Shenanigans in the 10th?

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Apparently, 10th District Chairman Jim Rich is leaving nothing to chance by using strongarm tactics to potentially decrease turnout in the upcoming convention. The following are notes from the 10th district meeting on March 30th and were sent by Kay Gunter in an email to certain 10th District party members who then forwarded the email to their own lists.

Jim opened the meeting of the Tenth District Committee as usual with the Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, Roll Call and Approval of Minutes, followed by a call for Reports. Jim began talking about the upcoming Convention and I stood up and said, Mr. Chairman while you are talking about the convention, I have a motion to make. When I began to read the following motion, T.J. Maloney passed out the attached sheet with the sections of the Party Plan that applied to the motion. Motion: Because Wakefield School has inadequate space and requires off-site parking, under Article IV, Section D, Number 1. b. of the Plan of Organization of the Republican Party of Virginia, I make a motion that the Tenth District change the location of the Biennial District Convention which is to meet on May 20, 2006 at the Wakefield School in The Plains, Virginia, and I ask for a roll-call vote on this motion.

Jim did not call for a second to the motion, but said that he would consider my motion after he finished with the other business.

After other reports were given, Jim turned to me and said that the Chairman makes the decision to change the location of the convention and it will not be changed. He said that you have to make reservations a year ahead for a place to have the 10th District Convention and it would cost over $1000 to rent a place. The committee approved the location in The Call and it would cause too much confusion to change it. He said that he is monitoring the situation and will make a change if he thinks it is needed.

I said that the Loudoun Valley High School, which has an auditorium that seats 998 and has plenty of parking, is available on May 20th. I said that they charge $75 an hour for facilities and $27 for custodial and technical assistance.

He said that Wake field school was not charging to use the two gymnasiums. When asked how much it would cost to provide closed-circuit television, and buses to transport delegates from a nearby field to the school, Jim said he did not know. Terry Nyhous said that the fiber optics was in place and he was expecting a quote from a company to provide service to the two gyms next week. He said they will rent school buses and pay drivers to transport delegates to the site of the convention, but did not have an amount.

Anna Lee commented that she had to be bused from her hotel to the convention when she attended the National Convention. She also said that we would need to get in the building the night before the convention and would
have to pay rental cost for 18 to 24 hours. I told I was sure we could work out something with the school.

Heidi Stirrup stated that we should vote on the options and questioned the ability of delegates to communicate between the sites. Heidi suggested that we have 50 days before the convention and it would be better to change the location now. To wait until two or three days before the convention and make a change would be more confusing. Jim said he is not stupid—he would not wait until that close to the convention and make a change.

Vince DiBenedetto commented that it would be much better to have the convention in an auditorium with nice seats, where parking is close by and everyone would be in the same room. Jim said that overflow delegates were in adjacent rooms at the 1994 convention and that everyone was fine with it and besides he was able to see better at the National Convention by looking at monitors. Vince questioned Jim’s premise and said that there was grumbling and complaints during and after the 1994 convention. Jim said that the location will not be changed.

Heidi asked when the rules of the convention would be drafted. Jim said we will use the same rules that have been used for the past twelve years. She asked for a copy of the previous convention rules and was told by Jim that a copy would be located and sent to her.

I asked who will name the people to the committees and Jim said, “I will,” the Chairman always appoints the people to the committees.

Vince reminded Jim that in the past he had asked the unit chairs to appoint delegates from their committees to serve on the Convention committees. Jim agreed with Vince and said, this year I will appoint committees and I will make the rules.

Jim asked for a motion that we adjourn…

Chairman Rich, who is heavily favored to win with the endorsement of hugely popular Congressman Frank Wolf and longtime incumbency, may be risking his advantage by using these sort of gestapo tactics. Ms. Stirrup, whose campaign had not gained much momentum to this point, would be well-warned to be preparing her team to deal with even more intimidation tactics at the actual convention.

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8 Comments

James Young said:

Anybody who is surprised by this has failed to recognize the BEST reason to get rid of Jim Rich.

At the PWC Republican convention, Heidi Stirrup mentioned the inadequate facilities issue during her speech for the 10th district race.

Rich did not have a representative to speak at the convention.

There were no challenges to the delegate list from our convention, either.

Having a meeting in a facility with only half the required space, when a larger facility is available, is silly.

At the least, it shows a lack of planning and attention to detail.

Sophrosyne said:

This is pretty ridiculous coming from someone who is apparently a shoe-in for re-election. Why resort to such dictatorial tactics???

Freddie said:

If the facilities are inadequate, that could work to the challenger's advantage. If delegates show up at a convention that does not appear to be well organized, the incumbent Chairman will not look good. This is the kind of thing that can sway votes at the last minute.

James Young said:

I don't have the sense that you do, Sophrosyne, that Rich is a shoe-in. Those of use who've been around for a long time (I don't know whether you have or not) remember his despicable effort to remove Pat McSweeney as RPV Chairman in 1994. When I was in the Tenth (the district moved; I didn't) never voted for him for Chairman.

Singleton said:

Freddie-

Rich has used this same tactic in the past with great success. His followers are devoted to him absolutely. The only chance anyone has to remove him is to run up the turnout and that's why his tactics work.

Mr. Young-

I hope you're right, but there doesn't seem to be enough coordination in Mrs. Stirrup's campaign to succeed where others have failed.

James Young said:

Well, that makes two of us, Singleton, though "Mr. Young" seems a bit formal. My wife calls me "James" (there's no explaining the formality, as any married man will attest); my friends call me "Jim"; few call me "Mr. Young"; many call me other, not-so pleasant things.

Unless this is some form of deference to age (Damn it!) or a modicum of respect (probably undue; there are plenty who will tell you that), I suspect that you fall within the category that should be calling me "Jim."

And both you and Sophrosyne may well be sadly right. I simply don't have a feel for it, and concede that both of you may have better sources than I.

Sophrosyne said:

I hope you're right Jim...

This latest act seems to indicate Rich is scared, which is the first positive sign that Stirrup is making progress.

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