Howie Lind was elected Chairman of the 10th Congressional District Committee at today’s convention in Warrenton. As is often the case in the 10th District, things became rather interesting, but despite that the era of Jim Rich is now officially over. The last hurrah of his cabal is over, with a minor tactical victory followed by a final strategic defeat.
Knowing personally the recent history of the 10th District, this was certain to be a great place to drag video equipment, and I set up well before the convention started expecting to either get some interesting footage, or at least to get the speeches by Congressman Wolf and other elected officials that might speak. I’ve filmed at the Prince William County Convention this year, the 2009 RPV Convention, the Huffman Advance, was invited by Becky Stoeckel to film the 11th District Convention this year before it was canceled, and am also member of the RPV New Media Committee. I was even a paid videographer for Dave Schmidt’s campaign, and have worked for a number of candidates attending today’s Convention. I’m getting to be an old hand at this, and have pretty well established my credentials.
I was a little surprised when Anna Lee claimed I couldn’t film at this convention (saying the Call prohibited it), but dismissed her opinion as being non-authoritative and irrelevant. I was rather shocked later on when right before the convention started I was approached by the Sergeant At Arms and told to pack up my equipment. I advised the Sergeant at Arms that I wouldn’t do so, they got Jim Rich to tell me the same, and finally they went and got two Fauquier County Deputy Sheriffs to advise me that if I didn’t pack up, I would be arrested for trespassing. Jim Rich would be the official complainant for such an arrest of a credentialed delegate peaceably violating no part of the Call or Rules. My, this is awfully unusual.
When Delegate Tom Rust was nominated as temporary Chairman, I figured we could resolve this pretty quickly. Tom has always seemed like an honorable man to me. So when the opportunity presented itself, I stood up and offered a point of order that this decision was wrong and should be reversed. Tom ruled me out of order. Well, that was quite a shock. So I motioned to overrule the decision of the Chair, as I couldn’t imagine the whole Convention could possibly agree with this. This made no sense at all, and no one would explain the decision.
Rust then bypassed any discussion when considering the motion to overrule the Chair, as Roberts Rules of Order would require, and went straight to a vote, so no one ever got an explanation of why I was being barred from taping. After an inconclusive voice vote, Division was called, and about three-quarters of the Convention stood up to reverse the ruling of the Chair. Regardless, Rust determined that he was victorious in the motion despite plain visual evidence that he wasn’t, and Convention business proceeded.
Shades of 2006, anyone? Does this make any sense at all on any level?
I am shocked and appalled that someone like Delegate Rust would behave this way. Republicans are supposed to adhere to the principles they espouse. Rust did not, and hasn’t explained himself at all, despite ample opportunity to do so. He doesn’t have to answer to Jim Rich, and he doesn’t have to follow orders that run counter to one’s conscience in order to please anyone else. Why would he knowingly deviate from Roberts Rules and play games with a Convention vote like this?
During the more than two hour delay (strangely enough) in announcing the results of a vote tabluated by machine, I spoke with Tom Whitmore about what happened, and he had a fascinating take on it. Seeing the Convention quite possibly spin out of control as happened in 2006, all over a pretty inconsequential vote over whether I could film Congressman Wolf speaking to a friendly crowd, it showed the Jim Rich folks they’d lose an actually consequential vote, and this probably would have prevented any efforts to disqualify delegates or play games with the rules. Sure enough, the Chairman of the Credentials committee gave a pretty lengthly report whining about Unit Chairs following the rules and hinting at delegates that could potentially be disqualified, but didn’t try to do anything about her vague complaints. I wouldn’t wonder much if there was some earnest desire to start trying to throw credentialed delegates out of the convention, but a realization that after seeing three-quarters of the convention object to such behavior they figured there was no way such an effort would have succeeded. Maybe, just maybe, what was effectively a test vote showed revisiting 2006 upon today’s delegates would be a very unwise move.
So there weren’t any further fireworks, but plenty of people wondering what could possibly be going on. In the end, Howie Lind was declared the winner of the election for 10th District Chairman.
So although I’d hoped to bring you video of the speeches by Congressman Wolf, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart, I have been censored by Delegate Tom Rust and cannot. At least Jim Rich is no longer Chairman, so I don’t ever expect to see such atrocious behavior in the future.
UPDATE: NovaTownHall has more on this with their great blow-by-blow: “10th District Convention Kicks Off With Thuggishness”
UPDATE 2: Weighted Vote Totals: Lind 713.25, Schmidt 478.75. Now that is a mandate!
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