By Lynn R. Mitchell
Bedford County’s mass meeting has long-time Republican Lee Walker challenging incumbent chairman Nate Boyer at Brookhill Wesleyan Church in Forest today at the 12:30 meeting.
Boyer, who has been at the center of controversy for years, set the mass meeting date to take place during school spring vacation making it impossible for teachers and residents who traveled out of town to attend. During mass meetings there are no proxies. Many want new leadership because of those tactics that exclude all except the die-hard party activists.
Even as Boyer tries to shrink the tent, Republicans like Walker are running for leadership in order to once again make the party inclusive under a big tent. Politics, they say, is all about addition, not subtraction.
The Lynchburg News & Advance wrote on Saturday (see GOP split surfaces in Bedford GOP mass meeting Saturday):
The cracks within the Republican Party are expected to show Saturday in Bedford County.
The Bedford County Republican Committee will pit incumbent chair and hardliner Nate Boyer against Lee Walker, who says he favors a “big tent” at its mass meeting at Brookhill Wesleyan Church in Forest.
Both candidates agreed Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, would be fair in presiding over the mass meeting.
“I’m running because this year is a critical election cycle and I think it’s a bad time to make a change as we try to recapture the White House and hold the 5th District Congressional seat being vacated by Congressman [Robert] Hurt,” Boyer said in an email Thursday.
Boyer has been the committee chair since 2010 and owns Central Virginia Drywall. His family is active in the party, and has a stronghold in Campbell County.
Walker, who has been active in the state party since the 1990s, including stints in Roanoke, moved to Bedford County eight years ago to retire from the banking industry. He lives in the 5th Congressional District.
The mass meeting continues a push begun last year before the Bedford County Republican primary that unseated two board of supervisors members.
Walker worked with the “Bedford First” campaign, including Kevin Willis who took down then-supervisor chairwoman Tammy Parker; Andy Dooley who defeated Annie Pollard; and John Messier, who lost handily to now Supervisor Tommy Scott.
“The reason I’m running for chair is as a [President Ronald] Reagan Republican, and as a past military member, I’m all about the people getting the right to vote. We have curtailed the rights of people to vote in Bedford,” Walker said in a phone interview.
He said under Boyer’s leadership the unit is “using all the party tricks we can to cut down the number of people who are eligible to vote.”
Please come out today to support Lee Walker who has a proven track record of leadership. Plan to arrive early to be sure and get registered and find a seat.