Home Virginia Politics Backroom Politics Center Stage in DPVA Chair Selection

Backroom Politics Center Stage in DPVA Chair Selection


Dwight Jones photo 140307Jones_zpsb2bf013d.jpgIt must be tough being an elected Virginia Democrat; with Governor McAuliffe leaning on you to support his choice for the Virginia Party Chair. No matter where you stand or how this turns out, Terry will be there when the smoke clears. There is no public option. Tough business, this.

So really, the support for Dwight Jones coming from elected officials must be severely discounted. Many of them don’t have a vote in this selection or have regularly failed to attend Central Committee meetings, so there they have no say either. And at this point, after the Boyd Marcus maneuver, they cannot be certain if there would be any consequences if Jones does not become Party Chair. The vote is closer than many will acknowledge and a secret ballot provides cover for the principled stand.

“Should Jones assume the chairmanship, it will be interesting to see how Democrats finesse painting Republicans as intolerant for embracing a view their own head of the party shares.” – Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial

On the face, some pretty savvy members of the General Assembly have come across as illogically rationalizing their support for Mayor Jones. Calling the objections a litmus test or saying Jones is being denigrated is about the only way you can respond when your Party’s Governor has leaned in on you. Rejection of litmus tests applies more appropriately to candidates for elected office, not to the face of the party. And what does it mean when you say Jones should get a pass because the Governor is at fault for the selection?  If Dwight Jones aspires to be Governor, this may be his Waterloo. His choices are not what he wants them to be. They are to announce an incredible revelation or to step away. If he becomes Party Chair, he will spend four years documenting his inability to deliver on promises. Unlike unsubstantiated claims of $40 million in capital investment, failures to fill seats in the House of Delegates and state Senate are readily evident. Bad posture for one who will want to claim effective stewardship.

Someday, perhaps soon, opponents of marriage equality will look as backward-thinking as the segregationists of yesteryear. Elected officials who don’t take stock may be the object of tomorrow’s legislative chamber protests. – Michael Paul Williams (RTD)

One of the realities that the Governor faces is that the campaign strategy used to win his statewide race did not build broad based relationships inside the DPVA. There is no doubt that DPVA Central Committee members in congressional districts that went red in the gubernatorial race supported McAuliffe last fall. However, he doesn’t know them well and they don’t have the kind of personal connection that means a phone call from him will ensure their support in this situation. These unknowns constitute a majority in the Central Committee. At this point, the LGBT caucus claims support from 71 or so committee members.

A most troubling part of this is that the one thing that could wash this all away, the incredible personal revelation that Jones’ position on same-sex marriage is a personal hypocrisy regarding civil rights and that he has seen the light, will never be credible. Throughout the discussion that rose after objection to his nomination, he continues to dig in his heels. This is, no doubt, a deeply held personal conviction.

Running against a Republican for Governor, Jones’ position is a wash. Running as the symbolic representative of the DPVA, that position is anathema.  

  • pontoon

    Another thing that “could wash this all away” is for Mayor Jones to withdraw his name.  He would earn the respect of many of us who stand against his nomination because his withdrawal would mean that he puts the party before his personal ambitions.

  • The Richmonder

    I am of two minds on this issue.  On the one hand, I am a passionate supporter of LGBT civil rights and I consider myself a straight ally.  I have been thrilled by the advances made in the last 10 years from the dismal persecution of LGBT by the Republican Party from 2004 onwards to the growing wave of legalization of same sex marriage.  

    Increasingly, the LGBT community and its straight allies are getting the law on our side.  The day is not far off when discrimination against gays in the area of marriage equality won’t just be unpopular, it will be illegal.  

    And that’s been our goal all along.

    I wonder if we aren’t in danger of overshooting our goal.  If someone is willing to follow the law and not discriminate against LGBT, is it really necessary to force them to adopt our point of view and recite it as if it some kind of catechism?

    Are we being hypocritical here?  After all, we have always said to our conservative opponents “if you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t have one.”  As far as I know, no one has seriously argued that conservative churches should be forced to perform same sex marriages.  

    Has anyone ever accused Dwight C. Jones of discriminating against LGBT in the performance of his official duties?

    If someone is silent on the question of marriage equality and does nothing to oppose marriage equality, are we now going to treat that person the same as if they actively opposed same sex marriage?

    Look, I wish Dwight C. Jones was a vocal supporter of same sex marriage, I really do, but people of a certain age and of a certain background don’t always agree with me all the time–I’ve learned to live with that.  

    I guess I also have a bit of a different perspective on Dwight Jones because I am acquainted with him.  I can’t say that we are close friends or anything, just acquaintances who cross paths a lot because we are both in politics in Richmond and live and work near each other.  I literally saw him in my neighborhood grocery store an hour ago. It’s a bit easier to demonize someone when you don’t know them and you haven’t been to a Christmas party at their home.

    People have really gotten their backs up about this–many even think that turning next Friday’s into a big acrimonious screaming match is a good thing.  I don’t.

    This year, like every year, is an election year in Virginia and the Democratic Party will need to be unified.  I hope you will take that into account in the tone you adopt.  

    I’m not saying that someone shouldn’t run against Dwight Jones. If a large enough number of people oppose Jones and can get behind a credible alternative, well then maybe Jones can be defeated.  If you can manage it, then so be it.

    But a lot of angry, bitter talk–particularly when it is empty talk–is destructive.

    I am not a member of the DPVA’s Central Committee, but I do live in Richmond and if I can make the time I will try to attend this upcoming meeting.  I will be curious to see how people behave.

  • va_lady2008

    The easiest way would be for Hizzonor to withdraw his name from consideration. The fact that he has failed to do so suggests that he believes he’s right, and the rest of us are wrong, and most of us have recent experience enough to predict where that will lead.

    I read, perhaps on this site, that the Preacher’s antipathy toward the LGBT community could be explained because he’s “old” for which I read “set in his ways.”

    Phooey.  Terry Mac and Hizzonor claim that they’ll carry out the his duties fairly and in a completely open and unbiased fashion.

    Where have we heard that one before?  In the selection process?  

    The troubles with are two fold:

    1.  If he’s old, so are almost every bigot and racist in America.  Do we CONTINUE to give them a pass until they all croak?  That would be forgetting that while they’re breathing, they’re creating yet another generation of bigots and racists.

    2.  We heard from Gov Rolex and the unutterably awful mistake called “the Cucch” that they would enforce the law.  After some of us believed that nonsense, we found out that what they REALLY meant was that they’d use the law to enforce their religious  and moral beliefs on the rest of us.

    Terry Mac, please copy:  the Virginia Lady’s wallet is STILL slammed shut.  If I wanted to be part of a party that didn’t believe in equal rights for everyone, I’d be a Republican.

  • suzheart

    No one has mentioned that Mayor Jones played the race card when he spoke to an African American audience and said the people opposed to his baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom, “don’t look like us.”  That tactic, to silence critics of his multi-million dollar give-away to developers is another reason the DPVA needs to find another Chair.  


  • The Richmonder

    Catherine S. Read needs to decide soon a declare her candidacy. People aren’t going to offend the establishment (let alone the governor) by opposing Jones until there’s a realistic alternative.


  • ir003436

    In the DPVA Central Committee?

    I’m shocked!!  Shocked, I tell you!!!