10th District Convention Update
If youâ€™re a registered delegate to the 10th District GOP Convention this Saturdayâ€¦ youâ€™ve probably been getting plenty of mail this past week. As youâ€™ll recall incumbent Jim Rich previously sent out his deceitful â€œsave the dateâ€ card designed to confuse his opponentâ€™s supporters into thinking they registered incorrectly (and thus not show up). Thankfully the recent mailings have not been so blatantly dishonest; however the contrast between the two candidates remains crystal clear.
Jim Rich sent out a typical fluff piece basically stating that last year the office was â€œbustling with activity as we funded thousands of voter ID and GOTV calls on phones paid for by the 10th District Committee.â€ Apparently having a few phone lines that the Kilgore campaign had their recruited volunteers use was Jim Richâ€™s ambitious plan for success in 2005. His letter provided NO concrete vision or plan for successâ€¦ even going so far to simply say â€œIf it ainâ€™t broke donâ€™t fix it.â€ The most amusing (or disturbing) part of Richâ€™s campaign mailer was when he said he intended to continue his â€œinclusive policyâ€ and that he stands for â€œbrining people INTO the partyâ€”NOT throwing people out.â€ Ironically this is coming from the same man who fought (successfully) to hold the convention in a small and secluded venue far from most Committee members, who opposes Heidiâ€™s plan to rotate 10th District Committee meetings around the district to build participation, and who presided over one of the largest decreases in membership in Committee history. His â€œinclusive policyâ€ means resisting transparency at every turn and refusing to issue simple written financial reports to dues paying Committee members at each meeting. It is no surprise the Committee has shrunk (as has GOP voter turnout) under his leadership.
In contrast, Heidi Stirrup sent out a letter including a â€œPlan for Leadershipâ€ that sets forth a concrete action plan to improve the Committee (she apparently doesnâ€™t believe Richâ€™s argument that the committee is doing just fineâ€¦ probably because the Tenth District has the â€œdubious distinctionâ€ of being tenth in voter turnout (second from last in getting voters to the polls). Apparently having a few phone lines available (and staffed not with volunteers organized from the shrinking 10th District Committee but from the campaign itself) isnâ€™t such an effective GOTV operation. Heidi makes it clear that â€œwe cannot hope to win elections if we cannot turn out our voters.â€ She intends to set specific membership and voter registration goals for each unit and work transparently to build the party rather than watch it wither away.
Both candidates also have the support of elected officials, with Jim Rich getting a letter sent out on his behalf from his friend, Congressman Frank Wolf; and Heidi Stirrup including letters of support from Senator Tom Coburn and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
Unfortunately it appears Jim Rich has a slight edge heading into Saturday and is likely to be reelected, due in large part to his most recent exclusionary maneuversâ€¦ however every 10th District delegate should do everything in their power to support Heidiâ€™s vision and campaign. We wonâ€™t win in NOVA without a solid grassroots organizationâ€¦ despite what Jim Rich says, things arenâ€™t perfect and we need to face reality and do something about it rather than burying our head in the sand.
Weâ€™ll have more later in the week.
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