The Republicans lost Virginia last fall because they nominated the wrong person for governor. Over the past decade, Virginia has become much more liberal politically and a Republican-like Cuccinelli never had a chance.
The nominee should have been Lt. Governor Bill Bolling who came to an agreement with Bob McDonnell four ago that McDonnell would run in 2009 and Bolling in 2013. Bolling would have been much less of a lightning rod than Cuccinelli and would have had a much better chance of winning.
So what happened?
The Republican Party of Virginia was taken over by the radical right wing of the party. For some reason, they hated Bill Bolling and changed the nominating process from a primary election to a convention, which favored Cuccinelli. They essentially broke covenant with Bolling by breaking the previously made commitment.
As it turns out the epicenter of this radical right wing movement in Virginia is right here in Campbell County. Behind it is a person I have mentioned several times in past columns, Rick Boyer.
Boyer previously served on the Board of Supervisors. I observed he cared little about the concerns of his constituents and only about the power the position gave him. He used that position to publicly attack fellow Republican, Senator Steve Newman. Boyer did not run for re-election because he entered Liberty University Law School.
When he graduated he resumed pursuing his political goals. He is an excellent political operative, and I would applaud that if his motives were honorable, but they are not.
Besides being responsible for fielding unelectable statewide candidates, he used Chicago-style political tactics to elect two of his disciples to the Board of Supervisors. Once they began serving their terms, it became obvious that they represented a real threat to the count.
Boyer now has three of his loyal followers on the seven member board. By taking just one more board seat, he would have political control of the county by proxy. The speculation was that if that happened, they would appoint Boyer County Administrator (a position he is unqualified for), and Boyer would then have the power and the paycheck he so desperately covets.
Politically active people across the state fear Boyer because of his extreme political philosophy and Chicago-style tactics. He has taken full advantage of the Tea Party movement and has been able to manipulate sincere, but gullible people into following his political lead.
People from across the state have constantly asked us if we can do anything about Rick Boyer because he is destroying the Republican Party.
We came 11 votes short of doing just that two years ago in the bi-annual Republican Mass Meeting, which is the time when the local parties reorganize themselves.
This year, however, the situation was different. The actions of the two new supervisors alarmed so many that we were able to form a coalition in an attempt to end Boyer’s reign.
Boyer, although no longer a resident of Campbell County, had been calling people on his list regarding the 2014 Mass Meeting for two months. He already knew the pre-filing date for the meeting, but we didn’t find out about it until just about a week before the filing deadline.
We had just one week to organize. It was a frantic week but in the end, Boyer doubled the people he turned out two years ago, while we tripled our number.
Consequently, we were able to take control of the Mass Meeting by electing our own Temporary Chairman who appointed all the committees to run the meeting. The vote was 308 to 240. Realizing we had a clear majority, they tried to cut a deal. They would concede the chairmanship if we would nominate everyone who filed to be local party members and attend the 5th Congressional District and State Republican conventions.
We quickly declined as we were sure we would win the chairmanship anyway. If we did not have an initial voting majority in the local party, having the chairmanship would have been meaningless.
5th District Congressman Robert Hurt took the unusual step of publicly endorsing his choice for chairman as the Boyer crowd was pushing someone totally unacceptable. It was our intention to support Robert Hurt and nominate only those who supported his choice.
I was appointed chairman of the Nominations Committee.
The way the process works is that those wishing to apply for party membership or to be delegates to either or both conventions had to have pre-filed an application with the party chairman by March 3rd for the March 20th meeting. It was the responsibility of the chairman to process those applications by producing certified usable lists of nominees.
When I approached the chairman asking for the lists, I was horrified to learn that there were no lists prepared. In my nearly 30 years of political involvement, I have never witnessed such incompetence. We had an administrative disaster on our hands.
The only thing the chairman had was seven manila envelopes stuffed with letter-size envelopes containing the submitted forms that had been pre-filed, and he really didn’t have them.
Now where do you suppose they were? Why they were in the possession of none other than Rick Boyer who was not a delegate at this Mass Meeting, but an observer. He read the tea leaves and realized he was going to lose possession of the forms. Since he knew no lists of those who filed existed, he and his team were frantically pulling open envelopes and hurriedly writing down names for him to use for his own personal political purposes. This was completely unethical and as an attorney, he should know that.
I literally had to wrestle the materials out of their hands and nearly had to call for the sergeant at arms for assistance. I asked Boyer for the lists he was compiling, and he flatly refused. He could care less if people got to go to the conventions just as long as he was able to mine the material for names.
Members of my committee were finally able to convince Boyer to give us a copy.
It was physically impossible to process the forms there at the meeting as it would have taken hours, and we had only minutes to prepare a list of nominees. Fortunately, I had prepared a list of those who we knew had pre-filed, but that was probably less than five percent of the total. We combed over the data we got from Boyer, even though it was third party and not certified in a desperate attempt to add qualified nominees.
We presented our nominees to the meeting, and they were voted in. One of Boyer’s disciples made a motion that all who applied be approved, and that motion was rejected.
Our candidate, John Ferguson, was elected chairman by a vote of 301 to 189.
The meeting then adjourned but the fight was not over.
Many applicants were very upset that they were not nominated and elected, and rightly so. Even 59th District Delegate Matt Fariss was not nominated because his name was not put forth by the party.
When we went to collect the forms submitted that evening by about 300 people, we discovered they were missing. There is one witness who overheard a former party chairman and Rick Boyer discussing the fate of these forms.
Just as Barack Obama keeps blaming George W. Bush for everything, Boyer and his crowd immediately started blaming us for their colossal administrative blunder.
I am sure they are going to appeal, cry and moan and certainly lie. They have already started doing that.
And who said politics is dull and boring?
Other posts about Campbell County by Bill Wheaton:
– Campbell County 2: Refusing to concede a loss
– 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.