5th District Chairman Jon Berkley’s open letter re: First District’s ruling on Fauquier Co. party canvass

Jon BerkleyBy Jon Berkley
Chairman, Fifth District Republican Committee

To: Pat Mullins, Chairman RPV and Fellow Members of the State Central Committee
Re: First District’s Ruling on Fauquier Co. Party Canvass

As Chairman of the Fifth District, I would like to share my sentiments regarding an appeal on which this Committee will rule. The Committee’s ruling will either strengthen our party, or it will further cripple our party and diminish support for our candidates.

I will not review all the history leading up to this appeal here, but I will share my humble analysis: One party lost a race, and now they are attempting to recoup this loss by undermining the Party Plan through brazen might. Unfortunately, the protesting party was successful with the First District Committee. It is my hope that this Committee will observe the constitution of our party and reverse the First District’s June 28 ruling to overturn the FCRC Party Canvass.

The First District’s ruling has disenfranchised the 1,206 voters who participated in the FCRC Canvass. A committee of 16 (16-8) silenced the voices of 1,206. The foundation of this protest and the District’s ruling rests on the belief that too many Democrats participated in this Canvass. I find this to be an absurd argument for two reasons: (i) a plain reading of Article I of the Party Plan defines who may participate in party activities, (ii) Virginia does not register by party affiliation (again see Article I). How do you prove the claim?

For those of you unaware, Fauquier is the northern-most county in the Fifth District, having a total of 21 precincts, 17 of which are in the Fifth District, the remaining 4 being part of the First District.  Fauquier County Republicans are effective grassroots activists, who deliver strong returns for our Republican candidates. In 2012, Fauquier delivered Congressman Hurt and Governor Romney over 58% of the vote; in 2013 our gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli enjoyed almost 60%. The Fauquier County Republican Committee is capable of delivering overwhelming victories for our Republican candidates; they are a well-organized committee that is committed to and successful in getting Republicans elected, yet today they are stifled by individuals unsatisfied with the results of a fair and legal election. You can understand why I am upset that a strong unit in my district is not able to contribute to this cycle’s efforts because another district committee has effectively tied their hands.

Folks, the only reason the Republican Party of Virginia, the Fifth District Republican Committee, or the FCRC exists is to elect Republicans. November 4 is less than 90 days away. We need to focus on getting Ed Gillespie elected to the U.S. Senate and our respective congressional candidates elected to the House, nothing else. Let me be clear: I find the First District’s ruling to be not only erroneous, but also dangerous for our party. If this is allowed to stand, a precedent will be set, which basically says sour grapes overrule the Party Plan. Please uphold the Party Plan, and allow the FCRC to get back to winning elections.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter. I look forward to seeing you in Richmond.
Jon Berkley is chairman of the 5th Republican Congressional District. He and his wife Tiffany live in Randolph, Virginia.

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