Below is part of an interview of Delegate Chris Saxman by Chris Graham at the Augusta Free Press. Saxman predicts a close Convention between Gilmore and Marshall and believes Marshall would be a good candidate against Warner, but stops short of an official endorsement.
Graham: … the big thing for you, working with the McCain campaign, is you just need to focus on November – the McCain campaign, also Jim Gilmore, and Bob Goodlatte. I mean, there are some big things coming up this year –
Saxman: “Well, Jim Gilmore isn’t the nominee yet.”
Graham: “He isn’t the nominee yet."
Saxman: “I think it’s going to be a very close election at the convention [the May 30-31 Republican State Convention at the Greater Richmond Convention Center].”
Saxman: “Oh, absolutely. Everything I’m hearing on the ground, and delegates being signed up, the life issue is very important.”
Graham: “Good, well, I’ve talked with all three of the candidates, also Bob Berry, and I know Bob Marshall as well, a few weeks – well, a few days ago. I guess it was last week we ran that podcast, and all three - especially Bob Marshall, as the top challenger there, seemed very – he had a very good message and, from what I’ve been reading, he is drawing some support, so that’s a very good point.”
Saxman: “Bob Marshall is not to be underestimated. He is strongly principled. He is affable. He is very funny; very witty. … a true gentleman, in every sense of the word. I mean, he’ll be upset with you on one moment, the next he’s making a joke with you. So, he doesn’t take shots personally. That’s a quality people want to find in a candidate.”
Graham: “I had not talked with him until last - when I did that podcast last weekend – and I found the same thing. His reputation might have been different, at least according to the media characterizations of him, but he is exactly as you say.”
Saxman: “Well, that’s what the media does. I mean, the media paints a portrait that ‘he’s controversial.’ Bob is very committed to his beliefs but he doesn’t get personal with them. …and he’s respected in the legislature, for his intelligence, for his, his in-depth knowledge of the rules of the House, and his comedy. I mean, people genuinely like Bob. They’ll disagree with him, but on many issues they do agree with him, especially on the environment, and growth issues in Northern Virginia, where he’s been one of the leaders. So you honestly do have a pro-life, pro-environmental, limited-government candidate to run against Mark Warner should he be the nominee.”
Graham: “Well, thanks for this insight. I’ll pay closer attention even than I have been in the last couple of –”
Saxman: “I think you should. What I’m hearing out of the delegate counts of some of the larger jurisdictions is, it’s going to be close.”