RICHMOND, VA, May 18, 2013—While most of the country has gone to sleep politically, Virginia is red hot. One of only two states to have a 2013 gubernatorial election, Virginia is ground zero for political junkies.
The Virginia Republican Party (RPV) held their 2013 convention at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
The GOP has united behind Ken Cuccinelli for Governor. He is in a dead heat with Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The winner will succeed Republican Bill McDonnell. Virginia has the toughest term limit law in the country.
The Governor gets one four year term and that is it.
Below Cuccinelli is chaos. Seven candidates are vying to replace Bill Bolling as Lieutenant Governor. Corey Stewart, EW Jackson, and Paula Stimpson were among them.
If no candidate gets 50% on the first ballot, the lowest two candidates are eliminated. Without a majority on the second ballot, two more are sliced away to whittle the field down to the top three. A third ballot that does not settle the race knocks off one more, as a fourth ballot would settle things between the final two candidates.
The Attorney General race came down to Robert Bell and Mark Obenshain. The Obenshain name is well known in Virginia. Mark’s sister Kate Obenshain is the former head of the state party as well as the current head of Young America’s Foundation and a frequent Fox News contributor.
RPV Chairman Pat Mullins jokingly told the candidates to stop campaigning at dinner so the dinner would end on time and allow people to get to the hospitality suites. The RPV got the program underway by giving the first annual “Trailblazer Award” to Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute.
Mullins praised Governor McDonnell for tackling a controversial transportation bill that has divided conservatives and taken its toll on McDonnell’s popularity.
McDonnell elicited laughter by noting that “There is at least twenty people here not running for Lieutenant Governor.”
He said that in 37 years of marriage, he and his wife “have only had two arguments. Both of them lasted 18 1/2 years.”
McDonnell spent the bulk of his remarks singing the praises of Cuccinelli, letting the crowd know that they must do for Cuccinelli in 2013 what they did for McDonnell in 2009. McDonnell then introduced the keynote speaker for the evening, Louisiana Governor and possible 2016 presidential contender Bobby Jindal. Governor Jindal is seeking to eliminate his state’s income tax entirely, making him a favorite in conservative circles. Jindal currently heads the Republican Governor’s Association post that McDonnell occupied last year.
Jindal praised Cuccinelli as a man of conviction and contrasted him with how most politicians operate.
“We see a mob march on city hall, we get in front and call it a parade.”
Jindal stated that while he could spend the whole night attacking the failed Obama record, the crowd already knew all of that. He was more interested in discussing where the Republican Party goes in the wake of a tough 2012 presidential loss.
“We need to get over ourselves.” “This country already has one liberal party. We don’t need two.”
“We don’t need the Republican Party to manage over the slow decline of America. That is what the Democratic Party is for.”
“We need to be a party that fights for 100% of the votes.”
To get the people to “like us, we have to like them first.”
We have to “stop being the party of big,” whether it be big government or big banks.
The GOP must talk about two issues it has ignored for far too long, “education and growth.”
“Trust parents to make decisions for their own children.”
“Let the dollars follow the child.”
Jindal cited studies that showed students with great fourth grade teachers have a better chance of earning a higher income and a lower chance of being a teen pregnancy statistic.
Teachers should be paid based on how well they teach, “not how long they have been breathing.”
“If it’s not about student achievement, it’s not relevant to education.”
“We must not become the party of austerity. We are the party of growth.”
“I believe our principles are timeless.”
One odd occurrence revolved around media attendance. There was virtually none. Less than ten reporters covered the dinner, all of them from local papers in Virginia and Washington, DC. Between eight and fourteen thousand people were expected to attend the convention, and the dinner was packed to capacity. The lack of media attendees was surprising.
Friday night was a late night, as the candidates held the “hospitality suite” primary. In a close race, the quality of the Friday night after-party can play a critical role before the Saturday vote. Like presidential straw polls, these are tests of organizational strength. Americans For Prosperity hosted a suite with Fox News commentator Jonah Goldberg.
Speaking of strength, if early indications are accurate, Republicans are in a very strong position to take their suddenly purple state and bring it back solid red.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS. Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter
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