TO: (5th District committee members)
FROM: Bill Wheaton, Nominations Committee Chairman
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT THE CAMPBELL COUNTY MASS MEETING
You have likely heard much about what happened here in Campbell County through emails and social media. Most of what you have been hearing is either false or greatly distorted. As Paul Harvey used to say, here is the “rest of the story.”
For at least 10 years, there has been an ideological divide among Campbell County Republicans. Approximately 70% of the voters in Campbell vote Republican; however, occasionally they will vote for an independent in local elections. In 2010, a group led by the Boyer brothers gained control of the CCRC.
At this time, Robert Hurt began his campaign for Congress in the 5th District. One of the Republican supervisors contacted Rick Boyer asking him if he would support Robert. Boyer replied he would not, but would not oppose him either.
Rick Boyer was just graduating from Liberty Law School and when the Clerk of the Circuit Court announced she was retiring, Rick Boyer quickly decided to run for Clerk in a special election.
The Mass Meeting to nominate a Republican candidate for Clerk was hastily organized and held at a location that was very close to the church Rick Boyer attended.
Rick Boyer, who had no experience, received the Republican nomination by roughly a vote of 128 to 100. His opponent, the Acting Clerk of the Court, Sheila Bosiger, decided to run as an Independent.
Many in the Republican Party felt they could not support Boyer because of his inexperience and radical ideology. They banded together to support Sheila Bosiger, knowing they would have been “deemed to have resigned” from the party.
Meanwhile, Rick Boyer did a complete reversal with respect to supporting Robert Hurt, hoping for a coat tail effect. At the polls, his workers never mentioned Robert Hurt, only Rick Boyer.
Sheila Bosiger won in a landslide, taking 17 out of 18 precincts. 50 percent of those who voted for Robert Hurt split their vote and voted for someone other than Rick Boyer (there were four candidates running).
At the first meeting of the Campbell County Republican Party in 2011, Rick Boyer brought in new members who would vote with him against reinstating all those who had “deemed to have resigned.” At the second meeting, a vote was held to reinstate. Rick Boyer personally led the opposition and the vote to reinstate fell just a couple of votes short. Rick Boyer had no problem with slating in this instance.
Those denied reinstatement included four Republican Board of Supervisors members and the Republican Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Rick Boyer is known for holding very long grudges in Campbell County.
In the 2011 election, they threatened sitting Republican officials that they would not be re-nominated as Republicans and would face a new Republican nominee backed by the committee. As a result, the former committee leadership and incumbent Republican officials formed a Political Action Committee (PAC) called the Independent Conservatives of Campbell County. The ICCC supported the former Republican officials and some other independents for local offices as well as all Republican candidates running for Senate and House of Delegates.
The Mass Meetings since 2008 have been very competitive and downright nasty and hundreds of Republicans have been slated out of membership as well as participating in conventions. In one of the meetings, the Chairman was actually wearing a gun on his hip while conducting the meeting. He was basically doing what one of the Boyer brothers told him to do. Some of these meeting are available on YouTube if you have the stomach to view them.
Pre Mass Meeting 2014
In an attempt to limit any competition, the Chairman and the Boyers worked to find people to attend the Mass Meeting for at least two months before putting out the Call just within the 7 days required. This allowed only one week to recruit delegates for the two conventions. This really upset many Republicans and they organized an effort to recruit convention delegates as well as voters to attend the Mass Meeting. One of the major issues in Campbell this year was the threat to further cut county spending at a time when schools had been closed and services cut due to declining county revenue. Many county employees feared for their jobs and responded to calls and emails to attend the Mass Meeting.
Registration for the Mass Meeting
Registration for the Mass Meeting was managed by the leadership and required each attendee to show proof that they were a registered voter in CC. They also were required to sign a statement of intent to support future nominees of the Republican Party in accordance with the RPV State Plan. All attendees signed the statement and none were reported to the credentials committee or challenged by the registration committee.
Prior to the Mass Meeting, candidates for Chairman requested a copy of the pre-filed forms or a list from Chairman Williams and he flatly refused to comply.
Following the invocation and opening procedure, the Chairman explained the process that would be followed at the Mass Meeting, emphasizing that any voter who felt they could not support the nominees of the Republican Party should not participate in this meeting. No one was challenged nor left the meeting.
The election for Chairman was won by Mr. Vener by 68 votes, 308 to 240. Mr. Vener is a respected Republican and former Commonwealth Attorney for 20 years. The Temporary Chairman appointed Michael Thomas, Vice Chairman of the RPV as Parliamentarian and Time Keeper and Terry Gaddy, retired Campbell County Sheriff, as Sergeant at Arms. Committees for the meeting were appointed and reports were requested.
The Credentials Committee Chairwoman, Ms. Carson, reported that no voters were challenged and that 581 voters were certified.
Nominations Committee and Elections Report
I was appointed Chairman of the Nominations Committee. I approached Les Williams requesting that lists of candidates to become convention delegates, list of persons applying for membership, and the pre-filing forms be turned over to the Committee so that the committee could do its work. The former Chairman, Les Williams, informed me and my committee that no such list had been prepared and thus no such list would be provided. Instead, he directed me to seven manila envelopes containing the pre-filed forms. Apparently, Les Williams, Rick Boyer and Will Kirk were so sure that they would be able to present a small delegation to represent CC that they did not even bother to tabulate and process the pre-filed delegate forms and make a list of candidates.
Because of the extremely unusual circumstances, I submitted a special report to the Secretary of the meeting to be attached to the minutes. The report follows:
Campbell County Republican Mass Meeting, March 20, 2014
Nominations Committee activity report
When I was appointed chairman of the Nominations Committee by Chairman Vener, I and my committee went to get the list of pre-file names, only to discover no such list existed.
Chairman Les Williams and the CCRU failed to tabulate the pre-file forms so no record at all existed.
All we had was the pre-file forms themselves in an envelope within an envelope type system. There were 7 manila envelopes containing the individual pre-file forms in separate envelopes. However, Les Williams was not in custody of them.
They were in the custody of Rick Boyer (not a delegate to the mass meeting) who, along with his people, were frantically mining the prefile forms for names, for what I would expect for Boyer’s personal political use. The chain of custody of these original documents had been broken by Boyer.
They were pulling smaller envelopes out of the larger manila envelopes and copying down names. These envelopes were in a sort of alphabetical order but Boyer’s people were just stuffing them back into any envelope.
I had to wrestle the pre-file forms out of Rick Boyer’s hands and almost had to call upon the sergeant at arms for help.
I finally took possession of the forms. I asked Rick Boyer for his list to use in helping the Nominations Committee and he refused, not once but twice. It was blatantly obvious that Boyer cared nothing about the delegates but was concerned only about his personal political ambitions. Boyer had compromised the integrity of the forms as we had no way of knowing what was taken out and what was put in.
Our committee quickly concluded that within the time allotted us, it was completely impossible for us to go through and tabulate all the pre-file forms. That would have taken hours and we only had minutes. All we had was a list I had prepared for the people we pre-filed.
Chuck Falwell was finally able to convince Boyer to give us a copy of the list he had made and the Yellow Branch principal obliged by letting us use the office copier.
However, this list was a third party list of questionable accuracy and contained many duplicates. We spend what little time we now had left pouring over the lists in an attempt to identify those we could be certain had filed.
Without a list provided by CCRU, with the broken chain of custody and with the compromised integrity of the original forms, we did the best we could and we are sorry many were not recognized.
Had Les Williams complied with the request to provide copies of the pre-filed forms or lists of applicants, the outcome may have been much different.
Nominations Committee Chairman.
Nominations Committee members Chuck Falwell and Ken Towler have reviewed this statement and attest to its accuracy. Ken Towler has added the following observation:
I spent most of meeting stationed near the right rear entrance observing what people were doing. Word was spreading that the incumbents were going to be voted out and they were trying to cut deals to maintain power.
At this point I saw Rick Boyer, not a resident or registered voter of Campbell County, carrying a stack of manila envelopes. There were 5-6 young girls all wearing WILLIAMS stickers following him. I didn’t notice a name tag in the group that allowed them to vote. They dumped the contents of the manila envelopes on the table where the registration computers had been, started to rummage the envelopes, then writing names down on pieces of paper. It was disorganized and very frantic. While this was going on it was announced that Neil Vener was elected temporary chairman and the handling of the envelopes got more frantic. All this was being done under the direction of Rick Boyer.
While the votes for Chairman were still being counted by the Tellers, the Nominating Committee presented a motion that 22 voters, naming each individual (including Tim Boyer and his wife Kari), be elected to represent CC at the RPV State Convention. The motion passed.
Additionally the Nominations Committee moved that 25 applicants called by name be elected as delegates to the 5th District Convention. The motion passed.
Finally, the Nominations Committee moved that ten people be elected to membership in the CCRC, being identified by name. Since the rules precluded amending any Committee Report (i.e. they must be approved or defeated), the reports were voted on and approved by voice vote. A motion was made to vote again by secret ballot which was overwhelmingly defeated by voice vote. There was no motion made for a division of the house.
The Tellers Committee Chairman stated that the votes had been counted for the election of CCRC Chairman and that Mr. Ferguson was elected by 112 votes, 301-189. The Chairman declared that John Ferguson was declared duly elected as New Chairman of the Campbell County Republican Committee. Meeting adjourned.
Since this meeting, the CCRC has tripled its size by welcoming back previously rejected Republicans who were slated out in 2008, 2010, and 2012. The CCRC now includes Republican office holders Eddie Gunter, Mike Rousseau, and Eric Zehr, and previous Republican office holders Charles Falwell and Neil Vener.
The CCRC was required by its bylaws to elect officers at the first meeting after the Mass Meeting and thus it was also required to provide 14 days to pre-file, and a week’s notice to issue a call. The CCRC met on May 1, 2014, elected new members, elected officers, and unanimously rejected an appeal concerning the Mass Meeting.
Finally, there has much been said about slating, which is a long established political process. Slating is when you pick certain names off a list and exclude others. Since the former chairman provided no list to begin with, no slating was possible. The only list we had was the one I had complied from the pre-filed forms we had submitted. We are being blamed for the incompetence or negligence of the former chairman and his committee.
Now you know the rest of the story.
Previous posts about Campbell County by Bill Wheaton:
– Campbell County 1: What really happened at the 2014 Republican mass meeting?
– Campbell County 2: Refusing to concede a loss