Goodlatte Faces Opposition

Representative Bob Goodlatte
Representative Bob Goodlatte

Since Karen Kwiatkowski was the first person to challenge Representative Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s sixth district back in the 2012 elections, conservatives and libertarians in the Shenandoah Valley have wondered when or if Mr. Goodlatte would face another interparty contest.  In 2014, Paul Bevington attempted to seek the nod but fell short of the signature requirement to make the ballot.

IMG_7603Well, today Harry Griego of Roanoke issued a press release announcing his candidacy.  Mr. Griego recently ran for office in 2015, opposing Delegate Chris Head for the Republican nomination in the 17th district and garnered over 47% of the vote.

According to the press release, Harry Griego states, “over and over again voters told me they were unhappy with the lack of leadership and the failure of Republican officials to vote and fight for the Republican principles they campaign on.” As a hint of his possible campaign issues, he mentions, “an end to the expansion of the budget and the crippling national debt.  They want the border secured.”

Will 2016 mark the end of the Goodlatte era of Shenandoah Valley politics that began after the 1992 elections?  Or will Bob Goodlatte fend off this challenge?  Hopefully, this primary will make for some interesting times in the 6th district.

A Libertarian in the 6th

IMG_2633On Saturday, Virginia’s 6th district Libertarians gathered in Lexington to decide if and who the party would nominate to challenge Bob Goodlatte in the November election.  This year Representative Goodlatte is seeking his twelfth term in the House of Representatives.

Only one candidate sought the Libertarian nomination, Will Hammer of Staunton.   However, he was not a shoo-in as it should be noted that Libertarians have the option to choose “none of the above” rather than have a party nominee.  In what turned out to be a very close vote, the 6th district Libertarians did give Mr. Hammer their party label.  The last time the Libertarian Party nominated a candidate for this office was with Stuart Bain in 2010.

Also at the convention, the Libertarians picked a new 6th district chairman.  Jonathan Parrish from Lynchburg, who ran for a seat in the House of Delegates in 2013, was elected without opposition.

With Mr. Hammer’s nomination, there are at least two candidates that are challenging Representative Goodlatte: Will Hammer as a Libertarian and Paul Bevington as an independent (who previously was running against Goodlatte for the GOP nod).  The Democratic Party has not nominated anyone and will not do so.  There are rumors of another third party candidate, possibly a Green Party candidate, but they are unconfirmed at this time.  The next hurdle will be to collect the thousand plus signatures required to appear on the November ballot.

Who will make the cut?  Who will fall short?  On June 10th, we will have that answer.

Bevington Still In Race, Picks Up Endorsement

Paul Bevington in Mt. JacksonThursday was the deadline to submit signatures and to pay the filing fee to run as a Republican candidate for the 6th congressional district in Virginia.  In response, Paul Bevington, Bob Goodlatte’s challenger, has announced that he is no longer running under the GOP banner and instead will be on the ballot as an independent in the general election.

In related news, Mr. Bevington has picked up the endorsement of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.  In a statement released also on Thursday, the PAC stated, “Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s efforts to help Barack Obama and John Boehner pass a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants that would rewrite existing American immigration laws to accommodate tens of millions of illegals along with those who employ them has finally caught up with him. Today his GOP Primary opponent Paul Bevington is receiving a national endorsement instead.”  They also add, “ALIPAC is endorsing Paul Bevington for Congress because he has pledged in ALIPAC’s federal candidate survey to ‘Support Americans and legal immigrants by supporting the adequate enforcement of America’s existing border and immigration laws as the US Constitution requires for the protection of American lives, jobs, elections, health and taxpayer resources.”  However, given that Mr. Bevington is no longer running as a Republican, will the PAC continue to support him or does that group only endorse Republicans?

At this point, there are only two declared candidates in the general election: Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte and independent Paul Bevington.  But will they be the only two?  Will the Democrats field a candidate?  And what about the Libertarians, who are seeking to run a candidate in every congressional district in Virginia for the first time in that party’s history?

Although there won’t be a Republican primary in the 6th district this year, it is possible that the story of this election has just begun.

ISFLC 2014 & Republican Women

Saturday was a busy day politically.  In the morning, U.S. Senate candidate Shak Hill and House of Representatives candidate Paul Bevington spoke to the Republican Women of Shenandoah County.  As mentioned in a previous post, this gathering took place at the Denny’s in Mount Jackson.  I traveled there alongside fellow liberty activist Lisa McCumsey.

Shak Hill reading from the Affordable Care Act bill.  (Note the stack of paper).
Shak Hill reading from the Affordable Care Act bill. (Note the stack of paper)
Paul Bevington in Mt. Jackson
Paul Bevington in Mt. Jackson











Afterward, I spent the remainder of the day at the International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington, D.C.  Although I had hoped to attend for all three days of the event, as was done last year, both weather and finances kept me from doing so.  I was disappointed to miss the taping of the Stossel Show which took place on Friday night.

Shortly after arriving, I ran across Jack Hunter giving an interview in the media lounge.


Next, came a panel discussion with Representatives Justin Amash and Thomas Massie.  Unfortunately, due to weather, Massie was unable to attend and thus joining Amash on stage was Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks and Jeff Frazee of Young Americans for Liberty.


Although James Madison University has sent a contingent of students in previous years, to the best of my knowledge there were no JMU students present this year, nor anyone else from the Harrisonburg area.  Nevertheless, it was great to run into two former members of Madison Liberty, Reid Walker (not pictured) and Luke Wachob, now working for the Center for Competitive Politics.


It was difficult to gauge attendance at ISFLC this year.  Although the conference occupied a greater portion of the hotel and more organizations were participating, actual student numbers were unavailable by the time I left on Saturday evening.  Given the Facebook chatter beforehand, it was likely that a good number of students had to unexpectedly cancel at the last minute (again due to snow).  All in all, it seemed like another great event, one that I would highly recommend for college students to attend if given the opportunity.

On a more personal note, as I made my way back to the Metro station, I ended up taking a wrong turn and became lost.  I was grateful that a young woman pointed me in the right direction.  Once she realized that I still wasn’t quite sure where I was going, she kept popping up every block or two, making sure I found my destination successfully.  I regret to say that I did not get her name, but her kindness was very much appreciated.

Yes, I believe it is fair to say that Saturday was quite an interesting day!

Shenandoah County Hosts Hill and Bevington

This Saturday, February 15th, the Republican Women of Shenandoah County will be hosting U.S. Senate candidate Shak Hill and House of Representatives candidate Paul Bevington.  Their meeting will be taking place at the Denny’s in Mt. Jackson, just off of Interstate 81.

After their regular business session, Shak Hill will speak at 10 AM.  Then, at 10:45, Paul Bevington will take the stage.  For residents of the upper and central Shenandoah Valley, this event should provide a great opportunity to meet these two candidates and ask them questions about their principles and campaigns.

Assuming I am neither snowed in nor attending the International Students for Liberty Conference taking place this weekend in Washington D.C., I hope to attend.  I encourage you to make the drive to Mt. Jackson to learn about two of your choices for federal legislators.

Elder Out in the 6th

Photo from
Photo from

Last night, Bruce Elder, the likely Democratic nominee for Virginia’s 6th district House of Representatives seat, announced that he was withdrawing from the race.  Citing health problems, specifically cancer, Mr. Elder stated that he could not continue and posted this announcement on his website.  Regardless of political loyalty, I hope everyone can come together and wish Mr. Elder a successful recovery.

However, with Mr. Elder out of the race, there are currently only two candidates remaining, both Republicans.  Representative Bob Goodlatte faces an intra-party challenger named Paul Bevington in the June Republican primary.  It is undeniable that the 6th district is very conservative, arguably the most conservative congressional district in Virginia, and therefore the June primary is exceedingly important for any voter who wishes to make his or her voice known.

However, will the winner of the Republican primary be unopposed in the November general election?  Will the Democrats field a new candidate?  Will the Libertarians find a worthy challenger?  Will an independent candidate make his or her presence known?

In the name of choice and political competition, regardless of whether he or she is a liberal, conservative, libertarian, or something else, I hope the voters of the 6th will have a choice in November.

A New Challenger Emerges

After Representative Bob Goodlatte faced his first ever intraparty challenge back in 2012, conservatives in the 6th district began to wonder if and when it would happen again?  Would Karen Kwiatkowski return for a rematch two years later?

Picture from Paul Bevington's Facebook page.
Picture from Paul Bevington’s Facebook page.

We now have an answer to that question.  Paul Bevington, a teacher from Buena Vista, has announced his decision to challenge Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nod.  Billing himself as a liberty-minded Republican, Bevington lists his principles and priorities on his website.  Drawing distinction from Goodlatte and himself, he stresses his support for civil liberties such as his opposition to the Patriot Act, indefinite detention found in the NDAA, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  In addition, like Republicans advocated several decades ago, he opposes federal involvement in education, declaring it to be “in violation of the 10th Amendment”, preferring power resting in the hands of the state and local governments.  His full platform can be found at this link.

There is no doubt that Bob Goodlatte has a number of considerable advantages in terms of both name ID and money, as he did in 2012.  However, there is considerable resentment against Representative Goodlatte, even among the Republican faithful.  For example, there is his refusal to honor the request of the entire Sixth District Republican Committee to not reelect John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives.  And there is the persistent rumor that Goodlatte is planning to switch his position on immigration in the coming months in order to give amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants.

How will the Bevington and Goodlatte struggle turn out in the June 10th primary?  It should be interesting to see how this contest unfolds.