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Votes

Republican Committee Favors Convention

Get the substitute motion out of the way so the Loudoun County Republican Committee can vote for the convention.

That was the message from committee member Dale Pollen Myers at the Feb. 24 monthly committee meeting, which was held at Simpson Middle School in Leesburg with 350 people attending.

Executive committee member Pat Grigsby agreed. "This party has clearly chosen its process," she said.

However, by order of the Republican Party of Virginia, the committee had to remove 16 of its members and take a re-vote on the nominating process for Republican candidates to run in the 2003 election. The members were put on a waiting list to again serve on the committee, which has 314 members designated by precinct and as at-large members.

At the Jan. 27 meeting, the committee selected the convention process by a voice vote. However, the campaign for Board of Supervisors chairman Scott York (R-At large) and Bonnie Wolfe, candidate for the Sugarland district, appealed what occurred at the meeting. And in response, the General Counsel of the Republican Party of Virginia determined that the committee was out of compliance with the Party Plan, which calls for a uniform constitution of precincts, and recommended the committee take role call votes on the significant issues.

"The committee meeting will have to be redone meaning that the convention call that was adopted was not valid," said Wesley Corber, York's campaign committee chairman and Republican Committee member.

A roll call vote was taken at the beginning of the meeting. When York's name was called, booing ensued from the audience. Committee members hushed them telling them to act respectfully.

GRIGSBY MOVED that the committee hold a convention for the nominating process, as recommended by the executive committee. After several minutes of back and forth comments, committee member Eugene Delgaudio, Sterling supervisor, asked, "Do we get to vote on whether or not we have a convention?"

Delgaudio had to wait for another hour to get the chance. Corber stood up and said he attempted last month to put a proposal on the floor to hold a primary, adding that he would support a firehouse primary instead, a comment that received laughter from a few audience members. "I never heard of adopting a nominating process that would reduce the number of voters," he told them.

The 5,500 voters who voted during the 1999 primary is double that of the number of delegates who would be able to participate in the convention, which will allow for 2,673 delegates and the same number of alternates. "In the past, we always increased our capacity to handle voters, not decreased it," he said.

Grigsby disagreed. "The number of voters is not limited by the convention process," she said, adding that through a convention, the delegates selected to participate can get to know the candidates. "We are very concerned once we select good candidates that they get elected."

Bobby Baker, committee member, said that when he worked at the polls during the last party canvass, about 10 percent of the voters were from the Democrat party. "I think Republicans should be chosen by Republicans," he said, a comment that generated cheering and clapping from the audience. "There is no room to allow Democrats ... to vote. ... I move we defeat this thing and defeat this overwhelmingly and hold a convention."

Corber's substitute motion was defeated, along with a motion calling for a party canvass.

Grigsby said the decision to hold a convention was made last month and moved to hold a convention. "There is no fix in this. It's a fair and impartial process," she said.

The committee voted in favor of the convention process, as determined by a roll call vote. Certified parliamentarian Stran Trout of the Kent County Republican Committee oversaw the discussion and final vote.

IN OTHER BUSINESS, the committee selected the chairman who would finish out former chairman Suzanne Volpe's two-year term, which expires in March 2004. Randy Minchew was selected over Steve Whitener, the other nominee.

County treasurer Roger Zurn nominated Minchew, a Leesburg attorney and native Virginian. Zurn said in his nominating speech that he expects Minchew to "bring about unity and fair play" and to work hard with integrity and leadership to elect Republicans in 2003.

"He's been in the trenches for many years, volunteering his time and giving of his money," said Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary Clemens, who gave Minchew's seconding speech. "Randy has the proven leadership to assume the duties of this vital party. ... Randy Minchew is a person who will build teams. We need teams in our party."

"When we're united, we're strong, and when we're strong, we win at the election booths," Minchew said.