Tag Archives: Ralph Smith

Breaking: Ralph Smith quits as candidate for 6th Congressional District chair

From Ralph Smith’s Facebook page (see expanded companion article at Bearing Drift):

When Thomas Paine penned the words, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” he could have been speaking about Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District’s Republican Committee. When I was first approached by party leaders and activists to consider running for Sixth District Chairman, they pointed out that I could use my skills as a unifier and consensus-builder to bridge the gap that exists among factional elements within the party. I am, and have always been, happy to lend my assistance to advancing the principles of the Republican Creed, and so, I agreed to enter the race for District Chairman.

The outcomes of recent local unit chairmanship races and the degree of turnover within those units, makes it abundantly clear that the gap within the Republican party that I saw earlier has continued to expand rather than shrink. This divide has resulted in grabs for power by certain elements who are using “slating” to exclude and limit other Republicans from participating in party decisions. I believe many of these same people wish to throw out current Republican office holders, and replace them with “their own people.” While that might be an acceptable goal for Democrats, I do not feel we should do that to ourselves as Republicans. If an incumbent is not performing, let the people themselves decide at the ballot box.

The Sixth District is but an indicator of what’s happening on the national scene. Donald Trump’s rude, crude, and obnoxious campaigning has made him the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination for President. The “gap” that existed when I began this race has unfortunately expanded to a chasm. Not only does this divide affect elements within our party, but it also reflects an even greater disconnect between our party and the electorate itself! For example, while so many of the newly elected unit leaders apparently support Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s primary opponent, clearly a substantial majority of the voters within the district support our responsive and effective Congressman. The idealogical zeal of this newly emerging leadership is losing sight of practical electability.

Realizing that the environment has changed significantly since I entered this race for Chairman, there is nothing to make me want to work in a caustic environment that essentially wants to run a new candidate for every current Republican officeholder in the District and the Commonwealth. Consequently, I have decided to re-direct my energies and efforts to helping proven conservative leaders who have been serving their constituents well.

Also see Wendell Walker out, Ralph Smith in as candidate for 6th District Chair.

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Wendell Walker out, Ralph Smith in as candidate for 6th District chair

Wendell Walker 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

After years of attempting to hold a fractured 6th Congressional District GOP committee together for common purpose, District Chairman Wendell Walker has announced he will not run for re-election.

Former State Senator Ralph Smith, whose term recently ended (see Ralph Smith announces retirement from state senate, annoints Suetterlein), has been asked by Congressman Goodlatte, among others, to run against Rockbridge businessman Scott Sayre, whose entry into the 6th District chairman’s race came at perhaps one of the most fractured and raucous meetings the district committee has known.

The handwriting was on the wall after Vance Wilkins and Sayre, through their surrogates, hijacked the 6th District meeting at the December Republican Advance in Hot Springs in what was described as a nasty hours-long confrontation (see Shaun Kenney’s live-blog commentary, Virginia 6th District GOP meeting). At that point, despite Walker’s best efforts and the presence of RPV General Counsel, he had lost the tug-of-war between the tea party faction seeking to unseat Goodlatte, and the establishment conservatives.

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Virginia’s new Senator Stooge

John FredericksBy John Fredericks
Guest Post

Ralph Smith: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Election!
Virginia’s General Assembly prides itself on being populated by ‘citizen legislators.’ The implied meaning of that is the legislature is the people’s deliberative body. The people select its members. That’s why what is going on in Roanoke County-centric Senate District 19 is so troubling.

You see, outgoing Republican Sen. Ralph Smith has cynically rigged the system to ensure his hand-picked successor – tenderfoot legislative aide David Suetterlein – would have no formal GOP challenge for the nomination.

This brazen maneuver compels me to ask some uncomfortable questions.

Since when do the political elites and power brokers pre-determine election outcomes by gaming the system in a way that denies voters expressing their will?

Is this the new “Virginia Way?”

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Ralph Smith announces retirement from state senate, anoints Suetterlein – Updated

Ralph Smith

David Suetterlein, Ralph Smith

By Lynn R. Mitchell

On Monday Ralph Smith sent out an email stating: “Senator Smith announces he will not seek a third term … 19th District Senator endorses Legislative Director and Roanoke County GOP Chairman Dave Suetterlein to succeed him in Senate.”

An announcement of retirement in one breath and the endorsement of his aide in the next? With some feeling blindsided, the news spread throughout the district that a behind-closed-doors deal had apparently been made between the senator and his legislative aide who had held no prior public office. He had previously worked for Ken Cuccinelli before joining the senator’s staff.

Suetterlein, chairman of the Roanoke County Republican Committee, had mentioned nothing to his committee members about running. Smith had not communicated to constituents a wish to retire. No candidates had filed because they thought Smith was running for re-election. While it is understandable to groom people for positions, it is usually more transparent and above-board.

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