Well, just under an hour ago, the 1st District Republican convention nominated Delegate Rob Wittman for Congress. I cannot describe what a colossal mistake my fellow convention delegates made.
Now, my candidate, Jim Bowden, didn’t make it past the third ballot, and there were several good candidates in the race (I eventually settled on Paul Jost). Yet somehow, the delegates decided to nominate a politician whose most substantive action in Richmond was to support the transportation tax hike of 2007, the very piece of legislation that helped crush the party this past Tuesday.
The delegates may not have noticed (or even cared) but Hampton Roads is still seething from the regional authority and sky-high driver fees that came from the debacle. Two Hampton Roads seats in both the Senate and the House flipped over to the Democrats in reaction.
None of that mattered to the delegates.
I am left to wonder: when did the Republicans become a party of higher taxes and profligate spending? Did I mess the memo? Was I out of the room? Don’t these people have any idea of the damage they are doing?!
Rob Wittman is going to get crushed in Hampton Roads, and his support in the Fredericksubrg area is also likely to be weak (I, as a delegate, made a pledge to vote for him in the general election, but I doubt I will do much of anything else). This seat is now very, very competitive.
Meanwhile, even if Wittman wins, what then? He taxes his tax hiking record to Congress, while his seat opens up again for the man who held it for six years: the tax-hiking Al Pollard.
Honestly, this is as dejected as I have ever been about the fate of the party. No organization can solve this; no candidate recruitment effort can solve this. The Republican Party is facing an identity crisis.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Virginia Republicans must become the party of small government and low taxes again. If not, we will continue to lose, and more to the point, we will deserve to lose. Tonight, the party took a huge step backwards.