Lobby Day 2015

IMG_2729Today, in an annual tradition, citizens from across Virginia converged at the state capitol in Richmond for Lobby Day.  The morning and afternoon consisted of rallies, protests, sitting in on sessions of the state government, and meeting with elected officials.

The day started relatively early as I traveled from the Shenandoah Valley with two local Republicans, Kaylene and Laura.  My first stop was to the General Assembly Building.  As I walked through the grounds, the Virginia Citizens Defense League was preparing for an event at the bell tower, passing out their traditional orange stickers proclaiming that “guns save lives.”  Many in the gathering crowd also wore stickers in support of Susan Stimpson, as she is seeking to unseat Speaker of the House of Delegates William Howell.

After making my way through security, I came across several local faces, such as Delegate Mark Berg (R-Winchester) as well as Dan Moxley and his daughter, Hannah.  Mr. Moxley is challenging Senator Emmett Hanger for the Republican nomination in the 24th district.

One of my first stops was to see Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke).  He has proposed a bill that lowers the threshold for a political party to achieve official status in Virginia from 10% of a statewide vote to 4%.  As I believe doing so would allow for greater choices in elections, I wanted to learn more.  While there, I discovered that he has sponsored another bill that would change redistricting so that legislators would no longer be able to choose their voters.  It is a bill which requires further study.

Although many of the delegates and senators were not in their offices, I did set up an appointment to speak with Delegate Gordon Helsel (R-Poquoson).  I very much enjoyed my conversation with his aide, Ashley.  In addition, I ran across Virginia Libertarian Party Chairman Bill Redpath and later Virginia Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Robert Kenyon.

IMG_2730When I approached the capitol entrance, a group marched outside protesting student loans.

Inside, both the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates were in brief sessions.  I found it curious that one had to go through security a second time in order to watch the Senate; it seemed completely unnecessary.

After briefly speaking with a number of legislators including: Senator Obenshain (R-Rockingham), Senator Vogel (R-Fauquier), and Senator Hanger (R-Augusta), I made my way back to the General Assembly Building.  Outside stood a group advocating greater food and farming freedom.  There I ran across additional legislators including: Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham), Delegate Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge), Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William), and a second brief encounter with Delegate Berg.

Although I was tempted to visit the office of recently re-elected and convicted Delegate Joe Morrissey (D-Henrico), I decided against it.  I would have also liked to speak to Delegate Pogge (R-York).  Even though I saw her outside, I could not find her in the building, instead meeting with her legislative assistant.  I also said hello to Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton) and his aide, Savanna.

Next, I spoke with Delegate Helsel.  I sought him out as I was interested to learn his opinions of the proposed changes in the party plan of the Republican Party of Virginia.  Now serving as a Republican delegate, in 2009 Helsel ran as an independent against the Republican nominee.  If the proposed changed had been in place at that time, Delegate Helsel would have been ineligible to run as a Republican in 2011 or participate in any of their party politics until the year 2017.  We also discussed the surprisingly differing responses from Republicans regarding former Delegate Phil Hamilton and freshly sentenced former Governor Bob McDonnell.

Afterward, I visited my state senator’s office to try and understand why he would push for party registration as well as to voice my objections and concerns about doing so.   I firmly believe that registration would lead to disenfranchisement and would further erode political freedom in Virginia.  I’m told that I should have a response from his office within a day.

Lastly, I met up with Robert Sarvis and a handful of fellow Libertarians who also came to Richmond for Lobby Day.  Apparently they spoke in a Senate committee in favor of a bill that would decrease signature requirements for ballot access, but I’m told the bill was killed 2-4 along party lines as all of the Republicans in the committee voted against it.

I must say that as I walked through the halls of the capitol today, I felt a return of excitement and enthusiasm that I first experienced during my early days of political involvement.

All in all, Lobby Day 2015 was another fun event here in Virginia and I was glad to be a part of it.

2014: In Political Review

UntitledAs today is the last day of 2014, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon my political adventures over the previous 365 days.

I suppose the most monumental event for me, at least politically, was running for city council.  Although involved in more elections than I can count, that race marked my first time as a candidate.  It was a unique experience and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of folks that I may not have otherwise encountered.  It also gave me an insight into my fellow candidates, viewing them from an angle that most voters would never know.  Yes, the voters preferred other choices, but I’ve said that one win or loss isn’t as important as advancing the liberty movement.  Taken as a whole, running was both rewarding and discouraging.

2014 marked the end of my 19 year involvement with the Republican Party as I was expelled from my local unit in February.  It was disheartening to see the party place blind loyalty over their principles, but for far too many people in politics, values are a mere smokescreen to advance their own power.  A few months later, about a decade after attending my first meeting, I joined the Libertarian Party.  Although I am keenly aware of the potential pitfalls of political parties, it is difficult to promote and advance your ideas by yourself and have discovered a number of good people who call themselves Libertarian.  I especially appreciated the opportunity to meet Will Hammer, the Libertarian candidate for House in the 6th, and Paul Jones, the Libertarian candidate in the 5th.  Thanks also to Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian senatorial candidate, as well as John Buckley, the West Virginian Libertarian senatorial candidate and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who helped my campaign.  Also, I don’t want to forget Josh who created a fine website for me and Jonathan who crafted a bunch of campaign literature; thank you too to my friends that are still within the GOP.  Before moving on, let me offer another big thanks and shout-out to Marc Montoni, the LPVA Secretary, whose assistance, advice, and friendship were valuable to me in so many ways.

I feel I should mention that earlier this year I faced a pretty significant political threat.  Although I’ve been bullied by a variety of sources previously, this particular threat had a rather nasty sting to it especially considering it was done by someone who once declared me a good friend.  I shouldn’t be surprised that some people in politics will say or do almost anything to try and achieve their goals, but that doesn’t make the encounter any less disappointing.

On a lighter note, I had the opportunity to learn a little bit firsthand about Guatemalan politics during my mission trip with my church to that country.  Comparative politics is usually interesting.

I was glad that the radio show with Andy Schmookler on 550 AM WSVA continued and am grateful to Karen Kwiatkowski for filling in for me on two shows I could not participate due to my run for council.

I’m pleased to say that this website, The Virginia Conservative, still is going strong; it’s a little amusing that it continues to accumulate more fans that my run for council did.  Not seeking to garner praise from any particular group or person, I pledge to continue to offer my candid thoughts and news into my seventh year.

Moving on to politics at JMU, I wonder if I am the first person to be refused entry to a meeting of the JMU CRs.  I’ve been active in trying to promote college activism for years, but several months ago, like George Wallace enforcing segregation, a leader of that group blocked the door to their meeting and requested that I not come in.

Although I’m disappointed that Nick, the former leader of Madison Liberty, has graduated and left the area, I’m looking forward to seeing how Emery advances the group next year and plan to aid him however I can.  I also hope that Students for Sensible Drug Policy continues to be a force on campus.  Although my time with the JMU CRs was brief, I must I was glad for the opportunity to meet Christian, a like-minded activist, and hope he presses that group in a more principled direction.

Lastly, I’d like to take a moment and recognize two of my fellow former candidates for city council.  Although we certainly disagreed on a number of issues, both Republican D.D. Dawson and Democrat Alleyn Harned showed themselves to be particularly worthy opponents and I appreciated their warmness and decency in a field that sorely needs it.

Have I missed something or someone?  I have no doubt that I have.  But please forgive me; after all, it’s hard to condense an entire year into a single post.

Best wishes to you all in 2015.  Let’s see where the next year takes us!

The Liberation of Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli and Joshua Huffman at the 2009 RPV Convention
Ken Cuccinelli and Joshua Huffman at the 2009 RPV Convention

In case you don’t follow former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Facebook, lately he has been expressing a lot of strong opinions regarding politics.

For example, when it comes to Del. Joe Morrisey and his adventures with an underage woman, Cuccinelli writes “I hope there’s a race on under Rule 24 of the House, or other appropriate mechanism, to expel him from the House of Delegates.”  But his comments aren’t limited to only Democratic misconduct.  For example, when there are poor Republican actions, such as the vote on HR 83 concerning amnesty, Mr. Cuccinelli stated that it “is so disappointing I’m beyond comment”.  On December 12th, he announced, “I am sorry to have to report that of all 8 GOP congressmen in Virginia, only Cong. Dave Brat voted ‘against the rule’ governing debate and amendments of the CROmnibus bill.”

I don’t know about you, but the fact that Ken Cuccinelli is willing to take a stand on principle, even when it means calling out members of his own political party, is one reason why I like Mr. Cuccinelli.

But wait a minute, the astute observer might say.  If you like Ken Cuccinelli why did you support Robert Sarvis over him in 2013?  How can what you say above make any sense?

Well, just about every Cuccinelli supporter I know is of the opinion that the 2013 Cuccinelli campaign was one of the worst run statewide campaigns that Virginia has ever seen.  Rather than highlight any of the positive aspects of Ken Cuccinelli as attorney general and a state senator beforehand, his campaign instead focused on painting Terry McAuliffe as a sleazy, unelectable dirt-bag.  Although they succeeded in creating a general disdain for McAuliffe, the McAuliffe campaign successfully defined Cuccinelli as a scary right-wing zealot out to control every aspect of our lives.  I’ve seen far too much fearmongering and incivility in politics in recent years and could not be an advocate of either.  For that reason, and several others, I could not support Cuccinelli and decided to latch on to the one campaign that offered a clear message of liberty and hope, Robert Sarvis’.

Shortly before Election Day, several of us, including the chairman of the Harrisonburg Libertarian Party had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Ken Cuccinelli.  I told him that his campaign had to offer voters a positive message, that there were a number of reasons why citizens cast their votes for him in 2009 and why they should do so again in 2013.  He did have one video, which I thought was great, but I said he needed more like.  I was told the funding wasn’t available and that the negativity was the only real course available.  The Ken Cuccinelli I knew, that I ardently supported in 2009, the one that would stand up for principle even when in means bucking his party, the one who got kicked out of the GOP in 2011 for supporting an independent candidate over a poor Republican choice, was lost amid the campaign.

But, once the campaign was over and McAuliffe was sworn in as our new governor, I noticed that the Ken Cuccinelli that I knew, the one who boldly takes a stance for what he believes in was making a comeback.  Now, do I agree with every position that Ken Cuccinelli takes?  Over course not!  But it was a very encouraging sign and thus I had a strong desire to speak to the former attorney general once more and reached out to his staff.

Shortly before the 2014 elections, I had the great opportunity to speak to Mr. Cuccinelli again.  I hoped to discuss the 2013 campaign and his efforts in promoting liberty through his new role with the Senate Conservatives Fund.  Unfortunately, some of the scars from last election had not fully healed and so our conversation was cut short before we could explore the second topic.  Although I think I failed, I was trying to provide whatever limited advice I could, not to maliciously reopen an old wound.

Regrettably, I’ve discovered that when a person holds or is running for an elective office, they often disguise or mute their true political opinions.  I’m wondering if Ken Cuccinelli was elected governor (and I think he would have made a far better governor than Terry McAuliffe) would he be presently hamstrung too?  Once they are no longer in position of power or are planning on seeking election do we catch a glimpse of the true colours of politicians?  In 2013 Republicans got a taste of liberated and vengeful Bill Bolling and in 2014 they might have finally realized that one could only laughably call former Senator John Warner a conservative.

So, today I’d like to take a moment to recognize Ken Cuccinelli.  I’m glad to see him speaking out whether it is admonishing either Democrats or Republicans who seek to expand the power of government, strip away our freedoms, or funnel our money to further crony capitalism.  Don’t ever obey the voice that tells you that you must stand by your party regardless of their actions.

Keep fighting the good fight, sir!

“Spoiler” Seeks to Unspoil

Robert Sarvis
Robert Sarvis

Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor in 2013 and U.S. Senate in 2014 is back with a message.  No, it isn’t an announcement of his next campaign.  Instead, it is a call for electoral reform here in Virginia.

Specifically, he is suggesting three changes:

First, “reduce the threshold for ballot-qualified party status to 2% of the vote in statewide elections.”

In Virginia, a political party needs to get 10% of the vote in a statewide election in order to achieve major party status.  As a result, there are technically only two political parties in Virginia, the Republicans and Democrats.  One major focus of the 2013 & 2014 Sarvis campaigns was to reach this threshold for the Libertarian Party.  Although achieving a record percentage in 2013, the Sarvis campaign still fell short of this goal.  A vast majority of states have a far lower threshold than Virginia.

Second, “reduce the ballot signature threshold to 5,000 for all statewide offices (Gov., Lt. Gov., Atty. Gen., U.S. Sen.).”

In statewide elections, Virginia requires primary candidates and non-major party candidates to collect 10,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.  As a result of this relatively high requirement,  Virginians only had two choices in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, despite the fact that many more candidates were running.

Third, “enact ranked-choice (instant-runoff) voting in Virginia elections. No more claims of spoilers or wasted votes.”

Given some perceptions of Robert Sarvis, this idea will likely generate the most interest.  While the first two suggestions would expand ballot access and political freedom in Virginia, the third would prevent candidates, like Sarvis, from supposedly “stealing elections” from either the Republicans or Democrats as was suggested in 2013 and 2014.  After all, under this idea if no candidate achieved a majority of the vote on the first ballot, then the candidate or candidates with the lowest vote total would automatically be eliminated from the process and his or her votes would be split among the remaining candidates based upon the preference order of the individual voters.  Thus, this change would elect a candidate that is presumably preferable to the majority.  Unlike some states, like Louisiana which is holding its runoff election in a few days from now, with instant-runoff voting a new election would not needed, thus saving considerable tax dollars.  In addition, it would give voters greater freedom to cast their first vote for the candidate they most prefer without the potential worry of “throwing a vote away” for a candidate that isn’t favored to win.

Although I’d like to see a few additional reforms, like requiring all candidates collect the same number of signatures in order to make the ballot regardless of party, I do think that the suggestions that Robert Sarvis suggests would certainly improve elections in Virginia.  If you agree, please contact your delegate and/or state senator to urge them to support this kind of election legislation.

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XVII)

After a two month hiatus, I (Joshua Huffman) have returned to 550 AM WSVA.  Together with Andy Schmookler we discuss the political issues of the day.

The big topics up for consideration today were: reflections about running for political office (as I ran for Harrisonburg City Council this year and Andy ran for House of Representatives in 2012) and thoughts about the surprisingly close U.S. Senate race between Mark Warner, Ed Gillespie, and Robert Sarvis.

In case you missed it, you can find the program here.

Sarvis Steals Another One!

Ed Gillespie the day before the election
Ed Gillespie the day before the election in Staunton, VA

I’m sure that many of you were shocked by the closeness of the U.S. Senate race here in Virginia.  After all, who would have predicted that Democrat Mark Warner, who beat Republican Ed Gillespie by at least nine percentage points in every poll but one, would emerge victorious by only about half a percentage point?

Also in the race was Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.  Sarvis, as many will remember, ran last year for governor capturing 6.5% of the vote in a race where only about 2.5% separated the Republican and the Democrat.  As such, a number of Republican activists blamed Sarvis for that outcome, claiming that he siphoned enough votes from Ken Cuccinelli to allow Terry McAuliffe to claim victory.

Given that Libertarian Robert Sarvis won almost 2.5% of the vote in this election, some Republicans are claiming, once again, that Sarvis stole another election from them.

Robert Sarvis at a recent stop at JMU
Robert Sarvis at a recent stop at JMU

The theory behind this argument is that without Sarvis in the race, most of his supporters would instead choose the Republican candidate.  In 2013, exit polls showed that a greater percentage of Sarvis voters would have selected the Democrat over the Republican if he were not in the race.  After all, he captured more liberals than conservatives, more young than old, and more college graduates than graduates.  These are groups that typically trend toward the Democratic Party.

Although I haven’t seen the exits polls for 2014, I believe the opposite happened this time.  A larger percentage of typical Republican voters cast their ballots for Sarvis than the Democrats.  Almost all self-identified liberty-minded Republicans that I know either cast their ballots for Sarvis or simply left it blank.

“Ah ha!” The Republican establishment shouts.  “So you admit that Sarvis stole the 2014 election!”

My answer is no.

Stealing something implies that you have taken something that doesn’t belong to you.  I would argue that no candidate or party has an automatic right to any person’s vote regardless of their previous voting history or ideology.  Votes are always earned and must be re-earned each and every election; they never should be taken for granted.  We aren’t political slaves!

Let’s rewind the clock to the 2002 U.S. Senate election in Virginia.  That was John Warner’s last election.  You remember John Warner, don’t you?  He was the long-serving Republican Senator from Virginia who recently endorsed Democrat Mark Warner for Senate.  As a result, some people now consider him a traitor.  But this recent revelation conveniently overlooks the fact that he rarely fought for the supposedly Republican principles of restraining the power of the federal government.  In addition, he supported gun control and abortion, two positions in stark contrast to a majority of Virginia Republicans.    And then there is Warner’s proclivity to oppose the “Republican team” as he did when he denounced Ollie North in 1994 and Mike Farris in 1993.

Even though John Warner and I shared the same political party back then, I could not bring myself to vote for him and thus left that portion of the ballot blank.  Did sticking to my principles make me a “bad Republican”?

As stated, this year many conservatives and libertarians who consider themselves Republicans did not feel that Ed Gillespie shared their principles and thus either cast their vote for Sarvis, wrote in Shak Hill, or didn’t vote at all.  Who can blame them?  After all, the last time I spoke to Ed Gillespie, I asked him which unconstitutional federal agencies would he work to eliminate, his response was that he would “check with his advisers and get back in touch with me”.  For someone who believes the federal government has grown too large, that answer was unacceptable and showed, much like Warner over a decade earlier, that he and I disagreed on the most important and fundamental principles of our constitutional republic.  Like 2002, if I didn’t have an acceptable option, I simply would not have voted for any of the candidates for Senate.

So, yes.  If Robert Sarvis had not been in the race, Gillespie might have ended up winning.  But regardless of my opinion of Sarvis, I’m glad that voters had a third choice so they didn’t have to simply vote for the lesser of two evils.  The Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties, as well as independents have as much of a right to run candidates as the Republicans and Democrats.  And, if voters believe that their candidates are better than one or both of the major party candidates, then perhaps they ought to solve this problem by running better candidates.  Or, given that Sarvis used to be a Republican, perhaps they ought to work harder to grow the party and stick with their supposed principles as opposed to driving folks away or simply kicking people out of the party as they did in my case.

Just don’t complain that the election was “stolen”.

The Latest Poll

For enthusiasts of Virginia politics, I’m sure many of us have been eagerly waiting for the next poll of our U.S. Senate race.  Given that most politicos have predicted that Democratic Senator Mark Warner will easily win re-election, there has not been a lot of national attention paid to the Commonwealth.

I’m pleased to say that finally we have the latest poll.  This one comes from CBS News/New York Times/YouGov.

For the record, their last poll ending on October 1st showed Warner with 51% to Gillespie’s 39% with Sarvis at 1% and 9% undecided.  However, many Republicans have claimed that Gillespie has been gaining ground and that the gap is narrowing.  So what does this poll say as compared to the last?

Well, now Warner sits at 49% with Gillespie at 39% and Sarvis at 1% with 11% undecided.

Given the previous margin of error of 3% and the current margin of error of 4%, this poll seems to indicate that there has been little to no change in the opinions of the electorate over the last couple of weeks.  Warner surrenders a couple of points to the undecided column while Gillespie and Sarvis remain stable.

On November 4th, I would expect the numbers for both the Gillespie and the Sarvis to rise a little as the undecideds finally make their decision.  Nevertheless, as I predicted a month and a half ago, and this latest poll seems to indicate, I still believe that Warner will win by a comfortable margin.

Will there be any new polls that will show that Virginia in is play?

Will the Real Libertarians Please Stand Up?

A guest post by James Curtis.

This article appeared the October issue of Virginia Liberty, the LPVA newsletter.  It has been reposted here with permission.

One of the results of the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election has been to demarcate a clear divide between libertarian Republicans and Libertarians. For this discussion, “libertarian Republicans” are defined as members or supporters of the Republican Party and/or its candidates who self-identify as “libertarian” in philosophy. (“Big L”) “Libertarians” are defined here as philosophical libertarians who are members or supporters of the Libertarian Party and/or its candidates.

While there has been talk of “litmus tests” and the measure of one’s “libertarianism,” these discussions have detracted from the real separation between the two groups. One division between the groups seems to be a tolerance, or even acceptance, of bigotry by libertarian Republicans. By any definition of the word, Ken Cuccinelli has demonstrated his belief that homosexuals do not have the same rights as heterosexuals. Examples of such can easily be found through any internet search. These are not just words on his part, either. Cuccinelli has a track record of letting his prejudice affect his performance in public office. Two glaring examples are his support for the Constitutional amendment prohibiting the Commonwealth from recognizing “same sex marriages” and his recent efforts to reinstitute anti-sodomy legislation.

Many libertarian Republicans dismiss or discount these and other efforts and comments. Some have suggested that Cuccinelli would be the “most libertarian” governor in recent Virginia history. They point to such efforts as the lawsuit filed against the federal government in regard to some aspects of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and his general touting of using Amendment X (US Constitution) as a means to thwart other federal abuses of authority. While these efforts may be laudable, they do not adequately demonstrate that Cuccinelli is “libertarian,” especially given his record on social issues. And this is not to suggest that all social conservatives are bigots. While words such as “bigot” or “racist” sometimes get used too freely, there is no denial that such sentiment exists, and has adversely affected Republican policy positions.

Many Libertarians point out that the philosophy is not just an economic model, nor one that values “states’ rights” to the point where the States may tread on civil liberties in areas where the federal government is prohibited. Libertarianism encompasses economic, personal, and even moral aspects of personal liberty that cannot be separated from the others. In these regards, bigotry is simply unacceptable. Ron Paul, the definitive libertarian Republican, dismisses allegations of racism by pointing out it is a form of collectivism that ignores individuality. While this is true, and Paul calls for more liberty with a focus on individuality, he seems to stop short of calling out the immorality of such comments and actions. The true Libertarian challenges the moral failings of bigotry, and challenges those who defend, dismiss, or downplay such sentiments to reexamine their respect for libertarian philosophy. In short, Libertarians reject bigotry, whether involved in public policy or not.

Another division between the groups was the unawareness of, dismissal of, or even hostility towards the “libertarian left” by libertarian Republicans. Many downplayed, or even attacked, Robert Sarvis’ focus on “social issues” during his campaign. Others twisted his responses to economics questions to argue that he was not libertarian at all (or not as much as Cuccinelli). Those arguments on economic issues have been well analyzed elsewhere. The suggestions that Sarvis was a “social liberal,” or that his focus on such issues somehow demonstrated he was not really libertarian, pointed out the failings of many libertarian Republicans. As alluded to above, such arguments place too much emphasis on financial matters at the expense of personal civil liberties. And as some of the vitriol showed, many libertarian Republicans do not apply the libertarian philosophy consistently, by downplaying or dismissing the importance of social issues to many voters, Libertarian or other.

Many Libertarians came to libertarianism through a focus on civil liberties. Subsets of libertarianism such as left-libertarianism or libertarian socialism exist and attract many newcomers to the libertarian movement. Groups such as “LGBT Libertarians” and “Libertarian Democrats” also help spread the libertarian philosophy with a focus on social issues. And we have to acknowledge that just as there are libertarians who choose to work within the Republican Party, there are some who choose to work within the Democratic Party, often citing similar “pragmatic” arguments for doing so. Many Virginians who voted for Sarvis were independents who were at least equally attracted to his positions on social issues as on economic issues.

The most obvious division between libertarian Republicans and Libertarians is the division over which political party to support. Good faith arguments can be made for either approach as the best tactic for promoting libertarianism to Virginians. But, as these other divides may suggest, neither “side” should expect the other to abandon its chosen path.

But I challenge libertarian Republicans to consider these points. Are you really comfortable ignoring, or even defending, the prejudices of some of your Republican colleagues? If not, you either need to work harder to drive such intolerance out of the Party, or quit supporting such an un-libertarian organization. Do you believe enough Libertarians, including the libertarian left, can be persuaded to come and work within the Republican Party to reform it? Even if some voters can be convinced a reformed Republican Party is actually a libertarian party, the Republican “brand” may have been too damaged for many Libertarians to comfortably take up its mantle, or for many independent voters to support its candidates.

For these and other reasons, the Libertarian Party is the best vehicle through which to promote libertarianism and libertarian candidates for office. While there is much divergence of thought within libertarianism (a phenomenon that is dismissed or downplayed by our political opponents or others who wish to demonize our efforts), the philosophy does not allow for the social conservatism that Republicans accommodate nor the economic redistribution that many Democrats call for. The results in this election, coupled with polling data that shows growing numbers of Americans who agree with our positions on so many issues, suggests that the time is ripe for Libertarians to abandon their efforts in other political parties, and for others to get involved in partisan politics, so that we can become a more effective political force.

James Curtis serves as the Treasurer of the LPVA and has been part of their activities since 1996.  He is a Marine Corps veteran and holds two degrees from the University of Virginia.

A Letter About W.I.S.H.

Several days ago, I wrote about increasing dissatisfaction among some conservatives with Virginia Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie.  As mentioned, several folks that I know say that they are planning to write-in Shak Hill as their choice on November 4th.

Well, today I received an email from some of the folks from the W.I.S.H. effort (which stands for write-in Shak Hill).  Although it says as much in the letter itself, as additional disclaimer, the author of this letter wants to remind everyone that this effort is neither part of the Apple Valley Tea Party campaign nor is it from Shak Hill either.

Anyway, here’s what they have to say…

 

Greetings to all,
Some info for the W.I.S.H. effort (Write in Shak Hill for senate)

Mike and Josh (my husband and stepson) started this campaign shortly after Labor Day. We are using social media, facebook (“Write in Shak Hill” page), twitter, and I am including a video in my newsletters (Apple Valley Tea party…along with the all candidates stuff). Some feedback is beginning to come back to us. We figured they would ignore us first, then they would begin to attack us. we’ll see how that pans out.

This write-in effort first of all, is NOT spearheaded by Shak Hill. Also the Apple Valley Tea Party is NOT behind this effort. It is an independent effort of folks who are not enthused at all about the candidates we have for the Virginia Senate Race.

How amazing it is to me, that folks can be so caught up into one phrase “We’ve GOT to get rid of Harry Reid”, that they can’t see the forest for the trees. The messaging for the Republican party this election cycle is right out of the Democratic playbook. Never mind, that all across the nation, good solid Americans, with the kind of values I thought we all believed in, have been trampled by the Republican Party for the ousting of Harry Reid. Never mind, that if, indeed, you did get those folks into the Senate…they would be very difficult to beat as an incumbent. Never mind that they may go to DC…but who knows whether they have the principles to actually vote to keep the Freedom that is ours.

Is the Republican Party really trying to win this race? Doesn’t seem like it. Up until the latter part of September there has been very little mention of the Senate race at all. Many people, who are average folks like us, have no idea there is an election going on out there. No signs..no ads, and If they do hear of the election, they know Mark Warner is running, but they have no idea who is running against him. If the Republicans really wanted to win the Senate, don’t you think they would have been coming out of the gate swinging for the election win, as soon as the convention was over with?  Many people who do know that Ed Gillespie is the candidate, aren’t even wanting to get out and vote. If those of us who are paying attention, and know the serious state this country is in, won’t get out and vote, do you really think anyone else is going to bother to pay attention? Let’s see, on that Tuesday, if there is something else going on in their life, or taking time out to vote, what do you think people are going to do?

People are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. Many people don’t think their vote counts, and that is because the political parties keep running candidates that reflect the $$ donors, instead of the values people hold dear. I don’t want to vote for somebody because of how electable they are (certainly according to different sources than what I use). People are clamoring to be able to vote FOR somebody. As for my sources, I go by what I hear from the customers in my place of work. the grocery store, Mike does the same thing, with the guys he works with. Together that’s several segments of the population that get covered…under the radar of the involved members of both political parties.

We have seen what voting Party over principle has done to this Country. We are living it now, and the only way to save this nation, is to start putting citizen legislators back into office (the way the founders intended).   Mike and I both believe in the principles that we have seen exhibited by Shak Hill. Principles that I know many folks share. He is an honest man, a decorated combat veteran, and a sucessful businessman. Principles I know he will keep when he gets to DC. Gillespie may have those values, but I remember his name mixed up with Enron. That was the first thing that came to my mind, when I heard his name back in January. And that is what most folks who are not affiliated with either party will remember.  I am sorry to say that regardless of any poll that comes out, and there are several being cited( have to look at the demographics on those), Warner will hand Gillespie’s behind to him in Nov. Those same poll #’s were given out in 2012 too, when Kaine easily beat Allen, and Allen had a whole lot more name recognition. The most informed folks, that have given us a comment, haven’t asked why we will take the victory from Gillespie, only why we want to make the margin of defeat greater. What does that say about the chances of a victory?

On a different thought, what if the Republican party isn’t really trying to win the election? They can raise a ton of money with their mantra. But they managed to pick Ed Gillespie, who has ties to the Bush administration, and rumors of wrongdoing with Enron. Ed did make a comment supporting using the IRS to enforce individual mandates for health care (Obamacare), so he will not hammer that as much as he should (that’s a winning argument). So Ed has absolutely the slimmest chance of winning, that the Republican party could find, while actually fielding a candidate to try to make it look like they wanted to win this race.

Campaign Finance
Candidate                            Raised            Cash on Hand
Ed Gillespie (Republican)    $4,164,818    $3,111,992
Mark Warner* (Democrat)    $9,927,477    $8,914,812
Robert Sarvis (Libertarian)    $47,167    $7,073
Groups spent an additional $2,205,473 in independent expenditures to influence the outcome of this election. Details current as of 06/30/2014

If you look at the pattern, the Republican party is gonna come out of this election cycle spending maybe half to two thirds of what they keep begging folks for. So, they still make money(lots of money), we still get screwed. And they don’t have to deal with a pesky person in DC, who actually believes in the Constitution. The bottom line is that most folks have been debating whether they even want to get out and vote.

Here is a thought , the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. And so…the idea of Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush comes to mind for the future. Let’s start to make some clear distinctions on the candidates we run, because if these “Party Faithful” get the nomination in 2016(assuming we make it that far)….well, need more be said?  Get used to saying President Clinton again.

I am sending this link, which is for the website that Mike and Josh put together  Friendsoftheconstitutiongroup.com. . Quite frankly, people have told us all along, since we became involved, that we have to keep fighting. Our fight is going to be for folks WE CAN believe in and trust to fight for our freedoms. Not the lessor of two evils. I keep hearing we have to do this now…principled candidates can be elected later. When is later? If not now…then when, and if not us… then who?

I hope you check out the more detailed explanation. If you like this info…contact us , we need help!! Have ideas…share. Share with the folks you know. share the videos etc. Everything we put up there is for people to use to share and get the word out that we CAN choose our own candidate.Like the templates for business card to hand out to remind folks of the name and the reminder to write Shak Hill in,and the date of the Senate Election  Those can be found on the “Write In Shak Hill” Facebook page, as well.

Thanks to all, God bless America!

arcbead52@yahoo.com and dodykins1@yahoo.com
Mike, Josh and Dody Stottlemyer

Why the wish?
http://tinyurl.com/lu82bzx

Here are some video’s we have been putting on social media

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cau6iGt1FOQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zWG10FSh_4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBRoZT6zdnk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWIkDEetQ28

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99HDxXo155s&feature=youtu.be

A Republican Revolt?

Ed Gillespie speaks to a reporter

Lately, Virginia Republicans have been touting a Quinnipac poll which shows that only nine percentage points separate Mark Warner from his Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie.  Although certainly positive news for the Gillespie campaign, which has previously been down by over twenty points, it is the only poll thus far that shows the race separated with single digits.  To be fair, the race is getting closer, but not necessarily close yet; the Roanoke College poll several days before Quinnipac had Gillespie down by twenty and the PPP and CBS/New York Times polls since Quinnipac show Gillespie back by thirteen and twelve points respectively.  Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate, pulls somewhere between six and one percent.

As mentioned about a month ago, at that point in the race it seemed that the Ed Gillespie campaign had failed to capture the hearts and minds of the liberty wing of the GOP.  Although attitudes can and do change, a fair number have expressed plans to either cast their ballots Robert Sarvis or stay home.

Now, it seems that Gillespie is facing even more challenges.  Last night, one of my political Facebook friends indicated that she plans to write-in Shak Hill as her choice for U.S. Senate.  Mr. Hill, as you may recall, sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate but was defeated by Gillespie at the convention.  Apparently my friend is not alone as a website and a Facebook group have popped up encouraging voters to do likewise.

Photo from Reuters/Justin Reed

Although the number of fans of this Facebook group is quite small for a statewide effort, it could present an additional problem for a candidate some in the party view as a consummate political insider, close associate of Karl Rove, and not particularly friendly to the idea of limited government conservatism.

This information is fairly consistent with the CBS/New York Times poll, which shows that while 94% of Democrats plan on voting for Mark Warner, only 78% of Republicans will do likewise for Gillespie.  The gap grows larger when considering ideology as 95% of self-identified liberals say they will cast their votes for Warner, 1% for Gillespie, and 0% for Sarvis while 75% of conservatives will go for Gillespie, a rather large 10% for Warner, and 2% for Sarvis.

So, are the polls and my personal observations correct?  Is a significant portion of the Republican base revolting against the party’s nominee for Senate either through supporting Robert Sarvis, Shak Hill, or by doing nothing?  And, if this is the case, what, if anything, does the Republican Party of Virginia and the Ed Gillespie campaign plan to do to counter this rift?