First Report from Huffman Advance

Old soldiers know to discount the first report from the field. So, here is a first report from the Huffman Advance.

The mood is sober, pragmatic and committed. Like a farmer who lost his crop, faces a tough winter, but has enough seed for next spring. I look forward to seeing what our local Daily Press reporter puts in the paper. Saw him and Richmond Times fellow, new guy, forget his name there.

Interesting to see who wants to position for statewide office. Cong. Tom Davis is the most prominent. Sean connection is there.

Bill Bolling gave a great speech, Gilmoresque, this morning. I missed Bob McDonnell’s speech. Love his nickname, if the votes hold up through recount, as ‘Landslide’ Bob. Hope it all goes well honestly.

State Central Committee meeting was a true diversion from the cheerleading exercises and occasional debates on very focused issues. No resolutions to be ignored by some Republican officials this year.

The fundamental problem of the Party, lack of political power, was clearly demonstrated in discussions that I heard. If the Party is to have power, it must truly deliver votes in its own right, independent of the candidate, national mood, etc (I understand those all matter, but think ‘Democrats in super majority Black precincts’ where the Democrat candidate has to be going to jail, literally, for a Republican – like Winsome Sears – to win) (Haven’t seen how new Sheriff Gabe Morgan did in the East End of Newport News – need to check SBE site). Or the Party must control the money.

Right now, a great Party organization can mean up to five or so percentage points, which means a win in close races, but the Party can’t just guarantee cranking out the voters. Then, there is the money. If the Jerry Kilgore raises $23m by himself for himself, then the money the Party controls is chump change.

Until the Party makes votes or money happen, the Party, the Republican Party, is a marginal force for The Good People of Virginia. Yet, still, I think, worth the effort to make it better, more effective and more powerful.

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4 responses to “First Report from Huffman Advance”

  1. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Sean Connection = Sean Connaughton. I goofed on my spell check.

  2. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Freudian slip, I’d say.

    It is interesting to hear the party feeling sorry for itself when you think about where it was in 1984 and 1985, the first two such meetings I attended. In 1985 all three statewides lost, and as I recall they lost at least one seat in the House slipping back to around 34. You could count the number of local constitutional officers who won as Republicans on your fingers and toes — if they were R’s they ran mostly as I’s. That was truly the low point for a party that was surging nationally (Reagan has been re-elected and I think we held the US Senate at that point.)

    Something told me there was a place in that group for somebody who could string sentences, develop some relationships with the press and drive a wedge issue with a sledge hammer. And there was, for a while.

    Your points about a party appartus are well taken, but they go to the heart of the problem. That is always where you first need to show some tolerance for different opinions, build the big tent. If you get into the leadership by belonging to one or two select churches, if hundreds of hours of volunteer work is neither noted nor rewarded unless you are part of the in clique or are “squishy”, if being a precinct captain means nothing more than you are tight with some local satrap, then the structure will fail. The work won’t get done.

    I go back to the point that nobody, nobody manned polls in Chesterfield County this year. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Does it switch votes? No. And marching drill hours on end doesn’t win wars either, but it builds discipline, develops leadership, and instills pride.

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Steve Haner: I need to write more clearly. I didn’t say a word about a pity party. The word of the day – as captured in today’s Daily Press – is UNITY. There were many comments along the lines of exactly what you said – not that everyone agreed with every word of it, because words are interpreted differently.

    If the Party didn’t man the polls in Chesterfield, then there was a problem there. That is tactics and personal leadership, unless the mood of the Party faithful was so down that they chose not to work. Then the problem was higher than tactics.

    I’ve seen about 5 to 10, closer to 5 usually, votes change in a single precinct of 2500 voters throughout a day, because the poll workers chatted with someone who knew them, or wanted more information at the last minute. Not a lot of votes, but it does happen. Moreover, it is symbolic to have people stand in the rain, cold or at primaries in the heat and sun because to show support for a candidate and party.

    FYI, GOP Chairman Kate Obenshain Griffin reinstated Commonwealth awards for best worker, best unit and best precinct chair. I was one of several people who nominated the winner of best worker – Peyton White of Newport News for her tireless efforts to get Gabe Morgan elected Sheriff.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Steve’s comments are right on.

    It’s sad that in today’s VAGOP you almost have to be a member of one or two select cliques in order to feel like your contribution really makes a difference.

    This is a particular problem in NOVA and it stretches all the way down into the N. Valley. It’s painfully obvious that if you are not on the short list at Patrick Henry College or some other outfit with the same platform you might as well not even exist in the eyes of the “Party”.

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