By Lynn R. Mitchell
The boiling, dysfunctional tempest that is the Augusta County Republican Committee for the past six years under the leadership of former chairman Bill Shirley and now Dan Moxley will probably explode tonight at their monthly meeting.
After last week’s tricks by Shirley and Moxley to try and manipulate the nominating process for county supervisor, illegally disqualifying one candidate to leave only their candidate — a move that was ruled out of order by RPV — they were successful in doing something that has been missing for six years: they united the elected officials to finally publicly express outrage at the illegal goings-on (that have been occurring since Shirley took office six years ago) and do something. Their candidate won.
For example, Delegate Steve Landes, who was for Carolyn Bragg, wrote on my Facebook:
“This is America, not the Soviet Union,” Landes concluded in his remarks.
Now rumor has it there is a planned coup for tonight’s Augusta County Republican Committee meeting to overturn the chairmanship of Moxley and place their own candidate in office. Will they be successful? Watch for fireworks in the western skies of Virginia when the meeting gets underway at 7:00 p.m. at the Government Center in Verona.
This could have been avoided in March if they had fielded a candidate against Moxley, the hand-chosen successor by Bill Shirley. Moxley moved from Bath County, where he was vice chair and then chairman, to Augusta County to run against Emmett Hanger. Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s office staff called around in March trying to find a candidate including one to me at the eleventh hour — four days before the deadline — and although I made a suggestion to them, they didn’t follow through. Trixie Averill, who knows this area extremely well from her many years of field work in the 6th District, was never asked for suggestions.
And so Dan Moxley walked into the office unopposed. He, the man who was guest speaker at a GOP meeting three years ago and talked about seceding from the union. I looked at a friend sitting next to me and asked, “Is this a GOP meeting, or a tea party meeting?”
That was the man who became chairman of Augusta County.
So tonight the reputed coup is flaunting the name of Jim Hinton, a local. Though not a member of the committee, he has served on the Augusta County electoral board with Ruth Talmage, both of whom would be in Senator Hanger’s corner.
Get your popcorn ready because this should be good.
UPDATE: Augusta County GOP follow-up to rumor of coup attempt