The State Central Committee (SCC) meeting held via Zoom on Saturday, December 5, began at 10:00 in the morning and did not adjourn until 6:19 that evening. It was a long and brutal initiation to the SCC for Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) chairman Rich Anderson, but he did well. Our recently elected state chairman used the leadership skills he gained during 30 years of military experience – he retired as a full Colonel – and eight years in the House of Delegates to maintain control of a long, complicated, and at times intense meeting.
The first major business was election of SCC officers. Kristi Way, an Eric Cantor associate, was elected Vice Chairman to replace 24-year incumbent Mike Thomas. Jill Cook and David Selph were re-elected as Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Delegate Amanda Batten was unopposed for re-election as Eastern Region Vice-Chairwoman. Mark Kelly was elected unopposed as Eastern Region Vice-Chairman. Dan Webb was elected unopposed as Western Region Vice-Chairman. Nancy Dye won re-election as Western Region Vice-Chairwoman.
The most intensely discussed issue – as always – was whether to nominate state-wide candidates via a convention or a primary. Debate was limited to two minutes per speaker with a limit of 30 minutes per motion. A motion was made to nominate by primary. After a brief amount of debate on that motion, a substitute motion was made to nominate by convention. Under parliamentary rules, we started a new debate (a new thirty minutes). The thirty minutes did not include the number of parliamentary questions such as points-of-order, requests for clarification, motions to table or postpone, etc.
We finally voted (39 to 35) to substitute the motion, which we then had to approve. However, some of the members who voted for convention did so with the understanding that it would be an unassembled convention similar to the state convention we held this last August when Chairman Anderson was elected. When questions were raised about whether the Party Plan allowed us to do that, a motion was made to go back and reconsider our decision. However, a “gentleman’s (and gentlewoman’s) agreement” was made to assure those who wanted an unassembled convention that everyone who voted for a convention would agree to that.
Part of the discussion regarding unassembled conventions revolved around Article XII of the Party Plan. An amendment to that article was already on the agenda. We changed the sunset date of the article from December 12, 2020, to June 30, 2021, so that an unassembled convention could still be held. We declined to delete paragraphs 2 and 3, as had been proposed in the original motion to amend, because we need them in place to have an unassembled convention. There is one word that needs to be struck from the Article for this next convention. The Parliamentarian said that was outside the scope of the call – although in my mind not being able to strike one word rather than the other fifty words that surrounded it was nonsense cloaked in political maneuvering.
We then considered an appeal from Sandra Brindley who missed being elected to the SCC from the 7th District by nine weighted votes. The problem was that 18 more votes were cast than there were people checked into the convention as paid delegates. Brindley wanted SCC to rerun the election between the third-place finisher and herself. That of course could never be pulled off because they would never get the same delegates back to vote for that one office. It would be a decidedly skewed vote and thus even more questionable than the current situation. SCC voted to postpone the appeal until the next SCC meeting. In the meantime, the 7th District was requested to continue identifying paid delegates who were not properly marked on the poll book to determine if they had received ballots (as had already been done in several cases). If they were able to match enough of the questioned ballots with legitimate delegates, then the appeal would be denied. If not, we may never be able to resolve the issue.
In the least contentious item of the day, a “Sense of the SCC” resolution was passed 60-1 that clarified ambiguities in the Party Plan as to how legislative district committees would be allowed to function in the midst of redistricting.
We ended the SCC meeting by going into executive session to consider budget and other proprietary matters. All I can say about what we discussed is that I left the meeting encouraged.
I had a good one-on-one talk with Chairman Anderson several days after the SCC meeting. Now that he has a good grasp of the dynamics of interaction within the SCC, he has some new approaches that will let us achieve great results without having to spend so much time getting it done. Rich Anderson is a man on a mission for the benefit of Republicans in Virginia, and indeed, for the Commonwealth as a whole.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.