Liveblogging the 5th District Convention

I’ll be heading down to the 5th District Convention momentarily as a delegate for Fluvanna County, but while I’m there supporting my friends I’ll be mixing with the crowd and getting a proper sensus fidelium from our friends in Southside Virginia.

Not knowing whether or not I will actually have internet access at Hampden-Sydney, I will either post as I can, or I will simply give a running tally at the end of the day.

If you’re going to 5th District, Mrs. Kenney and I will see you there!

10:31am: Packed auditorium… have already made the rounds meeting Chairman Hager, AG McDonnell (whom I personally congratulated on helping to save St. Joseph School), State Senator Frank Ruff and Delegate Poindexter. Bolling is seated in the pews as is Rep. Goode. Cuccinelli is here as well, handing out stickers and receiving a warm reception.

George Sterling is moving to and fro,.. doing his best herding cats. The 10.00am cutoff for registration was not enforced, as several people were ushered in by Tucker Watkins at the last minute (about seven or so running late). Meeting has been called to order, but no movement (yet).

Crowd is a sea of McDonnell and Goode stickers, with plenty of well made McCain/Gilmore split stickers (nice) interspersing the Marshall ones.

10:35am: Meeting called to order….

10:36am: Sterling greets all, talks about how beautiful Hampden-Sydney is (and it is — almost a cross between Mary Washington’s campus and Fort Belvoir). Sterling is boosting Goode… and doing a tremendous job. Going after Obama and Hillary, but particularly Obama. Pushes against Mark Warner (boos from the crowd), talks about Governor Gilmore who will talk more about that.

“With opponents like these, we’ll not only elect a new Republican senator from this state, but we’ll elect John McCain the next president of the United States.” — George Sterling

10:39am: Invocation. Extremely well done.

10:40am: Sterling asks for all veterans to stand and be recognized. Gilmore, Frederick, and McDonnell do so, amidst others.

10:41am: Singing of God Bless America — by the entire convention floor.

10:43am: Colonel Robert Cranston leads in the Pledge.

A Texan, volunteer wtih Texas National Guard, became Sgt. Major, joined OCS, was at D-Day +1… asked by Eisenhauer to serve in Paris as a part of NATO staff, in charge of Armed Forces Radio. Bronze Star, Purple Heart (wounded in the Battle of the Bulge)… this gentleman is extremely well decorated, inducted in the Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

Remarkable.

10:46am: Sterling thanks his Executive Board for serving the following two years. Cuccinelli is recognized by the chair, as are other notables. The McDonnell/Bolling ticket receives warm applause. Tucker Watkins is recognized, to slightly less applause. Randolph Byrd is also recognized as a former chairman, but is a delegate.

10:49am: Keith Drake reports from a Resolutions Committee. Four resolutions.

Joe Bishop receives a resolution thanking him for his work. Joe was a great human being, whom Mrs. Kenney knew through the Jefferson Society while at UVA — I knew through helping Gilmore in 1997.

Charles Hawkins receives a resolution thanking him for his 26-years of service in the General Assembly. Much emphasis place upon his public service with regards to conservationism. This one is presented in print. Nicely done. Hawkins speaks after the resolution is read, and takes a trip down memory lane when Republicans were not even a blip on the Virginia radar. Leaves us with thoughts:

“It is our charge that our society moves along with the same legacy our forefathers left to us.” — Former State Senator Charles Hawkins

Hawkins attacks the idea of debt as a way to pay for public services, passing our costs onto the next generation. If we do not stop selling the public for things we cannot afford, we will be selling the future for a “bag of marbles.” A $9 trillion national debt is not a legacy we should be proud of… one last thought. The future is bright becasue of you. What we do will determine what Virginia does in the next decade. In short: Don’t sell our future.

Reaction from the convention? A standing ovation.

Allen Dudley receives a resolution commending him for his service, including a successful fight against the closing of DMV offices in Franklin County, Amber Alert, utility restructuring, and his general demeanor at General Assembly.

Dudley thanks the crowd, and thanks his district for electing Poindexter as his successor.

Jean Trent receives a resolution for her activism in Mecklenburg County, as well as her leadership and ability to recruit candidates for public office. Sterling follows it up with an award for outstanding service, signed by John Hager and George Sterling.

The crowd is on their feet again for a rather lengthy applause.

Jean emphasizes the importance of grassroots, raising money, and emphasizes the importance of our elections for Goode and McCain, and hopes everyone will “really get out and beat the bush and win these elections.” Neat.

11:10am: Sterling says that before we do the election of temporary chairman, they will allow some of the candidates speak.. starting with AG McDonnell.

McDonnell’s sister had a baby last night, and is on his way to Norfolk (!) later today… but wanted to come this way to thank 5th District for all their work.

I have to say… McDonnell’s tone, his approach, and his personality are really coming through. Very personable, very good speech.

McDonnell’s charge? First: Know our record, and be ambassadors for it. Republicans have done great things in Virginia… all sorts of reforms have helped make Virginia the best place in the nation to raise a family and do business. Second, build the party by Labor Day! McDonnell is really emphaising his and Bolling’s confidence in RPV… well done. Lastly, he asks for unity… stumps for Gilmore, stumps for McCain.

“I’ve never understood Obama’s “hope and change” message… but now I get it, because you better hope you have change left after he’s done.” — McDonnell on Obama

11:18am: Gilmore’s up… and Rick Sincere just sat in front of me with a camera!

Bah… I can see around him. (YouTube video inserted here…. eventually)

Gilmore notes his fellow veterans in the room. No tie, looks much more relaxed than I’ve previously seen him run. The speech is still a bit rusty, though. Talks about how he and Roxanne first met while at UVA going door to door in Charlottesville. Talks up his previous notches — former AG, former Governor, former RNC Chairman, and just re-elected to the NRA board.

“When he says he’s gonna do something, he does it. I have always done what I’ve said I’m going to do.” — Former Governor Jim Gilmore

Car tax, lottery proceeds to education, emphasize education, new jobs in Virginia (250K jobs)… and now the pro-life issue….

Some folks have said Jim is pro-abortion… for a North American Union… he laughs, but no one else does. Gilmore says he’s a pro-life guy, always has been. Says he was the best pro-life governor in this state. We agree on the theology, and we agree on the science… we know when life begins. Always been the same… and after eight weeks, you could enforce a law.

He’s not going to change his belief structure to get more votes, then lists a series of laws he passed (or signed) on pro-life issues despite his eight-week exception.

If you’re really pro-life, he implies, would you rather see Senator Mark Warner voing on Roe v. Wade, judges, and such with a President Obama in charge of a filibuster-proof Senate?

But there are differences between him and Mark Warner. Jim Gilmore (in third person)hammers taxes, energy independence (to applause) including drilling in ANWR, and offshore drilling (Gilmore favors).

He offers a ray of hope for folks who doubt we can win against Mark Warner: McCain will carry Virginia, if we do our jobs… the people of Virginia will not be inclined to send a Democrat into the U.S. Senate.

Mark Warner’s broken promises? Car tax, the $1.4 billion tax hike of ’04, and now Warner says he wants the federal tax cuts to… go away? If he says he’s not going to raise our taxes, and we can’t believe him, we’d better believe him when Mark Warner says he will raise our taxes!

More rah-rah for Gilmore, for the campaigns, and makes a personal pitch for money to the crowd. Palpable change in the mood of the room… yikes…

Sterling pats him on the back… Gilmore closes. Only a 12 min speech, though. Overall, he did well, though his pro-life speech probably wasn’t convincing or necessary.

No Bob Marshall. Anywhere.

11:30am: Bolling’s turn, and always a great speaker.

Lots of places where we could be today, on such a great day. But we’re here because we believe in good government, and Bolling appreciates all the work we do.

Some are pessimistic, but Bolling encourages us to remain optimistic. We believe in our common-sense approach to our government; that’s why we send all our great representatives to Richmond, and why we will send back “one of America’s great congressmen, Virgil Goode.”

“We live in a country where the only limitations are the limitations you put upon yourself.” — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling

But just because Virginia is a great place, and just because America is a great place — it doesn’t mean it is always going to be that way. It was built on principles, and when government grows our liberty shrinks. That America is best kept safe by remaining strong abroad. And no surrender on the War on Terrorism.

“In the War on Terror, they need to understand one thing: We win, they lose.” — Bill Bolling, on negotiating with terrorists.

McCain will be a better president than the likes of Obama or Hillary… and Bolling doesn’t care who we supported in the primary season. The future of this country is at risk, and when we leave today we need to emerge John McCain people.

11:40am: Mrs. Kenney is getting kicked by baby Kenney. Heh.

11:41am: Bolling is winding down. Boosts Gilmore, boosts Goode. “This Red State is still red!”

Strong applause.

11.42am: State Senator Frank Ruff for an introduction… Virgil Goode.

Ruff puts in a good word… describing the length of his district from “Kent’s Store to the North Carolina border.” Nicely done.

Ruff talks up Virgil Goode’s committment to principle, and by example uses the 20-20 split in the Virginia Senate when Goode fought for proportional seating on committees. Ruff brings him up, the crowd give the requisite standing ovation.

I’ve never heard Goode speak before (at least in performance mode). Thanks George Sterling for his work at 5th District, thanks Chairman John Hager for his work, Hawkins, Dudley, Ruff, Cuccinelli, Poindexter, thanks Delegate Jeff Frederick for “being here today.”

“McDonnell and Bolling. Thank you for coming together as a unified team!” — U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode

Goode really is an old school speaker… something you might think of hearing from the great speakers of the turn of the 20th century (Teddy Roosevelt-ish).

Goode talks about the U.S. Senate for awhile, warning about a 60-seat Democratic majority.

While McCain was not Goode’s first choice, there is a world of difference between McCain and the Democratic nominees. Goode takes aim at Obama’s $845 billion plan for a “global war on poverty” — Goode says we’re giving enough away, and foreign aid needs to be slash.

“I have not been politically correct during my tenure in U.S. House of Representatives. If re-elected, I won’t be either.” — Virgil Goode, to the applause of the 5th District Convention.

Goode talks up the Federal Marriage Amendment. Goode supports it, his opponent disagrees.

Goode talks up the 2nd Amendment. Goode supports it, and has no idea where his opponent stands. But Goode is firm that the 2nd Amendment is an expressed individual right, not a right reserved to the militia.

Goode thanks his wife for looking up all the blogs (gulp!), emphasizes his 100% pro-life voting record, and pledges to keep it when re-elected. Goode’s opponent is a “follower of choice”, which is quote, “a smooth-talkin’ word for abortion.”

Emphasizes his record as a expense cutter as one of the lowest spending congressmen in Washington.

Goode says there’s a lot of things to cut… and one of the things he’d cut would be foreign aid. If we’re going to be spending it overseas, why not spend it in this country (said a very animated Goode — Rick is still filming away).

Immigration….

Goode is for the fence, will continue to support the fence, and will continue to support funding for the fence. Illegal immigrants take our jobs, use our health care, and have comic books to show them how to get across. Some might might say “we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” Goode goes on to defend the Mexican War… we won, you lost, get over it (that’s not what he said… but that’s close).

Vote conservative, Save America. Massive standing ovation to cries of “Virgil! Virgil! Virgil!” My, oh my…

11:56am: Sterling pumps Goode again. And now we move into electing a Temporary Chairman.

State Senator Frank Ruff is nominated as Temporary Chairman by acclimation. Moved, seconded, and done.

Sterling thanks folks for his service (briefly) and moved on.

Sharon Jones nominated by Sterling, seconded by Tucker Watkins.

Ruff makes a series of appointments… and we’re on to temporary committees!

Here. We. Go.

11:59am: George Sterling moves to dispense with a reading of the call. Moved, seconded, passed without objection.

Ruff introduces Ken Cuccinelli. Ken’s introduction of himself and what he stands for?

“Drop Virgil Goode in Fairfax County. There you go.” — Ken Cuccinelli

Very complimentary of Goode. Cuccinelli identifies himself as a conservative Republican protected by the Endangered Species Act (crowd laughs), and talks about grassroots politics. Ken mentions that he has been outspent in every election. Talks about life beginning at conception (strong applause) that taxes and spending are too high (applause), and strong property rights.

“Rule of law is the foundation of everything we hold dear in this country, and I see a tremendous drift from those principles right here in Virginia.” — Ken Cuccinelli

Ken emphasizes that he really doesn’t belong in politics… he has six kids back home. Doesn’t know why some people run, but no one wonders why Ken Cuccinelli is in public office. To stand for life, smaller government, protect property rights, and protect the principles of the Constitution he has sworn to uphold.

On the 2nd Amendment, he is very confident that we will see a big win for the 2nd Amendment being defined as an individual right more than anything else (to great applause). Ken was ahead of the Kilo decision, protecting property rights.

Open to talking to folks… looking forward to everyone’s support in 2009 to fill out this great ticket we have and sweep the Dems in 2009. Closed to a heck of a lot more support than what Ken opened with!!!

12:09pm: Speeches from RPV Chairman candidates (Rick is back!)

Hager goes first… said that both George and Susan Allen asked to pass along their thoughts.

Hager wants to finish the job, the hard work of McDonnell and Bolling and Goode, to do the “nuts and bolts” of grassroots campaigning. We’ve had four chairmen over the last five years.

Our job? Beating Democrats. And we need to spend it on all our candidates, not just raise it and not spend it (which would be a HUGE reform if those decisions could be pried from the House and Senate…), but most of all we need the ground troops out on the ground this year in November, which McDonnell and Bolling are helping.

Hager gives me a hat tip for reaching out to the new media. Aww shucks. Wants to build on it.

Hager emphasizes our regional offices, but makes it pretty clear that we will have a great deal of support going into 2008 and making sure our candidates have what they need to get elected. Very happy to have the support of so many, wants to keep the machine going.

12:14pm: Jeff Frederick’s turn.

Emphasises that 500,000 people voted in the (then-decided) Republican Primary, but 1,000,000 voted in the (then-and-still heavily contested) Democratic Primary.

Frederick talks about Republican losses over the last four years. He’s talking to fast for me to blog him… but says if we want Democratic wins, then maintain current leadership.

Commends RPV for doing all they are doing, but Frederick emphasizes that results are the only measure of success at the end of the day.

Frederick assumes the mantle of Cuccinelli — has better things to do with his time. Has a beautiful daugther, but wants her to grow up in a George Allen Virginia, not a Nancy Pelosi Virginia.

We need a RPV of bold colors, not pastels. Rejects the top-down approach Richmond has been imposing. If we give units the resources they need, we will start winning again.

Says RPV is the “center-right party” but that Frederick knows how to run and win. Ruff taps his shoulder, Jeff says he’s not done. Frederick talks about the demographics of his district, says he still won. Opposed the Warner tax hike, 100% pro-life record, 100% Family Foundation rating, A rating from NRA, wants to get tough on illegal aliens, raised $1.3 million for his campaign alone, understands how to use technology.

Ruff now gets vocal… asks Jeff to move along. Jeff speeds it up, ends at 12:22pm. Mort Blackwell has a law of the public policy process… that the mind can absorb no more than the seat can endure. Natives were indeed getting restless (natives defined as Frank Ruff).

12:23pm: Credentials Report!

226 eligible delegates to vote at the 5th District Convention.

Some confusion as for one person (Mary Burton) not being properly certified, but the body would like to certify her. Passed unanimously (227 delegates now).

12:24pm: Rules Committee! Motion that the Rules be adopted as written. Moved, Seconded, and Passed without objection.

12:25pm: Nominations Committee! Tucker Watkins and Tim Boyer, host of others for State Central, RNC Convention Delegates, and National Elector.

Discussion on the report.

Jeff Frederick stops by to correct ask about what I wrote about Frank Ruff giving him the hook… I show him. It was a bit abrupt… but all’s well that ends well.

Some confusion as to one ballot not being in everyone’s packet of ballots, but the three State Central Committee members running (Renee Maxee, Chris Shores, and Jean Smith) have been moved to be approved by floor vote. All three elected, no opposition.

Some additional confusion now as to who has received a ballot and who has not. Some folks do not have ballots (they were handed out in front before folks came into the auditorium), but the situation is being rectified.

12:32pm: Resolutions Committee has eight resolutions to recommend to the floor, but will vote on those at a later time.

12:33pm: Ruff explains how the ballots will be calculated, that unit chairs will not have to do the calculations — the “vote counters” will do this.

Two candidates for Chairman to speak. Tim Boyer goes first.

12:34pm: Tim rallies the troops to elect Goode and McCain. Freedom is the ability to change the way we are doing things. The way we have been doing things isn’t working. Grassroots and volunteer politics.

15 years of experience in Campbell County, including the Marriage Amendment. Tim Boyer says that it’s this fire from the grassroots that is so desperately needed in the GOP today.

Most important ingredient for success? Truly principled candidates — and we need more of them. Lots of Reagan quotes, emphasizing limited government. Followed Jeff Frederick’s comments as both the problem and the solution.

Tim closes by saying that we must leave a legacy of limited, principled government. Very strong applause… probably some of the strongest of the day.

12:39pm: Keith Drake, former Albemarle GOP Chairman to nominate Tucker Watkins.

Drake highlights Tucker’s committment to bring Virgil Goode to the GOP.

Tucker opens up loud: “This is a district that DOES NOT LOSE TO THE DEMOCRATS!”

Highlights his role in outworking the Dems and getting Poindexter elected (and mentions beating Ferguson CM Joey Stanley as a highlight). Tucker highlights that he has talked to every single GOP chairman save one, all his endorsements, and his “Wilting Weed” blog. Emphasizes his “Goode Smokes Weed” hats and stickers.

Rarely do you get to see Tucker Watkins so motivated. Ruff gets up, “I’m not sure Goode was a big fan of those hats,” to the laughter of the crowd.

12:46pm: Votes for Chairman commence… Hager comes over and talks to me, “So, what did Jeff Frederick have to say to ya?” I told him… he laughed.

12:47pm: Tucker is working the floor. The Boyers are doing the same. Boyer’s applause was louder than Tucker (either that, or Tucker’s booming voice was a stark comparison to any applause… heh).

12:49pm: Carrie Wigal demands some props. Props are thusly delivered.

Pizza has also been announced!

…and Cuccinelli has stood up to speak for Bob Marshall. OUTSTANDING.

Cuccinelli remarks on how Marshall was one of four endorsements Cuccinelli received when he first ran. Marshall is strong on life beginning at conception (applause) and talks about Marshall’s strength standing up to the special interests in Washington.

The Democrats didn’t win the elections in 2006 — we lost it because we didn’t maintain our discipline on spending and taxes, and Marshall has done that his entire time in the General Assembly.

Cuccinelli moves onto the taxing authorities… Marshall voted against it, and took it to court — and he won. Only Bob Marshall stood between those unconstitutional taxing authorities and taxation without representation.

Marshall led the fight for the Marriage Amendment, a “no-brainer” down here… but in Northern Virginia you have to fight for it. The fact we have to argue about it is appalling, but Marshall has fought for those issues. Warner opposed them.

Marshall stands up for conservatives, even when others in the Republican Party waver. Cuccinelli has respect for Jim Gilmore, but Marshall is willing to stand up even when Republican leadership doesn’t want to hear from him is a quality we need in the U.S. Senate.

Marshall would be reinforcements for the Tom Coburns of the world, and Capitol Hill needs it now more than ever. Marshall’s unwavering committment to conservative principles will need our help to get them elected.

One comment on McCain from Cuccinelli: We have continually heard that we have our concerns about McCain, but we’ll support him. The reason why we lost control of Congress is because we lost our discipline on spending, and you know what? It’s John McCain’s greatest strength. But we do have problems with conservatives and McCain. With Marshall as our Senate candidate, he can bring votes to the ballot box for John McCain in a way no other candidate can.

Marshall has beat Warner on regional government, Marshall beat Kaine on HB 3202, and he’s exactly the kind of guy we need in Washington.

12:59pm: Pizza!

1:22pm: Still eating pizza… Ruff is talking to Sterling about some procedure. Someone made a joke about the folks in the room convening the floor and nominating a chairman (Augusta-style) and it got a lot of laughs. Repeated it to Frank Ruff, who made a brief feint towards the door before laughing it off.

1:33pm: Chirs Schoenborn (Chair, Albemarle GOP) was given ballots by people who have already left… wants to know what to do about them. No word as to how widespread that problem is…

1:37pm: Rick Boyer (brother of 5th District Chairman candidate Tim Boyer) is walking around thanking everyone for their support and help. He doesn’t know the results. I told him, “Look at it this way: whatever the outcome, it’s over! Right?” He nodded approvingly… but he’s got a full plate with law school examinations coming up.

Crowd was called back in, but no activity towards announcing the vote totals, and no movements by the chair. Ah well… hope the air conditioning holds out.

1.41pm: Vote is Tucker 268.33, Tim 224.75. Tucker Watkins is re-elected to another term as Chairman.

Speeches now for RNC Delegates… all sorts of fun. All in all, an extremely well run event (much thanks to State Senator Frank Ruff for waving the gavel) and much credit belongs to Sterling and the 5th District Executive Committee for putting on a pretty smoothly run convention!

I’ll have a final update once I get back to Kent’s Store, give some thoughts then.

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