Vern McKinley was not quite as far behind in Warren County (80-20%), Manassas Park City (85-15%) and Winchester City (85-14%).
But still pretty far behind overall. It’s no small thing to throw one’s hat in the ring, so thanks to Vern and his family for making the attempt.
Frank Wolf has all the head of steam he needs to gear up for Judy Feder.
“Like a cringing dog, conservatives in the 10th District keep getting kicked …”
This came in via phone yesterday, regarding tomorrow’s 10th District Republican primaries.
This Friday, candidates for Virginia’s 10th District U.S. Congressional seat will debate on WAMU radio’s Politics Hour.
Well, most of the candidates. GOP primary candidate Vern McKinley will be there. Democratic candidates Judy Feder and Mike Turner will be there. But Congressman Frank Wolf thus far is not planning to participate.
Here is last week’s press release from the McKinley campaign:
Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia’s Tenth Congressional District has not faced a Republican primary challenge since he first won his seat as part of the “Reagan Wave” in 1980. Today, he faces strong criticism from many conservatives for turning from the “Reagan Values” that he once campaigned on. Vern McKinley, Republican challenger in the 10th district, is running a campaign on these issues. McKinley is an experienced policy expert who would bring vast federal government, international and private sector experience to Congress, along with a vision of limited government.
At least four independent efforts have been made over the past few weeks to organize a debate of the issues between Congressman Wolf and McKinley: the Politics Hour on WAMU with Kojo Nnamdi; the “Road to…” show on FCAC Channel 10; the Sterling Foundation; and the Loudoun County High School Young Republicans, all of which were turned down by the Congressman. The 10th Congressional District has a long-standing history of political debates. During Congressman Wolf’s early campaigns in the 1970s then-Congressman Fisher made himself available for debates several times against then-challenger Frank Wolf. Next week McKinley will debate the two Democratic Candidates in the 10th Congressional district to get out his message. This week he also debated the Libertarian Party candidates for President, including Bob Barr and Mike Gravel.
The two Republican candidates appeared at this past weekend’s 10th Congressional District Republican Convention, but were only given two minutes each to speak. “Two minutes is not enough to inform the Republican faithful on where we stand on the issues. I hereby challenge Congressman Wolf to have a debate on the direction of the Republican Party. There are stark contrasts between Congressman Wolf and the limited government base of the party, of which I am a member. Republican voters have sent Congressman Wolf back to Washington time and again over the past three decades. Yet he doesn’t think they deserve to hear him explain his transformation into a big government Republican. We need to talk about his stance on spending and entitlements, on the proper role of government, the 2nd amendment, life and foreign policy matters,” noted McKinley.
“The Congressman’s supporters are spreading misinformation and distortions about my work in emerging market economies, such as Sudan and Libya, where I have advised on the transition to more open, free-market based, financial systems. What we need is an open debate about the issues and our years in public service. Otherwise conclusions will be based on rumor and innuendo,” McKinley concluded.
To learn more about the McKinley for Congress campaign, please visit www.McKinleyforCongress.com.
I suppose Wolf feels he has nothing to gain from the debate – no reason to submit to attacks from three sides. But he has in the past articulated his positions well, so he should have no worries about being “out-debated.” His refusal to participate conveys a sense of fear, as though he does not want to have to defend his record in the Congress.
UPDATE: Read the comments – some good discussion!
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.
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.
But, hey, what is the dominant sign within the Convention and the backdrop for the stage?
So while Frank Wolf’s challenger, Vern McKinley, had to play by the rules, the incumbent did not.
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.
And what does he think he’s doing challenging Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf for the Virginia 10th District Republican nomination?
10th District Republican primary candidate Vern McKinley (center) with Dick Heller, plaintiff in District of Columbia v. Heller, and McKinley’s wife, Nona, at the April, 2008 Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly.
Folks, I am taking Vern McKinley very seriously because anything can happen in a publicly invisible election as the June 10 GOP primary certainly will be – and Vern has a valid message. If he gets a scintilla of the money he needs to get that message out, Frank Wolf will be toast, and we may get a true citizen-legislator representing us in the House of Representatives.
It is not insignificant that Dick Heller, plaintiff in DC v Heller – the case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court which may have an immense impact on 2nd Amendment policies throughout the nation – spent most of a weekend last month visiting with attendees at the Nation’s Gun Show event in Chantilly … in the general vicinity of Vern McKinley’s booth. Heller was not campaigning, but there was a clear common interest between McKinley’s supporters and Heller, who might understandably have taken offense at Frank Wolf’s refusal to support the effort by Virgil Goode to overturn DC’s gun ban.
Prior to meeting him at the gun show, my only familiarity with Vern McKinley was based on a local Republican event where he addressed the local committee, and my impression was that Vern speaks like a regular guy – not a “political orator.” For me, this is not a negative, because I am more and more interested in the notion that our government is supposed to be one where regular citizens make the decisions. Furthermore, our current political leadership in America is a minefield of “orators” whose heads are firmly implanted where the sun don’t shine.
Vern carries a well-worn copy of the U.S. Constitution in his jacket pocket, and in our conversation he noted first of all that “home rule doesn’t override the Second Amendment.”
But his disagreements with Frank Wolf extend far beyond the issue of gun rights.