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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.  

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