One would think with the power of the woman’s vote in Virginia, one time Stafford Supervisor Susan Stimpson who’s attempting to unseat Delegate Bill Howell in the June 9th primary, would have at least left a calling card at the Virginia Federation of Republican Women’s Convention over the weekend.
Sadly for the tea party loyalist, there was no card and no message of sponsorship, unlike her opponent. Stimpson was just a no-show. But that did not stop several hundred Republican women from gathering at the Hilton in Short Pump, Va., to foster common goals of advancing conservative principles and candidates.
Still it’s amazing to this independent observer that Stimpson would “snub” such a powerful group of women. Now I’ll give it to Stimpson that she found it more critical to actually be out campaigning. But what ever happened to courtesy? Yeah, there’s that tea party attitude I’ve come to know.
And allow me to suggest strongly, it will be more ladies than men who elect the next President of the United States, the next Governor of Virginia, and remove or keep fast talking House Speaker Billy Howell.
Clearly other candidates like school board member and State Senate hopeful Glen Sturtevant in the 10th District and retired surgeon Nancy Dye in the 21st District know that. They were respectfully there.
So was State Senator Mark Obenshain, who lost by a whisker to Virginia’s present Attorney General. He was there with family in force. And dare I say it … yes, he looked gubernatorial.
While nominations for Republican state office are not around the corner, it remains clear Obenshain, the leading Republican contender for Governor, will not pull a Ken Cuccinelli and alienate entire divisions of Virginia’s culture with an insensitive snub, presentation, or words. Yes, it appeared to be a new improved Obenshain. It wasn’t just the impeccable attire with the perfectly tied tie unlike many wannabee future candidates (attention Pete Snyder) or investing in what was the Hospitality Room after-party of the convention, complete with private caterer.
Obenshain was relaxed with a genuine smile, listening not lecturing, and demonstrating that word that some soon-to-be former state officials, like Northern Virginia Delegate Dave Ramadan, want to outlaw. The word is outreach. It was clear not only Obenshain was attempting to show it by example, but so was the entire leadership of the VFRW.
Nevertheless, the convention was not without its feminine frills as the well-coiffed society ladies of the Republican midway, like Powhatan’s Karen Wooten and Laura Brat, wife of 7th District Congressman Dave Brat, modeled the latest fashions for the conservative audience. Brat himself was on the program as a breakfast speaker.
Credit the words and actions of President Linda Bartlett as, “Good politics, deep thinking, good fellowship, song, and laughter with old pals and new friends were wrapped in an amazing weekend for the VFRW members and guests.”
Bartlett brought in powerful Republican figures such as former Republican Governor Jim Gilmore and wife Roxane. Former First Lady of Virginia and author Susan Allen was the well-received luncheon speaker discussing her popular children’s book, The Remarkable Ronald Reagan. Roxane Gilmore also discussed her published works, Restoring the Virginia Governor’s House and The Executive Manson Blooms Again.
Incredibly hilarious but edgy political humor was delivered during the convention dinner by Julie Coggsdale and Melanie Rapp. Jocular to everyone perhaps except any Democrat within hearing distance or an agenda-driven media type. Nevertheless, congrats to convention co-chairs Fay Williamson and E.L. “Jenny” Mundy for a program that made male political counterparts jealous.
The star of the convention had to be newly elected 10th District Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, the new fresh female face of Virginia with her uplifting message of diligence, outreach and nurturing of conservative values.
Jean Gannon, registration chairwoman, said, “The political presence and involvement of the VFRW will continue to be a major factor for conservative candidates in Virginia.”
For those candidates who want to win, that is. But apparently not to Stafford County’s Susan Stimpson. Go figure.
Photos courtesy of Daniel Cortez
Daniel Cortez, a Northern Virginia political writer and broadcaster, is active in veteran and minority affairs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.