By Lynn R. Mitchell
Background: Today is the Rockbridge Area Republican Committee mass meeting, and it all comes down to the voting: who brought the most bodies. The main event will be the election between life-long Republican and incumbent chairman Roger Jarrell, and his opponent who has never been in the Republican Party but is a member of the Constitution Party and is in tea party leadership, Charles Kraut, who is allied with Scott Sayre who was unsuccessful in seeking state senate office eight years ago.
Running a candidate who isn’t a Republican is reminiscent of the Halifax County mass meeting a few weeks ago when the longtime dedicated hard-working chairman was voted out by a group supporting a local Baptist pastor who had never attended a Republican meeting or been a member of the committee.
9:30am: So we have the scenario setting up for today’s meeting at Rockbridge County High School with the showdown between two VMI alumni. Storm clouds gathered over Lexington Friday when Sayre sent a blast email with false allegations in a desperation move against Jarrell in the final hours before an election in which Jarrell has sewn up support from Delegate Ben Cline as well as many local elected officials.
10:10: Waiting for late attendees to get signed in before starting.
10:12: Chairman Roger Jarrell has gaveled the meeting to order. Invocation by 6th Congressional District Chairman Wendell Walker.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Billias handed out a statement of support to attendees stating:
Roger Jarrell has served as the Chair of the Rockbridge Area Republican Committee passionately and with dedication. He ensures that we are in the best position to win elections, and has successfully presented our conservative message to the Rockbridge/Lexington/BV voters. Roger was instrumental in helping Ben Cline and me to victory this past November, with a strategy that drove a phenomenal turnout in an off/off election year. After all, what good is our message if we cannot elect responsible and reliable leaders in whom we have confidence to carry it out? I know his guidance was crucial to my victory, and in assisting Ben Cline overwhelm his opponent in Rockbridge County.
This was despite a spirited liberal campaign utilizing our local newspapers to try and damage our conservative brand (including allowing letters attacking Ben, and keeping out positive letters to the editor from our supporters). Roger has exhibited the leadership and strategic vision that our Party needs to continue carrying us to victory in future elections.
When we consider this is a Presidential and Congressional election year, it is even more crucial we have the right person in place as our Chair. It is for these reasons that we ask you to join us in voting to keep Roger Jarrell Chair of the RARC.
Nominations for temporary chair. Two nominated; now have speeches to determine the temporary chair.
10:25: Counting the vote.
Roger Jarrell has control of the meeting. Chip Muir will lead the meeting.
Hearing from electeds.
10:40: Leaving this mass meeting and heading to Bedford County’s GOP meeting that begins at 1:00.
Roger Jarrell won reelection as chairman of the Rockbridge Area Republican Committee. Congratulations! Good leadership won … dirty politics lost.