DPVA State Central Committee Meeting in Newport News

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    The Democratic Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee is meeting in Newport News this morning. Among other things, they’ll be voting for a new chair, given that current DPVA chair Dickie Cranwell is retiring. I’d love to see an upset victory for Peter Rousselot over Brian Moran today, but I’m certainly not holding my breath, given the tremendous pressure brought to bear by the “powers that be” – Mark Warner et al. – to (s)elect Brian Moran as the new chair. A few tweets by Ben Tribbett/NLS, who’s at the event, also make me pessimistic.

    *”I’m trying to keep track of how many of these people here have been paid by Brian or his brother at some time. It’s close to half so far.”

    *”If you haven’t been to one of these DPVA meetings before- its about 30 years older and much whiter than the average Dem voters.”

    *”1 central committee member with a Brian sticker on tells me they are voting for Peter. Not a trend but interesting ppl feel so intimidated”

    Anyway, I’ll be following the proceedings via Ben’s Twitter feed, mainly, given that there’s no “live stream” or any form of official social media by DPVA (why not, guys?).

    UPDATE: Actually, there is a live feed here. Cool, and thanks to Vivian Paige for arranging it.

    UPDATE 10:15 am: Resolution honoring Dickie Cranwell unanimously adopted, after Ward Armstrong reads the resolution. Standing ovation for Cranwell.

    UPDATE 10:17 am: Cranwell giving his farewell speech. Thanks everyone. Introduces Glenn Nye, who also gets a big round of applause (WTF?). Nye thanks Cranwell for his “years of service to the party,” endorses Brian Moran for chair (ugh). Nye says “Democrats are coming back strong in 2011” and says he’s looking forward to being a part of that.

    UPDATE 10:20 am: Proceedings begin for (s)electing a new DPVA chair. It will be a secret ballot, majority wins.  Sam Crockett of the 10th CD expresses the view of his committee that there should be more time allotted at DPVA meetings for discussion of important issues, not just “reports” and the like.

    UPDATE 10:28 am: Rep. Bobby Scott is introduced, gets a big round – and a well deserved one for the superb work he does! – of applause. Thanks Dickie Cranwell, talks about how Republicans “wrecked the economy, wrecked the budget,” and how Democrats are trying to dig our country out of “the ditch” they drove us into. Emphasis on grassroots support as a way to combat the corporate money advantage Republicans have. Says we can’t afford any of the Bush tax cuts, if we want to avoid cuts in Social Security, Medicare, etc.

    UPDATE 10:33 am: According to NLS, “Bobby Scott got a full crowd ovation. Yes, the people were sitting for @GlennNye intentionally.” That guy really needs to get the message and get lost!

    UPDATE 10:38 am: Peter Rousselot is nominated, Brian Moran is seconded. Both are seconded. Candidate approach the podium, speak in alphabetical order.

    UPDATE 10:39 am: Ben tweets, “This is so bush league- they are handing out ballots right now before the candidates speak.” Also, “Dave Mills stood up to ask people not to hand out ballots before the speaches- too late, I see at least 6 committees voting now.” That’s pathetic.

    UPDATE 10:41 am: Nominating speeches for Brian Moran. Ben tweets, “Wow, Brians nominators clearly don’t know they are counting against his four minutes. As usual Brian is disorganized and clueless.”

    UPDATE 10:44 am: Brian Moran says he has a plan to “keep Virginia blue.” Says we need a communications plan, we should communicate with our “grassroots activists,” expose “radical” Republican agenda. Recruit and support strong candidates everywhere. Need to build DPVA infrastructure. Fight for fairness, environment, etc. We will never retreat, we are a strong, diverse and dynamic party. We all share deep belief that we stand as a standard bearer for working people. We must win elections to help people. “Now is the time to return to our winning ways.” “I know this party, I know this Commonwealth…I ask for your vote.” (typical rah-rah Brian Moran speech, basically devoid of any substance)

    UPDATE 10:49 am: Peter Rousselot speaks, gets an additional 3 minutes because Brian went over. Talks about his superb record as Arlington County Democratic Committee chair and at state level. “Best and most relevant experience” of two candidates for DPVA chair. Will raise a lot of money for DPVA. “Next DPVA chair needs to be a skilled manager” and be able to juggle many competing demands. Says next DPVA chair needs to be full time, needs to commit to serve out Dickie Cranwell’s full term because “we have so much work to do.” 134-local-committee strategy. Get personally and actively involved with local chairs. Need to take it to the next level. Contest every single race. Can’t win the game unless you’re on the field. Need to spread the Democratic message. It’s wrong for Ken Cuccinelli to dominate the messaging in this state – that’s wrong! Next chair needs to speak up continuously and relentlessly against this far-right-wing agenda. Virginia has been made a laughingstock because of Ken Cuccinelli, and we need to put a stop to it! We all need to be on the same team, DPVA chair needs to be quarterback and get everyone moving in same direction. We need to raise more money for DPVA. We’ve got to find new sources of money, work with larger donors, small donors, email, every possible way to spread the message and do what we need. “I’m the only candidate…who will pursue these strategies full time, I ask for your vote.” Superb speech by Peter, I am very proud of him. If there’s any justice he should win in a landslide!

    UPDATE 11:16 am: Meeting called back to order. I presume they’re counting the ballots. Meanwhile, we apparently have to listen to carnival barker Dickie Cranwell running a (not-so) silent auction. This is ridiculous, I’m so glad I didn’t go to this meeting.

    UPDATE 11:28 am: The interminable, degrading auction continues. I can’t believe this is a major state party. Is this what really goes on at these meetings? Why does anyone go?!?

    UPDATE 11:32 am: Peter Rousselot moves to elect Brian Moran unanimously as next chair. Classy as always by Peter! Sad day for DPVA, though, as a for-profit “education” lobbyist takes over in his spare time, when he’s not working to saddle poor kids with huge debts and worthless degrees. Ugh.

    • I don’t see the problem with handing out ballots before speeches. It just seems like a way to improve efficiency and keep the voting process from taking forever. I could understand people objecting to collecting ballots before speeches, maybe, but really, how many people are actually basing their decision on these 4-minute speeches?

    • Mike1987

      Sigh….

    • VADEM

      see the breakdown of who voted for who. I’m happy to see that the political machine that Tom said we didn’t have, is working nicely in getting their lobbyiest insider elected.

      Nice job and good luck.

    • Ron

      are irrelevant, IMO.

      Sorry, and hate to say it. I dropped out of the Alex Dems after last year’s debacle, although the new leadership appears to be better.

      Grassroots activism is going to have to remake this party.  

    • Tom

      I thought of the 50 or so Central Committee members I know (out of about 300)at least a significant majority would be interested in electing a chair who was more interested in winning elections than adding DPVA chair to his resume when he runs for governor again in 2013. I note that Brian has claimed he was not interested in running for “statewide office” in 2013, but I fully expect that he will “change his mind” in time to run against Terry in the primary, using the power of his DPVA chairmanship to aid in his campaign since the Party Plan rules (i.e., by-laws) do not specifically prohibit a chair from running for statewide office even in a primary, and there is no way that the newly elected chair is going to allow any rules amendments that would diminish his ability to use his chairmanship to his political advantage.

      As for the “vote breakdown”, since the vote is by secret ballot the only “breakdown” ever available to even voting central committee members is how many votes each candidate received from the votes allocated to each of the 11 Congressional Committees. But since the “final” vote was by acclamation, the votes before Peter conceded and moved (by unwritten party rule) that the winner be elected by acclamation the party will never reveal even to CC voting members the actual CD-by-CD vote breakdown. I understand the concept of a secret ballot, but the CC voting members and other party members like myself should have a right to know the total vote count for each candidate.

      Forcing the losing candidate (by custom, not by written rule)to move for election by acclamation to pretend that the winner was elected by 100% of the vote is a terrible custom. In fact, the “elect by acclamation” vote is voice vote, and most of the losing candidate’s supporters won’t vote “no” because they are afraid to reveal that they voted against the new chair. The votes by CD should be officially recorded and made known to all CC members, but the newly elected chair will never allow a rules change that would require recording of the actual vote, so that undemocratic method will remain forever.

      At least at the Magisterial District level when we elect new officers the people who tally the secret ballot are required per by-laws to announce how many votes each officer candidate receives, which is the only possible way to assure an honest election. There is NO allowance in the district-level or county level By-Laws for the losing candidate to make a motion for election by acclamation to avoid the public announcement of votes cast for each person – the acclamation provision only applies if the candidate runs unopposed. I have lobbied for years, to no avail, that state-level officer election rules be changed to require announcement of votes cast (by CD) for each candidate. There is simply no logical reason not to announce the vote count. All party members have a right to know how may votes each candidate received.

      Back to the original point: Yes, I was wrong. The anti-democratic and anti-Democratic Party machine is alive and did win, but what a hollow victory the “machine” has won. They did win the chairmanship, but by doing so have chosen to lose the large majority of public office elections for years to come.

      I will resign my party committee memberships (GMDDC and PWCDC) effective the end of January, right after we elect our new PWC chair. I cannot in good conscience remain officially associated with a party that would elect the likes of Brian Moran as its chair, although I will remain politically active in 2011 by working directly for the campaign of the PWC BOCS chair candidate of MY choosing (yes, we expect an open primary with votes counted and publicly recorded).

                              T.C.

    • leedynamo

      Welcome to the Four Virginias where dysfunctional politics is the norm. Richmond is dominated by reactionaries and the sane majority does not care enough to get organized. WOW, this could be Israel.