Live-blogging RPV State Central Committee meeting in Staunton, Va

GOP imageBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The debate has raged for weeks about one item on today’s agenda: Virginia’s 2016 Republican presidential nomination method. Should it be a primary, or a convention? endorsed a Primary. For background and to see all the guest posts debating the issue with reasons to hold a 2016 primary, see endorses a 2016 GOP presidential primary.

Today it comes down to the vote. The meeting is being held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Staunton beginning at 1:00 pm.  and a capacity crowd is expected. Check back here for updates throughout the proceedings.

11:30am: I’m in the meeting room where there are eight chairs for visitors and I was told that was all there would be.

11:45am: Hotel staff just stuck head in the door to see if everything was okay. The were asked for more chairs and adjust the air conditioning to make it cooler. And a table for the press.

John Finley is here as well as John Whitbeck.

11:55am: Hotel staff brought in another 35 chairs for visitors and a table for media/bloggers. Meeting begins in one hour.

12:00: Room set up and ready to go.

Anna Lee 2

Anna Lee is primary ready for today’s meeting after traveling from Northern Virginia on this rainy Saturday morning.

12:30: Another press table has been brought. Richmond Times-Dispatch and Daily Press are here as well as Washington Post.

Folks are showing up. I’ve seen Mike Thomas, Donald Williams, Juanita Balenger, Kevin Gentry, Curtis Colgate, and Russ Moulton as well as others. The room is filling.



2Russ Moulton



Kristi Way, Barb Tillett, Trixie Averill, Gerrie Smith, lots of CRs and YRs — standing room only. No chairs for about 30 people.

1:10: Meeting called to order. There are other items on the agenda. The question is when the subject we are all waiting for will come up. Roll call now going on. Something seems odd not having Polly Campbell reading the names.

A count of visitors sitting and standing in back of the room is approximately 60.

Move to change in agenda to put 24th District appeal as first on agenda. Seconded. Russ Moulton moved to make it second after party plan. Protested because this was not on agenda; was asked about; John Whitbeck said to vote against it if you didn’t agree. Protested by two people.

Discussion going on about the lack of notice for this new item. Some said they got it in email; others said they did not.

Whitbeck just said it was not on the official agenda that went out but was added.

It is being argued today is not the day to pop something new on the agenda. It has to do with the 24th Senate District issue.

The discussion is to place it #2 on the agenda. Vote to add to agenda is voice vote and it sounds even.

Add to agenda — stand up if in favor to add and nose count being taken.

#1 Party Plan Amendment

#2 24th District issue.

There is an appeal in the 24th Senate District issue that is now being brought up at this meeting. The appeal to the lawsuit that was won by Emmett Hanger?

1:30: They have gone into closed session and everyone has been cleared of the room and are in the hallway.

24th District issue (typing from the hallway): This is the ongoing issue of incumbent choosing his form of nomination for re-election.

1:50: Still in hallway.

Waverley Woods, a tea party leader in Virginia Beach, is carrying a proxy today. She has not been supportive of Republicans.

2:05: We are back in the room.

Party Plan Committee discussion and PowerPoint now going on.

All 30 guest chairs are full with 30-40 people standing in the back of the room.


2:20: Still going through party plan changes.

Trixie, Don Wms, Ben DessertDonald Williams, Trixie Averil, Ben Dessert waiting in the hallway during closed SCC session.

2:30: We are 1.5 hours into the meeting and it appears the primary versus convention issue will be last on the agenda.

The room is populated with “Vote Primary” stickers and signs.



Issue has been tabled until September meeting. Now moving to the item that was added to the agenda.

Motion made about 24th State Senate Republican election — motion made and seconded. I need a copy of this motion. Something about hiring McSweeney to sue on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. Discussion is going on. Trying to get a copy of the motion.

Eric Herr is now addressing the issue. This is the man who said if Jeb Bush is the GOP nominee, he will help a third party candidate.

One minute speaker limits — David Ray is now up to speak in favor of the motion. Question has been called. Motion carries.

3pm: On to nomination question for 2016 presidential election.

Motion for secret ballot. Substitute motion for roll call vote. Discussion now going on.

A number of speakers are encouraging the secret ballot.

Most of the guests are on the convention side so are cheering and applauding those who speak to an open ballot.

Question has been called for secret ballot. A roll call vote has been asked for this vote.

We are jumping through parliamentary hoops right now — motions on top of motions. Vote on the motion for a motion for a roll call vote….

A member of the public just handed me a note that says: “One member of the public complains that there weren’t enough chairs.” There’s enough room to add at least another 30 chairs in here.

Roll call vote to vote on having a roll call vote for nomination method.

3:15: Russ Moulton, who is not a member of RPV, is carrying a proxy and is definitely calling the shots for the Conservative Fellowship.

3:20: Vote being counted.

We’re in a brief break while they count the vote.

3:35: Still in “counting” break.

3:45: Meeting being called back to order.

41-39 vote failed for open ballot.

Now a stand-up vote for secret ballot.

42 votes for secret ballot. Motion passes.

3:50: Vote passed for secret ballot. Now the discussion on each side begins.

SCC member Steve Albertson is giving a powerpoint for a CONVENTION.

4:07: Dan Webb is now presenting for PRIMARY.

4:15: Dan has concluded his presentation. Whitbeck is speaking before the vote.

4:15: Morton Blackwell is making a motion for a CONVENTION. It has been seconded. He is still addressing his motion.

4:21: Dan Webb is offering a substitute motion for a 2016 Primary and 2017 Convention. This is the compromise motion.

Keith Damon is speaking in support of the substitute motion. Fairfax County had a straw poll where 80% voted for primary. Logistically, a convention is impossible for Fairfax County. Supports Primary.

Gary Byler is speaking to a Convention.

(Brain hiccup on name) in favor of Primary for military and our Party.

Larry Kyle for Convention. He says Virginia has too restrictive rules for presidential candidates to get on the ballot.

Lynn Bartlett, President of Virginia Republican Women in favor of Primary: ran a poll and results were 290 for Convention and 399 for Primary.

Wendell Walker for Primary: The bar has been dropped for candidates to get on the ballot (to correct the earlier speaker about it being restrictive).

Travis Witt for a Convention.

Chris Stearns for a Convention.

Terry Weir for Primary – late convnetion will cut down on money.

Kasha Nielsen for Primary speakimg on behalf on many college Republicans.

Kay Gunter for Convention.

Russ  Moulton for …. ready for it? Convention.

Lee Talley for Primary.

(Missed the name) for Primary.

Georgia Long for Primary.

Juanita Ballenger for a Primary. Finance, lack of staff, other reasons for her decision.

(Missed name) for Primary.

Carol Dietrich Haden for Primary.

Russ Moulton is back up for Convention (2nd time speaking).

Eric Herr for Convention.

Del. Berg for Convention.

(Missed name) for Primary.

Patsy Drain for Primary. Worried about backlash against GOP if we hold a convention.

Mike Thomas (yay, Mike!) in favor of Primary. This man has been a pillar to the RPV for years and is admired by Republicans statewide. Next year is the reason for a primary.

Jack Wilson for Primary.

Adam Tolbert for Primary (9th Dist chair).

Eve for convention.

Steve Albertson for convention.

David Ray for convention.

Clara Bell Wheeler for Primary.

Chris Stearns is speaking again (loud!).

(Still cannot remember his name – 2nd time) for a Primary.

Nate Boyers for convention.

(Every time we think the speakers are finished, someone else walks up to the microphone.)

Jackson  Miller for Primary. CRs brought up good point — we need data from a primary.

(2nd time for this one, too) speaking again for convention.

Waverly Woods — is she tea party Virginia Beach? — is now speaking (has a proxy) for convention.

5:10: We are finished with speakers. Ballots will now be handed out to members.

5:30: Vote has been taken and is now being counted. There’s a break and everyone is visiting while they wait for the results.

5:40: The room is being called to order.

The results of the vote are 42 yes, 39 no, 1 abstension.  Primary 2016.

We have a Primary 2016.

6pm: Meeting adjourned.

I will have follow-up on this after my thoughts settle.

Tagged , ,

10 thoughts on “Live-blogging RPV State Central Committee meeting in Staunton, Va

  1. […] Mitchell is also providing notes on today’s […]

  2. Dolores Switzer says:

    Thank you LynnRMitchell for the updates

  3. Great coverage, Lynn. Have been reading for the last five hours.

  4. Daniel P. Cortez says:

    Lynn I spent the evening with a number of Hispanic leaders whose future support for any conservative candidate hinged on this vote. Your activism was noted and more than respected. For the sake of any Republican candidate thank your stars a primary was chosen.

  5. […] On a rainy Saturday morning, the Republican Party of Virginia arrived in Staunton, located in the 24th Senate District, to resurrect a lawsuit in the 24th District (see Here we go again: RPV resurrects lawsuit in Emmett Hanger’s 24th Senate District), and to vote for a Presidential Primary during the five-hour marathon meeting (see Live-blogging RPV State Central Committee meeting in Staunton, Va). […]

  6. […] debate was tough. At times meandering. Occasionally over-the-top. And very public. But, in the end, a decision was made and the […]

  7. […] The howls continue about Saturday’s secret ballot at the State Central Committee meeting in Staunton (see Live-blogging RPV state central meeting in Staunton). […]

  8. […] primary for Virginia at a contentious State Central Committee meeting held in June (see Live-blogging RPV State Central Committee meeting in Staunton). Walker, who attends Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, has a strong conservative Christian […]

  9. […] primary for Virginia at a contentious State Central Committee meeting held in June (see Live-blogging RPV State Central Committee meeting in Staunton). Walker, who attends Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, has a strong conservative Christian […]

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