Primary vs Convention Roll Call

The main event at the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee (SCC) meeting on Saturday was the vote for a 2017 primary or convention with the final vote 41-40 in favor of a primary. Here is the roll call vote.

1st District: All voted for convention — Bob Watson, Allen Webb, Carol Dawson, Steve Albertson, Larry Kile, Eric Herr

2nd District: Stephen Corazza was absent. All others voted for primary — Ashley McLeod, Jeff Ryer, Carolyn Weems, Dennis Free

3rd District: All for primary — Bill Coburn, Carol De Triquet, Steve Trent, Jennifer Lee

4th District: Convention — Pete Burkhimer; Primary — Carey Allen, Kishore Thota, Janet Riddick, Barbara Tabb, Jack Wilson

5th District: Convention — JoAnne Holden, Renee Maxey, Ed Yencho, Travis Witt, Lynn Tucker; Primary — Clara Wheeler

6th District: All voted Convention — Nate Boyer, Joseph Sonsmith, Steve Troxel, Gene Rose, Anne Fitzgerald, Scott Sayre

7th District: Convention — Nancy Smith, Susan Lascolette, Dewey McDonnell, Mark Hile, Ben Slone; Primary — Ron Hedlund

8th District: Convention — Mark Kelly; Primary — David Foster, Sandy Liddy Bourne, Brian Rabbit

9th District: Convention — Susan Edwards; Primary — Michelle Jenkins, Corey Scott, Kevin Corbett, Marcy Hernick, Adam Tolbert

10th District: Convention — Heidi Stirrup, Julie Williams, Eve Gleason, Mark Sell, Jo Thoburn; Primary — Puneet Ahluwalia

11th District: Convention — Freddy Burgos, Paul Prados; Primary — Kyle McDaniel, Ryan Rauner

CRFV Chairman Ben Dessart: Primary

CRFV First Vice-Chairman Nadia Elgendy: Primary

CRFV Second Vice-Chairman Jack Koltisko: Primary

Eastern Vice Chairman Mr. Kevin Gentry: Convention

Eastern Vice Chairwoman Diana Banister: Convention

Finance Chairman Jerry Kilgore: Primary

First Vice Chairman Michael Thomas: Primary

House Caucus St. Cen. Rep. Hon. Jimmie Massie: Primary

National Committeeman Morton Blackwell: Convention

National Committeewoman Cynthia Dunbar: Convention

RPV Chairman John Whitbeck: Abstain

Secretary Jill Cook: Primary

Senate Caucus SCC Rep Hon. Siobhan Dunnavant: Primary

StCen Caucus Rep. Hon. John Cosgrove: Primary

StCen Caucus Rep. Hon. Jackson Miller: Convention

Treasurer John Selph: Primary

VFRW President Ellen Nau: Primary

VFRW SCC Rep Mrs. Miki Miller: Primary

VFRW SCC Rep Elizabeth Munday: Primary

Western Vice Chairman Wendell Walker: Primary

Western Vice Chairwoman Dr. Nancy Dye: Primary

YRFV President Dan Webb: Convention

YRFV SCC Rep Jeff Wernsing: Convention

YRFV SCC Michael Wood: Convention


Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas 9

Mike Thomas 8

Mike Thomas 7

Today’s 6.5-hour Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee meeting was chaired by First Vice Chairman Michael Thomas in the absence of chairman John Whitbeck who had a family emergency.

Once again Mike’s wisdom and guidance prevailed to lead the party through some tough issues. I hope he realizes how grateful we are for his years of leadership and service to Virginia Republicans. Mike Thomas … a gentleman and a statesman.

Tagged ,

Jean Gannon Wins Powhatan GOP Appeal, Chairmanship Returned To Her

In the great news department, Jean Gannon won her appeal at Saturday’s meeting of the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee by a vote of 45-34. She had gone to state central to reverse a grievous decision by the 7th Congressional District when they overturned the Powhatan County Republican Committee’s April mass meeting.

At that meeting, Jean had won the chairman position, upsetting incumbent chair Patrick McSweeney whose rigid exclusiveness had alienated unit members and elected officials.  After losing the mass meeting, McSweeney appealed that loss to the 7th District where they overturned the mass meeting results and returned the chairmanship to him. That led to Saturday’s state central meeting.

Stacie Gordon live-blogged the state central appeal at MillennialAscent:

Jean Gannon’s appeal is now being heard. Wendell Walker is now presiding as chair. Mike Thomas is speaking on Jean’s behalf… discusses the unusual actions taken by supporters of McSweeney during the Powhatan mass meeting (i.e. attempt to waive the reading of the call, attempt to hijack the credentials committee, etc.).

Vice Chairman Thomas points out that McSweeney supporters failed to challenge any voter no the floor of the mass meeting… only took issue by appealing after the fact…. he argues that once the mass meeting was over, the right to challenge those voters died with it.

Mike Thomas: “Jean Gannon still won, she won fair and square.”

2:20 PM – McSweeney’s argument is now being heard… questions the participants of the mass meeting… states that they have a right to look into those participants and determine if there are any known Democrats trying to participate… denies accusations that there was any effort to delay proceedings. Argues that

2:30 PM – SCC members will now be given 15 minutes to speak in favor of Jean’s appeal followed by another 15 minutes to speak against it. Then a vote will be taken to either uphold or invalidate the 7th District Committee’s decision to overturn the Powhatan mass meeting and restore the previous committee.

2:34 PM – A question has been directed to Ben Sloane (7th District Chairman)… clarifying that the ruling to overturn the Powhatan mass meeting would also call for another mass meeting.

2:37 PM – A motion has been made by Eric Herr to delay the vote on Jean Gannon’s appeal until the next SCC meeting at the 2016 Advance AFTER the election. A vote has NOT yet been taking on this motion.

What a cop out… frankly… I don’t know what’s going on now… 

2:41 PM – The motion to postpone the decision on Jean Gannon’s appeal has been seconded. It is clarified that should the SCC approve this motion, the 7th District Committee’s call for another mass meeting take place would stand at present.

2:43 PM – A vote is taken by voice vote… unclear.

2:45 PM – The motion fails by standing vote.

I wonder if McSweeney will try to challenge the participants of this standing vote at the Advance….  

3:00 PM – Jackson Miller makes a strong statement in favor of Jean Gannon’s appeal to thunderous applause. He points out that one of the participants of the mass meeting being challenged is LEE WARE!

3:09 PM – SCC is now voting on the decision by roll-call.

3:12 PM – Jean win!!!! 45-34

Jean Gannon, who had grown her committee to 67 members in just three months after her April win only to see it dissolved by the 7th Congressional District, has now been justified and her win recognized. If only we had more hard-working, dedicated Republicans like Jean, our party would be in good shape.

Tagged , ,

It’s a 2017 Primary for Virginia Republicans

It was a close 41-40 vote but a primary was selected as the nominating method for the 2017 gubernatorial contest during the Republican Party of Virginia’s state central committee meeting Saturday in Richmond.

Republicans will vote at their usual polling place in 2017 to select a candidate for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general to go on to the general election.

RPV Chairman John Whitbeck, who missed the meeting because of a family emergency but he issued the following comment after the vote:

“This will be the first primary to nominate our state-level candidates since 2005. Our 2016 presidential primary was the highest turnout in the history of Virginia for either party.  Enthusiasm for Republican candidates is at an all-time high and we expect this to continue in 2017. The slate of candidates running state-wide in our Party next year as a whole has never been better.

“The primary will allow our candidates to expand our party’s outreach as they campaign, as well as build our ground-game and test out our general election strategy.  I expect our Party will be united and ready to win in 2017.”

The close vote showed how contentious the issue between a primary and convention continues to be within the party. This method, however, will be far more convenient to involve as many Virginia Republicans as possible in the 2017 elections.

Cross posted at Bearing Drift


CNN hires Fox News personalities

CNN 1Fox News anchor Kirsten Powers is leaving the network and heading to CNN as a political analysis. Powers, who will continue as a contributor for USA Today, will join the network immediately.

She follows former Fox News anchor Alisyn Camerota who joined CNN in July. Camerota had spent 16 years at Fox.

Besides Camerota, Powers will find another familiar face at her new network. Bob Beckel, who spent years as one of the co-hosts on Fox News’ afternoon program, “The Five,” joined CNN in October 2015.

It looks like Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide and formerly with NBC, is pulling in some more-balanced talent. Zucker had recognized that CNN was “a little too liberal” in the past and appears to be rectifying that problem, telling the Wall Street Journal:

“I think it was a legitimate criticism of CNN that it was a little too liberal,” Mr. Zucker said. “We have added many more middle-of-the-road conservative voices to an already strong stable of liberal voices. And I think that we are a much more-balanced network and, as a result, a much more inviting network to a segment of the audience that might not have otherwise been willing to come here.”

WSJ added:

After years of weak ratings, the network is nipping at the heels of Fox News, the longtime ratings leader in cable news, whose prime-time audience has grown 42% to 450,000 viewers, and is roughly doubling the audience of MSNBC, the weakest of the three major cable news channels. which is up 73% at 225,000.

The changes at CNN have been noticed so it will be interesting to see if Zucker is able to lure others from the Fox News stable of personalities.

Tagged , , , , ,

I-81 Chase: Augusta County Sheriff Responds to News Leader

By Lynn R. Mitchell

People in the Staunton area will remember that earlier this week there was a police chase on I-81 that began in Shenandoah County and ended in Augusta County. The interstate at Exit 225 — where Rowe’s, Texas Steakhouse, Cracker Barrel, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart are located — was ground zero for the finale with traffic at a standstill. Local friends were stuck on the interstate as law enforcement successfully worked to end the chase.

follow-up article in the Staunton News Leader on Thursday by reporter Brad Zinn raised some eyebrows and caused Sheriff Donald Smith to put out a response to correct the record. Well-known Harrisonburg radio personality Karl Magenhofer even wrote on Facebook, “Appreciate this response to what amounted to a hit piece by the News Leader. I’m surprised because the NL folks are usually very good.”

Here is the response from Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith:

To The Citizens of Augusta County,

I apologize for this letter’s length but please read. After the recent article that the News Leader printed, I wanted to address those of you that I serve directly.

I was contacted by the News Leader yesterday after being out most of the night and working the day before. When I received their questions regarding the policies of my office, I informed them that I was on my way home to get some rest and that I would respond today. I am extremely disappointed that our local newspaper, that I or one of my admin staff members speaks to almost on a daily basis, would take the stance to immediately address policy concerns and report that my deputies were in the wrong. Why not a story on how the suspect was arrested the day before and released? I am not interested in getting into a debate or argument with the media, but I do want to put the facts out there so there are no questions.

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Powhatan GOP’s Overturned Mass Meeting Going to State Central

Jean Gannon 10At the April 5, 2016, Powhatan County Republican Committee mass meeting, Jean Gannon won the chairman position with 131 votes. Pat McSweeney lost with 99 votes. In the world of McSweeney and Friends, that meant appeal, and his allies on the 7th Congressional District Committee handed the lost chairman’s seat back to him.

For the past few years there has been a steady stream of longtime Virginia Republican volunteers purged from committees on one pretense or another because they were not in favor with those in charge. On July 16, the purging of Republicans continued as members of the 7th Congressional District voted after a four-hour meeting to overturn the April 5 Powhatan County Republican Committee mass meeting.

It was yet another case of someone disgruntled because they lost an election but, lacking solid grounds for reversing the results, challenged it on the basis of something they did themselves. In this case, the appeal has been a moving target ever since McSweeney began the process, including a missed deadline to file the appeal. The entire process has been a complete corruption of the system. This is the Republican Party, not Al Gore constantly trying to figure out how voters intended to vote. Mr. McSweeney should have been honorable about his loss, as Ms. Gannon was in 2014, and he should have planned to run again in two years. These games are beneath the dignity of the GOP.

Unfortunately, the 7th Congressional District did what committees should not do. McSweeney’s allies made their decision based on who they wanted — an ally as unit chair — not on the facts.

The July 16, 2016, appeal meeting
By a vote of 11-4 (with 3 abstaining), the 7th District: 1) overturned the April 5 mass meeting; 2) handed the chair position back to Pat McSweeney who had appealed his 131-99 loss to Jean Gannon; 3) reinstalled committee officers under McSweeney — vice chair, secretary, treasurer; 4) instructed Powhatan GOP to conduct another mass meeting.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Don’t kill the messenger

Dana Perino 1Dana Perino is about as uncontroversial a political pundit as it gets so the Twitter storm that resulted Thursday turned into an extended explanation from Perino.

It all began with Perino and co-host Eric Bolling on Fox News’ “The Five” disagreed over current presidential polling numbers. Her big misstep was making this statement: “I will never lie to you.”

After much controversy, Perino took to Facebook to expand on her comment:

It’s time to be frank.

Let’s talk about the state of the GOP Presidential race: it is not good.

The presidential polling — it is what it is. Trump’s campaign and many of his supporters are trying to put the best spin possible on the numbers. I get that, but they are suggesting that the polls are rigged. They are not.

They also say the size of Trump’s rallies, the enthusiasm at his campaign events, and his robust social media following are more predictive of Election Day turnout than independent presidential polling. That is not true.

On Thursday Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics noted that Walter Mondale’s supporters believed right up until the election of 1984 that their candidate would win because of the huge crowds he was pulling out, and then were shocked when Mondale lost 49 of 50 states to Ronald Reagan.

Perino pointed out the 2012 polls:

Continue reading


‘We only tip citizens’

ed immigJohn Elledge 1 (2)

“We only tip citizens.”

That nasty comment was written on a food receipt at Jess’ Lunch, a popular downtown eatery in Harrisonburg, and left for Sadie Elledge, granddaughter of local attorney John Elledge. Sadie is an American of Mexican and Honduran descent. (See WHSV TV-3 video and article.)

We are a nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants but some seem to have forgotten that their ancestors were once in those ranks of newly arrived immigrants.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift


Saturday’s National Parks Centennial celebration at Humpback Rocks Farm

Humpback 1
The one-room log cabin anchors the mountain farm, an outdoor museum of cabin and outbuildings like those found all along the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains in the 1890s.

Humpback Rock
Humpback Rock is visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located 0.25 mile from Humpback Rocks Farm, it is a very popular hike with expansive scenic views from the top that overlook the Shenandoah Valley.

Humpback Rock Visitor Center
Humpback Rock Visitor Center, adjacent to Humpback Rocks Farm, has a small gift shop to purchase trail maps and informational books and restrooms.

If your family is looking for something to do this weekend, take a drive to the Blue Ride Mountains and help the Park Service celebrate the Centennial of America’s National Parks. This free event will take place Saturday, August 20, 2016, from 11am until 4pm, at Humpback Rocks Farm, located just six miles south of I-64 and Afton Mountain.

We have visited this historical farm in all seasons — the barn, various outbuildings, fences, rock walls, garden, and everything else that made up a way to survive in the isolation of these mountains. It’s a beautiful location in all seasons inclding spring, fall, winter, and summer — and even foggy days.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Back in the homeschool classroom: Where it all began … blazing new trails

school booksBy Lynn R. Mitchell

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote this morning, my mind drifted back to the sixteen years we educated our children at home. Talk about going where there is no path and leaving a trail!

A tip of my hat to those homeschool pioneers who were there years before I joined up in 1990. I read books about their battles with school and state officials in various locations across the country, and was grateful for the tenaciousness and willingness of those faithful parents to basically lay it all on the line, plowing that path for those of us who followed. In Virginia, Delegate Rob Bell’s parents were pioneers in that movement, and local homeschool friends whose kids are now grown had been involved in the South Carolina movement.

Continue reading

Thanks to Eric Cantor, Childhood Cancer Research Receives Funds Spent in Past on Political Conventions

Eric Cantor 4A good example of actually getting something done in Congress was highlighted in Sunday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial about Virginia’s Eric Cantor, former congressman from the 7th District who in 2014 was the majority leader and in line to become speaker of the House.

A ten-year-old girl from Leesburg, Virginia, named Gabriella Miller emotionally touched some of the most powerful politicians in America in 2013, including Cantor.  Diagnosed with an inoperable form of brain cancer, she had a desire to find more money for children’s cancer research and, though she lost her eleven-month battle with cancer, her quest was taken up by then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who formed a bipartisan coalition to get the bill passed.

Cantor’s ability to pull together a bipartisan effort was a testament to his leadership considering at the time there was a line drawn on the floor of the Capitol and the government had been forced into a shutdown in the fall of 2013 causing strained working conditions and constant stalemates.

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Summer recipes: Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic


It’s late summer and, I don’t know about you, but our tomatoes are rolling in from the garden. They were about two weeks later than usual this year due to our wet, cool spring in the Shenandoah Valley.  The fun of having fresh vegetables and herbs is the abundance of recipes that are useful during these warm summer months.

With so many tomatoes — we have a variety of cherry and regular-sized tomatoes — it’s sometimes a challenge to find enough ways to use them before they rot and end up in the trash. We share with everyone we know but still have plenty because Mr. Mitchell loves to work in the garden so there’s always enough for everyone.

DSCN4179In this recipe I’m able to use our cherry tomatoes and freshly harvested basil leaves from my deck herbs. For dinner tonight I tweaked this a bit by sautéing the tomatoes and garlic in olive oil on the stove top since I try not to use the oven on 96-degree days which, I suppose, could change the name to Pasta with Sautéed Tomatoes and Garlic. I added the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and, wow, the flavors popped. Yum.

The pasta can be adjusted for gluten free diets. Nothing says summer like the garden-to-table freshness of a home vegetable garden. From … enjoy!

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic


1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 pints multicolored cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
1/4 cup small basil leaves


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt. Add pasta; cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 6 tablespoons cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan. Combine reserved cooking liquid and 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil 4 minutes or until mixture measures 1/3 cup. Add oil mixture to pan with pasta; toss to coat.

3. While pasta cooks, combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, tomatoes, and garlic on a jelly-roll pan, tossing to combine. Bake at 450° for 11 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly browned and begin to burst. Add tomato mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to pasta; toss to coat. Top with cheese and basil.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup)
Total time: 35 Minutes

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Tagged ,

Perseids Meteor Showers: ‘I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky’

In the words of John Denver … far out! It was “rainin’ fire in the sky” over the Shenandoah Valley tonight as I watched the Perseids meteor showers. We had gone outside around 10pm to look at the night sky but a bright sixty percent moon highlighted the heavens and dimmed the stars.

I waited until after the moon set at 1:00am, then went out on the deck for about 20 minutes and saw half a dozen brightly burning falling stars with long tails of fire — it was amazing! Mr. Mitchell crashed hours ago so I didn’t stay out long because it was a bit creepy thinking about the black bear under the deck a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t quite the show I had hoped for but the meteors I saw were beautiful, not to mention the brightness of the stars in the dark night sky as I looked at the various constellations.

At 3:00am I decided to try again just in case I was missing the prolific showers that were written about. In about 15 minutes I saw another half dozen — beautiful displays but still not in the amounts mentioned in astrology articles. In the middle of the night it was still a comfortable 74 degrees with a slight breeze as the loud sounds of tree frogs and crickets filled the night air.

It is said John Denver and his friends were camped out in the Rocky Mountains when they saw the Perseids meteor showers and he wrote it into the song, Rocky Mountain High. In his autobiography Back Home Again, he wrote:

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

The ‘mayor’ of Brock’s celebrates a birthday

Upper Shirley 3My cousin John Osborne’s birthday was yesterday. John was the older brother I never had while growing up. He was the oldest of his siblings, and I was the oldest of mine.

John is a natural comedian.  He always has a joke, a story, or something else to keep everyone laughing. As one more on the quiet side, I always marveled at his ability to hold a room spellbound waiting for the punchline of his latest tale, and then everyone would howl with laughter. Of course, I was right in there with them because he is funny.

Chesterfield County is home for John and his family, and his home away from home is Brock’s BBQ in Chester. As a small business owner, he has the freedom to eat lunch there almost every single day, and you could even say he’s the mayor of the popular barbecue restaurant. He is personal friends with the owners and, in his honor, the Brock’s folks installed a special plaque on the wall a few years ago beside the counter stool where John sits at lunchtime.

Did I mention he’s quite a character? Just about everyone in Chester knows him.

Continue reading News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Virginia politics and more


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 740 other followers