Why a Life-Long Republican Left the Party

Image from sodahead.com

A Guest Post by David Benjamin Dull

To start, I feel it is important to explain how I was raised, and where my roots are. My father is a die-hard, Trump supporting, racist, social conservative and his parents were social conservatives as well while my mother is a bit of a hippie, but a conservative hippie.  I was raised to vote Republican and did so starting with George Bush in 2000 when I was 18.  I was never “involved”, never did any research and didn’t pay attention to the issues even though I smoked cannabis, was pro-choice and had close friends who were/are homosexual.

All of that changed, however, in the fall of 2008 when I accidentally ran across a motivational YouTube video for libertarian godfather Ron Paul who was running for the Republican presidential nomination.  Without a shred of hesitation, I am proud to say the words of this modern-day prophet made me openly weep.  For the first time in my life, my worldview was challenged in a way that was informative and more importantly, not condescending, which was needed to get thru to me.

Did I run right outside with my pitchfork and torch, ready to burn down the capitol?  No.  I spent a long time combing the internet for input.  I researched Austrian economics, free-market solutions, non-interventionist foreign policy, individual sovereignty and ending prohibition. I began talking less and listening more.  Eventually, fully confident that my new worldview was solid, I ventured out into the political realm by attending my first Tea Party Tax Day rally in DC in 2010, which featured to my surprise, Ron Paul himself.  And yet, I still didn’t know how to get involved.

I left Baltimore and bought a home in Virginia Beach, and knowing no one political in the area, remained the guy who protests on social media… …until my mother sent me a friend suggestion for a local anarcho-capitalist.  Finally, I had someone in my town I could share my disdain for waste, fraud, and abuse with!  And what’s more, when a mutual friend commented about the Ron Paul 2012 campaign and I jumped right on that asking how I could get involved.  I was directed to attend a dinner in Newport News across the river.  The night of that dinner, I met a dozen libertarians who have become like family.  Never in my life have I ever felt so connected to and loved by a group of individuals, not of my blood.  Together, we took on the establishment, hard!

Luckily for us, there were only two candidates on the ballot in 2012; Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, which enabled a Tea Party/libertarian alliance to not only send 49% of Virginia’s delegates to the Republican national convention, but more importantly, the grassroots alliance overwhelmingly took over the Republican Party of Virginia state central committee and a host of district chairman seats and local unit chairman seats.  We did it!  We won!  Or did we?  With the primary firmly behind us, the “presumptive nominee” was hailed as the savior to the “Obama” problem with the Tea Party falling in line like good little Republicans.  We Ron Paul supporters were soon left out in the cold.  We were scorned for not eagerly volunteering for the nominee.  We were constantly told by establishment trolls that “libertarians belong in the Libertarian Party” and our posts on Republican social media outlets were deleted.  We were called isolationists, dreamers, liberals, and idiots.

When we rallied behind Susan Stimpson for Lt. Governor, who had an impeccable record of cutting taxes and fees while also cutting the budget of Stanford County while remaining temperate on social issues, the Tea Party and other grassroots social conservatives flocked to boisterous hot-heads like Corey Stewart who is in the middle of losing his third statewide race, and EW Jackson who just lost his third statewide race. When the votes were tallied for the first ballot of the seven-way Lt. Governor race, Susan came in second after Jackson, but when the names were put up on the Jumbotron, her name was at the bottom. When she failed to carry the third ballot, I voted for “moderate” (establishment) Pete Snyder because I wasn’t about to let Jackson pull down the ticket with his outrageous statements when Snyder would help libertarian-leaning Ken Cuccinelli win the governorship… which is exactly what happened despite Republicans complaining about the Libertarian nominee, who exit polls show actually took more votes from (D) McAuliffe than Cuccinelli… but I digress.  This was in effect, the beginning of the end of the grassroots revolt of 2012.  The establishment slowly took back the state central and local units.  The Tea Party continued to rally around hot-heads like Corey Stewart year after year.  Many of my libertarian friends, disgusted with the political process and the online nastiness from bigoted conservatives and paid establishment trolls, simply threw in the towel.  Subsequently, the Ron Paul class of 2012 was all but gone by 2014.

To be fair, having left Virginia to seek my fortune in the oil fields of North Dakota in the summer of 2013 and not returning until December of 2015, I was in no position to blame anyone for leaving, and I didn’t.  I did, however, unfurl my libertarian-Republican banner and plant it in the red sand of the Republican Party on last time for Rand Paul in the 2016 presidential primary, but was met with mild enthusiasm.  I saw even less enthusiasm for Trump, but his bigoted and insulting rhetoric somehow positively reached the voters even though it turned off most of the politically active.  The abysmal primary results coupled with the death rattle of the Tea Party in Virginia was the signal to me that “changing it from the inside” was a completely unattainable goal in Virginia Beach and highly unlikely in Virginia.  So I left the party of my father and my grandfather after being undyingly faithful for eight years, somewhat hesitant for another four and actively engaged for the last four.  Truth be told; it’s the best breakup of my life!

David Benjamin Dull is a libertarian activist who has volunteered for a dozen campaigns.  Although admittedly brash and stubborn, he is working to better himself and is currently engaged in growing the Libertarian Party of Anne Arundel County by reaching out to disenfranchised liberals and conservatives as well as independents who lost faith in voting.

The Reputation of Bloggers

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Pete Snyder

When you read a piece written on one of the multitude of blogs out there, do you ever stop to think about the author?  For example, do you ask what motivated him or her to craft the article and what agenda he or she is trying to advance?  Yes, when it comes to politics there are conservative blogs, liberal blogs, blogs that promote a grassroots or anti-establishment point of view, and those who seek to prop up certain elected politicians.

Last weekend I took a good bit of time to ponder this thought.  Several months ago a candidate contacted me as he was considering hiring me for his campaign.  After several abortive attempts I finally I spoke with his campaign manager just recently.  Although I was told that they didn’t have the funds to make an offer at this time, I was informed that I could help them out by writing pieces on this website critical of their opponent.  It was hinted that doing so might improve my chances of future employment.  However, the more I thought about the matter, the more it disturbed me.

One of my primary motivations in writing The Virginia Conservative is to report on political events around the state (especially in the Shenandoah Valley), offer my thoughts about politicians, their staffers, and legislation, and do my small part to promote political dialogue as well as the ideals of liberty and limited government.  The pieces I’ve written here I do so because I think they are important, because there is some matter that ought to be brought to public attention.  Have my opinions shifted and changed with time and new information?  Of course!  If you scroll back, you can find writings from 2008.  Who can honestly say that he or she has remained completely the same in an eight-year period?  However, no one has ever paid me to write anything that you find on this website and all thoughts presented (unless otherwise indicated) are my own at the time that they were written.

In response to this recent suggestion from the campaign, I included this statement in the message I wrote the candidate:

…I was asked to write pieces on my website attacking one of your opponents. If I were to do so, I was told it could improve my chances of getting hired when money became available.  Similarly the Stimpson campaign tried to funnel anonymous attack pieces through me in 2013, but I refused to do so.  Although I have made quite a few enemies these last few years, I always try to write what is true and right, not simply what benefits my point of view.  Given my limited experiences with [your opponent] in 2011, I believe it would be a terrible mistake for the voters of [your] district to choose him and I may write a piece to that effect on The Virginia Conservative.  Nevertheless, I steadfastly refuse to become a political hack, degrading either my honor or my work to do the behind-the-scenes hatchet attacks of others…

I was later informed that this situation arose out of a misunderstanding.  But it did get me thinking.  Is this idea foreign to many political blogs?  Are they merely fronts for various organizations, candidates, and politicians, willing to write whatever makes their clients look good (or calls their enemies into question)?

Let me expand on what I wrote concerning the Stimpson campaign.  Back in 2013 the Susan Stimpson campaign for lieutenant governor contacted me prior to the Virginia Republican Convention.  One of her staffers wanted me to write a piece critical of both Jeannemarie Davis and Pete Snyder, two of Stimpson’s opponents that year.  As such, they provided me with information and quotes from a gathering elsewhere in the state.  I did not personally attend this event, so the only material I had to work from was the information provided from the Stimpson campaign.  First of all, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic to attack either Davis or Snyder.  Both Jeannemarie Davis and Pete Snyder had taken time out of their campaign schedule to meet with me personally.  Although the Stimpson campaign repeatedly suggested a similar face-to-face meeting, they never made good on this promise.  However, in the interest of promoting dialogue, I agreed to write up a piece using the material that they sent me provided that I could mention that I had received this information from the Stimpson campaign.  However, they didn’t want their opponents to know that their campaign was behind it and so declined.  As a result, I decided not to run the story.

So are bloggers seen as mere mercenaries for hire these days?  Given some of the seemingly baseless attacks from one of the larger Virginia blogs against a certain legislator, I sometimes have to wonder.  Much like super PACs, do politicians and groups funnel money to bloggers to anonymously attack their foes?  Has that become our reputation?  If so, I would be ashamed to call myself a blogger. I would not want to associate with any writer or campaign that thinks that this kind of behavior is okay.  Yes, I do have an agenda to promote dialogue and liberty, but I feel if others discovered that I were writing thinly veiled behind the scenes attacks (paid or even unpaid), it would completely obliterate my credibility and any chance of even an attempt at objectivity.

Perhaps I am wrong.  After all, donations are few and far between and the costs of running The Virginia Conservative are higher than the monetary gains.  Nevertheless, I hope my readers can rest assured that when they read an article on this site, it isn’t written because I am getting paid to promote a certain cause or candidate. I do it because I’m one of those people who believe in what they say and think that honor is worth more that the lure of a possible job.  Revisiting 2013 once more, I’d like to believe that Ms. Davis and Mr. Snyder approached me because they considered me to be fair and objective, focusing on the issues we have in common, and not simply as someone who can be bought off to support a certain point of view.

So, what do you see as the reputation of bloggers?

Student Politics at W&M

On Wednesday morning, I decided to travel to my alma mater, the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  As part of my journey, I hoped to meet with William & Mary Students for Liberty that evening.  While on the grounds, I decided to stop in to the office of student activities to discover what sort of political organizations existed on campus.

Besides the aforementioned Students for Liberty and the fairly traditional College Republicans and College Democrats, I also discovered William and Mary Students for Life, a pro-life group created by my former employers, Students for Life of America.  After a few email exchanges, I ended up attending a meeting of this organization.  Although the local Catholic church held a pro-life event at the same time, as thus lured away some of their attendees, Students for Life still had a pretty good gathering.

The William & Mary College Republicans
The William & Mary College Republicans

Even though I planned to leave campus on Thursday afternoon, when I heard that Pete Snyder would be speaking to the College Republicans, I decided to stick around, interested to hear what Pete had to say and to offer him a friendly hello.  Unfortunately, several minutes before the start of the CR meeting, the leader of the group announced that Mr. Snyder was unable to attend.  It was disappointing and cut their meeting pretty short, but these things do happen.  Nevertheless, despite the statewide losses and the defeat of Delegate Watson in the 93rd, the CRs seemed to be in pretty good spirits.

Although not an exhaustive search, I’m glad to see that political activism is still alive and well on the campus of William & Mary.

The 2013 Convention!

Shortly before 7 AM, a multitude of local Republicans gathered outside of the Harrisonburg GOP headquarters to depart for the 2013 state convention in Richmond.  The Obenshain campaign organized this gathering.  I led one of the two buses of 49 other activists.  We left around 7:15 with the second bus stopping in Staunton to pick up additional supporters.

IMG_1886About two hours later we arrived outside the Coliseum.  The scene that greeted us was daunting.  On both the left and right sides of the entrance, long lines stretched seemingly forever.  Outside, most of the campaigns had a table underneath a tent handing out materials.  The one exception was the Davis campaign which merely had a yard sign where one would expect to find her people.  This development did not bode well for the Davis campaign, which I had previously assumed would survive at least to the second ballot.  In addition, there were a fair number of protesters in pink shirts from Planned Parenthood deriding the candidacy of Ken Cuccinelli.

Inside of the building each of the campaigns had an additional informational table, as did a multitude of other organizations such as The Leadership Institute, Middle Resolution PAC, and others.

IMG_1900In the auditorium itself, each delegate was grouped according to the city or county from which he or she came.  This year, the placement of each locality depended upon the percentage of their delegates who paid the voluntary $35 fee.  This change resulted in Harrisonburg city holding the choicest spot on the convention floor, front and center.  Delegates from Rockingham and Augusta Counties, regions whose delegates also strongly supported Senator Mark Obenshain, flanked Harrisonburg.

After many lengthy speeches from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Ken Cuccinelli, and the various candidates running for the Republican nomination, voting could begin.  Although announced ahead of time, it was interesting that neither Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell nor Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling attended Saturday’s convention.  As an additional note, former Representative Allen West spoke on behalf of Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Ollie North encouraged delegates to support Pete Snyder.

Voting on the first ballot began about 1 PM or so, but the results were not announced until almost four hours later due to either technical difficulties or a recount requested by the Snyder campaign if the rumors circulating were true.  Although the official tallies were not released due to Delegate Rob Bell’s request to withdraw his candidacy, Senator Mark Obenshain became the official nominee for attorney general.  On the race for lieutenant governor, E.W. Jackson captured an early lead, winning 3,732 votes, about twice as many votes as his closest rival, Susan Stimpson.  Corey Stewart finished third, followed by Pete Snyder, Scott Lingamfelter, Jeannemarie Davis, and finally Steve Martin.  As no candidate received a majority of the votes, Martin and Davis were eliminated and delegates voted again.  Unfortunately, the official numbers for the first ballot were not announced until after many delegates had already cast their second ballot, which likely skewed the next results as we were erroneously led to believe that Stewart placed second instead of Stimpson.  Behind the scenes, the Davis campaign encouraged her supporters to rally behind Jackson.

About two hours later, voting from the second ballot was announced.  Jackson increased his totals to 4,558.38, while Snyder jumped to second with 2066.89.  Stewart finished third while Stimpson and Lingamfelter, with the two lowest totals, were eliminated.  Lingamfelter cast his favor to Snyder while the Stimpson campaign did not recommend any particular candidate.

SOThe results for the third ballot came one hour and forty-five minutes later.  Jackson’s vote total again expanded to 5,934.69 with Snyder second with 3,652.97.  At this point, E.W. Jackson had over 49% of the vote and thus his election on the next ballot was a virtual lock.  The Snyder campaign passed out fliers declaring that Corey Stewart had endorsed Snyder as had Mark Obenshain.  The latter revelation came as a complete shock given that Obenshain had remained silent in this race up until now, coupled with the fact that such an endorsement would be particularly foolhardy given that Jackson’s victory was all but a certainty.  I spoke with both Chris Leavitt, Obenshain’s campaign manager, as well as Suzanne Obenshain, his wife, who denied any endorsement.  In addition, Corey Stewart appeared and walked around the floor with Jackson with raised hands.  It was terribly unfortunate that in a desperate bid to win the Snyder campaign would resort to such dirty and dishonest tactics, ploys that were all too common in the closing days of the campaign.

Update:  Bearing Drift reports the following regarding the actions of the Stewart campaign.

A little after 10 PM, Pete Snyder withdrew his candidacy and thus E.W. Jackson was declared the victor.  With voting finally concluded, we returned to the bus and headed back west to our home across the mountain.

On a personal note, unlike many of the delegates, as I did not have a favorite candidate, I ended voting for three different LG candidates over the course of the day.  I intended to cast my final vote for Pete, but, after his campaign spread their misinformation, I couldn’t reward deception and thus proudly cast my vote for E.W. Jackson.

All in all, it was an exciting and tiring day that went much longer than needed.  However, it was filled with a bunch of surprises and uncertainty, regrettably marred by technical difficulties, a bit of misinformation, and a splash of deceit.

Given that the state central committee has selected a convention in 2014 to choose the Republican candidate for Senate, we’ll do it all again next year.  Hope to see you then!

Where is Susan Stimpson?

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Susan Stimpson M.I.A.

Last night, the Republican Women of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County hosted the seven campaigns for lieutenant governor.  Jeannemarie Davis, Senator Steve Martin, and a rather hoarse sounding Corey Stewart each attended the event while Suzanne Curran spoke on behalf of E. W. Jackson and Scott Lingamfelter and Pete Snyder sent a member of their staff.  Although I didn’t see anyone that I knew from the Susan Stimpson campaign, I assumed that one of her staffers or surrogates was in the audience.

For a few additional details about the evening, Corey Stewart explained that he nearly lost his voice after personally calling each of the Rockingham County delegates.  And, after the event, I appreciated the opportunity to speak briefly to Jeannemarie Davis about her campaign.  She asked about my work and so I spoke of a potentially exciting new development to expand my reach to local radio (hopefully I’ll have more details available soon!)

Getting back to Susan Stimpson, at the Lingamfelter meet and greet in Harrisonburg earlier that day, I had heard that she had to cancel her evening appearance at the last minute.  However, I figured that someone would speak for her that night.  Unfortunately, I arrived to the Republican Women meeting a few minutes late, during the speech of Jeannemarie Davis.  Once all of the candidates gave their presentation and I didn’t hear anyone from the Stimpson campaign, I simply guessed that her representative must have spoken first, before I arrived.  Only just this afternoon did I discover that her campaign was a no show.

Although I would recommend attending every event possible, especially the Republican Women, it is understandable that things do come up.  Regardless, it is natural that some of the local women would feel slighted by an abrupt cancellation.

Now, taken as an isolated incident, this oversight by the Stimpson campaign would be rather trivial.  However, it seems to be indicative of trend for the Stimpson campaign; last night marks their third absence in several months at previously scheduled campaign events in the central Shenandoah Valley.

Let me tell you that I’m not the only one around here who is starting to wonder.  Where is Susan Stimpson?

Jeannemarie Davis Handily Wins Poll

Jeannemarie Davis
Jeannemarie Davis

Since Thursday of last week, visitors to the Virginia Conservative have had the opportunity to voice their support for Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.  With the poll now closed and with 634 votes cast in total, Jeannemarie Davis emerged as the clear winner.

To give you some history, in the early hours of the poll, Susan Stimpson maintained a fairly sizable lead.  However, as the first day continued, Davis overtook Stimpson and continued to hold dominance throughout the remaining time window.  There were a few bursts of activity from Stewart supporters and a smaller influx from the Lingamfelter crowd, but nothing compared to the Davis surge.

The final results are as follows:

Jeannemarie Davis   262 votes or 41.32%

Susan Stimpson       121 votes or 19.09%

Corey Stewart          115 votes or 18.14%

Scott Lingamfelter   64 votes or 10.09%

Pete Snyder              42 votes or 6.62%

E. W. Jackson           26 votes or 4.1%

Steve Martin             4 votes or .063%

So what do these results mean?  Does a victory or a loss on a Virginia Conservative poll necessarily translate into success or failure in May?  Obviously, the answer is no.  As anyone could vote in this poll, (regardless of whether he or she happens to be a delegate), the votes are not weighted or sorted by city or county, and a vast majority of delegates did not participate, the outcome is not useful for this purpose.  You should know this fact already, but the poll is far removed from being anything remotely scientific.

In an amusing side note, on Saturday I spoke with Steven Thomas, the regional campaign representative for the Davis campaign, and asked if he knew of my poll.  He mentioned that he had voted in it, but added that online polls didn’t carry too much weight.  I told him that I agreed with his opinion, but also asked if he knew that his boss, Jeannemarie Davis, was winning at that time.

So, getting back to our previous question, what do these results mean then?  Well, they are fairly useful tools for assessing the online capabilities of a campaign.  Typically, when one of these polls pop up, the campaigns send out messages urging their supporters to go vote for their candidate.  Assuming that they did so, these results would indicate that the Davis campaign was most proficient at this task.  By comparison, I have seen little activity either here on the ground or online from Senator Martin’s campaign in over a month.  Given his total of a mere four votes, this result mirrors this observation.

So what were my expectations?  I’ll admit that when I created this poll, I expected one of two different outcomes.  First, given the relative strength and tenacity of her supporters in the Shenandoah Valley, Susan Stimpson would win this poll.  Although she performed well early and captured second place, Davis had more than twice the vote totals of any other candidate.  Second, given the impressive online capabilities of the Pete Snyder campaign, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him win either.  However, given his fifth place finish, either the Snyder campaign took little to no notice of this poll, or his support isn’t quite as robust as I had predicted.  Now some people have accused Davis supporters of trolling, but I really hope that they have better things to do than resetting their cookies in order to vote multiple times.

Let me conclude by tipping my hat to the Davis campaign.  Yes, they won this relatively minor poll, but, far more importantly, they continue to show that they are one of the most active lieutenant governor campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley.  At just about every political gathering in this region either Davis or one of her staffers have been faithfully promoting her campaign.  And, whether you agree or disagree with Jeannemarie’s positions, a strong and active campaign is a critical element in political success.

So, once again, I offer kudos to the Davis campaign.

As a final note, if you are looking for a more in-depth questionnaire on the 2013 RPV convention, I strongly encourage you to check out Willie Deutsch’s new poll.  It should be exciting to see his results!

GOP Lt. Governor Poll

IMG_1670Everyone loves a political poll, right?  Especially when you get the opportunity to support your favorite candidate in a crowded field of seven.

So here is your chance, readers of the Virginia Conservative!  Who is your choice among the Republican candidates running for lieutenant governor?  And, if you feel like saying why you support him or her, leave a comment below.  That way everyone else can know why he or she is your top choice!

Two Chances for Lt. Gov. Candidates

Pete Snyder, Scott Lingamfelter, Jeannemarie Davis
Pete Snyder, Scott Lingamfelter, & Jeannemarie Davis

Over the next two days, residents and visitors to the Harrisonburg area will have two opportunities to listen to and meet with three of the seven Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.

First, I have received word that Pete Snyder will be speaking at Thursday’s meeting of the Harrisonburg Tea Party (February 28th).  That gathering is taking place from 6:30 PM to 8:15 at the Freedom Baptist Church, located at 141 Pleasant Hill Road.  In addition, the main focal point of the evening will be Professor Robert Subrick of JMU.  He will be addressing the important and far too often overlooked topic of Austrian Economics.

Second, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Jeannemarie Davis are the two-featured guests at the monthly First Friday gathering of the Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Republican Parties (March 1st).  The event starts at noon and will be held at the Woodgrill Buffet on 1711 Reservoir Street.  If you would like to attend this event, please email Suzanne Obenshain at suzanne@markobenshain.com so that sufficient space is reserved.

Remember, if you are planning to sign up to be a delegate to the Virginia Republican convention in May, it is imperative that you learn about all of your choices.  Therefore, I highly recommend that you make both of these gatherings and keep an eye out for additional chances to meet with all candidates in your area, regardless of whether you live in the Shenandoah Valley or some other portion of the state.

One-On-One With Pete Snyder

Pete Snyder
Pete Snyder

On Saturday, after the meeting of the College Republican Federation of Virginia here in Harrisonburg, I had the opportunity to speak with Pete Snyder, one of the seven candidates seeking Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.  Mr. Snyder is an entrepreneur from northern Virginia who recently served as chairman for the 2012 Virginia Victory campaign.

Although we planned to get together at the local Starbucks, due to overcrowding, we had to relocate to the Jimmy Johns located several doors down.  This particular discussion was pretty open-ended, in which I was able to ask a number of questions about Mr. Snyder’s political principles and his campaign.  Armed with a trusty, new recorder, we began.

What I thought was the most important issue of the day concerned the matter of liberty and how Pete Snyder would reach out and connect to the tea party and Ron Paul activists, a growing segment within the Republican Party in Virginia.  His answer was fairly simple and straightforward stating that he is a solid constitutionalist, who offers a consistent message to every group, emphasizing, “I think anyone who is liberty-minded would hopefully want someone in office who…thinks about how we protect our civil liberties.”  When it comes to our government in Richmond, he added he that he would like to “have the entire state government dust off the Virginia State Constitution…and figure out what business we were supposed to be in and what business we are in now, what mission creep went on there and reign it back in.”  If elected, he declared that he would base his decisions upon three criteria: First, “Is it moral?” Second, “Does it add to or chip away our civil liberties?” Lastly, “Does it strengthen or weaken the free market?”

I did ask Pete Snyder about a potentially sore subject, his time as Virginia Victory Chairman.  As you may recall, in the past election neither Mitt Romney nor George Allen, the GOP Senate candidate, were able to win the state.  Mr. Snyder mentioned that he was honored to be asked to volunteer as the chairman and stated that he was quite successful at his primary task, raising money for these Republican candidates.  Regarding this matter, one lingering question that was sent to me recently is, if Pete Snyder spent so much time promoting Romney and Allen last year, how do we know that, if elected, he will not emulate the big government policies either advocated by these two, or Governor McDonnell who appointed him to this position?  It is an important consideration, especially coming on the back of Virginia’s transportation tax increase, which is viewed by many conservatives as a massive betrayal perpetrated by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell and the Republican-controlled General Assembly.  The Snyder campaign has answered this question over the weekend, in part, by issuing statements on Facebook praising the legislators who opposed these measures. Today, they stepped up the rhetoric releasing a statement adding, “The career politicians and big government crowd in our party have to go.”

Over the last several weeks, I have spoken to Pete Snyder more than any of the other candidates running statewide.  Personally, he does seem to be a friendly and likeable guy and I appreciate the fact that he has made it a point to talk with me after several recent events.  We share a somewhat unusual commonality, as we are both graduates of the College of William & Mary with a degree in government.  I should add, in all fairness, after I heard his story about how be met his future wife while she was on a date with another guy, I asked him about his experience, hoping for some wisdom, given that I found myself in a similar situation.

Regardless of your opinion of Pete Snyder, one must admit that he is persistent and not one to give up easily.  For example, each time we conclude one of our conversations he always ends by asking for my support.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I am still in the process of learning about all of our choices for lieutenant governor before reaching any premature conclusions.  Nevertheless, on Saturday he gave me one of his bumper stickers should the time come that I would be in need of it.

As with my previous piece on the lieutenant governor’s race, I’d like to thank Pete Snyder and his staff for the opportunity to meet with him one-on-one.  Although a conflicting event will prevent him from speaking at the Harrisonburg Tea Party this coming Thursday, a member of his campaign team should be on hand.

Lastly, let me encourage the readers of the Virginia Conservative to learn more about Pete Snyder and the six other individuals running to be our next lieutenant governor.  We have an important decision to make in May; properly informed delegates are indispensable if liberty-minded conservatives hope to reclaim the government of the Commonwealth.

Republican Lt Governor Candidate Forum a Success!

A press release from the Republican Women of Shenandoah County and their president, Karen Kwiatkowski

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Photo by Joshua Huffman

The forum held on February 9th at the LFCC campus provided nearly 200 attendees from the upper Shenandoah Valley with an up-­‐close and personal view of the seven Republicans vying for the party nod for Lt Governor.

All seven candidates attended, including Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson and Prince William County Supervisor Cory Stewart, US Senate Candidate Bishop E.W. Jackson, State Senator Steve Martin, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, entrepreneur Pete Snyder, and former State Senator and delegate Jeanne Marie Davis.

Event sponsors were the Republican Women of Shenandoah County, the Apple Valley Club of Winchester, and the Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives.  The candidates were placed under the conservative microscope operated by moderator Suzanne Curran, Western Region Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Virginia.

While all candidates represented the values of limited government and individual opportunity, there were fireworks evident between those who have held office at the local level and often suffer from expensive federal and state mandates, and those who work or have worked in Richmond, at times dishing out those expensive mandates.  The theme of liberty and freedom was consistently articulated by EW Jackson, and echoed loudly by the other candidates, especially businessman Pete Snyder who is running a well-­‐funded and innovative campaign of “Big Conservative Ideas.”  Susan Stimpson and Cory Stewart both touted their success in reducing taxation and invigorating local economies.  Scott Lingamfelter shared status of his so-­‐called Boneta Bill (Freedom to Farm without Fear) and many in the audience were very supportive of this effort to get government off of the backs of average people and local farmers.

The candidates all addressed a local issue of interest to Shenandoah County voters.  Each expressed their thoughts on the direct and indirect cost to taxpayers of moral obligation bonds, and various Virginia Bond-­‐Issuing Authority roles within, and relationship to, the Virginia Constitution.  Virginia’s dependence on federal spending within in the Commonwealth was also discussed.

All of the candidates delivered the conservative message with passion, and the audience was large, intently listening, and well informed.  The Republican Women of Shenandoah County wish to thank everyone who worked to arrange this event, the Apple Valley Club and Dody Stottlemyer specifically for personal donation of food and drinks, Shaffer’s Catering for a donation of coffee, the great people at LFCC, the attendees and the candidates, and many more.

For more information on these candidates, their websites are below:

Corey Stewart                                    http://www.coreystewart.com

EW Jackson                                       http://www.jacksonforlg.com/

Jeanne Marie Davis                         http://jeannemarie4lg.com

Pete Snyder                                       http://www.petesnyder.com/

Scott Lingamfelter                           http://vote4scott.com/

Steve Martin                                     http://senatorstevemartin.com/

Susan Stimpson                               http://susanstimpson.com/

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