Yesterday, Olympia Meola reported rumors that “[l]eadership changes could be afoot at the Democratic Party of Virginia.” Well, I’ve had it confirmed to me that not only is this a rumor, it’s true — Dickie Cranwell will be stepping down in December as DPVA chair after 5 years on the job.
Let’s be blunt; the DPVA has not exactly been the most effective organization in recent times. A few adjectives and phrases that spring to mind include lackluster, uninspired, unimaginative, lazy, slow-to-react, complete inability to create an effective political narrative, etc. Meanwhile, the 2009 Democratic debacle looms large, and by all rights should have resulted in a housecleaning last fall. Given that it didn’t, I guess I’d say “better late than never.” I’d also say, let’s turn this decision by Dickie Cranwell into an opportunity for positive change at the top of DPVA. Let’s get someone in there with energy, commitment, determination, and proven leadership abilities. Fortunately, I’ve got just the person for the job:
That’s right, Sen. Donald McEachin, the man who more than anyone has filled the leadership vacuum over the past year, has most effectively stood up to Cooch and Company, who most powerfully has articulated Democratic values, who “gets” the grassroots and netroots, who represents everything we’d want in a party chair. I’d say that right now, it’s time for the DPVA to open things up, hold a competitive election, let whatever interested candidates battle it out, but in the end select Donald McEachin to lead the party. I’m not even sure if Donald’s interested, but if he is, he should know that he has a lot of friends and supporters in the progressive activists community. If you’re with me, or even if you’re not, please let’s hear what you think in the comments section. Thanks…and go Donald!
UPDATE: You can sign the petition here.
UPDATE #2: Sen. McEachin’s press release is on the “flip.”
UPDATE #3: Dickie Cranwell’s and Mark Warner’s statements in the comments section.
UPDATE #4: Bob Lewis reports:
The search for a successor has been under way for weeks with Warner, Kaine and others trying to persuade 2009 gubernatorial contender Brian J. Moran of Alexandria to replace Cranwell.
Moran was described Tuesday as “the first among equals,” should he resolve issues regarding his family and his job that would allow him to hold the post.
Others under consideration include Greg Werkheiser, who raised and spent about $500,000 in a 2009 bid to unseat Del. David Albo, R-Fairfax County, and Michael Signer, a Democratic strategist who unsuccessfully sought the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor last year.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Chairman Cranwell for his years of dedicated service, ” Senator McEachin said. Chairman Cranwell has served this Party with devotion, with his energy and been a leader for us through good times and bad. Chairman Cranwell reminds us of the best we have to offer, speaking from his heart about Democratic values and ideals. His passion and energy for our Party has served us all well and has been a motivation and inspiration to us. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Godspeed, although we know you will never be far from where Democrats are gathered.”
Senator McEachin continued, “Some good Virginia Democrats have approached me and encouraged me to run for the chairmanship. I am honored by their confidence in me, but this is not an idea I have previously considered. Out of deference to them, I will certainly ponder this and try to determine if my standing for election to chair is a good step forward for this Party that I love.
“Meanwhile, I encourage folks to make their own decisions and consider running. I look forward to a spirited campaign among the candidates, whoever they will be and encourage them to engage the State Central Committee, the local chairs and Democratic activists at every level. We have important elections coming up, this year and every year through the quadrennial and this is an opportunity for Democrats to determine in which directions they want to go and how they want to get there. This election provides an excellent opportunity for that kind of spirited and important conversation within the Party.
“No matter what decision I make for myself in the next few weeks, I promise my fellow Democrats that I will stay engaged, involved and committed. We must make sure we win our Congressional races, make gains in both the State Senate and the House of Delegates and ensure the re-election of both our Democratic Senator and our Democratic President. Then, of course, we want to make sure we take back the governor’s mansion and the other statewide offices to return Virginia to a moderate results oriented government, not one driven by extreme ideology.”