More than 40 members of the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) split off into a separate Republicans for York committee, which was initiated on Monday.
"We're just getting started, and I've been inundated with calls from people who want to join," said Paul Ziluca, who chaired the LCRC in the early 1990s.
Ziluca and J. Winston Porter, an LCRC chairman in the mid-1980s, resigned from the committee in order to head up the new GOP group, which will support Chairman Scott York (R-At large) in his decision to run as an independent candidate. [Ziluca's and Porter's resignation letters are on page 12.]
York made the decision following the LCRC's Feb. 24 vote to hold a convention to nominate Republican candidates for the upcoming election.
"With Scott running as an independent, people who feel strongly about their ties to the Republican Party [and] desire to help Scott, they would like to do it in some form under a Republican banner. This gives them a way to do that," said Wesley Corber, York's campaign committee chairman and a former LCRC member, who resigned on March 9 to head up York's campaign.
THE LCRC has become extreme in its views and "has gone over the edge with these developers and extremists," Corber said. "The people signing up for Republicans for York are mainstream Republicans [who] don't feel the committee is an effective way to support qualified Republican candidates for public office."
York agreed. "Mainstream conservative voters are wondering what has happened to their party," he said according to a statement. "They are feeling abandoned by the extremists and special interests who have hijacked LCRC. They've been locked out by the closed convention process that LCRC has adopted."
Ziluca said he has three problems with what the LCRC has done, adding, "I don't want to have anything to do with it."
Ziluca mentioned that LCRC's decision to hold a convention will discourage participation in the nominating process, what he described as a "closed process" that is "cumbersome and complicated."
The decision for this process was held behind closed doors in "secret meetings," Ziluca said. "The candidates were not allowed in there. The public was not allowed in there. ... It was a small group of leadership. I find that offensive."
YORK SAID that other Republican candidates who announced their decision to run as independents may be starting a trend.
"Being independent may turn out to be the popular thing to do this year," he said, according to the statement. "By isolating itself from Republican voters, LCRC may have also isolated itself from quality candidates."
Republicans for York will be organized as a political action committee, Ziluca said. The committee has not set a first meeting date nor decided how often to meet.