RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general are expected to be selected in less than two months, but the state party’s governing body heads into a meeting Friday evening still without a final plan on a convention.
Concern over the lack of a finalized deal continues to mount. Virginia’s last three Republican governors weighed in on their preferred nominating process, writing to the party’s State Central Committee that listening to the discussions from a distance “has been disheartening.”
The latest call for action came this week in a blistering letter from a group of local GOP leaders who denounced the party’s committee for its inability to reach an agreement.
“Among our biggest disappointment, is that the disagreements of this nomination method are not about efficiency. Instead, they appear to be more about pride and intraparty power, rather than about actually winning elections in November,” eight local Republican chairs wrote in a joint letter to the committee dated March 9.
The group includes Tim Parrish, the chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee; Steve Knotts, the chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee; Greg Schumacher, the chairman of the Fauquier County Republican Committee; Marci Drewry, chairwoman of the Sussex County Republican Committee; James H. Smith, chairman of the Madison County Republican Committee; Mark Nicholson, the chairman of the Danville Republican Committee; Steve Kruskamp, the chairman of the Greene County Republican Committee; Nick Proffitt, chairman of the Chesapeake Republican Committee.
“It seems that because many State Central Committee members cannot use their influence to win general elections, they are wielding their influence to showcase power and control over this nomination process,” they wrote. “Every inkling of effort and energy must be focused on supporting our candidates and defeating Democrats.”
The letter comes the day after Rich Anderson, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, sent his own to Republican unit chairs asking for their views on two proposals with remote voting locations.
“We have two proposals before us. One is for Congressional District Committees to select remote voting locations for units in their district,” Anderson wrote in a letter dated March 8. “The other is for local Republican units to select one remote voting location for their delegates only (or by agreement with one or more other nearby units, one combined voting location for delegates from multiple units).”
Rich Anderson, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, set a meeting for 7 p.m. Friday after plans for a statewide “drive-in” convention at Liberty University in Lynchburg were ruled out. The proposal called for convention delegates to cast their ballots for statewide candidates from their cars while parked in lots owned by Liberty.
A team sent by the party to conduct a survey at the university concluded a plan to hold a convention at a single site, with possibly thousands of vehicles converging in parking lots, would not be possible under current coronavirus restrictions in Virginia.
“Our request is simple, and our suggestion is of benefit to all Virginia Republicans,” the local GOP chairs wrote in their letter to the SCC. “Dismount your high horses, abandon your personal ambitions, and shroud yourselves in your responsibility to represent the best interests of this Party and the millions of Virginia Republicans who desire to win again.”
“Be the leaders and problem solvers you told us that you were,” they continued. “Do not be afraid to negotiate and come to an agreement.”
A Republican candidate has not won a statewide election in Virginia since 2009.
Anderson requested for all local Republican unit chairs, appointed representatives serving on congressional and legislative district committees, to share their feedback on the party’s two proposals by Tuesday at 5 p.m. In his letter Monday, Anderson expressed the sense of urgency that other local GOP officials have.
“I apologize for this quick turnaround time, but your response will help to shape final SCC discussions and decisions,” Anderson concluded. “Many thanks for your input as the SCC brings closure to our convention deliberations.”
You can follow along the Republican State Central Committee’s meeting tonight on the RPV Facebook page.