Across the Internet, there have been many posts and emails concerning the Republican nomination for Attorney General. Even the race for Lieutenant Governor has received a fair amount of discussion. However, the contest for the Chairmanship of the Republican Party of Virginia seems to be less of an issue by comparison. Nevertheless, this race has the possibility of being just as important as the rest (assuming that we can find a chairman who holds that post for more than a single year). With fresh memories of the showdown between Jeff Frederick and the State Central Committee, and the removal of John Hager by convention delegates last year, I’m sure that we all are hoping to find a candidate who can lead the party for an entire term.
After Frederick’s dismissal, the SCC chose Pat Mullins to lead the Party until the convention. Then Mr. Mullins decided to attempt to retain the chairmanship by running at the RPV Convention. Although names swirled about as to who might challenge him, including former Chairman Frederick, no candidates emerged. It appeared as if Chairman Mullins would easily hold the chairmanship. Then, in early May, Bill Stanley announced that he, too, would be seeking that position. And so, the contest is on!
From what I’ve read thus far, it appears that both candidates seem to be good choices.
Each promotes the mantra of limited government conservatism. Each is or has been successful as the chairman of one or more committees: Pat Mullins served as chairman of the Fairfax and Louisa County Parties. Bill Stanley is the current chair of the Franklin County Party.
Will Pat Mullins win?
On the surface, it would appear that Pat Mullins would be the likely victor. Most important is the fact he is the present chairman. The SCC appointed him and therefore his leadership style and abilities presumably would not conflict with the SCC as compared to our previous chairman. He has more endorsements than Bill Stanley and that list includes: Morton Blackwell, Mike Farris, Thelma Drake, Mark Obenshain, and Jim Gilmore to name just a few.
Will Bill Stanley win?
Although Pat Mullins currently holds the chairmanship, the average political life span of a chairman these days is only about a year. For proof one only need look at the last four: Obenshain Griffin 2004-2006 Gillespie 2006-2007 Hager 2007-2008 Frederick 2008-2009. In addition, some of the grassroots, especially the Frederick supporters, may resent the actions of the SCC and view Mullins as a mere agent of the committee. After all, the “We Support Chairman Jeff Frederick” Facebook group has 299 members at present. Also, in a poll at Bearing Drift, Bill Stanley currently leads Pat Mullins 250 to 216.
So I cannot honestly say who will win this contest on Saturday. My advice to you is very simple. Read as much as you can about both candidates on their websites (found here and here) and also the wisdom of those who know more about the men and the specific nature of the job of RPV Chairman. Whoever wins, I certainly hope that we can unite around him and our supposedly commonly held conservative principles, and put aside our infighting. So who is it going to be? Mullins? Or Stanley?