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This Election Just Got Weird

By Greg L | 23 January 2015 | RPV, Virginia Politics | 2 Comments

Unless the Republican Party of Virginia swiftly amends Article 1, Section A(2) of their party plan the following incumbent officeholders will be disallowed from being Republican nominees in the 2015 and 2016 elections:

Congressman Robert Hurt, 5th District
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, 10th District

Senator Tom Garrett, 22nd District

Delegate Greg Habeeb, 8th District
Delegate Danny Marshall, 14th District
Delegate Todd Gilbert, 15th District and House Deputy Majority Leader
Delegate Clifford Athey, 18th District
Delegate William Howell, 28th District and Speaker of the House
Delegate David Albo, 42nd District
Delegate Jackson Miller, 50th District and House Majority Whip
Delegate Richard Anderson, 51st District
Delegate Peter Farrell, 56th District
Delegate Rob Bell, 58th District
Delegate Lee Ware, 65th District
Delegate Kirk Cox, 66th District and House Majority Leader
Delegate Manoli Loupassi, 68th District
Delegate Jimmie Massie, 72nd District
Delegate John O’Bannon, 73rd District
Delegate Barry D Knight, 81st District
Delegate Christopher Stolle, 83rd District

Shocked?  I’ll bet you are. 

This all has to do with the “loyalty oath” provisions of the Republican Party Plan and the penalties that are imposed on those who might for some reason (including very good reasons) decide to endorse a non-Republican candidate over a Republican candidate in an election.  All of these elected officials did the right thing and endorsed Bill Janis for Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney back in 2011, and most if not all were removed from their local Republican committees as a result.  The sanctions don’t end there, though.

RPV General Counsel ruled on January 21st that anyone who did this is ineligible to be nominated as a Republican candidate for five years.  Ouch.

Of course some sort of “fix” to this is going to move through the leadership of the Republican Party of Virginia in absolute record time.  There’s not a chance at all that RPV is going to force these folks to run for re-election as independents, possibly with official Republican Party nominated challengers.  As for everyone else who managed to get punished under the “loyalty oath” provisions of the Republican Party Plan, and there’s quite a few that were excluded from participating in conventions under these rules in the past few years, no such ex-post-facto justice will be expedited on your behalf.

Before you get all excited about this actually getting fixed, consider the case of Manassas City Councilman Mark Wolfe, who openly endorsed Democrats running against Republicans in the last city elections.  When we remove this rule (which is the most likely result) no one is going to be happier about it than he.  With the rule being eliminated from the party plan, it’s going to become an uphill battle for him to be disqualified as a Republican candidate in a future mass meeting or convention without handing him an opportunity to whine about how those “mean” Republicans kicked him out and he now has no other choice but run as an independent or a Democrat.  He gets to act like a fraud, and all the officially-prescribed punishment for this just disappears.

Ultimately, some consequence must exist for political party members when they go off the reservation and start supporting candidates from the other side of the aisle.  Perhaps just the political consequence of a loss of support from party members and bad “PR” is sufficient, and it is preferable to writing in participation requirements that can result in all sorts of unintended consequences like these.  Since all of these issues involve quite specific circumstances, it’s going to be rather difficult to craft rules that are effective enough and flexible enough without them being abused - particularly at the local committee level.  I’m not encouraged that’s even possible, so I expect RPV is simply going to surrender this point and eliminate any attempts to enforce party loyalty.

In the world we live in, the results are both good and bad. 



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2 Comments

  1. Charles said on 24 Jan 2015 at 7:07 pm:
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    Why do we need general rules? If there was a specific problem with a specific republican candidate, and the republican party as a whole agrees that there was such a problem, we could simply have the party apparatus include an appeal process, where they could grant exceptions.

  2. winston said on 25 Jan 2015 at 1:20 pm:
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    I took a loyalty oath to this country. Any politcal party asking for loyalty oath can blow me. They overstepped when they started the “loyalty oath” crap and now IMO they can suffer for it.

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