Del. Morrissey: “This is not Harry Bryd’s Democratic Party; it is the people’s Democratic Party”


    Wow, strong words from Del. Joe Morrssey (D-74th) on the process of selecting the next DPVA chair!

    October 20, 2010


    To: Democratic State Lawmakers

    From: Joseph D. Morrissey

    Dear colleagues

    As you know, our Democratic State Party Chairman, Dick Cranwell, has announced his resignation. From what I have read in the newspapers, Senator Mark Warner and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine have chosen Brian Moran, a former colleague of ours, as Dick

    Cranwell’s replacement. The State Central Committee is expected to ratify this choice in the next several weeks.

    Make no mistake about it – I like Brian Moran. Brian was our House Caucus Chairman and I endorsed, supported, and campaigned for him during his run for Governor. Indeed, I held a party for him out at my farm in Varina where 600 + people attended in June of 2009.

    However, with that said, I am disappointed with the selection process. With due respect to former Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, I think they should have tried to determine what the roughly 5 dozen Democratic lawmakers who are up for re election next year thought about the next State Party Chairman. Senator Warner doesn’t run again until 2014 and Governor Kaine is focused – and rightfully so – on the 2010 Federal Elections. But we are all up for re-election next year. Have any of you been consulted?

    more after the “fold”

    I recognize that both Mark and Tim, as former Governors, are used to dictating the Party Chair. This is a prerogative traditionally given to the state’s Chief Executive. However, the current environment is different. This is not Harry Bryd’s Democratic Party; it is the people’s Democratic Party. We, the House and Senate Democrats, are relevant and cannot and should not be taken for granted.

    The paramount responsibility of the next Democratic Party Chair is to increase (hopefully by one or two seats) the Democratic majority in the State Senate. Similarly, the next Chairman should be “laser like” focused on preventing any additional slippage in the House Caucus. Indeed, there are democratic members of the House who are in desperate need of raising funds so as to maintain their respective seats. Accordingly, raising funds and defending core democratic principles should be the main objective of the next Party Chair.

    Again, let me reiterate what I said above. I like Brian Moran. However, either we are all part of the same team or we aren’t. As Al Pacino said as the fictional head coach of the Miami Storm in the movie On Any Given Sunday “We either stand together and win as a team, or we stand alone and die.”

    In conclusion, I respect Mark and Tim and their views deserve/carry significant weight. But so do your views as well as other Democrats. Please tell me what you’re thinking.

    Joseph D. Morrissey

    Representative – 74th District

    • Good comment!

    • martinlomasney

      It’s an authoritarian Commonwealth and a top down party and we had all better get in line or else.

      “Or else what,” exactly, is yet to be made clear.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      There never has been – in either major party – in Virginia a minute spent thinking about what the grassroots think. However, here the request is that the “powers that be” give the elected Democrats in the General Assembly some voice in the selection of the person who will run the party next year, an all-important election year. Will that happen? Nope.

    • gene magruder

      Everybody can file to be chair. I would welcome Brian as our new chair but I would also welcome others to join in the process if they desire. The central committee has the ultimate decision, not the polticians in either the General Assembly or on the federal level. While I welcome advise from my legislators it will be the grassroot city/county committees, and the candidates grassroot workers and all the volunteers who do the grunt work of getting our people elected.  

    • Tom

      There are many voting members of the Central Committee who would love to elect Susan DPVA chair, and the next DPVA meeting when the election will take place (the first Sat. of Dec.) will be somewhere in the Hampton Roads area, which I am hoping will be in Virginia beach. As you know, Susan has more than doubled the Va. Beach Dem. Committee membership since she was elected VBDC chair last Jan. and she will apply that same level of party unifying skill, excitement and enthusiasm statewide if she is elected DPVA chair.

      Please, someone ask Susan Mariner to announce her candidacy ASAP, or at least start a “Draft Susan Mariner” movement. We can’t lose any time in contacting every Central Committee member we know to ask for their votes for Susan. The survival of the Va. Dem. Party for years to come is at stake.

      Please contact all CC voting members you know, starting with Jim Webb (he knows how important Susan’s Webb Wagons and her personally securing at least 100K votes for him were for his 2006 election), George Burke (11th CD chair), Gerry Connolly, Mark Warner, and any other CC members you know to immediately ask them to publicly endorse Susan. The last thing we need to have happen is for the DPVA chair who presided over the worst state-wide election debacle in a generation to hand-select as his successor the one person who split the party in a 3-way primary and handed the state house to the GOP. Susan will not allow that to happen again, but we first need this woman to be elected chair.

      Time is very much of the essence. We need to act, and quickly. Tim Kaine and Dick Cranwell each only get one vote. And whether Susan’s name is on the ballot before the Dec. CC meeting vote or not, if there are enough endorsers and enough votes, any Central Committee member present at the meeting can nominate her from the floor and she can win the chairmanship. But we the grassroots/netroots must do our part by securing every vote we can for Susan.