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Northumberland R's seek congenial new members


Date published: 12/17/2012

From one perspective, November's election was a success for the Republican Party of Northumberland County. We carried the county for Mitt Romney, George Allen, and Rob Wittman by wider margins than in surrounding counties and throughout the state. From another perspective, last year was decidedly unsuccessful.

The Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia reversed itself and selected a closed convention over an open primary for statewide candidate selection, thereby disenfranchising men and women in the military and excluding independents and conservative Democrats. Just two years ago we replaced a Democrat (Albert Pollard) with a Republican (Margaret Ransone) following a Republican primary that featured a record turnout of voters--including unprecedented participation by independents. Ransone swept to a landslide victory of nearly 70 percent, and attracted widespread support from independents and newly converted Democrats.

Despite this and other examples, the State Central Committee took another step toward defeat in the next and future elections. Majority support from Virginia independent voters led to Obama statewide victory in 2008 and 2012, just as a majority of Virginia independents led to the election of Bob McDonnell in 2011. Mathematics and recent electoral history demonstrate beyond dispute that we must have a majority of independents to win.

On a local level, the Northumberland County Republican Committee has become deeply divided between conventional Republicans and newly arrived extremists who appear to have little interest in participating in Republican events but have enormous interest in disrupting the operation of the committee. An orchestrated disruption of the October committee meeting required it be adjourned before any business--including the November election--could be discussed.

Anyone who has read "Atlas Shrugged" can anticipate the result of the rules and extremist behavior. A large number of traditional Republicans refuse to participate in committee meetings. The majority of the party members who do the overwhelming bulk of committee work have decided to walk away.

The entire executive committee of the NCRC (including the chairman) is resigning. We are forming the Northumberland County Independent Committee, whose membership will be by invitation and will not be bound by the rules of the RPV. We will provide a home for Republicans, independents, conservative Democrats, and others who seek political involvement coupled with congeniality.

Patrick J. O'Brien

Lottsburg