As the Republican Party of Virginia makes important decisions on the direction of the Party, a new leader will take the helm going into 2007. After speculation that there was interest from various members of the Party including 1st District Chairman Russ Moulton, Virginia Beach Chairman Chuck Smith, and former Lt. Governor John Hager, all have pulled together to back Ed Gillespie as the best person to move us forward to maintain our majority in the Commonwealth.
Ed did his homework, worked the phones talking with State Central members and elected officials, and convinced the majority that he was the man for the job. He has the backing of prominent elected Republicans in the state including Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Atty. General Bob McDonnell, Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th District), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-6th District), and others.
One of my concerns is the grassroots ... and Ed believes in a bottom-up Party. Here are the points he outlined in his email to State Central members. He believes in:
1) A BOTTOM-UP PARTY. Having worked in campaigns for more than 20 years (starting as a phoner!), I understand the critical importance of grassroots. Someone who makes 10,000 phone calls in the course of an election is as important as – if not more than – someone who writes a check for $10,000.
As RNC Chairman, I relied heavily on the advice and input of state party chairs and RNC members. If elected RPV chair, I would rely heavily on District Chairs and Central Committee members.
2) A PARTY THAT FOSTERS UNITY. We can accommodate differences within our party, but not divisions. While standing strong for the principles that distinguish us from liberal Democrats, we must also recognize that a Republican who gets elected in Fairfax County may not agree 100% of the time with a Republican who gets elected in Lynchburg, but electing Republicans everywhere is essential to a majority party.
3) A PARTY WITH RESOURCES. We have vast untapped financial resources in the Commonwealth that should be helping to support the pro-growth party. We need to reconnect with the business community and reach out to potential individual donors in the Commonwealth and across the country.
4) A PARTY WITH A POSITIVE MESSAGE. When it comes to issues that affect the quality of life of Virginians, our policies are better than those of our Democrat opponents. We have to convey them in a way that resonates with voters. On countless news programs, talk shows and debate panels, I’ve tried to advocate our policies and highlight our differences with the other side without driving away our friends in the middle.
This weekend, as we all converge on The Homestead and the Republican Advance, we have work to do. Discussions at and following the Advance, and the election of Ed Gillespie, I believe, will take us in the right direction, allowing us the opportunity to analyze our past mistakes and determine how to correct those mistakes in the future.
All the Republican doom and gloom that has been projected the past weeks since the election are way overrated, in my opinion. Shaun Kenny had an excellent post recently saying the same thing. All is not lost ... but we do have miles to go before we rest.
Virginia is not turning blue but will remain a vibrant red for years to come if we roll up our sleeves and continue to work for what we believe in. I, for one, am willing to do that.