Members of the Loudoun County Republican Committee approved a new convention call at their April 25 meeting, giving new delegates and candidates the opportunity to file until May 6. The committee’s decision came after a March decision by the state party, which ruled the original convention call was invalid due to conflicts with the party’s plan.
"We have decided to redo the call," Paul Protic, chairman of the LCRC, said. "And that’s why we are here tonight, to vote on it."
The membership of the county’s Republican committee overwhelmingly voted to support the new call, which provides information about the party's process for nominating candidates for the Board of Supervisors and any of the constitutional offices, including sheriff and the commonwealth’s attorney. The committee convention will be held, Saturday, June 9, in Ashburn.
Under the new call, candidates and delegates who filed under the previous call will not have to refile, Matthew Wells, area political director for the Republican Party of Virginia, said.
"The previous delegates and previous candidates are enrolled by this call," he said. "By following the party plan, this call insulates the party."
New forms for delegates and candidates wishing to file, will be available for residents on the LCRC’s Web site once the new call is advertised in local papers.
EVEN WITH strong support for the new call, there was discord at the committee’s Wednesday night meeting, when a group of members attempted to gain support for a party canvass over a convention. A party canvass would provide eight locations around the county where residents could vote.
Drew Hiatt, a former supervisor for the Dulles District, made the motion to support a party canvass saying it would take up less of the residents’ time.
"We need to make it voter friendly and family friendly," Hiatt said. "We all have very limited time. We lose when we don’t make it voter friendly and family friendly."
Some members, however, said setting aside a whole day for a convention was actually easier for working mothers than standing in line for a canvass.
"We have slated June 9 as a day to spend with our fellow Republicans," Connie Potter, a mother of four, said. "I have talked to a number of mothers who said they cannot spare even 30 minutes to stand in line for a canvass."
Several other members of the committee said they were concerned that Democrats would attempt to take part in a canvass, voting for the weaker of the Republican candidates to face the Democrats in the general election. While most parties require voters to sign a loyalty oath, the state does not require voters to register with a political party.
"I have seen Democrats coming up the walk at canvasses to vote in our election," Clements Berezoski said. "At this point I think we need to stick with what we have."
Mary Gail Swenson, who supported Hiatt’s motion for a canvass, said the notion Democrats are "waiting at the gates" to vote in the primary was flawed.
"We need to show we are an inclusive party," she said. "We look pretty foolish out there. We look like we are keeping people out. That’s the perception and perception is reality."
HIATT’S MOTION was defeated by a large margin, as was an amendment to vote by secret paper ballots, rather than by a roll call vote.
Ayampillay "Jey" Jeyanathan, who is challenging Supervisor Stephen Snow for the nomination in the Dulles District, said a secret ballot is the only way to prevent intimidation by other committee members.
"A paper ballot allows us to vote our conscience," he said.
Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) said he had never heard of someone being intimidated by a roll call vote.
"If anyone here intimidates anyone else, they will have to answer to me," he said.
New delegates and candidates will have until 5 p.m., May 6, to turn in their filing forms to Suzanne Volpe, the LCRC’s nominations committee chairman.