I took advantage of my travel southward for the Virginia Republican Convention to visit Colonial Williamsburg. The highlight of my short stay was a program called “The Challenge of Independence”. Amid the musky aroma of wood chips behind the Governor’s Palace, Archibald Cary, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Robert Carter Nicholas, and Edmund Randolph debated questions like whether voting was a right or a privilege and who should be eligible to enjoy it, tying their opinions to principles like community responsibility and no taxation without representation.
I made it to Richmond in time for the Jeffersoniad’s hospitality suite. Jane Dudley and Jason Kenney did a fantastic job! The sweets were yummy, the flowers beautiful, and it was a pleasure to chat with some Jeffersoniad colleagues, like Shaun Kenney, Jim Hoeft, Scott Hirons, and Rick Sincere, and my Old Dominion Blog Alliance friend Alton Foley.
I woke up on Saturday morning still not fully certain how I was going to vote, though I’d been leaning toward supporting Bob Marshall for Senate and Jeff Frederick for Party Chairman. There was quite a crowd struggling to enter the Convention Center exhibit hall where the voting would take place. Once inside, I searched the musty room for the sign indicating seating for Eighth-District delegates; I spotted it on the other side of the room and made my way across, but I couldn’t find the place for Fairfax County. Then I heard someone explain to another delegate that Fairfax County was seated with the 11th District. Of course. I made my way back to the other side, where I found the Fairfax County sign, and all the seats filled. RPV seemed to underestimate the number of Fairfax County delegates by about 100. People started taking chairs from other areas around the hall and adding them behind the Fairfax delegation, moving campaign signs as needed. I chatted briefly with D.J. McGuire, then finally scored a seat and sat down, having made up my mind to support Jeff Frederick.
The proceedings stated late, of course, but Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling was a warm and gracious convention chairman. At about 11:10, the nominations for Senate began, with Jim Gilmore first, nominated by Rep. Eric Cantor. Gov. Gilmore’s speech was pretty nuts-and-bolts: We need energy independence; I’ll oppose federal funding for abortion.
Next up, former RPV chairman Pat McSweeney nominated Bob Marshall, calling him “a man who follows his conscience no matter how unpopular”. I know Bob Marshall; I edited papers he wrote for Family Research Council; I know that Mr. McSweeney’s remark was true, and that reminder made my decision for me: I would vote for Bob Marshall.
Mr. McSweeney was followed by Ken Cuccinelli, who gave the best speech I heard that morning. Sen. Cuccinelli placed Bob among the great Virginians of the past.
“Patrick Henry would be proud of Del. Marshall’s actions” in undoing the damage of last year’s transportation debacle.
“Thomas Jefferson would be proud of Del. Marshall” for his uncompromising commitment to defending the sancity of life.
Then Del. Marshall spoke, opening with an appeal to the Declaration of Independence, and discussing the principles that guide his policy proposals, the sanctity of life, marriage, no taxation without representation. The delegate next to me commented that Del. Marshall didn’t say much about what he’d do in the Senate.
Then the voting began. Word trickled down through the make-shift Fairfax County seating area that we’d get up row-by-row and vote in the back of the room. Of course, the concept of row was a fuzzy one, given that roughly 100 seats had been rather haphazardly added to the delegation’s area. People from the back just got up and lined up along the wall, waiting for their chance to vote.
I waited until the crowd thinned out, saying a quick hello to Krystle Weeks, and cast my ballot for Bob.
Then the waiting began. Again. I chatted briefly with some friends and fellow bloggers. Rumor had it that Bob was doing well.
Alas, rumor was right, but not right enough. Bob did well, but not well enough. Jim Gilmore narrowly defeated him and is Virginia’s Republican nominee for Senate.
Evidentally, the vote for chairman was more lopsided. As the votes were being counted, incumbent chairman John Hager made his way to the podium and requested that the convention elect Jeff Frederick by acclamation. The vote total wasn’t released; it must have been a landslide.
On the way home, I stopped at a coffee shop and caught up on the DNC’s one-half compromise.