In my column last month, I wrote about how we mustered local forces to take control of the Campbell County Republican Party back from the hands of the extremists.
This extremist group, led by Rick Boyer, a former member of the Board of Supervisors and former party chairman, divided the party in 2011. In 2010, Boyer ran unsuccessfully for the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court with the ink barely dry on his Liberty Law School diploma. He was soundly defeated in favor of a highly qualified candidate, Sheila Bosiger.
Boyer, who professes to be a practicing Christian, is well known for holding a grudge against anyone who disagrees with him. I made it onto his grudge list many years ago.
You would think that votes at the mass meeting such as 308 to 240 (for temporary meeting chairman) and 301 to 189 (for permanent party chairman) would be enough to convince them to face reality. But that was not the case with Boyer and his band of extremist followers.
Within hours after the meeting adjourned, Boyer’s people were all over social media claiming “Democrats” had taken over the party.
Boyer crafted an appeal of the mass meeting and submitted it in the name of the former chairman. This is the same person who failed miserably in preparation for the meeting. This resulted in many who had applied to be delegates to the state and the 5th District conventions being denied. He failed to tabulate the names of all those who applied, and to be elected a delegate, one has to be identified by name.
The appeal had four main points.
First, they accused our side of encouraging people to falsely sign the Republican loyalty pledge. That is factually incorrect. There were only two requirements to participate in the Republican mass meeting. You had to be a registered voter in the county and you had to sign the loyalty pledge, which stated that you “intended to vote for Republican candidates in November.”
Loyalty pledges have always been a controversial issue. I had a situation once where someone who came to vote for me but refused to sign the pledge because they felt they were selling their vote. The General Assembly could resolve this any time they wished by providing voter registration by party, as many other states do. The legislators refuse because many rely on crossover voting in primaries, from both sides of the aisle.
Many attending the mass meeting had never been confronted with this loyalty issue before, so if asked, we explained what it was. Since there were no candidates identified, the key work in the oath was “intend.” We explained to them they are not selling their vote, which satisfied most.
The second point was that three of the four candidates filing for chairman supported candidates running against Republicans in 2013. There was nothing in the Party Plan (which governed the mass meeting) to prevent them from running. This was also a moot point because the three withdrew their names and endorsed the eventual winner.
The third complaint was many attendees “cannot be identified as Republicans.” In Rick Boyer’s mind, anyone who does not agree with him 100 percent is not a Republican and very likely a Democrat. He orchestrated a campaign for two candidates in 2013 calling former Republican candidates then running as Independents, Democrats. Both candidates were denied the opportunity to seek the Republican nomination by Boyer’s brother, who was then party chairman.
The fourth complaint was that applicants for delegate to the two conventions were “slated out.” Slating is where you take a list of all applicants and select only those you wish to participate. Since the former chairman did not provide a list of applicants of any kind, and since to be a delegate your name had to be read off and voted upon, slating under those circumstances was technically impossible.
Now slating is a perfectly acceptable political practice. Rick Boyer didn’t have any problem in slating when he blocked me from attending the state convention at the mass meeting two years ago. He was perfectly fine with slating in 2011 when he led the movement to prevent a number of us from being reinstated in the Republican Party after we “had been deemed to have resigned” after opposing him in the 2010 election.
We responded by denying all accusations. Rick Boyer then immediately appealed to the 5th District Republican Committee and that appeal will be heard after this column goes to press.
In his appeal to the 5th District, Boyer drew up a list of those he claims were “Democrats” or affiliated with our PAC, the Independent Conservatives of Campbell County, which we formed after being refused reinstatement in the Republican Party. Upon reviewing his list and talking to some of those listed, he produced nothing more than a pack of lies. He even calls me a Democrat.
Earlier this spring, we were contacted by a number of citizens who were very concerned about the radical views of the two new Republican supervisors. They feared that the county could fall into the hands of extremists and budgets for schools, public safety, parks, libraries and public works would be cut.
Many school teachers and PTA members attended the mass meeting. I’m sure Rick Boyer considers any public school teacher a Democrat (except one who is a former party chairman). Also in attendance were approximately 35 deputies from the sheriff’s department. I’m sure other interests in the county were also well represented.
Those who showed up at the mass meeting who had not pre-filed a form were required to fill out a form (which had the loyalty oath). At the end of the meeting, we sought to take possession of those forms as they were property of the party and we now represented the party. The forms were no where to be found.
One of our organizers overheard a former chairman talking to Rick Boyer telling him he had the forms and had taken them out. When we inquired of the former chairman of their whereabouts, he wrote back, “Concerning the forms you are seeking, I have never seen them, I do not possess them and believe that after their use in the qualification of voters attending the Mass Meeting that they were most likely discarded.” We now know that is a lie because Rick Boyer used those stolen documents to put his list together.
Political corruption such as this is expected in places like Chicago, but they have no place in Virginia. That is why we have been working so hard to rout out this despicable behavior on the part of these Republican extremists.
Other posts about Campbell County by Bill Wheaton:
– Campbell County 1: What really happened at the 2014 Republican mass meeting?
– Campbell County 3: Background on what led to appeal to be heard Saturday
Bill Wheaton lives in Concord, Virginia. Recent columns are available at billwheaton.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Reprinted with permission of the New Lynchburg Ledger.