Yesterday, the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Republican Party Headquarters celebrated its grand opening. Local State Senator Mark Obenshain acted as the master of ceremonies as neither the chairman of the Harrisonburg or Rockingham County GOP was in attendance. Oddly, none of the four delegates representing Harrisonburg or Rockingham County made an appearance.
As a surprise guest, Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6) was on hand to speak. Also talking about their candidacy were D.D. Dawson and Ted Byrd, the two Republican city council candidates. One remark that the mayor made which stood out in my mind was that he declared that his opponents for city council were fairly new to the city. Although that statement is true of many of his opponents, it isn’t true for all as I have lived in the city of Harrisonburg almost my entire life.
I was told that one of the organizers of the event wasn’t happy that I was in the crowd, given that I am running as an independent for city council. However, given my multitude of years of ties to the party and my fellow activists, I wouldn’t be deterred from being there. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t offered a speaking opportunity nor even officially acknowledged.
Nevertheless, I did end up talking to a sizable chunk of the crowd one-on-one, not really discussing my campaign, but rather the current state of the GOP. Ms. Dawson pleasantly said hello as she often does and even Bob Goodlatte made it a point to shake my hand. The mayor also came up to me at one point to offer his greetings and mentioned that his statement about his opponents being from out of town didn’t apply to me. With that thought in mind, I thought it would have been prudent for him to use the phrase “almost all”. Then again, technically both Ms. Dawson and Mr. Byrd are opponents for each other given that they could siphon away votes from the other from voters who wish to support one Republican, not both.
Although I was appreciative of the fact that Rep. Bob Goodlatte mentioned what supposedly are the guiding principles of the GOP, such as limiting government and promoting liberty, I’m disappointed that such rhetoric isn’t much in vogue among Republican politicians. Worst yet, even fewer actually legislate with these thoughts in mind.
Anyway, the local GOP headquarters is now open and should be a hub of activity for Republican activists making phone calls and knocking on doors between now and Election Day.