In his Thanksgiving missive, emailed earlier this afternoon, former Republican Party of Virginia Chief Jeff Frederick has some…er, interesting things to say, as always. After endorsing Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R) for Lieutenant Governor and Del. Rob Bell (R) for Attorney General in 2013, Frederick writes that “be remiss if I wasn’t completely candid with you about serious doubts I have about a couple other candidates running for these offices.” This is good, and you might want to heat up some popcorn first. Bolding added for your reading pleasure by yours truly. Enjoy!
During my time in public office I quickly learned that the real test of one’s character and commitment isn’t simply what they say. Talk is cheap. Rather it is how one conducts themselves — and more specifically, what they choose to do or not do when the heat is on. Are they consistent when the pressure is unbearable, or are they quick to sell out to relieve that pressure? Further, in this time when so many politicians say one thing and do another, I think it is instructive to take any and every opportunity to look beyond the rhetoric and try to determine who a candidate really is.
There are two people I’d like to warn you about.
I got to know Susan Stimpson (who is running for LG) during my time as RPV Chairman and in the period prior when I was seeking that job. I considered her a friend. Yet, she was a strong ally of Bill Howell (she owes her current elective office to his blessing in her seeking it). When she announced her candidacy for LG and in the subsequent time since, her rhetoric has reflected the exact opposite of the person I knew. Of course, she sounds great now (convenient as she pursues statewide office), but my experience is that she is a top-down establishment Republican who is more interested in position and power rather than her recent claims to be about people and principle. It is only because her public record is so brief that she has been so effective at leading others to believe she’s something she is not. And, I should mention that she was among the loudest voices in supporting the effort to reverse the will of the grassroots in removing me as state chairman.
Unlike Susan, Mark Obenshain (running for AG) does have a long voting record, and, in all honesty – it’s not bad. But for someone who I counted on as a friend and an ally in the legislature, I was shocked to find Mark’s name on a letter calling for my removal as RPV chairman. When I called him on it at the time, the best excuse he could muster was that he was now in the state senate party leadership and he had to go along with the other senate GOP leadership in coming out against me. Now, if he’s willing to compromise friends and principle because of some “leadership” position, it seems it wouldn’t take much for him to “go along” when something of real importance hangs in the balance — when politics dictates that doing so will further one’s ambitions — and especially for someone who is pursuing a position of even greater leadership.
I hesitated sharing this less-than-positive information with you, but putting aside any personal animosity I may have for these two people, there are few truly defining moments in political careers, particularly young careers. The battle – not for my chairmanship-but for our efforts to create a bottom-up, grassroots controlled, and effective Republican Party of Virginia was one of those watershed moments for our Party and these two people chose to stand with the status quo and the corrupt party establishment instead of the very grassroots they now claim to represent.
Ouch. Oh, and happy Thanksgiving from former RPV Chair Jeff Frederick! LOL