Monday, June 30, 2008

Should You Pay for Ralph Smith's Two Full Time Staff Members?

I know I am asking for it, but I am going down this road again. I got an email about Ralph Smith's latest burger fest and read something interesting. He was making a plea for money and one of the reason's stated was that he had 2 full time aides to pay for.

Let me give you a little background. Each Senate and House member is given a budget to pay for staff. It's in the mid 30's. This money has to be used for staff. You don't have to spend it all, but it can't carry over year to year. It's entirely up to the member to decide how the money is spent.

So, we can assume that Ralph is using his entire staff budget for one aide (which is what most do) and is using campaign funds to pay for the salary of the second aide.

But before you go and give him your hard earned money, lets think about why on earth he needs two people in the first place.

I did this job. Same district. Same demands. During the Session, it's tough. You could certainly use more than one person and we did have more at the end of Brandon's term. But in the recess (10 months of the year), it's essentially part time work. I know, you Ralph people are going to say I didn't do a good enough job. Even though you are entitled to your opinion (although I think I did a fine job), I know a lot of other aides and their work load was no different.

I can say with absolute confidence that you do not need two full time staff members to run a Virginia Senate office. During a campaign year, maybe you need more people. And like I said, during session you do as well. But not during the recess of a non-campaign year.

I don't know Ralph's aides, never meet them. I am sure they are nice people and competent workers. This isn't about them. It's about Ralph's staffing decisions.

So when you go to write Ralph Smith a check, think about how he is using the money. You may want to put your checkbook back in the drawer.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pro Tax Putney

While I plan to put up a transportation post next week, I was surprised with one bill that was introduced in the special session. Delegate Lacy Putney, Chairman of Appropriations and longest serving member, introduced HB 6012 which would increase the sales tax by 1/2 cent to be dedicated to transportation costs statewide. It would call for a referendum to be held in November. The bill hasn't been acted on in the House Rules committee.

I'm somewhat confused. Lacy was one of the behind the scene voices encouraging Ralph Smith to run against me based on my alleged support for transportation taxes. On the one hand it indicates that Lacy understands from the spending perspective that we need more revenue for transportation. Why introduce a bill however that is sure to excite the anti tax crowd in Botetourt and Bedford? An act like this would surely interest a Republican candidate to run against him. But as Max Smart would say, "not so fast"!

The more likely reason is this is the first indication that Lacy won't run for reelection. There were rumors in GOP circles that he would be allowed to serve one term as Chairman of App. if he agreed not to seek reelection. Maybe this is slap at the Speaker for forcing the deal on him. Looks like 2009 will bring a contest in House District 19 which is heavily conservative.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frederick Confirms He’s Raising Money for Re-Election – Or For Wife’s Campaign??

The Washington Post has an interview with RPV Chairman Jeff Frederick regarding a recent fundraising email he sent out (posted by Zak below). Apparently Jeff is now reconsidering his promise not to seek re-election to the House. Thus the reason he is still raising money. But even if he doesn’t run, he is going to give the money to his wife Amy to support her campaign.

As most of you know, I did not support Jeff for Chairman. But, after his victory, I resolved myself to support his efforts to build our Party. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t offer constructive criticism. But it’s in my best interest as a Republican for him to succeed.

Unfortunately this recent story confirms what I suspected all along. It really is all about Jeff and what he wants for himself. And that’s not how you build a party. Going back on this pledge, after admitting the downsides of serving as both a Delegate and Chairman, is embarrassing for our Party.

I have a theory as to why he might be backtracking. It’s only a theory, but here goes. As I posted earlier, I thought it was Jeff’s plan all along to serve as both Chairman and Executive Director. That way you get the power AND the money. My hunch is that his “people” are telling him the ED job “ain’t gonna happen”. So this is Plan B. You’ve got to make a living and it would be difficult at best to serve as Chairman and hold down a full time job. The total compensation package for a House member, including office allowance and health insurance--which is huge for a young family, is in the neighborhood of $45,000.

And the whole idea of maybe giving the money to his wife is even more ridiculous. The people and PACs writing the checks are supporting his re-election, not hers. Sure, he can give the money to any candidate he likes, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve got some friendly, albeit unsolicited advice for Jeff. Pick one. If you want to be Chairman, great. Announce you’re not running for re-election and, if there is interest, have your wife begin her campaign. Then focus on the job of being Chairman. If you want to stay in the House, that’s fine too. You’ve got the best shot at holding the seat. But resign as Chairman. You cannot do both effectively. This is already fodder for the Dems, who no doubt look forward to running someone against you to keep you pinned down and ineffective as Chairman. I can almost hear Chairman Dickie laughing all the way from Vinton.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Griffith Joins Delegate Dave Albo's Law Firm

Seems our Delegate in Salem has made a recent employment change. Delegate Griffith has joined fellow Delegate Dave Albo's law firm, based in Northern Virginia. Blogger Waldo Jaquith brings up an interesting point....Albo's the boss 10 months out of the year, but Griffith's the boss during the General Assembly Session. Makes one wonder how that will work out.

Frederick Raising Money For His House Seat? Will He Resign?

I saw this email posted on Too Conservative. It’s supposedly an email RPV Chair Jeff Frederick sent out asking for contributions to his House of Delegates campaign account. So, why exactly is Jeff raising money if he promised not to run again??? Maybe someone just made it up? If it’s not real, by all means let us know.


I need your help. Really.

Between preparing for the birth of our second child, running my small business to pay the Bills, running for statewide Party office, and going to Richmond for the special sessions, I haven’t been doing much fundraising for House of Delegates seat.

Midnight June 30 is our fundraising deadline for the last 6 months of activity and I’m just $10,000 shy of our goal for this reporting period.

If you can spare a few bucks, I’d be grateful if you could take a minute, go online, and make a financial contribution to our efforts. We need to show strong numbers on this report, and with your help, we’ll be able to do so. I’m counting on it.

Go to: Or, you can mail a check dated June 30 (or before) to:
Friends of Jeff Frederick
P.O. Box XXX
Woodbridge, VA 22194

Thanks again for all your continued encouragement, support, and especially your prayers.

Roanoke Valley Republicans on Rasoul

An interesting post from Roanoke Valley Republicans regarding 6th District Democrat candidate Sam Rasoul. Honestly, I am a bit shocked by these campaign finance numbers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Offshore Drilling -- Florida

The Democrats are flipping out over the increasing pressure to allows states to drill off their shores. I just watched an interview with the Chief Financial Officer of Florida (D) Alex Sink. She was particularly exercised over Gov. Crist's willingness to have Florida open to offshore drilling. Her argument was that Floridians long ago decided to keep it's waters free of drilling in order to preserve their tourist industry. HELLO! Lady, you aren't going to have a tourist industry because no one will be able to fly or drive to your great state. Unbelievable! Great move by Crist--keep it up.

I would have to put Gov. Crist in the drivers seat for the VP nod based on this. McCain would love for this to be how he is defined against Obama. Heck Sen. Webb has signed on to allow drilling for natural gas off the Virginia coast. Even he sees opposing the offshore drilling is a loosing issue for the Democrats.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Everquest Scandal Continues

It is being reported this morning that the former CEO of Everquest Financial has turned himself in to the FBI pending an indictment on securities fraud charges. He is likely to be charged for misleading investors involving sub prime mortgage investments.

When this story involving Everquest first broke earlier in the year, I posted that it caused me great concern for our potential US Senate nominee. It was apparent from my research that there may be a "purp walk" for those involved in the Everquest scheme. Everquest was, if you don't remember, a company set up to offload non performing sub prime mortgage investments from Bear Stearn's hedge funds. The company tried to go public in the summer of 2007 but failed when it became apparent what the purpose of the company was. The problem for Gov. Gilmore was, and is, he was the Chairman of the Board of Everquest Financial. It was his responsibility for hiring Ralph Cioffi as CEO. I noted when the Gilmore campaign issued a press release when the story first broke that it was filled with holes. It seemed to be written by someone with no true knowledge of the situation or someone with something to hide.

As I noted some time ago this continues to be a big problem for our candidate. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Now that Cioffi has surrendered to federal authorities, what will he say? It is doubtful he will go down by himself. The Gilmore campaign needs to act quickly and decisively and come clean as to Gov. Gilmore's knowledge of any wrong doing. If accurate, condemn Cioffi for his misdeeds and plead for the Feds to get to the bottom of any illegalities. If there is a problem for Gilmore here it needs to be aired in June not October. Get it out now. The campaign has a tough enough job as it is--don't make it any more difficult.

I know as a good Republican I'm not supposed to say anything bad about our nominee. But I don't think this is speaking ill of the Governor. I had a bad feeling about this and where it was headed. I certainly hope it will go away. Usually that doesn't happen in politics.

Update 12:13 PM:
Just read the indictment of Cioffi and there doesn't seem to be anything there to directly implicate a problem for Gov. Gilmore. There is a bunch of smoke however and my point continues. Put out something from the campaign to come completely clean on his dealings with Everquest Financial. Don't defend it--let everyone know it was a bad deal lead by a CEO trying to cover a collapsing financial situation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Offshore Drilling--McCain/Gilmore

McCain has changed his energy policy to now include the potential for states to drill offshore should they wish to opt out of current federal prohibitions. This is great news and a real winning issue for the fall.

He and Gilmore need to take it one step further. They should combine to support drilling offshore and allow states an 80% share of lease revenue to be paid by the big oil companies. Also Gilmore could favor having the share of lease revenue be dedicated to transportation infrastructure. This would put him in the forefront of the upcoming transportation debate and on top of the one issue that would make his senate campaign competitive.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rasoul Seeks New Campaign Manager - Again

I got wind that 6th District Democrat Congressional candidate Sam Rasoul is looking for a new campaign manager. This would be his third. He posted an ad on a Democrat job site last week.

I know that campaign staff come and go, but 3 managers in one race is a bit more than normal. His first manager, Rick Howell, quite after a short time on the job and went on to support Rasoul's primary opponent.

It certainly begs the question--why is Rasoul going through so many managers and will the trend continue? An ever changing staff will be more detrimental as the campaign heats up this fall.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Becoming a Father, Part II

Today is Father's Day. We've traveled to Mississippi to visit my Dad who is 87. He still lives in the small town I grew up in. It's a town of 2000 people and is the largest in the county that it is located in. I am looking forward to seeing him and my two sisters and brother along with other nieces, nephews and even a great niece or two. Coming back to Mississippi always relaxes me--I guess it's the pace. Nothing, or really nobody, seems to get in much of a hurry. My wife fortunately loves it also--I think it's the fried pickles.

Anyway my other reason for posting a blog today is to announce some other great news for the Bell family. My wife and I are expecting our second child in December. We are truly blessed. I will thank god today for having a great dad and guidance in becoming, hopefully, 1/2 as great is he is.

Here's a happy father's dad from a "late blooming" dad to all out there reading. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Redevelop the Mill

As most Roanokers know, the City and Carilion are in the process of transforming the "river side" area near Roanoke Memorial Hospital into an economic engine, including a bio-tech park, a medical school, a new hotel and various other developments. It's the best thing going in Roanoke right now.

The Roanoke Times reported today about the potential fate of the former Roanoke City Mills complex, a big collection of empty buildings and silos sitting in the middle of the development area.

I love the idea floated by Councilman Bev Fitzpatrick--instead of tearing down this historic structure, lets redevelop it. What a cool place to have condos, retail, restaurant and office space. There is no doubt in my mind that this type of development would work well (assuming it's economically feasible), being so close to the sprawling Carilion campus and new medical school. And it's got to be better than another parking garage!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Curt New RPV Finance Chair?

SWAC Girl is reporting that Walter Curt will be the next finance chair for RPV. I am not sure whether he will be an asset in this new post but I thought I would relay my personal knowledge of Mr. Curt's dealings within the party.

First of all Mr. Curt is extremely wealthy and is not shy about pumping a lot of money into political campaigns and conservative causes. It would not be impossible for him to assemble a small number of others like him and basically underwrite all of RPV's budget.

I got a phone call from Mr. Curt in March of 2003 soon after I announced I would be seeking the republican nomination for state senate in the 22nd district. I did not know who he was before he called. I later found out he was the major financier of Mark Obenshain's opponent in his nomination battle that year. Mr. Curt went on to offer to contribute $10,000 to my campaign. At the time this was a significant amount of money. It was very difficult to raise money although by budget was only $50,000. I eventually had to loan my campaign $20,000. If I had lost this would have been impossible to pay off so a contribution of this size was very tempting.

The problem was that Mr. Curt made it very clear that he wanted me to promise to vote a certain way on a potential measure that I might face once elected. I told him that I don't offer my votes for sale. After the call I did some checking and it was typical for Mr. Curt to make a large contribution but then demand it back later if a particular vote wasn't to his liking.

The irony of all this is one of the biggest attacks I received in my 2007 primary race was based on campaign contributions. My opponent alleged that because I got money from 2 or 3 certain sources that I was obligated to vote a certain way. One of those he attacked me on--the Senate Leadership Trust, which included Senator Chichester--eventually gave twice as much to him for the general election. He also attacked me for taking $6,000 in 2003 from the much maligned Sen. Chichester. Although this was used to defeat my Democrat opponent, Sen. Chichester never asked for any quid pro quo with the contribution. I voted against a number of Sen. Chichester's tax bills particularly the largest one in 2004.

Conclusion---I'm not sure. It does appear that the reason some attack others alleging a quid pro quo with contributions do so because that is how they see them. Just something to consider the next time someone says "well he got $xx from so and so thus it must be bad". Dig a little deeper and decide for yourself.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Funny Article on the Veepstakes - It Ain't Gonna Be Clinton

Obama-Hillary Ticket? Ain't Gonna Happen
Toby Harnden

Imagine it is January 21st 2009. You are President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is your vice-president.

She's already demanded her old office back in the West Wing. You've learned from CNN that Bill Clinton is on a jet with Ron Burkle heading for Kazakhstan. Drudge has a flashing siren up beside a report from a British tabloid about a mystery blonde who emerged from the former president's apartment in at his library in Little Rock just before dawn last week. The blonde is promising a full interview tomorrow.

Mark Penn, White House counselor, is busy polling whether a divorce or a brief separation from Bill might best help the former First Lady become in 2012 the first member of a president's own administration to defeat him for his party's nomination.

The new vice-president's case is bolstered because your margin of victory was barely wider than George W. Bush's in 2000. According to exit polls released after John McCain's popular vote win, 78 per cent of late deciders cited the leaked tape of Hillary calling you a "wimp" as a key factor. Some 64 per cent agreed with her.

For months, the pundits have been ridiculing the Obama-Hillary (she insisted on her first name) slogan of "Ready for Change and Experience We Can Believe In on Day One". Bill Clinton's Labor Day quip that it would be a "three-for-one" deal didn't help either.

OK, stop imagining. An exaggeration? Certainly. But you get the picture. If Obama even begins to consider whether a Vice President Clinton would loyally help him better govern the country, she's toast in the veepstakes.

Which is why the notion that Hillary will get the nod can be summed up in three words. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. She may be on anyone's short list, as Obama has stated cannily. But she's already inked in at the bottom of his.

Let's face it, the chances were never high. Underpinning Obama's campaign has been his potent argument that it's time for fundamental change in Washington - an end to triangulation, the politics of personal destruction and, by implication, an end to the dynastic rule of the Bushes and the Clintons. Oh, and an end to the Iraq war - which Hillary authorised.

Obama's top advisers believe she sought to diminish him and at best failed to rein in supporters and allies who played the race card or encouraged the ignorant and gullible to view him as some kind of Muslim fifth columnist. She even said that McCain was ready to be commander-in-chief and Obama wasn't.

Electorally, moreover, the benefits of her being on the ticket are dubious. The vast majority of her 18 million voters are likely to plump for him anyway if he runs even a half-decent general election campaign. Those Appalachian types who backed Hillary in the primaries after baulking at a black man won't vote for Obama no matter who's at the bottom of the ticket.

It's easy to forget that Hillary remains one of the most polarising figures in American politics. Naming her as running mate would mobilise the Republican base for McCain more quickly than if the angels Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley descended from heaven to anoint the Arizona senator live on C-SPAN.

In his baroque rant about Todd Purdum this week, Bill Clinton's accusations about Obama got relatively little attention. "They had all these people standing up in this church cheering, calling Hillary a white racist, and he didn't do anything about it," he vented to the Huffington Post. "The first day he [Obama] said 'Ah, ah, ah well.' Because that's what they do - he gets other people to slime her."

If those words had been uttered publicly by Frances Strickland or Susan Bayh do you think their hubbies would still be in the veepstakes reckoning? And that's even before you consider Bill's foreign financial deals and the undisclosed donors to his library.

All this is leaving aside what happened this week. Hillary didn't only display a breathtaking - though characteristically Clintonian - self-pity, delusion, sense of entitlement and blatant desire to put her own good above that of her party. She also showed an astonishing political ineptitude.

The test of a true leader is how he or she performs under the pressure of dramatic events. Her self-regarding defiance was the worst political misjudgment by a leading Democrat since Al Gore blew the 2000 election by conceding when Florida was still in the balance.

To authorize the likes of Bob Johnson (whose charming contributions to the election cycle thus far have been to call Obama a "Sidney Poitier", allude to his youthful drug use and state he would not have been beating Hillary had he been white) to lobby for the vice-presidential slot is plain stupid. And then denying it all in a press statement fooled no one.

For Obama to opt for Hillary over candidates such as Sam Nunn, Jim Webb, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Joe Biden and Wesley Clark would be an acknowledgement of weakness. It would also indicate a decidely uncharacteristic lack of confidence.

The Illinois senator's primary campaign was remarkably well disciplined, consistent, on message and lacking in drama. Despite Hillary's undoubted mastery of policy minutiae and her impressive fighting spirit, her campaign exhibited none of these qualities.

Obama will need to pay due deference to his vanquished rival's bruised feelings while deftly courting her angry, disappointed supporters. But he's not about to gamble everything by bowing to her presumptuous and preposterous demand.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Go Ahead Make My Day!

Hey Hillary, don't wait for the phone call from Barrack. Go ahead and begin your campaign for Vice President now. There is nothing in the rules of either party that the presidential nominee absolutely gets to pick a VP candidate. Balloting for VP is done completely separate from the President.

Here's what you do, see! Contact all your committed delegates and tell them of your plan. Of course they will be with you. Then research Obama's delegates for those coming from regions you carried or did well in. Spend the next couple of months telling them how much you love Barrack and can help him on the ticket. When Barrack announces his pick a week before the convention many won't have a clue who the person is. That is if he doesn't pick your husband (which of course he could do) All you need is a couple hundred votes to swing your way. Piece of cake for you.

Hey, hey, go ahead do it make my day! At least we would have a convention worth tuning into.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Frederick to Serve as RPV Chair AND Executive Director....

Well, maybe. Again, we are just speculating here. But after calling Jeff Frederick's impending resignation from the House, we feel like we've got a decent handle on this guy.

And serving as both Chairman and ED makes sense for Frederick, and would not doubt be extremely appealing.

I've been reading with some amusement about the "transition team". My first thought--they want to make this sound a whole lot more important than it really is. But I got to thinking about campaign exploratory committees. Everyone knows that these committees are set up by the candidate. The committee then decides that the candidate should run. And imagine this, they run! The committee is just there to make it look like the candidate is running for some reason other than his own ambitions. Now back to this transition team. I think it's cover to float the idea of Jeff serving as both Chairman and ED. Jeff doesn't want to be the one to come out and say he wants to do both jobs. But if the transition team makes that recommendation, he would humbly accept.

So, why both jobs? That's an easy one. The Chairmanship is an unpaid, volunteer position that requires a lot of work. And with the bar that Jeff has set, it will be even more work than in the past. The Executive Director however, is a nicely paid position. Jeff (I mean the transition team) will argue that in order to do the work required, he needs some type of compensation since he can't really do any other jobs. He's giving up his House salary and benefits and from what I've been told, his real world job deals in political consulting--a clear conflict of interest if you're Party Chairman.

So, don't be surprised if the "transition team" recommends that Jeff serve in both roles. Former ED Charlie Judd attempted to do the same thing last year when Ed Gillespie resigned. John Hager beat him by only a handful of votes. So clearly many on State Central have no problem with the idea.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scrap the Convention Nomination System

Before I outline my ideas and concern, I must say I do enjoy political conventions. It is great time to see people and renew friendships with those most dedicated to the party. Most all involved live and breath politics and spending time with them is really a lot of fun I must admit. However, as much as I and other party activists might enjoy the convention process, it is a system thats time has passed.

The biggest problem with the convention is that it imposes an undue burden on those who must travel long distances to attend. The cost for travel on those coming from SWVA has proven to be a real deterrent to participation. It cost me over $100 just in gas to get to Richmond and I didn't stay overnight. It was a 6 hour round trip for me. There is no practical way for anyone living west of me to drive up just for the day. For them lodging drives up the cost even more. This discrimination was apparent in the attendance from SWVA. I heard only two delegates made the trip from Carroll County, a very Republican County.

In theory the way a convention should work is you go to a local mass meeting and elect delegates to attend the convention to vote your interests if you cannot attend. This doesn't work with today's structure. With no delegate slating you basically have to attend yourself as a delegate to have your vote counted. With Roanoke County there were 189 delegate votes with the potential for up to 5 times that number able to attend. This would have allowed 945 people to attend and vote. Only 42 did!

I know many have a problem with open primaries that could allow non-republican voters to enter into our process. Since we don't have registration by party (I supported while in the Virginia Senate) we could look to another option.

We should design a statewide caucus or canvass process. This process would be run in each local unit. They could be run with a set system for voting on a certain day in early June. This would allow all Republicans to vote locally. The results from each unit would then tabulated and posted to a website using a secure password much like the state board of elections does. The actual ballots could also be transmitted to the state HQ for verification. I feel a process like this should be used for all statewide campaigns for elected office. If the party still wants to hold conventions for party offices that would be OK. Furthermore it would force the local committees to function. It would strengthen our numbers by having our neighbors in the habit of voting in the local caucuses. I would suggest procedures that mimic the state run primary process. We could use the same filing deadlines, filing fees and requirement for petitions.

Some might say that this is to difficult. Poppycock! If Iowa and Nevada can run a statewide caucus then the great Commonwealth of Virginia can pull this off. Let's get started with the 2009 races.

A Smooth Transition?!

SWAC Girl reported yesterday that nearly all high ranking officials at RPV had resigned and left on Monday.

But today, Bearing Drift reports that a "senior member of the Frederick transition team" (please, what is this, the White House?) says the transition has been "smooth and cooperative".

I suppose it's all about one's perspective. If you wanted to replace the entire RPV staff, then having everyone leave could certainly be viewed as "smooth and cooperative". Smooth because they left without a fight and cooperative because they did exactly what you wanted.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

GOP Convention Thoughts

Gov. Gilmore won in a nail bitter with just 66 delegate votes out of over 10,000 cast. It really was closer than that in actually people attending. Due to turnout from SWVA every person attending carried more than one delegate vote. It was noted that each person attending from Carroll county carried 50 delegate votes. I made a comment earlier in a post that I thought Marshall missed an opportunity in not spending more time in our area. For Roanoke County had 189 votes but had 42 attending (at least for the Senate Nomination). Marshall would have only needed to change the mind of 10-15 people to have won.

The momentum of the day was clearly with the Marshall campaign. Never would I have believed that a flier would be put in my chair claiming that Gilmore was a RINO due to his abortion position. I was shocked. Several of us that attended the 1993 convention when Gilmore attacked his chief rival Steve Agee claiming him to be pro choice. Ironic that 15 years later the attack was put back to Gilmore.

Congratulations to Jeff Frederick in his election as chairman. He choose a great time in the electorial climate of change to move on replacing Hager. It paid off for him. Let's see if he can deliver on the promises made.

Now Fredericks house seat comes open in the '09 cycle. We start out with this Dem leaning seat now up for grabs. Jeff has begun his chairmanship with a very high bar. He has to make sure we hold his old house seat and as he claims reverse the tide of losses in the GA. Yes a very high bar indeed.

It became apparent to me on Saturday that Jeff's wife Amy is being positioned to replace him. With her writing the Howell email and speaking to the convention. Definitely a move to have her viewed in a "political" light. Aren't she and Jeff expecting another child? Seems this will be a campaign that will be tough on both of them. I'm sure he would like to keep the income and benefits but I can't imagine a tougher family strain. We'll see if the policy of not having RPV involved in nomination contests holds for this one.

It has been noted over at Novatownhall that there were a number of irregularities. I don't know if that was true but the convention did seem a bit loose in it's operation. I also felt none of the campaigns had any idea who was going to win until the final vote was read. I've seen several well run floor operations at conventions and there seemed to be very little on Saturday. Yesterday brought me to the conclusion that conventions are not the best way to nominate a candidate for public office. I'll have more to say on that in the near future.

Lastly, there was quite a surreal moment for me in the afternoon. While we were waiting for the vote to be announced for chairman, Senator George Allen spoke. I harkened back to 1993 in the Richmond coliseum with over 13,000 voting delegates hanging on ever word. That day after hotly contested races we charged out of the hall to elect George and Jim as our Governor and Attorney General. Yesterday Senator Allen spoke to maybe 1000 people with about 1/2 paying attention. Governor Gilmore was shaking hands of supporters as people filed out for the day. After 15 years how far have we fallen?