According to an email sent out today from the Cliff Hyra campaign, Mr. Hyra has qualified to be on the November 2017 for Virginia governor. At this point, Virginians will have three choices for a new chief executive in the fall. As they will be listed on the ballot, there will be Democrat Ralph Northam, Republican Ed Gillespie, and Libertarian Cliff Hyra. While both Mr. Northam and Mr. Gillespie won their respective party’s primaries on June 13th, Mr. Hyra received the Libertarian Party nomination at a convention on May 6th. However, before he could make the ballot, he needed to submit at least 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters across the Commonwealth.
If you’d like to learn more about your three choices and determine which most agrees with you, I encourage you to check out the links to their official websites as listed above. In addition, I’ve spoken with the folks who run ISideWith.com and they said that they will be creating a new quiz soon so that Virginia voters can see a side by side comparison of all of their options.
Although I cannot recall when it began, First Friday has been a regular political event in Harrisonburg for quite a while. Over the years, it has hosted a variety of candidates, politicians, and leaders of various groups. It has served not only as a monthly gathering for local activists but also as a way to reach a wider audience of folks from Shenandoah, Rockingham, Augusta, Rockbridge, and sometimes Greene Counties.
First Friday is not a local Republican unit, but it typically hosts Republican speakers. They’ve had Corey Stewart recently, and had a bit of a dust-up when Cynthia Dunbar ran for Republican National Committeewoman last year. Suzanne Obenshain, who also sought the committeewoman position and was the longtime leader of First Friday, also spoke to the group last year. Although he attended when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, Ed Gillespie has been a no-show this election cycle. When I ran for local office in 2014 as an independent candidate, I was allowed to attend but not to address the crowd. Nevertheless, the event was valuable; after my Republican opponents addressed the group, one attendee declared they were both socialists and wrote a check to my campaign. Donna Moser, the former head of the Rockingham County Republican Party leads the gathering.
However, things have been a bit rocky for First Friday these last several months. Several months ago Ms. Moser broke a bone while visiting relatives out of state and thus was unable to attend the May meeting. Nevertheless, First Friday still took place with Senator Bryce Reeves, who is running in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor, as the speaker. Ms. Moser had the leader of the local tea party hold First Friday in her absence. But, the meeting was very sparsely attended. In fact, I cannot recall a First Friday with such a low turnout. Usually, two factions attend; the conservative grassroots folks and the so-called establishment Republicans. But, almost none of the establishment people were in the audience. I asked the senator about this absence and he pointed out that although he is arguably the most conservative candidate running for the position, many of the establishment had endorsed his opponents and thus did not attend.
Shortly before the June meeting of First Friday, I’m told that Ms. Moser received a phone call from the chairman of the Harrisonburg Republican Party letting her know that the party had selected a replacement to host First Friday in her stead. However, as she had returned to the area, she stated she was able to resume her duties in this capacity. Delegate Ben Cline was the speaker, but, as with the previous month, the establishment Republicans boycotted the event.
After most folks left, Greg Coffman, the Harrisonburg GOP Chairman, sat at a table with Donna Moser. Afterward, I asked her about the conversation and she said that the three local chairmen (Harrisonburg, Rockingham, and Republican Women), had decided among themselves that Ms. Moser would no longer be leading First Friday. As none of these chairmen had elected her to her position, nor did any of these chairmen attend First Friday on a regular basis, my opinion was that none either individually or as a group would have the power to make such a decree. However, the story does not end there.
Late last night, the Harrisonburg Republican Party sent out an email declaring that future First Friday lunches have been cancelled. As the message states:
Consequently, the Committees’ leadership has decided to terminate the First Friday Luncheons program. The goal is to examine other venues that can provide more relevant opportunities for our members, community leaders, and political leaders to interact. This was the original intention in starting the First Friday Luncheon program, but we’ve seen a continuous decline in participation and support to the extent that the program is no longer fulfilling its purpose.
Due to the upcoming election season and the demands on everyone’s time, no decision on alternatives to First Friday will be made until after the election. Therefore, the County and City Committees are no longer endorsing, sponsoring, or supporting activities similar to or calling themselves “First Friday” until further notice.
To the best of my knowledge, there was no vote or discussion among the attendees of First Friday or even the local Republican committees of such a course of action (according to those who attend these meetings), but rather a dictatorial decree from the local party chairman. Perhaps this authoritarian push shouldn’t be all that surprising given that the Harrisonburg Chairman will not allow individuals to make any announcements at the city GOP meetings unless they have been submitted in writing at least five days prior to the meeting.
After speaking with Donna Moser, she has stated that First Friday will continue, whether the GOP chairmen support the idea or not. Given my experiences in local politics, the Republican Party strives for strict control of political events and guards who have access to their candidates and elected officials. Given this attitude and several other factors, it shouldn’t be surprising that every candidate except for one who has run under the Republican banner in the last seven years has lost to a Democrat in Harrisonburg.
I would expect that local activists will continue to gather at the Woodgrill Buffet in Harrisonburg for First Friday with or without the blessing of the local GOP chairmen. True, it will be a smaller affair as most of the establishment Republican crowd likely won’t attend, but perhaps First Friday will become a gathering for conservative activists and candidates of all stripes, not only those who bind themselves with the increasingly rigid rules of the Republican Party. If so, the local chairmen’s declaration of disavowing First Friday is a blessing in disguise for the citizens of the central Shenandoah Valley.
In two weeks, on June 13th, the Republican Party of Virginia will be holding a statewide open primary to determine their nominee for governor. On the ballot will be three choices: former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors Corey Stewart, and State Senator Frank Wagner.
Typically, at least one authentic conservative runs for the Republican nomination in statewide contests. For example, in 2014, Shak Hill sought the GOP nod. However, all of the choices for governor are poor this year. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a moment to go through each option.
Besides being the former RNC chairman, Ed Gillespie has also been the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, a lobbyist for companies such as Enron, a counselor to the Bush White House, and the 2014 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. Seen by some as the consummate Republican insider, he is in many ways a milquetoast candidate, reciting typical Republican talking points while not providing many details of how he wishes to accomplish anything and avoiding saying anything controversial or of much substance. According to reports, he has avoided attending a variety of candidate forums and events. It seems he is coasting through the nomination process by trying to say as little as possible. Even worse, when he served as RNC Chairman, he repudiated limited government conservativism. According to National Review, “Gillespie basically said that the Republicans’ long-time war against big government has now ended. Government won.” and “the party’s new chairman, energetic and full of vigor, said in no uncertain terms that the days of Reaganesque Republican railings against the expansion of federal government are over.” And, despite my repeated requests, the Gillespie campaign refuses to state where Mr. Gillespie stands on political freedom and third party rights, leading me to believe that he opposes them.
Next, we have Corey Stewart, certainly the most controversial of the three candidates. Last year, he served as the Virginia chairman for the Donald Trump campaign until he was fired for insubordination. No stranger to controversy, he has relentlessly attacked Ed Gillespie for not being sufficiently pro-Trump and for Mr. Gillespie’s refusal to take a stand on a number of issues. As I’ve told some people, I think Mr. Stewart is the most dishonest person I have met in Virginia politics. This opinion took form in 2011 when Mr. Stewart toured the state denouncing former Senator George Allen for being a poor conservative and a poor senator. However, once Corey Stewart decided he was no longer interested in running for Senate, he endorsed his former rival. That stunt earned him a flip flop from PolitiFact. In addition, there was the 2013 campaign for lieutenant governor when Corey Stewart hired Senator Obenshain’s former campaign manager who was supposedly fired due to theft from a rival campaign who then tried to extort $85,000 from Pete Snyder in what has been colorfully called “The Richmond Screwjob“. These incidents show that Mr. Stewart will do or say just about anything to gain political power and thus one cannot be sure if he is elected what his true intentions are.
Last, there is Frank Wagner, who has been in elected office since 1992, first serving several terms in the House of Delegates before joining the Virginia Senate in 2001. Curiously, unlike his Republican opponents, Mr. Wagner is currently advocating raising taxes on Virginians. In addition, he supported the largest tax increase in Virginia, when he voted for the 2013 transportation tax hike. In 2015, he authored a bill to keep the earnings of Dominion Power, the state-supported energy monopoly, secret. Amusingly, in early 2014 a Republican activist added me to a Facebook group called “Primary Frank Wagner” after Mr. Wagner supposedly employed a tactic known as slating to disenfranchise those who oppose him. Frank Wagner supports higher taxes, government monopolies and more secrecy, and silencing opposition. Are these conservative values?
In Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan, Starfleet officers are presented with the Kobayashi Maru, an intentionally unwinnable scenario which serves to test the character of those who participate in it. Unfortunately, this year, conservatives who participate in the Republican primary for governor face a similar dilemma. Which do you think will uphold the creed of the Republican Party of Virginia? Dodgy, establishment Ed Gillespie? Talking-out-of-both-sides-of-his-mouth, populist Corey Stewart? Or liberal, big government-loving Frank Wagner? It’s a tough pick, isn’t it? None of the three choices, Gillespie, Stewart, or Wagner, are desirable, and each has exhibited principles or character flaws which ought to disqualify all of them from the Republican nomination. As one elected official who is supporting Ed Gillespie told me, it is unfortunate that there isn’t a better candidate to head the Republican ticket this year. Are you looking for a consistently conservative candidate who is trustworthy and will work to reduce the size and scope of the state government? If so, you better hope a third party or independent candidate makes the ballot because none of the three Republican candidates come anywhere close to that standard.
How will you react to this conservative Kobayashi Maru? If I end up voting in the Republican primary, I’ll be leaving the ballot for governor blank as I think none of them are acceptable nor do I plan to vote for whoever wins the Republican nomination in the November general election.
This year, Ed Gillespie is running to be the governor of Virginia. Rather than simply dismissing his campaign out of hand based upon his previous attempt, I thought in fairness I ought to try again to learn about him and his ideas for Virginia. In February, I attended a well-run event in Staunton and, although I didn’t get to ask my question in person, afterward I spoke with several of his staffers about my desire for greater political freedom and more open and fair elections in Virginia. Based upon their suggestions I emailed my questions to them. A week passed with no response…and then another. I reached out to them again and was greeted with silence. In this way a month passed. Only after I wrote about their failure to communicate did the Gillespie campaign finally reply to me.
For about an hour or so I spoke with one of his staffers on the phone. He apologized for the delay and declared it to be unconscionable. However, during this conversation, I didn’t get any sort of tangible answers to any of my questions. Instead, he encouraged me to send them specific pieces of legislation that I feel would advance political freedom in our Commonwealth. Although frustrated, I did as the staffer asked and sent them text and links for several possible laws asking if Mr. Gillespie would support or oppose these pieces of legislation. They included: making ballot access requirements equal for all candidates regardless of party affiliation, lowering signature requirements, making it easier for other political parties to be recognized, and doing away with legislation that some candidates be listed first on the ballot simply due to their party ties. The idea is to adopt free market principles in Virginia’s political system. And, as was the case previously, the campaign did not respond. Now, almost two more months have passed without any sort of communication. As they say…fool me once…I assure you that I shall not try a third time. I cannot help but feel as if they have wasted my time.
I do have to wonder, is this how the Ed Gillespie campaign operates? Do they have no intention of answering open and honest questions about their campaign? Do they enjoy giving voters the runaround, confident that they have already secured the Republican nomination and the general election victory and thus have no need to be truthful or upfront about what their candidate stands for?
As a former campaign staffer myself for several election cycles, the way a campaign acts can either elevate or degrade a candidate. So far, the Gillespie campaign has behaved shamefully. If they would like a bit of free advice, I would recommend hiring a new political director, one that actually believes in honoring his word.
Back in 2013, I had the opportunity to speak, one-on-one, with several statewide candidates such as Jeannemarie Davis, Pete Snyder, and Ken Cuccinelli. In fact, I would argue that all ten Republican campaigns that year were more open and responsive than the Gillespie campaign has been in 2017. Unfortunately, despite repeated attempts, I cannot get a straight answer from the Gillespie campaign which leads me to believe that they are being led by deceivers and cowards, running a campaign that doesn’t deserve to win.
So far, Mr. Gillespie and his campaign have been quite vague on their platform and what he hopes to accomplish if he is elected. However, I can tell you, not even considering policy positions and based on nothing more than my experiences these last several months, that if the Republican primary were held today, I would not cast a vote for Ed Gillespie. Nor would I cast a vote for him in the general election this year or in any future year.
It is my sincere hope that in the months that remain the Gillespie campaign will do a much better job of responsive and timely answers when it comes to reasonable inquiries. Otherwise, I expect that many conservatives and libertarians that I know who often vote for the Republican candidate will reject him as they did in 2014. And, in that case, I assure you I won’t shed a tear when Mr. Gillespie loses this election.
As some of my readers may recall, on Thursday, February 9th, I attended a campaign event for Ed Gillespie in Staunton. During the gathering, I thought of a question I wanted to ask Mr. Gillespie but didn’t get the chance to do so. Afterward, I spoke to several of his staffers and they recommended that I send them an email with my query.
After fleshing out my thoughts, I penned the following letter on February 10th:
Good afternoon, Mr. Cooksey.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me last night.
As mentioned, one important issue to me concerns political competition and political freedom. Unlike many states, Virginia is one of the most politically repressive in the region, requiring 10,000 signatures from candidates to make the statewide ballot and giving special privileges to nominees of the Republican and Democratic Parties such as: listing their candidates first on all ballots as required by law, allowing their nominees to forgo collecting signatures simply by virtue of being nominated by these two parties (assuming they aren’t facing a party primary), and setting unreasonably high thresholds in statewide contests for other political parties to be recognized.
As one example, in Virginia, a party’s candidate needs 10% of the vote to be a recognized political party in future elections while in neighboring West Virginia it is only 1%. However, despite this vast disparity, West Virginia is not overwhelmed by political parties; presently they have four while Virginia only has two. The Republican and Democratic Parties should have to work to earn the conservative and liberal vote and constantly strive to improve themselves, their positions, and their outreach, not always capturing a large block of voters without any effort simply due to being complicit in a state-supported monopoly.
In addition, it is unfortunate that some politicians, such as your former boss and my state senator, are proposing registration by political party, thus hindering competition even more and further embroiling the state government in the affairs and subsidization of the activities of private political organizations. It is becoming apparent to me that increasingly here in Virginia the Democratic Party has become the party of political rights and freedom as they work to make ballot access and recognition easier while those in the Republican Party are unfortunately trending in an anti-free market politics direction. It is my hope that Mr. Gillespie will firmly stand against these folks in the GOP who are hostile to political liberty.
Lastly, when Mr. Gillespie ran for US Senate in 2014, he did not stand up for the rights of all who qualified for the ballot to participate in the debates, in fact threatening to boycott an event if all of the candidates were invited. According to an email, I received from James Madison University in July of 2014, ” In my communications with the campaigns of the two major political party candidates, the question of whether or not Mr. Sarvis [the Libertarian candidate] would be invited was a point of discussion. Both campaigns had stated that if Mr. Sarvis were to be invited to participate in the debate their chances of agreeing to accept the invitation was unlikely and actually committing was even less likely.” Hopefully, this campaign has a different attitude.
My questions to Mr. Gillespie are as follows: If, as limited government conservatives, we believe that competition in business, education, and health care produces better results, lowered costs, and spurs innovation, why do we not translate this thinking into the political arena as well? How much has the average citizen and our political health been disadvantaged by a political system which served to primarily benefit, not the average voter, but the two largest political entities at the expense of free market competition? As governor, what will Mr. Gillespie do to push the needle toward greater political freedom or will he work with some of his colleagues in the GOP to squelch it further? And, should another candidate or candidates make the ballot in this election cycle, whether they are Libertarian, Constitution Party, Green, Socialist, independent, or something else, will Mr. Gillespie take a stand to permit all legitimate candidates the equality of opportunity to allow voters the chance to decide which candidate best represents their values?
After ten days, as I hadn’t received a reply, I tried again. Unfortunately, there was nothing but silence, so I tried another staffer. I’m happy to report he offered a rapid response saying: “Thanks, Joshua. I will look into this matter. I do not think this is an item that we would take a position on, but, nonetheless, I will run it up the flag pole. Also, we will conduct further research on our end. Thanks again for coming to our Staunton event.”
Eight days later, I realized I still didn’t have an answer, so I tried this staffer again and was greeted by an automated response.
“Thank you for reaching out to me. I am no longer a member of the campaign staff, as I am pursuing another opportunity in Washington. Please contact Generra Peck (email@example.com) for all campaign policy matters.”
Going off this suggestion, I tried contacting this new staffer, but there was nothing. Based on the recommendation of one of my Facebook friends who supports Mr. Gillespie, I sent the campaign a Facebook message too and although there was an automated response saying that they would get back in touch soon, I have heard nothing.
As regular visitors to this website know, political freedom and open and fair elections are exceedingly important to me. I firmly believe that everyone should face the same legal hurdles to make the ballot and that all of those who jump through these hoops deserve the same chance to be heard, and not silenced or marginalized simply because they aren’t running under the banner or blessing of the two largest political parties. Looking back, I would say it was the most important reason why I didn’t end up supporting Ken Cuccinelli for governor four years ago.
As it has been almost a month since my first email, I decided to share my letter here. Perhaps someone on their campaign staff will feel compelled to answer. It is my sincere hope that the Ed Gillespie campaign will get back in touch with me concerning this matter before the June Republican primary, though I am starting to have my doubts this will happen. Unfortunately, when Ed Gillespie ran in 2014, I wrote an email to his campaign about another campaign issue and although Mr. Gillespie himself promised a reply, I never got an answer to my question. Elected officials and potential elected officials ought to be responsive to their constituents.
On Thursday evening, the Ed Gillespie campaign held another gathering in the Shenandoah Valley, this time at the Holiday Inn right off of Interstate 81 in Staunton. The advertised guest of the evening was Matt Bevin, the governor of Kentucky. Curiously, the room was set up with a stage against the middle wall with three padded chairs and a couple of tables. Unlike other events, I didn’t recognize a majority of the folks in the crowd.
The Commonwealth Attorney for Augusta County, Tim Martin, gave a welcome, Travis Witt, the former leader of the tea party federation, offered the prayer, and Augusta County Supervisor Marshall Pattie led the group in the pledge of allegiance.
Next, Pete Snyder, who many folks know from his 2013 run for lieutenant governor, took the stage. After a few moments, Ed Gillespie and Matt Bevin joined him.
The three of them spoke amongst themselves about Gillespie’s campaign for governor as well as Bevin’s experiences as governor of Kentucky. Afterward, they took a series of pre-submitted questions from the audience. While this was going on, I thought of a question I wanted to ask regarding political freedom and spoke with the staffer handling such things, but, unfortunately, weren’t able to take it.
In conclusion, Governor Bevin invited all of the attendees to put a Gillespie bumper sticker on their cars as well as get their photo taken with Mr. Gillespie to which Ed Gillespie suggested that the governor ought to join in as well.
Overall, the event was well attended for a Thursday evening as pretty much every seat was filled. Governor Matt Bevin expressed strong support for Ed Gillespie which helps bolster Gillespie’s credibility. Snyder, Gillespie, and Bevin all added some humorous moments to the gathering. And, perhaps most importantly, unlike their last event in Harrisonburg, several people in the crowd had an opportunity to participate in the discussion.
Compared to his 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate, Ed Gillespie’s campaign for governor seems significantly improved, spending more time discussing substantive issues, and bringing impressive political figures, like Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin onboard.
On Tuesday, January 17th, Ed Gillespie made a campaign stop in Harrisonburg, Virginia. To the best of my knowledge, he is the first candidate of any political party to come to the city. He spoke in front of a rather impressive crowd of about 60 or so individuals during the mid-afternoon at the Agrodolce restaurant.
Personally, I though Mr. Gillespie gave a great speech, much improved from any of the speeches I heard him give during his run for U.S. Senate in 2014. He spoke of the need for limiting government and, as opposed some members of the Republican Party these days, seemed to speak against crony capitalism. Unlike many first-time candidates, although Ed Gillespie spoke about his personal story, it wasn’t the central focus of his talk. My only real disappointment was that I wish he would have taken questions from the audience, but his campaign seemed to be in a bit of a time crunch, clearing out of the restaurant soon after the speech was over.
The biggest concern I had about the event had nothing to do with Mr. Gillespie or his campaign, who again put together a quality campaign stop on his kickoff tour, but rather some the individuals who attended. One could label quite a few of them as establishment Republicans and, while I’ve known some of them for a decade or more, many have unfortunately proven themselves untrustworthy and, just as troubling, more desirous of accumulating power and demanding loyalty to the GOP than advancing any other political principle. I know that some good, honest, principled people are supporting Ed Gillespie too, and there were some at the Harrisonburg event as well, but I have to say I sensed I was out of place. Borrowing a line from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, I felt like a pilgrim in an unholy land.
But, if Ed Gillespie and his campaign can hold more events like the one in Harrisonburg today, it will likely solidify his status as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.
Although some people in the Republican Party are enthusiastic about Gillespie being their standard-bearer in 2017, others have expressed dismay. Rewinding the clock to the last election, I spoke to many liberty activists in Virginia who were opposed to Gillespie, viewing him as yet another establishment, big government Republican. As the 2014 election drew close, a vast majority of liberty-minded Republicans told me that they would be casting their ballots for Libertarian Robert Sarvis as opposed to the official Republican nominee. A few others stated that they would write-in Shak Hill or simply not vote. At one point, I could only find one member of the liberty movement statewide who openly supported Gillespie. Even though that number has grown slightly, a vast majority of the liberty activists in Virginia seemed to be opposed to a Gillespie candidacy in 2014 and have remained that way today.
Does that mean that Gillespie cannot win in 2017? Certainly not. After all, even without the support of many traditional Republican voters he came remarkably close to knocking off Senator Mark Warner. Now, I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that Warner has far better name id and favorability than likely 2017 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam. Therefore, one would assume Gillespie’s chances couldn’t get any worse. However, if the Republican Party of Virginia nominates Gillespie again, it will likely widen the rift and civil war currently plaguing the party.
For one example, last night one of my liberty-minded friends posted a piece on Facebook in support of Ed Gillespie’s candidacy. Although several people were quick to respond, denouncing Gillespie publicly, I was told that even more expressed their disapproval of him privately. As another activist wrote, “Anyone who wants to challenge Gillespie for the 2017 gubernatorial nomination in VA – please get in touch with me about helping your campaign.”
Even though I would argue that Obenshain is in a weaker position than he found himself in 2013, yesterday’s announcement was still unexpected. Given the relationship between Obenshain and Gillespie, I wouldn’t be surprised if the state senator throws his support behind the former RPV Chairman. However, unless Gillespie discovered and articulates the principles of liberty, I assume that one or more conservative challengers will rise up to oppose him. And, meaning no disrespect to Ed Gillespie, as he seems like a decent person outside of politics, if Gillespie is the nominee again then I hope that the Libertarians nominate a strong candidate so that the liberty vote within the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, and elsewhere has someplace to make itself heard.
Are the 2017 gubernatorial elections in Virginia beginning to take shape? Rumors of candidates and potential candidates for a contest still two years away have been swirling these last several months.
On the Democratic side of things, it appeared likely that there would be a showdown between Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring in much the same way that then Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli fought over the Republican nomination back in 2012 and 2013.
Moving on to the Republicans, State Senator Mark Obenshain from Rockingham County seems to be the most likely choice as he lost his 2013 statewide race by a razor-thin margin. However, there are other possibilities too. Some of the possible candidates being mentioned include: Representative Rob Whittman from the 1st district and 2014 Republican senatorial candidate Ed Gillespie.
As for the Libertarians, although I would be surprised if they didn’t run a candidate for governor, I haven’t really heard any names bandied about; their 2013 nominee, Robert Sarvis, seems like a possibility.
A few moments ago, I received an email from the Ed Gillespie for Senate campaign. Entitled “a last request”, the campaign makes one more pitch for funds asking, “Will you click here to contribute a suggested donation of $10 to help our campaign pay our final bills?”
Yes, campaigns are certainly expensive endeavors. Each one seems to demand greater resources than the previous cycle.
Looking at it from my own personal experience, my run for city council always seemed to press me for more cash. Did I want more money? Of course! With additional funding I could have done so much more, such as placing ads in the newspaper or on the radio or perhaps creating a few yard signs that some people seem to think are absolutely necessary. But, at the end of the day, I allocated my resources the best I knew how and avoiding spending money I didn’t have. My reasoning was that if a person is unable to exercise fiscal responsibility in his or her campaign, why should we entrust them with such power in local, state, or national government?
The Gillespie campaign came amazing close to victory and campaign deficit spending is certainly not unique to their effort. Nevertheless, I’d recommend that campaigns exercise a little more discretion in their spending. After all, who wants to send out an email after the election is over asking for money? And who is willing to donate at this point, especially to a candidate that didn’t win?