Why is the GOP Losing Virginia? Blame the Republican Party of Virginia: A Case Study in Idiocy
By Erick Posted in 2008 — Comments (19) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Here's a case study on why the GOP is failing in Virginia. It has taken me some time to compile this. I wanted to talk to representatives of the various candidates. They confirm what I report below. Likewise, I talked to a Democrat who confirms that the Democratic Party of Virginia did not stoop to the level of jackassery that the Republican Party of Virginia did.
In Virginia, all candidates must collect a minimum of 10,000 signatures from registered voters to get on the ballot. To make it tougher, the signatures must be collected on forms provided by the board of elections and the forms must be signed AND NOTARIZED by the solicitor. Its a big big undertaking.
Once the petitions were due, the state board of elections immediately turned them over to the respective state party chairs. The party chairs have complete authority to determine who qualifies and who doesn't.
The Virginia Democratic Party actually went out and collected 7,500 signatures for each of their presidential candidates. Edwards, Richardson, and Kucinich all submitted the bare minimum of 10,000 signatures. Guess what? They were all approved.
I can tell you that as an elections lawyer and a political consultant, I have never seen a signature drive go by where every single signature was accepted. But they were by the Virginia Democratic Party.
Contrast that with the Republican Party of Virginia (go below the fold):
Romney, Fred, Rudy, McCain, Huckabee, and Paul all filed over 15,000 signatures each - well above the recommended minimums.
So what did the Virginia GOP do? Well, they did absolutely nothing to help any of the candidates other than put out clipboards at their state fair booth.
Then they decided to attempt some kind of unprecedented "verification" process. Historically, forms have never been checked by either party, often they never even open the boxes. They gave no one notice of this new process. They sent all the campaigns an email notice the Friday afternoon after they'd all filed their signatures. You can see the memo below. As you can see its a ridiculous attempt to replicate Florida in 2000.
At the time, no one had any idea who the "verifiers" would be or who they supported. Likewise, everyone had questions on what did and did not constitute legitimate signatures. All the campaigns had to lawyer up against their own party. The Executive Director of the Virginia GOP had the nerve to pace the room, during the verification process, in a referee jersey. Likewise, the process for verification changed throughout the day, despite the party sending out its guidelines ahead of time in writing.
Meanwhile the Democrats will be on the ballot in Virginia - a state that probably won't even matter in this process since their primary is February 12th - and they'll all be focusing on building their ground game to beat us.
The Virginia GOP should be embarrassed.
What's the matter with our party???????
From: Matt Wells
Sent: Fri Dec 14 17:59:22 2007
Subject: Petition Verification
This email is to notify you that the Party has collected your petitions from the State Board of Elections.
First off, congratulations on making it through a grueling process! Now that you’ve done the hard part, we just need to verify the petitions.
We will be conducting verification at RPV HQ (115 E. Grace St, Richmond) beginning at 9:45am on Monday, December 17th. We will be doing a hard count for number of signatures based on correctness of form (see attached documents for details).
We’ve got about 40 folks coming in to help with the count, so it should proceed fairly quickly. You all are more than welcome to have one or two folks present as observers.
I will be out of town next week, so please direct any questions to either Christian Curto or Erika Fischer (copied on this email, or available at 703-254-**** and 757-618-****, respectively), who will be supervising the count.
I hope you’ll take the time to review the attached documents, so that we can get through this as rapidly and smoothly as possible. It is the goal of the Party to qualify your candidates for the ballot, but we do have an obligation to make sure that the legal requirements have been met.
Political Director - Central
Republican Party of Virginia