An email written by anti-establishment Conservative Fellowship leader Russ Moulton (who holds no position within the Republican Party) has been making the rounds in Virginia the past month, a stunning rebuke of his former support of John Whitbeck who announced last summer that he would be running for reelection as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.
Moulton’s original email was picked up and forwarded by Susan Stimpson who agreed with him and forwarded it to others with her own thoughts:
Dear fellow Conservative,
I wanted to make sure you saw this email I received from long-time conservative leader Russ Moulton.
The actions of the current Virginia Republican Party Chairman should concern every Republican across the state. This is about a pattern of behavior. Like most politicians — John Whitbeck said one thing when he ran for party chairman and then once elected, abandoned his promises to us.
Quite simply, Virginia Republicans can’t trust John Whitbeck any more.
After reading the email below, ask yourself if this is the leadership Republicans should depend on to deliver a Republican victory in Virginia in 2016.
For those who missed it the first go round, here is the email from Russ Moulton that was originally sent out on November 14, 2015, with the subject line, “Why I can’t endorse John Whitbeck for re-election.”
Because I was once a strong supporter of John Whitbeck – and someone who helped “clear the field” and secure the votes to elect him RPV Chairman, many of you have asked me why I am not supporting him for re-election.
The answer is simple: broken promises to conservatives.
When John was a candidate for Chairman, and sought the support of conservatives on State Central, he provided us written campaign promises on key Party matters that won him lots of votes and my endorsement. Among them were:
(1) To strongly support party-run processes like conventions and oppose state-run, plurality-wins/”no-run-off” primaries where Democrats can vote and corrupt our nominations, and
(2) To consult with conservatives on the State Central committee on key issues (like methods of nomination, and key appointments, such as RPV Exec Director and General Counsel).
John vacillated on the Convention for President in 2016, and ultimately was instrumental in killing it. At first, he told us he’d keep his promise and was excited about the record grassroots involvement and revenue a Presidential Convention could bring our Party. But then, after he talked with numerous establishment entities like those at RNC, he flipped, telling us he could no longer support it. When we reminded him of his written promise and asked that he honor his word, he eventually flopped back to telling us he’d support it. But John still refused to publicly support it, or lobby votes for it, and worked behind the scenes to undermine it. For example, he attempted to delay action until a Primary would have become a fait accompli, by attempting to delay SCC meetings for months. Had John merely kept his promise and expressed his public support for the Presidential Convention, it would have passed easily. John’s lack of leadership here divided conservatives on SCC and resulted in the Convention failing by just 2 votes – and our Party missing an unprecedented opportunity to swell our ranks with conservative activists being brought in by the Presidential campaigns.
John had also given conservatives assurances the 10th District Committee and his successor District Chairman would support a party-run process for Congress. Unfortunately, he did not engage here, and the 10th District committee voted for a Primary for Congress – with his hand-picked successor casting the tie-breaking vote for that Primary.
With respect to consulting with conservatives on SCC, we’ve seen very little of this. John has made two key appointments at RPV without consulting conservatives on SCC.
I believe the RPV Chairman should be someone who not only keeps his word, but leads on conservative issues like these on important Party matters.
I realize that John is presently unopposed, and I do not know if an opponent will emerge against him. But this is a matter of principle for me, not personal. For the above reasons, I simply cannot endorse John Whitbeck for re-election.
This marks a rather significant breaking within “the Fellowship,” the latest in a line of former members who didn’t walk lock-step with Moulton. Read Whitbeck’s response here. And while we’re at it, Democrats are watching (see here), with a unnamed source noting, “It would appear that Mr. Whitbeck is in big trouble as he seeks re-election as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. It will be difficult for him to win re-election without the support of conservatives on the committee.”
The Republican civil war takes on a new twist as the anti-establishment crowd continues to devour its own. Stay tuned….