

  9. James Young said on 30 Apr 2007 at 11:51 am:
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    “Real Republicans” support Republican nominees, Andy H. It’s not a very tough standard, but one so-called “moderate Republicans” — at least as contemplated by Austin — cannot meet.

    And please note, Andy, that I put no more context to that phrase than that which is stated above.

  10. Andy H said on 30 Apr 2007 at 11:56 am:
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    “And please note, Andy, that I put no more context to that phrase than that which is stated above.”

    -Fair enough.

  11. anon said on 30 Apr 2007 at 12:01 pm:
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    There is something terribly ironic in Michele McQuigg, from time to time derided as a RINO among conservatives, now serving as standard-bearer for “real” republicanism.

    Julie Lucas, too, was once heralded as a “real” republican and her connections to such dignitaries as Ken Starr were highly sought after by the party. Alas, she too has fallen to the ranks of mere RINO now that she is in a contest against the “real” republican, Faisal Gill.

  12. James Young said on 30 Apr 2007 at 12:12 pm:
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    Who said such things, Anon 12:01? You?

    So-called “moderates” remind me of the far Left Dems who whine that their “patriotism” has been challenged, or who complain that the Bush Administration linked Iraq and 9/11. When challenged, the only evidence they tend to produce is the surmise derived from their fertile, self-serving imaginations.

    I have disagreed with Michele on issues from time to time, most notably, on a few tax increase votes. I defy you or anyone else to demonstrate even a single occasion where I “derided” her as “a RINO.” The simple fact of the matter is that Michele and I have been friends for many years.

    I further defy you to identify anyone who has called Julie a “RINO.” Certainly, I have not. I doubt that anyone here has.

    You poor, put-upon “moderates.” So ineffective, so lost, that you have to make it up to justify your own lack of success. In the future, try to avoid manufacturing controversy where there is none.

  13. Austin said on 30 Apr 2007 at 2:12 pm:
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    I don’t think you can question my Republican credentials. I am supporting Michelle and have been active in my support. You can ask her or Omar, her campaign person. What have you done?
    My points were academic in nature. And by the way James, I am an endorsed candidate myself, which means I should have your outstanding support, correct?

  14. James Young said on 30 Apr 2007 at 2:26 pm:
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    You presume too much, Austin. Where did I “question [your] Republican credentials”? Then again, what is “outstanding support”? Who are you? I take it by your careful language that you are not a Republican NOMINEE for election in the ensuing election, which is the language in the Party Plan, but an endorsed candidate for School Board. Obviously, I cannot “support” those whom I cannot identify.

  15. Austin said on 30 Apr 2007 at 2:35 pm:
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    I am Austin Haynes, and am one of the party’s 3 endorsed candidates for the Soil and Water Conservation District. I am not a “nominee”.
    You mentioned that I repeated Lucy’s whines. I probably mis- interpreted what was meant by that.

  16. James Young said on 30 Apr 2007 at 3:40 pm:
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    Fair ’nuff. I tried to find out which endorsee was an “Austin,” but one legit criticism of Kopko is that there is not a list of such on our website at this time.

    I think there are plenty of loyal Republicans who feel betrayed by Beauchamp’s actions. I just don’t believe that “loyal Republicans” are among her most enthusiastic or ideologically-compatible supporters. That’s my opinion, for what it is worth. At least one or two that I can think of supported mostly because she’s “not Michele.”

  17. Batson D. Belfrey said on 30 Apr 2007 at 4:49 pm:
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    This is less about Michelle and Lucy, and more about about a conflict between Lucy and Kopko. Lucy has been around for years, and has a few friends left on the committee. I would imagine they are wondering what they will do. I think Michelle is a better qualified candidate (although I have concerns about who she may be supporting to succeed her), and would have supported her at the convention. I would have to agree that the direction that endorsers are taking, will be telling.

    This is quite a gamble for Lucy. How does the Committee handle this? Does Kopko push to have her removed? It is not as if she lost the nomination at a convention, and turned around and ran as an independent, which would be far worse. I guess she has fully committed to winning the seat, and wnats to retain what support she has from moderate Republicans, while leveraging support she has with independents and democrats. Considering that she fully believes that there was something intentional about the way things unfolded, I would imagine this was the only avenue she saw. Not saying what she did was right, which I don’t think it was. Just saying I can see why she did it.

  18. Big Dog said on 30 Apr 2007 at 5:38 pm:
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    Lucy Beauchamp and Michele McQuigg are both smart,
    experienced, hard working individuals and each seems
    qualified to be PW Clerk of the Court - more of
    a senior office management position than a political one.

    But obtaining the office obviously requires political
    acumen and it appears Lucy may soon have the upper
    hand - the vile Kopko attempted to tie her
    to the railroad tracks, but she seems to have found
    a way to escape - we eagerly await the next episode.

    (Virginia’s Clerk of the Court positions were key
    cogs in the old Byrd machine - it is how he controlled
    the Court Houses. They still are fairly well paid 130K+
    in PWC and enjoy eight year terms.)

  19. anon said on 30 Apr 2007 at 7:17 pm:
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    I wonder what the employee conventional wisdom is on which candidate is least likely to cause a mass exodus.

    I have heard from numerous sources that working with and/or for McQuigg is, shall we say, less than a pleasurable experience.

    She is certainly quite a marked departure from the personality of Dave Mabie.

  20. Marcus Aurelius said on 30 Apr 2007 at 9:11 pm:
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    “Real Republicans” support Republican nominees…

    Jim, really? I apologize but if memory serves way back in 1999, weren’t you then secretky supporting a Mrs. Virginia Dobey, the true Republican, who ran as a conservative independant against then State Senator Jane Woods. Where are those pesky e-mails when one needs them?

    Yes, yes…memory serves well enough for me to know that Leslie Byrne ultimately won the seat, but, for some of us it was reassuring to know how Mrs. Byrne would vote on the protection of life as opposed to guessing at what Mrs. Woods would be doing.

    It is interesting that now that Lucy is running as an Independant, all of my friends would be running to support Michelle, who is by no means “conservative.” She may be the lesser of two perceived evils but that is about it.

  21. James Young said on 30 Apr 2007 at 9:38 pm:
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    I don’t know that Kopko has to do ANYTHING about Lucy vis-a-vis the Committee. It’s not like she’s a regular attendee (except around the time she wants something) and she is not a member of the Committee by virtue of being elected, since School Board races are technically “non-partisan,” and she never obtained the GOP endorsement for the post, in any case. I suspect that, after three meetings, her membership will simply lapse.

    As for your comment, “Marcus” (you seem to type well for a man your age, incidentally), I don’t know where you get your information, but I don’t recall saying a word about a Fairfax Senate race in 1999, in a district which does not encroach (blessedly) into Prince William, much less anything favorable about an independent candidate running against a Republican nominee, even one as wanting as Jane Woods. However, as I have a consistent and unblemished record, per my oath (ever see “A Man for All Seasons?” Fine movie; fine lessons), of supporting “all Republican nominees for election in the ensuing election,” your charge is utterly false, or your memory is faulty.

  22. charles said on 30 Apr 2007 at 10:55 pm:
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    You say Lucy had a record of successful county-wide GOP campaigns. But she has never run as a “GOP candidate”. School board is non-partisan, plus she never got the GOP endorsement for School board chair.

    But it is true she ran county-wide and won for school board chair, which means she has support throughout the county. There was no place in the county where she wouldn’t have had supporters, including in Michelle’s district. So to the degree anything is “fair”, it is putting the convention in Michelle’s district.

  23. anon said on 1 May 2007 at 12:32 am:
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    What you seem to be unaware of is that you are really saying that running with the GOP endorsement means nothing sometimes. It must mean nothing because Lucy ran countywide as an independent and won. She smoked the “real” Republican Steve Keen. Who, ironies of ironies, once dropped out of the party to support a non-Republican and is, alas, running again as an independent. But somehow, somewhere in the mixed up world of PWC politics, he was considered the “real” republican and Lucy was just some RINO.

  24. James Young said on 1 May 2007 at 9:50 am:
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    What’s your point, Anon? That sometimes Republicans don’t win in PWC? True, and rather unremarkable. We all know that perhaps the most powerful force in politics is the incumbency, and Steve could not overcome it. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that the nomination/endorsement of/affiliation with the GOP “mean[s] nothing.” Clearly, it twice meant something to Lucy, since she twice sought the GOP endorsement. Clearly, it means something to her now, because she has plastered her website with the elephant logo, and has — virtually exclusively — sought the endorsement of Republican officeholders past and present.

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