Last Saturday’s State Central Committee (SCC) started out okay, but then the meeting became a zoo. Those of us who just want to get on with the business of winning elections found it frustrating.
The meeting started with prayer, pledge, and creed – as do all Republican meetings. Travis Witt was asked to pray, Melvin Adams led the pledge, and I was asked to read the Republican Creed. That is the first time in the nearly five years I have served on the SCC that I can recall grassroots conservatives being asked to lead those events. It is a small thing, but it is a testament to Chairman Anderson’s desire to get us all to work together.
After roll call and proxy report, Mike Ginsberg moved to approve the agenda but with New Business item 10 C – Setting the Terms of the State Convention Call – ahead of the other two new items: “Consideration of [six] Party Plan Amendments” and “Motion to Reconsider the Method of Nomination.” The motion passed 42 to 35.
Under Old Business we continued hearing an appeal by Sandra Brindley. Because twenty more ballots were cast at the Seventh District Convention than there were delegates registered (out of 1681 ballots cast) and because she missed winning one of three SCC seats by a slim margin, Ms. Brindley asked that the Seventh District be made to hold a limited convention with the same delegates attending to vote between herself and the third-place finisher. The chances of those twenty ballots making a difference was miniscule, but the SCC voted 39 to 32 to accept the appeal. However, because the appeal and the remedy were considered separately, the SCC also voted 31 to 42 NOT to accept the requested remedy. Instead, by a 53 to 23 vote we determined that the seat would be declared vacant at the end of the meeting, and, as per the Party Plan, the Seventh District Committee would fill the vacancy. We chose to vacate the seat at the end of the meeting rather than when the appeal was accepted in order to provide the Seventh District with their full complement of votes during the rest of the meeting.
After a twenty-minute lunch break, we began deliberations on “New Business.” That’s when things got… interesting.
In order to have an “unassembled convention” similar to the one we held last August, we have to remove the word “Quadrennial” from Article XII, paragraph 3, which is the emergency article we put in the Party Plan last year so we could continue to do business during the governor’s shutdown of the Commonwealth. “Quadrennial” refers to the convention held every four years to determine Virginia Republicans’ presidential nominee. It would be a simple matter except Party Plan amendments require a 3/4ths majority. The vote was 44 in favor and 30 against with two persons abstaining due to conflicts of interest.
Then one of the members who had voted against the motion moved to reconsider the motion (as is allowed under Robert’s Rules). That’s when things got heated. Voices were raised. Profanity slipped out over unmuted microphones. Things began to go downhill fast.
Then Fifth District Chairman Melvin Adams moved to adjourn the meeting. In an email two-days later, he explained his reasoning:
- The meeting was becoming increasingly undisciplined with tempers rising and frequent outcries, even the use of profanity and vulgar language
- I knew that further discussion would only further escalate a bad meeting as it was clear we were divided and unlikely to move on agenda
- We were making fools of ourselves to the world through our FB feed
- An adjournment would allow us to converse off-line, let tempers cool, try to find consensus and come back ready to do business in a civil and proper manner.
The ensuing debate over adjournment validated his concerns. I was embarrassed that members of the ruling body of the Republican Party of Virginia would stoop to the level of yelling and personal insults that came with the vote – and that it was being live-streamed on Facebook for all the world to see. We voted 39 to 38 to adjourn. We have our next meeting on January 23. I hope this time, SCC members will stop looking at their own myopic perspectives and will instead move ahead with our main job of electing candidates who will steer Virginia back to health and economic prosperity.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.