The good guys won in 2008. That is the most important part.

The 2008 10th District of Virginia Republican Convention was MUCH better run than the 2006 edition of this event.

Ahem.

Part of the improvement is attributable to the fact that Jim Rich had no opposition as committee chair. Part is because Langley High School was a better venue than Survivor: Horse Country. And I think people kind of wanted to take care of the business and get out of there. (That’s the reason for the abridged coverage by me this time: I had other things to do today and could not hang out until the end.)

It was sort of curious that the balloting had to be broken into two segments. First phase was the voting on all the major candidates. Second phase – hours later – would be voting on “alternate” delegates to the Republican National Convention, who could not be determined until all the votes from the first ballot were tabulated so we would know who the “first” delegates were. This meant, everyone voting on the alternate delegates had to wait around. Hypothetically. Because in reality, most of the voters would certainly have already left. Why not just have one vote, and the three next-highest vote-getters are named as alternates?

10th District Committee Chairman Jim Rich may be a great guy, but a manager he is not. On paper the above might have seemed like a reasonable workflow, but in reality it assumed some really dumb things. Such as, those sitting through the Convention on a spectacular Saturday afternoon would be motivated to stick around for ballot counting and a later vote. On alternates for delegate positions that most voters do not even understand. I had family commitments, so I was not there for the second vote.

If the meeting had been run with Swiss-watch like efficiency, it might have worked. But the first signal this was not the case came when the report from the Rules Committee showed that the three pages of rules had to be read from the podium – because the 10th District staff had neglected to provide copies of the printed rules at the entrance to the Convention hall. Reading the rules was not a powerful tactic for audience engagement, I can assure you. I joined many others leaving the meeting room in search of coffee.

The proceedings, led in an extremely competent fashion by Delegate Tom Rust, got bogged down because the Credentials Committee had to spend nearly an hour adjudicating cases of people who showed up seconds late for the 10:00 am registration cut-off time. A couple signs and some observers in the registration area could have obviated the whole mess.

So what with Tom Rust’s agile leadership and a generally quiescent audience could have been one of the most efficient political conventions in the history of western civilization, this ended up being pretty much like all the others because of subpar management. It dragged on.

I got to see some great friends and fellow bloggers. Our own Brian Withnell was among those who arrived late. Six seconds, to be exact. So even though the clock still read 10:00 am, Brian and his wife were told by 10th District staff they were too late to participate – and Brian is too much of a gentleman to even suggest a protest. They left, and their case was not among those adjudicated by the Credentials Committee. Most of the NVTH blogging crew were there. Also, I got to finally meet Ron of Isophorone Blog, my third-party brother in arms, and I got to spend some always-enjoyable time with Blog Fu.

In attendance from the town next door were newly re-elected Herndon Mayor Steve DeBenedittis, Councilman Dennis Husch, and Help Save Herndon co-founder Phil Jones. I am guessing Fairfax County’s delegation contributed a sizeable number of votes for the good guys on the ticket.

Here’s a screwy thing that a friend brought to my attention, and another commentary on 10th District Chair Jim Rich’s management savoir faire.

The 10th District staff enforced the rules on signage. None allowed inside the Convention.

10th District Convention No Signs Allowed

But, hey, what is the dominant sign within the Convention and the backdrop for the stage?

10th District Convention Signs On Stage

So while Frank Wolf’s challenger, Vern McKinley, had to play by the rules, the incumbent did not.

Vern McKinley signs 10th District Convention

Vern had to keep his signs outside.

It’s not easy out here for a regular citizen who wants to represent us in the U.S. Congress.